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Jul 27, 2007


The catalyst for this post came about when I read an insightful article 'Rationality and Affection in Interior Design' by Taiwanese interior designer D.Z Zhao in an interior architecture magazine last weekend. The article left a deep impression on me because of how true his points, as summarized below, are.

Nowadays, people expect a lot for themselves, especially when it comes to the design and renovation of their homes. Even as budgets and spaces are, in most cases, constrained, the tastes and needs of the occupants are usually unlimited. Thus, the interior designer is always tasked to work their magic around restricted budgets and spaces. We've heard enough stories about projects that went awry, because of unmet expectations and things not turning up the way they should 'rightfully' be. The fine line between who is right and who is wrong has been blurred in the reality of all the factors that come into play during the entire construction process. Were certain criteria set in the very first place? Clients need to be rational and ask themselves truthfully: are the expectations of the end-product in line with the budget, the time frame and space constraints given?

On the other hand, a designer also needs to fight a constant war against his or her personal affection towards every project. As Zhao muses, "which designer wouldn't want every single project to be his or her masterpiece?" and "which designer wouldn't love the idea of an unrestricted regimen?" But the fact is, unlimited budgets, zero interference from clients and an infinite work duration (so the designer can think through every aspect and detail to perfection) can only remain as that – dreams that designers think of. Interior designers need to be rational enough to not go overboard with their design under all circumstances. Blown budgets and angry clients are the last things a designer would want.

A client-designer relationship is a delicate one which requires careful handling. Setting priorities and expectations straight from the beginning is often the key to a blissful outcome.


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Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you when you say that people expect a lot from themselves when it comes down to designing their homes. For me, as much as that is important, I want the interior of my home to be great also. It's hard to find something to stay with since the trend is always changing. Because I am going to be moving to a different home in about couple of months, I have been thinking of home interior designing and I realized that the only way I can do it fool-proof is to snatch some ideas from the new season of "Design Star". The new season premiered last week and it already seems like it's going to be one heck of a season with all the crazy personalities on the show and the good thing is that I'm sure they'll be on a budget to design. I know this information because I work with them and they're also giving away from prizes at!

Linda Merrill said...

Excellent points. Setting clear expectations is so important, yet we often think we're being clear, and realize after the fact that we missed the mark. The other side of designers wanting their work to be the best is not only over-running the budget, but we also tend to reduce our margins so the project gets the "right" thing, even if it's a budget buster. Then we get even more hurt if the client isn't happy with something. Meanwhile, the client isn't aware we undercut ourselves to make it happen. It's all in the communications!

KNQ Associates said...

That certainly resonates with me, Linda!