Student Q&A with Walk Interior Design
When you initially work with clients do you find they know exactly what they would like? Do they have images from magazines or do you show them a range of previous designs/magazine images to grasp an understanding of what they truly want?
Every client, brief, house/property, budget and timescale is different. Some or all the factors can, and should, have a bearing on the actual design. Some houses just need a few surface finishes and a sofa recommendation. However, most properties that we get involved with, need much more than this. We regularly totally renovate and re-structure rooms or whole houses where the over-all objective is to get the layout, electrics, heating and flow working as a priority, the schemes etc can be secondary for these clients.
Direction in style ‘occasionally’ comes from a magazine look the client has seen, but these are not that common. Some mention a hotel they have stayed in or point out rooms on our website for inspiration. Some clients would like us to work with some existing furniture or feature in the house, but the majority of our clients prefer to give us an open brief or a blank canvas, as they know that we are best placed to make suitable suggestions for them, to give them a result they would love but would not have thought of, or even been able to describe. In these cases it’s the house itself as well as their personality that usually leads the way.
In the case of a client who does not know what they would like, you as a professional steer them in an appropriate direction. What inspires you? Where do you draw inspiration from?
We attend various trade shows throughout the year, subscribe to lots of trade magazines and numerous design related websites. Our own travel takes us to some very stylish locations where we might see a new wall treatment or light fitting idea. Our multi-disciplined personal/practical skills, as well as creative experiences and problem solving capability, working together. Sometimes with related suppliers & contractors eg. fabric/wallpaper designers to kitchens and bathrooms suppliers and finally the client, their brief, property and location.
Clients are more sophisticated and informed than ever before. More often than not, that’s a good thing as they’ve surfed the net to find things they like, but got overwhelmed with the choices.
What is your opinion on the multiple shows that have been on television surrounding home design? Programmes such as Changing Rooms inspired a lot of people to try a hand at DIY so they can recreate a look and many shows still have that effect 10 years on. Do you think the popular shows have had a huge influence on the nation when it comes to designing their own home? . For those who do not turn to a professional for help, do you think they turn to the designers on the television?
TV has created an new awareness of interior design and what is possible, which is great to inspire the DIY homeowners. However the fast, fashion-lead, throw-away TV shows are mainly for entertainment and new scheme ideas. They rarely show the true cost or timescales that most people would experience, so this can have a negative effect. The more serious shows do show that if the project is not managed properly with adequate time and funding, then things can go horribly wrong!
There is now a more interest in longevity, classic designs and better quality materials. Customers will pay a bit more for a well-designed and specified piece that is made to last, even improve with age.
How savvy are your clients these days, versus in years past?
Clients are more sophisticated and informed than ever before. More often than not, that’s a good thing as they’ve surfed the net to find things they like, but got overwhelmed with the choices. Most clients are very cost conscious, but that doesn’t mean they want cheap things. Rather, they’re very ‘value-driven’. The success of our business is in our approach. We demonstrate our ‘value’ by creating the best considered design they can have for their particular budget or lifestyle.