When I meet with new clients, I conduct a lengthy conversation with them. I’m trying to get to the heart of who they are, what they need, and what they want from their homes.
Many of my questions pertain to the specifics of how they use each area of their home. How do their days unfold within that space. This provides a good sketch for me as a designer in picturing their individual and familial rhythms. I also touch upon their likes and dislikes. These include color, style, material preferences and other relevant information which I can then apply to the design process.
What I find especially interesting is how the discussion evolves over a couple hours. At first they may answer with ease, confident in what they want me to know. But, as I ask follow up questions to drill down a bit, they start opening up more. They reveal the meaning of some of their habits and preferences. What frequently emerges is a deep dive into the desires and hopes that the clients may have hidden even from themselves.
I had one client admit that he really loved purple, but that he “knew” it wasn’t a good color to use.
Well, why not? He wasn’t even sure where he heard it. He’d just absorbed that message at some point along the way. He made up his mind to censor a personal desire before he even tried it out.
I have another client who enjoys cooking, but doesn’t feel she’s very good at it. She needs a kitchen that will serve her interest in nurturing that passion. Unfortunately, she seems to believe that her current skill level doesn’t justify the upgrade. I think this is an example of mixing up cause and effect. Giving herself permission to dream will clear the path to her continued efforts at mastery. During this early ideation phase, she could envision designing the kitchen not for the cook she believes herself to be currently, but for the cook she will become.
This is an example of something many of us do. We put off certain luxuries until we can convince ourselves that we’ve earned them. Hidden within that thinking is a bit of self judgment: “State of the art kitchens are for chefs, and I’m no chef.” I like to think of these blockages as being more a question of activation energy. If you remove obstacles mentally, you will make your goals all the more achievable.
Try ‘interviewing’ yourself to get to the heart and meaning of what you want, and why you may be telling yourself, ‘not now.’ This is like therapy, where you have emotions and ideas that you haven’t analyzed, but that guide you in life. It’s worth analyzing these things because, if you are letting these thoughts and emotions drive, you want to be sure they know what they’re doing! Maybe you can get in the driver’s seat and take things in a newer, more exciting and ultimately more authentic direction for yourself.