Who’s style is it anyway?

CH24 chair in neutral room
Does a designer design in their own style or in their clients?

This is a great question.

Normally a newly qualified designer will be much more flexible in terms of design style. This could be because they haven’t discovered their style yet, because they don’t know if their style is right for their market, or they are simply taking any job that comes, regardless of style, to get experience.

Usually as a designer matures they will find one or maybe a small few signature styles. They will filter their past projects portfolio to reflect this, and will stay largely within their chosen atmosphere when providing design services. This helps the designer be more efficient as they do not have to “reinvent the wheel” with each new project. It is also deeply rewarding for the designer as they are re-engaging with a style they love with each new client. It helps define the clients coming to them too, as their portfolio will attract clients who appreciate the look they are proficient at executing.

Does this mean that the style does not reflect the client?

Absolutely not.

While you may find a designer whose flair you like, a great designer will be focussed on providing you with the function and flow you need to make the space work for you.

Let’s say you have 4 children a dog and 2 cats, love messy play and have a collection of ceramics. If you turn to an experienced minimalist designer because you love their style, they should be able to work out pretty quickly that it is a reflected love – you may love the look, the peace and serenity of the Pinterest pictures you have held so dear (perhaps in contrast to your daily life), but in reality your family requirements would make keeping a minimalist space hugely labour intensive. You would ultimately be unhappy with the result. Not on reveal day, but in the weeks and months thereafter.

If you have a set of inherited dining chairs you would like to keep, they will incorporate these: if anything is needed, perhaps a reupholster, or throws over these will bring them happily into the scheme.

If you are wanting to purchase new furniture, or considering removing old furniture, your designer can offer an opinion on what will work, and what will not. They will be able to recommend you further heirlooms and workhorse items which you will own for years to come, maybe even in a new home.

All these elements give you your home – it may have the sweep of the design style you have chosen, but it will be peppered with your life history, your important objects and people, and it will be laid out in a way that suits your needs best.

A designer is in a way a therapist, digging into not just what you want, but what you need and how you live. The communication you will have with your designer should be frank and honest. Delivering a facade of how your life really is will result in a less than good project.

Overall the Able and Hardie look is light, welcoming and joyful, embracing the elegance of shape and form and having fun with shadows. Your home will work for you, will reflect you, and will give you happiness. I enjoy creating atmosphere in a simple modern English style which integrates Scandinavian design classics, and yet embraces the ‘perfect imperfect’ best articulated in Japanese aesthetics. This means natural textures, layering and authenticity to both client and building, resulting in a timeless home.

I believe a space must work well to be beautiful, and I strive for excellence in each project.


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