Interior designers are finding themselves moving away from “cookie-cutter” renovations and spare spaces in 2016, said two prominent local designers at a panel discussion I attended last week at the San Francisco Design Center.
My client, Catherine Kwong of Catherine Kwong Design, was a panelist along with Geoffrey De Sousa of De Sousa Hughes. Million Dollar Listing L.A. cast member Josh Flagg was also thrown into the mix.
Catherine explained her approach to a renovation: A “cookie-cutter” process doesn’t work. It’s not about listing out a need for a formal dining room, guest room, etc. It’s the way people live and how they want to use the space in their homes that guide her.
Geoffrey remarked that many of his clients are interested in how the design elements come together—how a chair is manufactured, for example. “Clients appreciate the craft and the process,” he says.
And his clients are “tired of spare interiors with one Eames chair.” Wall coverings and moldings are in.
All the panelists agreed that design and real estate clients don’t rely completely on them for information about the different aspects of a renovation or available housing inventory. In fact, says Geoffrey, they’ll sometimes end up telling their designer where they found the best price on a furnishing after an Internet search. And Josh talked about dealing with home sellers who lean a bit too heavily (and inaccurately) on online property value estimates.
The upshot? We’re working in industries that have become increasingly transparent. But the most successful designers and real estate agents help clients make sense of all that information—and earn their trust.