Wednesday, August 31, 2016

House Calls: A Design Business

Piano Mantel

Years ago, I had a design business (in addition to teaching) that I named House Calls.

It’s premise was simple.
Once contacted and for a nominal fee, I arrived at someone’s home- making a ‘house call’ -and
together we walked through each room and discussed and listed suggestions for changes.
Sometimes those suggestions were very specific (paint this, move this here) and sometimes they were general.

My clients were often friends or someone who called me because of a recommendation.
Occasionally , a client may have purchased my time through
a donation I made to a church or social group’s fund raising auction.
My Thoughts

*As my sorority sister and dear friend in college used to say, ‘everyone is doing the best they can’.
Design is all in the eye of the beholder.

*Design choices are easier for someone who is what my mother, daughters, and I have always called ‘a house person’.
Note: I did not say a design person.

For example, I love houses in all shapes and sizes. I love your home, and I haven’t ever seen it. I love thinking about houses and imagining what I would do to that house. I love the potential that exists in all houses.
That is a house person to me.

You are a house person too.

*Houses have bones and recognizing those bones and how to enhance them and fit your needs is really all design is.

*Some houses were born with problems. It isn’t your fault.

How do you know what those problems are?
Here are a few simple examples-

Are their walls in rooms where furniture can logically rest?

Is there enough space on a bedroom’s headboard wall for side tables to live- with electrical outlets and without blocking windows?

If you plan to float furniture in the middle of the room, are there floor outlets?

And honestly, an important question in most homes- what wall will the television be on?


We are all designers. You are a designer.
You design your own life every single day.
As a result , you are a home designer too.

Design Tip

Our home has a long living room.
Having something on the end walls helps anchor the space .
I use a piano to do just that.
Rather than using a piano to only hold photographs or other small items, try treating it as a mantel instead.


Preppy Empty Nester said...

I'm with you, Laura. I love houses. My favorite thing in the whole world is to go on house tours. Have a great weekend!

Creations By Cindy said...

Laura, I love this post. I love what you said about loving everyone's house! I have always said...the heart is what makes a house a home no matter the structure. Love your tips too. House calls....I love it! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Decor To Adore said...

Great tip about thinking of the top of a piano as a mantle! We can indeed, each and every one of us be a decorator.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm not surprised to hear that you were a design consultant. You have such an eye and such a sense of style!

Jeanie said...

I think I could reduce 90 percent of my decorating/design problems with two things -- SERIOUS clutter reduction and new paint. Somehow, both end up being more complicated than they should be!

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

This was such a great post, Laura! I guess I may be a house person, too. I love visiting other homes, because you learn so much about the people who live there, just by seeing their style. I really get excited when we get invited to homes that I have admired from the outside. The interiors are usually a reflection of what captured my attention about the exterior. That's what I love about social media. I get to "peep" into the beautiful homes of others.

Lisa said...

This is great advice Laura! All of us house people are nodding in agreement.;-)

20 North Ora said...

Great post. I did basically the same thing when I was working as an Interior Designer. So many want advice but want to do their own thing. We would just walk thru the house with the client having a notepad and pen in hand writing down my suggestions. Good deal for both of us.


Pat said...

Great post, dear friend!
Moving into our 1970's Ranch Style Home. . .we have NO Symmetry!
While that might not be a huge obstacle to some. . .it drives me crazy!
It took me more than 10 years to stop arguing with my home and embrace its features!
While I could answer every question you have in this post with all the faults of my home, instead, I chose to embrace my home for what it was and something magical happened.
I fell in love! Never did I ever think I would say, "I love my home"!
Thanks for sharing your style and your design with us, your followers!
P.S. "House Calls" would make a wonderful informative Series!

Pam Richardson said...

Laura, like you, I see every house with its possibilities! This is a great post and thanks for sharing, Pam @ Everyday Living

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I've been a house person my whole life! Love houses and decor etc...

I also always use my piano as a mantel.

Stacey said...

I didn't know that you used to do this. I loved learning that! :)

You give great advice. Treating a piano as a mantel is such a good idea.

House people unite!

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Oh, yes, I love houses and how each one has their own personality. I've had the best time decorating our new house and thankfully my designer was most thoughtful of my desires and helped me implement them. Another great post!

Blondie's Journal said...

I love how varied we all are in our taste and preferences. Sometimes we need tips, like furniture placement, etc. Designers are pros at that and should be appreciated. Have you thought of going back to that profession?


Pondside said...

I'm a house-lover too, Laura. I've lived in a number of them - houses and apartments in Canada, the US and overseas. Some of them were modern and 'easy' while others were very challenging. Guess what - I loved the challenging ones most of all. Now that we are in this new-old cottage I am finding the challenges sometimes larger than I'd like. I think it's because I am pressed for time right now. More than anything I long to just stay home for a few days and love my house until it's right. I'll get there!

Unknown said...

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