I have just discovered something. It’s new. In the last month, I have finally discovered for myself what ‘my signature look’ is, and the best part about it is that people are suddenly calling me because of it.
Given which designers inspire me, it seems silly that it’s taken me this long to define it for myself. Especially because I have been describing my style on this blog and my website for almost a year now:
‘With a fresh take on contemporary and a passion for colour, Maria is known for creating warm, comfortable and inspired spaces for her clients’.
Every time I start a new project (and I have several right now, it’s really great) I look through my dozens of design magazines or design books to get inspiration and ideas, for example I saw an ottoman in one last week and decided it was perfect for one of my clients. And as I was looking though them, it suddenly hit me exactly what it [my signature look] is!
Since I appeared on the cover issue of BC Home this month [below] clients are calling me because of that ‘look’. It’s fresh, colourful and contemporary (Like I’ve been saying all along – duh).
In Kimberley Seldon’s ‘What you don’t learn in design school’ course a few years ago, I remember her saying that the first time she was published, the style of the home was French Country. She said because of that first issue, she still gets the occasional client that says “I know you only do french country, but do you think you could. . . ?
The lesson here is when you do get published [as a designer] hopefully it represents a look that is ‘you’ and one that you really love to re-create, because it’s a big piece of what you will be known for.
Having a ‘signature look’ doesn’t mean you don’t work with a clients existing furnishings, or their colours, etc. Obviously you’ll still create a custom look for each individual client, however the fact that that client has come to you for your look [because it is defined by your website, blog, etc] means that is the look they are searching for in their home. (have I said ‘look’ enough yet?)
I would have to say blogging [October 31 will be one year for me] has been the biggest access for me to really define what ‘my look’ is. All you have to do is scroll through my blog, and it becomes obvious by the photos that I choose, what it is.
The best education has also been the literally hundreds of homes I have consulted in over the past 10 years. It’s also why I like a clean look in kitchens and bathrooms and why I’m not a big fan of ‘accent tiles’. I have seen too many ugly, dated tiles in my travels and it’s always a conversation when selecting colour “Can we ignore them, paint them, work with them?”
Accent tiles seem to be soooo important when gathering tiles for your bathroom or kitchen, but once they are all installed, mostly look busy and out of place if not tastefully done [below]. See how the mosaic is repeated in the floor? If you’re going to do it, it should be repeated in some way in the bathroom. A four inch row of mosaic tile 3/4 of the way up your shower wall does not cut it!
I was helping a real estate agent choose colours for a home he was ‘flipping’ a couple years ago and he was all about ‘accent tiles’. He said when taking clients through homes, those were the little things they noticed and commented on. So I think it depends on the business you are in. Flipping homes to be sold ‘right now’ during a hot trend, or choosing finishes for your own home, that should be much more timeless than the current trend.
Two years ago when I first moved into the house I’m in now, I held a housewarming party. Two of my designer friends came. One lived in an exclusive neighborhood in Vancouver and the other lived in the suburbs. A couple that attended my party were in the preliminary stages of discussing their kitchen renovation and each asked my friends [individually] what they would recommend for a new countertop.
My designer friend from the suburbs immediately said ‘Granite is the big thing, that’s what we’re doing now” while the other said “Caesarstone, it’s less blotchy than granite and that’s the latest.
What works for your home–based on this story—is to install what people are looking for in your neighborhood. Unless you are going to live in your house for the next 10 years or more, then do whatever you want as it’ll be time for a renovation by the time you sell anyway.
Bottom line, there is an argument to be made for both sides, but you can hardly be approached to design a fabric, furniture or wallpaper line [like Barbara Barry or Candice Olsen] if you do not have a ‘signature look’.
PS. Having a signature ‘decorating’ look does not mean that I cannot choose colours for your house no matter what the ‘style’ of it is. That is what I do the best, take any look and any style and pull it all together using the right colours.
If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person consultations.
My Interior Design Style
Colour vibe by Eileen Kathryn Boyd
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