How do we take on a design project, from A to Z, at Huff Harrington Home? With lots of Q & A’s!
Our guest cottage at the AH&L Cashiers Show House (which opens to the public this week), is a great example. With every design project, we go through several phases, starting with interviewing the client, getting to know the client, and coming up with design boards that meet the clients’ needs. Because any design project is always about the client, and not about us. And the best way to do our job well is to get to know our client.
In this case, our client is the fun, flirty, fabulous and ever so fictional Nola Burt, the muse of Burt Farm. Nola is a writer who wants a retreat, surrounded by the things that she loves, in a space that’s open and pretty. She prefers neutral colors, lots of light, and is always inspired by her vast and beautiful collection of art — and French antiques that she has brought from Paris.
With a bow to one of Nola’s favorite French writers, and a nod to Vanity Fair for cleverly popularizing this technique, we take a page from Marcel Proust to interview our client with the piercing, and probing “Proustian” questions that help us get to know her — intimately! (Don’t worry, new clients. We don’t do this with everyone!)
Finally, we ask Nola to come up with some favorite interiors that she is inspired by so that we can put together some ideas. Lucky for us, she happens — oh so conveniently — to choose inspirational photos from our own roster of designs!
We know what Nola likes, and we know what she wants. We go through what she owns, what she wants to keep, and what she’s looking to buy. And that’s when we come up with our design boards.
Using her favorite Jim Seitz painting as the anchor, and reflecting her love of the mix, we show her some Louis’ and lucite, a painting from on of her favorite artists, Sharon Hockfield, a surprising chandelier from Ikea (yes, Ikea) … and we wait for the reaction.
“It’s perfect,” Nola says. “Keep it going!!!” We love a happy client, and following her lead, we come up with another design board: This time we’ve added one of our favorite waterfall consoles , a nice representation of contemporary and traditional art, some 1960’s planters, a set of blessing beads and a French starburst mirror to bring it all together. Are we good, Nola?
“Oh Yes! I love it!” she exclaims. “Keep going …!” On the right track, we go for one more. We want to mix it up a little so we toss in a favorite modern wooden chair with the crunchiest antique French mirror, some paintings from Hockfield, Eubanks and Ross, and a table lamp from Ikea.
“You’ve nailed it!” she cries, “And I can’t wait to move in!” Nola loves her space because it’s all about her. She wanted it light, pretty, sexy and uncluttered, with a bit of twist and a touch of irreverence. And that’s what she got.
We are so lucky to have a client like Nola Burt. And so fortunate to design for the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Cashiers Show House again this year. Doors open on Friday! We hope you’ll come say hi. And if you see Nola, tell her we sent you!
PS: For more information and directions to the Show house, click here.