|REDECORATING YOUR HOME? It is wise to devote your budget to making the most used rooms functional and comfortable.
WHEN my team works with a client, the process is sometimes to determine what their style is as they go forward with a renovation or redecorating. What we are talking about here is the discovery of your aesthetic as opposed to what you need in your home.
In the studio when we are discussing a client, we start by discussing the function of their life. It’s important that you are aware of what your lifestyle is. Some people we work with have very demanding jobs and as a result the majority of time is spent away from the house aside from sleeping and getting ready. Some people love to eat at restaurants as opposed to home while others are focused on the two children they have, the sports the children are involved in; they love the animals that are part of the family and can’t imagine life any other way. There are no rights and wrongs in this equation, just realities. These determining factors will help you to understand how you use your home, whether it’s a small condo or an expansive property on a large bit of land.
One thing that can help you to determine where to devote the majority of your money in terms of furniture you buy is to try to keep track of how often a room is used in the course of the average week. Many become focused on the occasions when company will visit and as a result they create a home suitable for guests but not necessarily the family that lives in it. If you can track your movements on an “average” week with your family, you may begin to see, for example, that the basement recreation room is the place you and your children spend most of the time. It could be the bathroom and kitchen also has a great deal of traffic while the formal living and dining room rarely get used in the average week.
It seems wise therefore to devote budget to making the most used rooms functional and comfortable. I often say that “form follows function” and the previous exercise can be further explored to help you understand what exactly your morning routine is. You may find that you travel back and forth from the closet several times in the morning which may indicate that it would be wise to move the two rooms closer together to make your morning experience more fluid. It is only logical that you have the house adapt to the way you like to live as opposed to altering your habit to suit the house you have, provided that a renovation is in the budget.
When trying to find your “style”, it is important to discover the function before you start to explore the form or aesthetics. Start by flipping through a copy of your favourite design magazines and place a sticky note on the pages that appeal to you most, and pencil in why you like it. It could be colour, furniture, structure or a detail like accessories; however you will start to see a trend emerge.
There are many directions you can go in and while some design firms believe in “right” and “wrong” in terms of style, I believe that you have to love where you live and the details around you. The design direction of a hotel is generally very clear so if you are most comfortable at the Banff Springs Hotel versus the G Hotel in Toronto, you’ve got a pretty good clue as to your personal style. Either is achievable, provided you love it!
People are often attracted to a transitional style; neither classic nor modern but somewhere in the middle. It is a pretty safe style to work with and rarely will anyone have a strong reaction to this styling – either good nor bad. However, fear keeps people from taking a chance on something that may suit them more. Getting some help from a designer to move slightly out of your current comfort zone towards your ‘real love’ can be a good choice.
I think one of the best ways to find your style is to visit an art gallery. Do you find yourself drawn to simple blocks of colour or to the more detailed landscapes? What are the colours that make up the image you are attracted to? What comes forward is an emotional reaction to pieces that are abstract or very contemporary or completely classical. There is no exact science to what resonates with you and it should come with no judgement. Remove the element of what you are “supposed” to like and simply react with your emotions.
We, at the studio, are here to make sure it all functions well for your life and results in a sense of happiness when you get home at the end of the day. Of course it is possible to do it on your own; however I always believe that if you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur. Discovering your style is just a process but I promise you, everyone has got style!
• Glen Peloso, Principal Designer of Glen Peloso Interiors Inc., designs spaces for commercial, corporate and residential clients. He is a regular host of design shows Restaurant Makeover and Take This House & Sell It. For more information on Glen Peloso Interiors, visit glenpelosointeriors.com.