A Good Residential Designer Adapts To The Style The Client Prefers – So Each Home Only Whispers Of Who They Are

Posted on | February 14, 2017 | No Comments

Some residential designers have a passion for a particular home style, and are well known and sought after for their specific expertise. Others take a completely client driven approach. They adapt to any style their client prefers, and the homes they design only whisper of who they are. Barry Wilson, a principal designer at Houck Residential Designers in Winston-Salem has a knack for understanding exactly what his clients want, and deftly handles projects in any style. North Carolina Design asked him how he does it, and he was nice enough to tell us.

Images Courtesy of Houck Residential Designers ©

“To really create something that’s client driven, you have to get in your client’s head,” he begins. “You have to live in their world, and change your thought process to their thought process. In a sense, you have to become the client. The style, the function, and the details of the home all have to be filtered through their lens. People ask me, ‘what’s your favorite house?’ and my answer is always ‘one that works for the clients.’ After all, they’re going to live in it, not me.”

Barry believes there are two key requirements for getting into a client’s head. “First, you have to ask the right questions,” he stresses. “Sometimes this means walking through the house, space by space, asking ‘what do you need in this room?’ Then, if a client says they need an office, what does that mean? To one person an office might mean a 20 by 30 foot room, while to another person, it’s a five-foot desk tucked in somewhere.”

“Second, you have to take your client’s answers, and their wish list, and their pictures, and drill down to find the real purpose behind them. Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes it’s not. My clients aren’t going to know how to tell me everything I need to know. They don’t do this for a living; I do. So I do have to read between the lines and draw a lot of conclusions based on my experience.”

Barry also uses his experience and expertise to guide his clients’ decisions. “I am never going to insist that my clients make choices based on the kind of home I want them to have,” he tells us. “What I will do is educate them. They don’t always know about function. They don’t always understand what design aspects they can and can’t manipulate. Something they want may not be structurally feasible, or it might cost more. My job is to give them what they’re looking for, in a way that works.”

“There are a lot of things to consider. You have to think about the function of each space, and its purpose. You also have to think about what’s possible on the property itself, and how far the budget will stretch. If a client has is trying to meet a tight budget but would love to have dining room, I’ll ask: how often will you use a dining room? it is it really necessary, or can we find a better solution?”

Barry is driven by a fundamental desire to help his clients’ visions come alive. But part of his success lies in his inherent ability to see the beauty and value in many different architectural styles. Even his own home is an eclectic mix of traditional furniture pieces and contemporary design elements. “I don’t ever want to be pigeonholed,” he says. “It limits you, especially during a remodel. You don’t know what you’re walking into – it could be a Colonial house, or a modern house, or a complete blank slate.”

“I’ve never thought of myself as someone who’s trying to put a mark on the world. I’m just trying to give my clients what they want, and what makes them happy,” reflects Barry. “But really, it’s win-win. I have a deep curiosity about all architecture. I have every kind of architecture book in my office, and I am always reading and learning. It’s a genuine pleasure for me to work with so many different people, on so many different kinds of homes. It keeps my job fresh and exciting.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

Leave a Reply





Search

About

Welcome to the North Carolina Design Online Blog - a resource for design inspiration and information.

Recent Comments

Daily Reads

Categories