Drawing The Dream – Charlotte Residential Designer Achieves Incredible Results By Listening To Clients’ Wants & Needs

Posted on | August 16, 2016 | No Comments

Residential designers aren’t just artists and creators – they are also interpreters, using their specialized knowledge to translate their clients’ wants and needs into a beautiful and functional design. The more fully a designer understands his or her clients, the more personal, detailed and unique the design will be. Charlotte residential designer Kevin Holdridge, owner KDH Residential Design, is known for creating highly personal designs that answer all of his clients wishes, while deftly capturing their unique vision and style. North Carolina Design spoke with Kevin to find out how he gets inside his clients’ heads in order to achieve his incredible results.

Images Courtesy of KDH Residential Design ©

Kevin notes that trying to figure out his clients’ vision is much akin to detective work. “It really is about taking a lot of information and finding the patterns and the rhythms that connect it all together,” he tells us. “I am a big puzzle guy, so it’s a really fun challenge for me.”

It’s not always easy for homeowners to articulate their vision, and their likes and dislikes can be complex. First and foremost, Kevin stresses the importance of being a good listener. “It’s so important to get to know your clients, and to understand the project at hand,” he says. “To do any of that, you have to take the time to really listen. When clients sense that you’re really hearing them, they feel more comfortable opening up and expressing what they really want.”

For Kevin, part of listening well is digging deep with the right questions. “First, I want to know what my clients are passionate about,” he explains. “My two key words are love and hate. As I show them different options, I obviously want to know what they love and what they get really excited about. But it’s just as valuable to me to know what they hate. These are two huge pieces of the puzzle and they help the other pieces fall into place.”

It’s also extremely important for Kevin to know how his clients live. “I ask a lot of lifestyle questions,” he notes. “Are they retired? Are they a new family? A growing family? How do they entertain? Who comes over? Will most guests be there for an extended stay? What kinds of activities do the kids do? And, of course, it’s important to keep track of all of the information. I give them a questionnaire to fill out and I feverishly take notes throughout our conversations.”

Just as any good detective would, Kevin uses intuition and instinct to fill in the more nuanced aspects of each project. “I really do believe that there is a subconscious element to the process,” he affirms. “As I’m observing and talking to my clients and seeing how they interact as a family, I’m picking up on who they are in a way that goes beyond likes and dislikes and facts and figures on a page. I think that helps in terms of just ‘knowing’ whether something is going to work for them or not.”

Then, of course, Kevin must deal with the more rigid elements of each project. “I have to consider the footprint I’m working with, and the lot, and the existing structure, and the budget,” he explains. “That’s the real challenge – fitting all of the information I have gathered about who my clients are and what they want within these boundaries.”

“When I finally sit at the drawing board, I’m pulling everything together. I’m not just sketching a plan for a project. I’m seeing what my clients see. I’m envisioning how they will live, and I’m drawing out their dream. There isn’t anything better than seeing the joy on a client’s face when they realize that you heard them, you got it right and they are one huge step closer to bringing that dream to life.”

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