How Designers Unlock A Client’s Vision Of Their Home

Posted on | September 5, 2014 | No Comments

Designers work tirelessly to understand their clients’ goals so that they can give them the home they’ve always dreamed of. However, clients are not always sure of what they want or need – and figuring it out can be more difficult than it seems. No one knows this better than Greensboro interior designer Jessica Dauray of Elements of Style Interiors. Jessica sat down with North Carolina Design and shared how her years of experience as a designer help her dig below the surface and hone in on the best way to assist her clients in achieving the perfect space.

Images Courtesy of Elements of Style Interiors ©

“A major part of my job is figuring out what works for my clients aesthetically and functionally,” Jessica notes. “If your home is not functional for you and your family, it’s a failed effort. I find that part of the equation is helping clients realize how they actually live in their home, as opposed to how they think they should live in their home. We want a result that’s both beautiful and user-friendly – not something that necessarily conforms to the conventions we’ve all grown up accepting. We all have families, dogs, lives – we don’t live in museums.”

Jessica finds that it can take some probing to get clients to break through their ideas of how they should use a space and own up to how they really live. “With the right questions, eventually the juicy tidbits come out,” she affirms. “You might confess that on Sunday night you like to watch Downtown Abbey and take baths. Well, great, we’ll position your tub so you can see the TV. Now your bathroom is your special haven.”

“One of my clients was an in-home tutor who admitted that she didn’t really use her dining room,” Jessica recounts. “We made that space into a beautiful, relaxed sitting room and workroom that would be comfortable for the kids, and allow her to get down on their level, chat with them, and spread out her materials. We outfitted an armoire with sheers and put filing cabinets underneath, behind closed doors. This gave her storage for her tutoring materials, and helped create a space that was functional for her needs, yet didn’t look ‘school-ish.’”

Another of Jessica’s clients admitted that she liked to pay her bills in her bedroom while she watched TV. “We created the perfect space for her right next to her bed,” Jessica explains. “We used these very pretty, light and airy nightstands that accommodated her paperwork, but didn’t look like filing cabinets. They had pullout shelves that would hold her iPad, so she could use it comfortably while she caught up in her favorite shows.”

When it comes to discerning a client’s preferred style, Jessica relies on her intuition and her experience. “I understand what information I need to gather to make the space work for them,” she explains. “I find that my clients are generally very consistent in what they like. As we go through all the different options, I watch their reactions. If they see something they like, I think what do they like about it? Is it the soft lines? The texture? The pattern? After doing this for so long, it’s very rare that I don’t nail it.”

Working to understand her client’s wants and needs is one of Jessica’s favorite parts of the job. “I love unlocking a client’s unique signature style and figuring out what’s going to be special and work for them. It’s fun. It’s creative. And it’s so rewarding to see them have their dreams realized.”

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