While working on submissions for the Interior Design Awards recently, I began to think about this question. The submitted projects for the design competition had to have been completed within a certain period of time. But is that the real world? Some interiors take years to finish and some never are. As a designer, I regard a project as finished when the photographer takes the picture; until that point, flowers are still being arranged and accessories are being placed.
But the life of an interior is very different for a homeowner. It’s not about the pretty picture. While a project, like a Kitchen or Bathroom renovation, can have a beginning and an end, the interior itself takes on a life that evolves over decades and goes far beyond the renovation or decorating project.
As interior designers, we deal with deadlines constantly; we have to accomplish certain goals by given dates. But long after the contractors have left, a home continues to develop and change. Life is change, and through the years we see clients get married and sometimes divorced; they have children and grandchildren and may eventually scale down to a smaller residence. Each life event and milestone can be a catalyst for change, for the interior of a home is a host to life’s events.
As family needs and individual taste changes, an interior often evolves in response to more accurately address them. My own taste in art and collectibles has changed over the years and as I replace old items with new pieces, my interior changes with each new addition. Sometimes the changes are subtle and sometimes they are more dramatic, but the constant editing, refining and evolving of the rooms keeps my interiors fresh and interesting. It reflects the current me, not who I was in the past.
Acquiring a new painting can be the impetus to re-evaluate how a room is used, and rearranging the room or regrouping existing artworks can be salubrious. Storing some accessories and bringing out old loved ones can also transform a space. New paint colors, wall treatments, or a rug will revitalize a room; sometimes getting new pillows or lampshades will suffice. With each new element, an interior is subtly transformed.
Throughout your lives, you adapt to changes within you and to the world around you. Wardrobes are updated, jewelry is acquired and hair styles change. New cars reflect ever-changing needs and desires, while increasing affluence and travel opens new worlds to explore and exposes other ways of living, some of which might be incorporated into existing routines and preferences. And this is where the designer’s eye is needed – to reinterpret and design the interiors of your homes to address and reflect your ever-changing lives.