a design assistant's point of view

Monday, 9 January 2012

             Heather Jenkinson Interiors

Hi everyone - I’m Kathryn, Heather’s assistant. I started working for Heather last October, and apart from the fact that we share the same taste in tea ('strong but milky and no sugar, thank you'), what I’ve found most fascinating is seeing how closely Heather works with her clients.

It’s all about collaboration. Remember that classic 90s programme Changing Rooms? Good design works in exactly the opposite way. Giving Laurence Llewelyn Bowen free reign to go mad with MDF may have made for entertaining TV, but back in the real world an interior designer won’t try and impose their aesthetic on your space.

Instead, Heather works hard getting to know her clients. What do they love about their home, and what do they hate? Which pieces of furniture are non-negotiable, and which are they dying to get rid of? Is their home a place to entertain or a relaxing retreat from the world? How do they want their living space to make them feel?


All this information is gathered up before the design work starts. Heather can then add a fresh perspective and some lateral thinking, as well as the experience and ability to see innovative design solutions. That dark poky room can be transformed into a sophisticated reading area. Outdated heirloom furniture can be re-contextualised with the right colour palette and surroundings.



The result is an environment that feels both natural and comfortable to live in. It reflects the clients and their personalities, but in a way they couldn’t have visualised at the beginning of the journey. That’s where the skills lies, and why you might want to hire an interior designer.


Of course, a lot of work goes into interpretation of the client’s ideas. For some practical tips on what to do with two clients that just can’t agree, see Heather’s 2011 interview with the Independent. Or you can read interviews with Heather on Arianna Interiors, and MyDeco for more background.

 
We’d love to know what you think – what’s the best way for designers and clients to work together successfully? 

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(Kathryn used to help run Hidden Art and now, aside from helping keep me sane, she is also the author of a very charming blog called 'Yes, I like that'. I love this post, particularly - isn't she clever?)

9 comments:

  1. Hi Katherine Nice piece and I'm sure the boss liked it. Listening is critical when dealing with clients and customer.

    I like the gray motifs.
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/70288654/sage-velvet-slip-cover-for-your

    LauraLi
    https://twitter.com/#!/Dressashade

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  2. What a great idea, sharing your assistants view point here Heather. Kathryn does indeed look very clever with sewing abilities. And how lucky is she to work for 'thee' Heather Jenkinson :) x

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  3. Hi Katherine. Welcome to Heather's world (and ours). Heading off to check out your 'Yes, I like that' blog ..

    Hope you both have a very busy, very successful .. but most of all VERY FUN year (-:

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  4. wonderful idea! welcome, Kathryn!

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  5. Great post and lovely images.

    Well I always ask my clients what their favourite restaurant is, because I think that gives a really strong clue into their taste.

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  6. What a brilliant post!

    I find the easiest way is if ego can be left at the door and the focus becomes all about an open collaboration.

    Collaboration between the designer and the client...
    Collaboration between the designer and all the trades that will be involved in the creation of the space or product.

    I love it when someone takes the idea and adds their unique expertise to make the end result even more impressive than anyone dreamt was possible.

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  7. Love the world maps. Found you via pinterest -- keep writing!


    www.greatproofreading.com
    When your blog has attracted too many followers to pretend it's okay because no one's going to see it.

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  8. Love the lamps!! Is that a filming camera? And are those real feathers? If yes, great choice! Feathers are an unavoidable trend this Fall.. I've recently seen an armoire completely covered in irisdiscent gorgeous peacock feathers, love it! It's from the luxury furniture brand KOKET, have a look it might be useful for your projects :) (http://www.bykoket.com/catalogue/divine.php)

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  9. The best way for client and designer to work together successfully is that designers understand that clients are not experts , so providing specific examples that they can talk around can help clients grasp the details of a project.

    how to hide your tv

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