Those who have known me for any length of time, especially clients and friends who have asked for advice know these questions well: “What is your vision for this space?” or “What look/feel are you going for?” These questions are open-ended on purpose and serve to feel people out for what they find to be the most important factors.
If you were to walk into a strangers home with other people, and afterward I asked you each separately what you liked & disliked about the space; more often than not (unless it’s glaringly obvious like missing flooring) the answers will all be different. As humans our brain catalogs each new space the first time we experience them, it takes a moving picture of sorts, and certain aspects stand out to us based on our likes or dislikes.
This is why you get a funny feeling when something is missing or moved in our rooms, why we can realize as we’re pulling into the driveway that you have no memory of the drive home, or why we can move around your house in complete darkness without bumping into walls and doorways.
It’s also been said that the first day of school is stressful for children because their brain has so much to catalog & is also trying to navigate the feelings that come with it all (which they don’t do as easily as adult brains that have matured).
What does this all have to do with ‘Having a Vision’?
It’s simple really- we get so used to how our space looks that it’s nearly impossible to look at it with fresh eyes. When remodeling it’s an opportunity to strip the space down to the bones and make it whatever our heart desires (within reason). To do this means stripping away the current picture our brain has of your space and it’s limitations. Asking these questions helps get a feel for what you want to change and what is most important.
The question “What look/feel are you going for?” helps me figure out what your likes & dislikes are so they can be implemented into the design and the final result is pleasing.
The question “What is your vision for this space?” serves to gauge what most stands out to you in your current space and how you’d like it to change.
Often times the architecture, area of residence, and personal style don’t all match up. When this happens it’s my job to lead clients in the right direction while helping them understand which design rules can be bent and which rules shouldn’t be messed with.
Let’s say you own a common house type in Southern California which is mediterranean style, but you love the white cottage/shabby chic look. While it’s entirely possible to bring influences in from ANY time period it’s going to seem out of place if the entire home is done in white, light woods, cotton/linen, simple texture, and shaker style furniture.
Instead, I would recommend bringing in the light colors of cottage style with paint/finish choices on walls and cabinets, choosing comfortable overstuffed chairs and curtains in a neutral linen fabric, while also incorporating some Spanish tile colors with accent tables, pillows, rugs, and decor. This will lend itself to the architecture of the home; red tile roof, dark heavy wood doors and arched doorways, and the main body & trim color on the outside of the home without seeming completely out of place once you step through the front door.
This blog idea came about becuase I broke my own cardinal rule of having a vision when we started our master bedroom. I know, I know…how could I do such a thing but still preach about its importance?! Because I want you to do as I say, not as I do. Trust me on this one- having a vision will save you A LOT of heartache, money, and time.
This is partly because Mr. Bug has NO patience for my vision process and was threatening to go purchase brown paint for the room if I didn’t just make up my mind. My friends and family can tell you how much I DESPISE the color brown (unless its stained wood). He may have had no intention of doing such a horrid thing to me, but we will never know because I swiftly went out and got about 10 paint samples to pick the perfect gray! I still had to mull over the paint color choices for a week or so before giving him my final choice. I think another threat for brown was made, but have blocked that part of my life out so who knows.
This whole process meant that I jumped in feet first with no idea of what my final vision was! I had no vision board, no pinterest board, no fabric choices…nothing! It’s a horrible way to start because choosing your fabrics, furniture, and rugs based on the paint color is almost impossible.
But since I’m horrible at following my own advice I figured it couldn’t be that hard to design my dream master bedroom around a paint color right? WRONG! I had given Mr. Bug the wrong sample to take to BM, and ended up with a light blue bedroom…. this isn’t the best photo but you can kinda see how blue it looks
Gray paint color is a very tricky! No matter how well a color has worked in someone else’s space you must make sure that the lighting, direction the room faces, and your flooring don’t change the color, reflecting the undertones; which can end up looking purple or in my case- blue!
Since I knew Mr. B would throw me to the curb if I threw a fit and made him repaint (at this point he just wanted to complete the room without my ‘vision’ or lack there of), I decided that I would distract from the blue by stenciling a faint accent color onto one wall to draw the eye.
I proceeded to order the stencil, purchase Modern Master’s flash copper paint and stencil the entire wall…this is all before carpet was installed or the electrical was completed. We then installed the crown molding, and found new carpet on CL for a steal from an carpet company going out of business (we got a roll large enough to do our rental property bedrooms & our master bedroom)!
Next I set to work on a beautiful old door that was to become our headboard (that’s another novel post I’ll write about sometime)! My inspiration for the headboard was a layered, italian chippy finish that looked old but also smooth to the touch since it would be close to our skin. By the time I had completed that project I realized that nothing was going according to plan and I wanted to burn the whole room to the ground!!
It has been about 2 years since that fateful day the blue/grey paint went up, and I’ve come around to liking the way it looks since my style leans more toward french country now. My original thoughts on accent colors when we started were yellow & orange. I’ve since switched to coral, white & light blue to keep the space light and airy while also blending into the paint color. All the fabrics are either linen or cotton with many varied textures to create depth and coziness-which is the most important part of a dream bedroom right?
I finally finished our textured night stands which was such a painful process that I’m not ready to talk about it yet! The perfect french vintage chandelier was found and a ceiling medallion has been started- I’m still working on figuring out the perfect faux finish for (again, because I didn’t have a vision when I started and am working off what I’ve completed so far).
Textured Night Stand Finish
It’s still not even close to completion & I don’t believe it will be complete anytime soon… I’m having a horrible time finding the right size lounge chairs or fainting bench that are well made and feel like heaven when you sit upon them (do they exist?!) The rug situation is also causing headache due to color combinations & matching my perceived style. The layout of our closet and bedroom entry doors is causing me grief with sizing for the rug as well.
This is what I mean by HAVE A VISION!! Don’t make my mistake and just throw it together, you’ll not only regret it (if your anything like me) but it may also never feel completed.
There was been a lot of wasted money on rugs, oversized chairs, benches, furniture, curtains, too much fabric to talk about, and many other things due to my mistake. I could have simply spent a few days making an inspiration board or perusing pinterest (my favorite activity of all time) and come up with something prior to sending Mr. B off to the paint store- but I broke my rule and learned a valuable and very expensive lesson. If your thinking about designing your dream master bedroom and want some assistance coming up with inspiration and vision for the space prior to getting started you can contact me via “contact” form or email- I’m always happy to help, even if from afar!