Thursday, June 22, 2006

designer's angst #2

I am about to close this contract with a client. The job that is left is purely styling and accessorizing.

A friend once told me that the work of an interior designer includes entering a very delicate area called privacy. He is right. How can you possibly design a bedroom without knowing what your client's bedroom activities? Technically, you very well can, but don't expect the bedroom to be personalized. How much more for a bathroom?

When I was not living alone, I would often be out till the its too late you can call it early. By the time I get home, I go straight to bed. The following day, by the time I get up, I go straight to the bath and dress-up and leave. I would spend a lot in coffee shops and bars. Now that I'm living on my own. In a house that I decorated, I rather go home right after work. A home is a sanctuary for a lot of us. Having someone plan it for you is entrusting your future activities to that person you get to pay. That is where privacy gets in the way.

Usually, the getting-to-know-the-client is the main agenda of the first meeting. You ask them about what type of interiors they like, then the types that they don't like. Little by little, you gain their confidence. By the fourth or fifth meeting, they will tell you why they want a house that will look like what you have discussed. And on the seventh meeting, they will tell you that they have problems with their marriage, or their in-laws or that their son has ADD. These things are small details that can somehow be one of the major factors in the design. Then they become your friends.

With friendship, comes the almost pro bono fee. But you get to empathize with a lot of them so with them, you dream of a beautiful house. A beautiful home. While your pocket suffers. And then they will ask you from fabric down to birthday gifts for their inaanak. From seven in the morning to one in the morning. Yet, being friends, it is ok. While your pocket suffers. And as the contract goes on, their pocket suffers too. As a designer friend, you go to great lengths to look for the cheapest material to get the look that is in the design. As a friend, short-changing your clients is unthinkable.

It is with this passion that most houses are completed. It is with being a designer and a friend, mountains are moved and storms are calmed. The professionalism in such relationship is often blurred. Where breaking privacy is not a hindrance but a means to make everybody happy.

I'm styling this house of a friend tomorrow. I am actually excited to see it finished and done. Another project ending. Another reason for me to smile and celebrate.

While my pocket suffers.

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