trade tales | Jun 14, 2019 |
Gateway decorating: How to get a client hooked on design

Is there anything more daunting to the uninitiated client than the prospect of redoing their entire house at once? Whether it’s a matter of budget or fear, many may prefer to tackle a single aspect at once, like a kitchen remodel or even something as simple as new window treatments. But often, all it takes is a little taste of good design to convince a client there’s more to be done. We asked four designers—Noz Nozawa, Marie Cloud, CeCe Barfield Thompon and Katie Martinez—how they turn a small jobs into big projects.

Noz Nozawa
Noz NozawaCourtesy of Noz Design

Great Vibes

“Bathroom renovations are such successful gateways because if a home has a bathroom in need of an upgrade, there’s a good chance the rest of the house is in the same shape. But the clients may not yet have the budget, or are feeling too overwhelmed to do more at once. A single bathroom gut renovation is containable and achievable, and the end product is such an improvement over the ‘before,’ both visually and experientially, that the process feels fully worth the investment. Bathroom renovations are really rewarding ‘wins’ for a designer-client team, and I find that the great vibes from these projects often lead to more client work!” —Noz Nozawa, Noz Design, San Francisco

CeCe Barfield Thompson
CeCe Barfield ThompsonCourtesy of CeCe Barfield Inc

Transformative Elements

“The most common decorating getaways in my experience are curtains and properly scaled rugs. When well done, these two decorative elements are transformative! The idiom is true: ‘The reward for good work is more work!’ It is easy for a client to want to expand a project once they experience a well-done room.” —CeCe Barfield Thomspon, CeCe Barfield Inc., New York

Marie Cloud
Marie CloudCourtesy of Indigo Pruitt

Holiday Hospitality

“Guest rooms have proven to be a superb decorating gateway! For instance, during the holidays, I’m often hired to come in and design a guest room and make a beautiful welcoming space for a client’s visitors. Once I reveal the finished project, the client often wants to re-create that fresh design experience and vibe throughout the rest of their home. The very first thing I strive to do is to build trust with all of my clients. This helps them hear my thoughts on other areas, because there is always an open window (no pun intended) to point out or make suggestions for other spaces that could be improved.” —Marie Cloud, Indigo Pruitt, Charlotte, NC

Katie Martinez
Katie MartinezCourtesy of Katie Martinez Design

High Fun, Low Stress

“There are no real tricks to getting someone hooked on decorating—I just try and do a great job. I have a number of projects where the master-bath remodel turned into the whole house. If the new room looks amazing and functions well, it will be obvious that the other spaces could use some help too. Likewise, if the process for the first room is fun, or even just organized and not stressful, then the homeowner will be more likely to keep going.” —Katie Martinez, Katie Martinez Design, San Francisco

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Plus, save the date: September 9–10 is BOH's inaugural conference, Future of Home.
Advertisement