There’s so much that designers teach their clients, from imparting basic product knowledge to color theory and showing them how to best to use their space. But what do clients teach designers? We asked three—Lindsey Lane, Sabine Hayes and Emilie Munroe—to share the best lesson they ever learned from a client.
APPRECIATE THE IMPACT OF YOUR WORK
“This business is so full of details, numbers and logistics that it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. In the months after a client’s installation, we hear stories about the new fire pit leading their teenage kiddos to invite their friends over more and stay longer at family gatherings, about the layout of the kitchen leading to more shared cooking experiences, and even about how the candle sconces in the master bedroom led to more, ahem, enjoyable rest and relaxation. These client musings are ultimately about our designs affecting their relationships and values. These insights crystalize the real impact of our work: not just pretty, functional rooms, but spaces and moments that change the life experience of those inside.” —Emilie Munroe, Studio Munroe, San Francisco
LEAN ON OTHERS
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is knowing it’s OK to ask for help. My clients are mostly professionals and business owners with many strengths, but they are also aware of their weaknesses. Instead of trying to act as if they have everything figured out, I’ve seen countless examples of them leaning on others for help. I am an example. They lean on me to create a home that reflects who they are, because interior design is not their strength. I too have weaknesses, and instead of dwelling on them, I need to lean on others as well.” —Sabine Hayes, Georgette Marise Interiors, Swarthmore, PA
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
“I have a client who recently had her third baby and is living in the midst of a full renovation of her home. While nobody would blame her for being stressed out or wanting to just get this thing done, she has fully bought into enjoying the process of working with me to create a beautiful home. I’m still responsible for making sure things are done properly and on time, but she helps to remind me to not stress the small things and enjoy the process of working with my clients. It’s people like her that remind me why I love my job and that I’m lucky to be able to do this for a living. When I take that approach, I perform at a higher level and am happier doing it.” —Lindsey Lane, Lindsey Lane Design, New York