trade tales | May 31, 2024 |
What is your favorite part of the design process?

No matter how busy you are, it’s always worth pausing to appreciate the parts of your work that you love. From the first client meeting to installation day, we asked 10 designers—Chad Falkenberg, Christin Farrar, Rabih Hage, Katie Harbison, McCall Henke, Deana Lenz, Charlene Miranda, Tana Nesbitt-Hayes, Kelly Reynolds and Andrea Rodman—which aspect of a project they enjoy the most.

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Rabih HageCourtesy of Rabih Hage

Blank Slate
“My favorite part of the design process is the very beginning. At this stage, the blank page represents infinite possibilities. I can dream freely and imagine countless ways to transform the space. It’s a moment of pure creativity, where I explore how the project’s history, the unique characteristics of the space and various materials can guide us on a journey. Before we start narrowing down these ideas into a single concept, this phase allows us to immerse ourselves in the realm of imagination.” —Rabih Hage, Rabih Hage Ltd., London

What is your favorite part of the design process?
McCall HenkeCourtesy of McCall Henke

Creative Roundtable
“At the onset of each project, I love building a relationship with my clients and understanding who they are and how they live. In the conceptual phase, where the sky’s the limit, it is energizing to present creative ideas and user experience opportunities. A level of connection and trust is established in this phase, not only with our clients but also with the partners we bring on to fulfill the entire scope of the build—it is seeing everyone sitting at the table, challenging and inspiring each other to leverage their skills and expertise, that creates a special kind of magic. Every project brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities to push myself further with my team and my partners to exceed our clients’ vision. I’m inspired by the conversations that get us there, the insights shared by our partners throughout the process, and the connection forged between my team and our clients to realize a space where emotion and lifestyle are welcomed through sensorial details.” —McCall Henke, Table Thirty Three, Costa Mesa, California

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Katie HarbisonCourtesy of Katie Harbison

Paper Source
“My favorite part of the design process is the drawing and rendering stage. It is when the foundations of the project are built and the design language is established. It is putting the ideas on paper and developing your vision. I equally enjoy putting the client presentation together—filling the pages with information that depicts my ideas in the best way possible, so the clients are engaged and can fully comprehend what I envision in the design. I particularly love seeing their reactions when they get to view the CGI for the first time and are envisioning what their home will look like.” —Katie Harbison, Katie Harbison Design, New York

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Deana LenzCourtesy of Deana Lenz

Lights, Camera, Action
“There are many aspects of the design process that I find fulfilling. I love the actual process of conceiving each space, including the art and accessories. Once I see the home, I start the sourcing process. There are many possibilities that come from this exercise. Once we decide on the lighting, which is the jewel of every room, we make sure each textile and piece of furniture is in harmony with it. Sourcing lighting from artisan designers is also a very rewarding experience. Installation day can be hectic, but it is the moment when the entire design we have meticulously crafted comes together. I relish seeing how each chosen piece harmonizes with the rugs and textiles. Placing the accessories and art is the final flourish—the ribbon that completes the project.” —Deana Lenz, Deana Lenz Interiors, New York

Construction Function

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Kelly Reynolds and Chad FalkenbergCourtesy of Falken Reynolds

“We really love the construction phase—it’s where we see how someone else reads our drawings, interprets the details and ultimately brings the design to life. We learn so much about how things are made and bring that back to the rest of our projects so the design can be even more precise. And when conditions on-site cause challenges to the design, we tap into all the projects we’ve done in the past to help troubleshoot the problem and still achieve the design intent.” —Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, Falken Reynolds, Vancouver

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Charlene MirandaCourtesy of Charlene Miranda

Christmas Morning
“Two parts of the design process bring me so much joy. The first is when we have narrowed down our client’s aesthetic and are developing our design presentation. We source finish samples and furniture pieces that we present to the client to see and feel. Receiving the samples feels like Christmas morning, and piecing everything together feels like assembling a complex, colorful, fun puzzle. I love the design presentation day, seeing our client’s reactions to everything laid out on the table, and also the process of curating the rooms in real time with them. My second favorite part is without a doubt installation week, and witnessing it all come to life. Presenting our clients with their newly furnished homes, which will be the backdrop to all of their sweet, cherished family memories for years to come, is the most gratifying part of my work.” —Charlene Miranda, Miranda & Co., Brooklyn

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Tana Nesbitt-HayesCourtesy of Tana Nesbitt-Hayes

Performance Review
“We typically divide our projects into four phases: The first three are design, and the last is execution. Even though the beginning stage of the project is always so full of promise, with so many possibilities, it’s the execution phase when all of the decisions, big and small, come together that we find the most exciting. It is a great time to do a studio assessment and reflect on how we could have approached a situation differently [while] at the same time rejoicing in the things we got right.” —Tana Nesbitt-Hayes, Studio 8 Architect, New York

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Andrea RodmanJane Thomson

Ideas Come to Life
“My favorite part of the design process is when I get to immerse myself fully into the space and enter a creative flow state. It’s a magical moment when I can pull together the client’s vision and align it with my own, creating a harmonious blend of ideas. I love layering details, textures and colors and seeing how each element interacts to bring the space to life. This phase is deeply satisfying because it’s where the abstract concepts and inspirations start to materialize into a cohesive and beautiful reality. It’s in these moments that I feel most connected to the art of design and the unique story each space tells.” —Andrea Rodman, Andrea Rodman Interiors, Vancouver

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Christin FarrarCourtesy of Christin Farrar

Nourishing Relationships
“Early in my career, I had an incredible mentor who firmly told me: ‘We are not in the business of making clients happy—we are in the business of good design.’ While technically accurate, interior design to me is a deeply personal practice. My greatest joy in the design process is when the puzzle pieces start locking into place and I know that the spaces I am creating will become deeply important to my clients through both form and function. The goal is always to strike the right chord and ultimately delight them. I am a design geek and of course want a proper design outcome, but I’m also a
relationship-based designer. I truly enjoy getting to know my clients, getting inside their heads and hearts to figure out what makes them tick and what will bring them contentment in each space. It is always a collaboration, and that may lead to a compromise or two, but presenting spaces that both surprise and bring happiness to my clients never gets old.” —Christin Farrar, C. Farrar Design, Water Mill, New York

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