trade tales | Oct 4, 2019 |
When is a project finished?

It can be difficult to know when the design process is truly over. Decorating is a timeless art, after all. We asked five designers—LeAnne Bunnell, Erick Espinoza, Sara Gilbane, Gillian Gillies and Bella Mancini—how they know a project is finished.

When is a project finished?
Erick EspinozaCourtesy of Erick Espinoza

The Finishing Touch

“If the client comes stocked with beautiful accessories and artwork, it sometimes makes it easier to have a more complete look after installation. Otherwise, a lot of clients like to see the room come together before deciding on the final touches. Whether it feels complete with one piece of art or a dozen is part of the fun, and a discerning eye is necessary!” Erick Espinoza, Anthony Baratta, New York

When is a project finished?
Gillian Gillies
Courtesy of Gillian Gillies

Sweat the Small Stuff

“In my firm, a project is seen as finished once the art is installed and the rooms are styled and accessorized. We can spend over two years on a project if it’s a large new build, making all the key design decisions and selecting and procuring all the furniture and furnishings. Yet, it’s not until the placement of artwork and accessories do we consider a project complete. These seemingly small items always complete our vision for the home and [stay true to] the original design intent. I tinker in my own home—I think tinkering is part of a designer’s DNA. But leaving our clients’ homes complete is what they have hired us to deliver.” —Gillian Gillies, Gillian Gillies Interiors, Toronto

When is a project finished?
Sara GilbaneCourtesy of Sara Gilbane

Styled to the max
“I am a fan of generating a very full proposal at the beginning of the project and urging the client to sign up for as much as possible so they are delivered a complete-looking home. For me, it has to be layered and cozy-feeling. Once we have hung the art and styled the bookshelves and powder rooms, I feel it is done. Hopefully, we are called back when it needs refreshing!” Sara Gilbane, Sara Gilbane Interiors, New York

When is a project finished?
LeAnne BunnellCourtesy of LeAnne Bunnell

Picture perfect
“For me, the project is not complete until the photo shoot of the home. Up until that point, we can effect change, but once the camera captures our efforts and enshrines them for posterity, we turn the page. It’s always a bittersweet day: The photo shoot is a joyful experience, but we have to say good-bye to the client, their children and their pets! It’s like a breakup with a good friend.” —LeAnne Bunnell, LeAnne Bunnell Interiors, Calgary

When is a project finished?
Bella ManciniCourtesy of Bella Mancini

Party time
“At the start of every new project, I fantasize that it will be the one that is really ‘done’ when we install everything, including accessories, art and tchotchkes. The truth is that we almost always do a big accessories and art push after the client is moved in. And while I hate for projects to drag, I find it really does work out better when we take our time. Once the project is finished, it’s easier to see what is needed. Does the room need something pretty and polished to pull it together, or does it need some wild photography to turn it on its side a bit? For me, it’s a little like getting ready for a party. You know the general statement you want your outfit, makeup and accessories to make, but sometimes you’ve got to get dressed before picking out your lipstick!” Bella Mancini, Bella Mancini Design, New York

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. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.