Puzzle Pieces: The Process of a Design Project

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When you start putting together a puzzle, where do you start? Usually from the edges and work your way in. The same strategy applies for solving the puzzle of your remodeling project: begin with the most important pieces and work your way to the center.

First, I want to address a common theme I see in design. There is no such thing as perfection, and the sooner you realize that, the less stressful your next design project will become. No project turns out 100% the way you want it to, and some of the beauty is in the journey. However, there are simple ways to avoid making unnecessary mistakes in planning your next project.

I often see my clients getting lost in the details. They get so wrapped up in each little decision—flooring material, knobs, accent pieces, backsplash, etc.—that the big picture gets distorted. It can be hard to keep a holistic view in the face of so many decisions, but it is important in order to create a beautiful, cohesive space. All of these decisions need to be made with an overall vision in mind. This is why it is important to hire a good designer who can guide you through this process and save you from making costly mistakes.

Whether using a designer or DIYing it, it’s a good idea to begin with what I call “gathering the pieces to the puzzle” before making any major decisions. This is SO important. It’s much like doing a real jigsaw puzzle—get those corners and the outer edges of the puzzle done first, and the rest of the pieces will eventually fall into place. Collect several samples of the options you are considering: flooring, countertops, tiles, fabrics, etc. Then create a file of pictures of your proposed appliances, furniture, and light fixtures (I keep a file and a box for each client). I take all of the “puzzle pieces” with me while looking for materials and finishes and making selections. Under each project, I have a file for every single room—living room, dining room, kitchen, master bath, etc. Make sure all of your selections play well with each other before committing to a single thing. This way, you can stay open to ideas that may present themselves while you are doing your homework.

Recently, while working on a project, my client and I thought we had decided on the perfect arrangement for her living room furniture. That weekend at an estate sale, I scored a beautiful cherry wood drop leaf table. This inspired a new arrangement that was even better. Proof that magic can occur when you avoid making hasty decisions one at a time.   

If you’re looking for help piecing together your own puzzle, you can get in touch with me here.