Arts & Entertainment
Designing Your Dream Home
What An Interior Designer Can Do For You
Originally printed 10/3/2013 (Issue 2140 - Between The Lines News)
Like every crucial aspect of our material lives, size matters. And fortunately for us, the gay men who dominate the profession of interior design are usually size queens.
"A sense of scale in your space is really what gives it that bit of edge," explains Arturo Sanchez of Art-Harrison Interiors, located at 4339 Delemere Blvd. in Royal Oak.
In his Royal Oak ranch-styled home, he displays a 6-foot-by-8-foot painting of two white stallions (horses, not men) in his living room to create balance. "That scale is what gives the room its sense of drama. So sometimes you want a big piece in a small space, sometimes you want a small piece in a big space - it just depends on what really gives it that bit of edge."
But edge shouldn't be mistaken for its cheap sister "trendy," says Sanchez. Trends don't translate well with the long-term use of a living space.
"Some decorators fall into that whole HGTV bullshit. And I will say it just like that because they see all that crap that's being put up there with a glue gun. You can't do a master bathroom in three days, not if you ever want to use it for more than two days. Our thought is quality."
And when considering "quality," sometimes you have to spend money to save money.
"We are doing a house now that a woman started herself, and she has (furniture) that doesn't fit. So it would have been cost effective for her to hire us in the beginning," says Barry Harrison, Sanchez's business partner of 20 years.
A room polished with an interior designer's finish can cost $10,000-$50,000, or even more depending on budget and desired look. While interior decorators style the items within the space, interior designers style the space.
"One of the things that I think is so important, if you have a good interior designer, is that they should understand spacing - especially now that a lot of homes don't have a lot of room," says Richard Ross of Richard Ross Designs, located at 4818 Leafdale Blvd. in Royal Oak.
Deciding on how you will use your space determines how much space you need, explains Ross. "Whenever I work with a client, we take into consideration three things: the structure; the person, their lifestyle, and how they live their lives with kids or animals; and my style. They've hired me for a reason - because they like my style - so obviously I'd want to try and incorporate that. So those are the three main things that I look at, because you can't do one without the other.
"There is always a level of subjectivity," Sanchez says.
An important thing to remember, Harrison adds, is to not make the interior designer your personal shopper.
"That, to me, is buying into your opinion," Harrison says. "Not that your opinion is not valid, but you've hired a professional to give you a look or a lifestyle and you have to trust them to do that. That's where decorators get in trouble - they become a personal shopper for the client, and they just buy objects. Then the client isn't happy. We look at a whole room. It's how we put your space together"
Greg Reyner, co-owner of eclectic American style eatery Cafe Muse in Royal Oak, used a contractor for construction, but stuck to his own vision to update the restaurant's interior flair. "For us, it was just a matter of (knowing) what we wanted, so why spend the money?" Reyner says. "We wanted to carry the same design elements from the original (Cafe Muse) location. That's why we went with what we did."
Reyner added that interior designers can be great consultants to story board a space's look to create a cohesive style. "We weren't tied to modernism," he says. "We really chose different design elements and put them all together."
Similar to styling a wardrobe, a home or particular space can be tailored to fit function and the owner's persona.
"That's a good interior designer - the house fits you like a glove," says Sanchez. "You should feel comfortable. (With) some designers, you have to buy their specific look. That's not the way Barry and I do it. If the client is a heavy socialite, they might want a bigger, grander living room and dining room to entertain. They also may want a large foyer so that they can have a reception area when they entertain. Or there can be clients who just want family spaces - and they just want good family rooms and kitchens, and their bedrooms. It really is an intimate process. "
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