Some things are the same. We all have the same basic needswe all still live, eat, sleep and do things that are individual to ourselves in our homes. But some things really have changed, or are evolving.
I am in the process of completing a revision of the textbook, "Interiors: An Introduction," third edition, (2002 copyright date) to be published by McGraw-Hill Higher Education. In addition to a Web site and CD-ROMs for students and teachers, one of the several major changes is a new chapter that deals with the considerations that should be a part of the planning process before remodeling (or refurnishing) an existing space, or before new construction.
The new, different way to look at the amenities or luxuries that reflect lifestyle changesour clients' needs and wantsis through a justified Wish List. Ours here is a suggested list that shows what the trends are now, indicating that the way we live is changing or evolving. This list is justified by listing features and benefitswhat the item or feature is and why it could be justified according to today's lifestyle.
The best designs come from wants justified by needs. The benefits are only suggestions to get things startedthe more benefits listed by you and your client, the more justified is the cost and a greater amount of use the space will receive. If you or your client cannot defend the want or desire in practical terms, then it June be frivolous and potentially a waste of space, time, effort and money.
EVALUATION: THE KEY TO THE WAY THEY LIVE
The key to determining lifestyle is to ask the customer questions. This is a routine part of the process of design, which is the lengthy and specific process of gathering data, analyzing, brainstorming, problem solving and recording results in a written document known as the program.
A simpler and easier technique that applies to professionals in the window treatments industry is to ask the question, "What do you want?" followed by, "Why?" This is the basis for the Wish List. Your clients' responses lead us to determine which products we should recommend. Listing the features and benefits will match the desires and lifestyle of the customer.
The best design is a well-thought-out design. This means we address the real desires and needs of the customer by providing products and services that do what all purchases should do: solve a problem and help them feel good. By addressing the way an individual or a family really lives, we have met this goal. This is satisfying to us as professionals and to the customer as well.
THE WISH LIST
Assure security for valuable possessions
Remote control for window treatments
Convenience, security, privacy enhancement
Video-accessible security systems
Monitoring exterior entrances
Upgraded wiring for Internet access
Full participation in the information age
Research and business communication Intercom wiring and surround-sound speakers throughout the home or building Communication with others without raising voices
Music everywhere Incorporating the latest technology in a livable human atmosphere To focus on comfort and coziness with convenient access to technology Safety and Peace of Mind: Universal design (easy-to-use materials and products) Features that are easy to use without drawing attention to anyone with potential or real disabilities Enhanced doors and locks, door and window alarm systems Safety and peace of mind
Protection against burglary and assault Cordless or remote control window treatments Safety and convenience for family members of all ages Living With Nature; Feeding the Spirit: Natural materials (wood, tile, stone) including tumbled marble, granite counter tops, stainless steel plumbing fixtures and appliances Classic, timeless look that allows design flexibility for years to come
Inherent beauty Outdoor living spaces, including fireplaces Extends living space to the out-of-doors. Large porches, lanais or patios with a variety of flooring; either with a roof, pergola beams or all open To give an alternative place for eating, conversation, work and recreation Large windows Maximize view
Visually bring the outdoors inside
(Large windows require treatments; consider automation and quality window film.) Spaces that feed the spirit (examples include Zen gardens; Feng Shui design features such as wind chimes, plants, mirrors and furniture placement; water gardens; table-top fountains; candles; low lighting; and aromatherapy) To counterpoint the stresses of modern life
To enhance a feeling of well-being
To create peace in the interior, thereby enhancing communication, relationships and personal emotional stability Soothing music via surround-sound balance To utilize technology to create calm and balance Exercise or personal spa rooms with fitness equipment, television and massage table A safe, convenient exercise/health area
To work out and be informed
To relax and heal Water (indoor or outdoor fountains, walls of cascading water, ponds) To calm and refresh emotionally
To humidify in dry climates
To provide a focal point for conversation or solitary seating areas Spas, large jetted tubs and swimming pools Therapeutic effects
Exercise and recreation Built-in salt water fish tanks and living organisms To support a hobby and love for water
Enhance Feng Shui chi Heating Alternatives: Indoor or outdoor fireplaces or cooking stations To establish a cozy hearth-and-home feeling
To provide an aesthetic focal point
Create a place for people to gather
An alternative place for food preparation
An alternative heat source Solar heating To conserve non-renewable energy resources
To physically and mentally benefit from the healthful effects of sunlight indoors Warmed bathroom floors, heated towel bars To provide greater physical/emotional comfort
To augment heat in an area that June tend to be cold during personal grooming Function and Storage: Increased storage (deeper and more drawers versus cabinets, huge closets or storage dormers) Ergonomically easier to use
Open organization for seasonal storage Refrigerated drawers, wine storage and wet bars Storage at point of use; convenience Stepped custom cabinetry, various finishes Architectural interest in taller rooms Moldings (everywhere from kitchen to home office) Attention to detail and the finishing touches Upscale kitchens (integrated appliances; open to dining, conversation, outdoor living areas; lots of drawers; and custom kitchen islands) Kitchens now are centers of entertainment and living
Storage and space for gatherings of people Personalized Design: Minimalist or nostalgic design Meets personal preferences and lifestyle demands
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She is a practicing interior designer and has authored several books including Window Treatments and Understanding Fabrics. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.