One of the first questions new clients often ask me is "What is your style?".
You'd think it would be an easy one to answer.
In some ways, it is. Though I've only been doing this professionally for a very short time, my own personal aesthetic has been developing my entire life. There were those particularly formative years when I first took a strong interest in my clothing, and covered myself in hot pink and leopard print whenever possible. (How unfortunate for me that I also tried out a perm around the same time). Or the period after that when overalls were "a thing". (Were they really a thing? Or was that just me?). Or when I got into architectural history and spent hours upon hours reading and researching artists and architects and discovering the roots of buildings I loved. Or when we bought our first house and spent months painting and building and DIYing everything in sight. While I'm not necessarily proud of either of those particular fashion choices (and there are MANY more where those came from), or many of the projects we amateurly tackled in our first house, all of those little experiments added up to the unique design perspective I have now.
So, what is my style? My style is comfortable yet bold. It is layering textures and patterns and shades so that it looks effortless. It is picking a theme, or a key piece, and building on that... but not being afraid to veer off course or add in something unexpected. I appreciate a good deal or snagging a sale price, but also understand the value of investing in truly high quality when it matters.
That's my style.
But, for my clients, there's another side to my style.
It's THEIR style.
I do not go into a project thinking it needs to look like "my style" when I'm finished. Quite the contrary. I love this job so much because it allows me to be a chameleon to the styles of my clients. I take cues from things I see in their homes, jewelry they wear or books I see on their nightstands. I love asking them about places they have traveled or what they like to cook. All of these little details help feed the design ideas I propose. And though my style likely comes out in the elements I propose, it's really my take on their style that drives the process.
My style tends toward the modern. Clean lines, rich colors, pops of graphic patterns. But recently I have had the pleasure of working with a couple with much more traditional taste. Together we're picking grasscloth wallpaper and antique brass sconces and talking about reupholstering antique wood chairs. I chameleon to their style (and relish the opportunity to get outside of my own box). They chameleon to mine (that is why they hired me, after all). So there is this dance. This back and forth of ideas before we find that happy medium. That happy medium that is a true collaboration, and something far more unique and special than either of us could have created on our own.
Another client of mine wanted a more mid-century modern look. Which, though it's a style I've always adored, isn't something I've ever been able to pull off in my own home. I was thrilled to chameleon to her style. I channelled my inner Charles and Ray Eames (and, let's be honest, Don Draper) and got to work. Together we created a mid-century modern-inspired living room nestled inside her South End brownstone. The furniture is still being delivered, but I can't wait to share pictures when it is installed!
Still another client I'm working with now wants rustic and warm. Leather sectionals and lots of wood. It's delicious to transport myself into their space and make it come to life. It's not "my style", necessarily, but it doesn't matter. That's what makes it fun.
The answer, then, to "what is your style?" is a tricky one. It depends on who's asking. But as I take on more projects and work with more clients with varying styles, I am beginning to see a bit of a theme emerging in my work.
Maybe time will tell what my style is more than anything else. Until then, I'll keep being a chameleon.