inspiration : where does it really come from?

I feel like such a lucky girl! Last month, I was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Boston-area interior designers, hosted by Jo Saltz, Editorial Director of House Beautiful and HGTV Magazine. I still can’t believe I was in the same room with her, Michelle Cortizo, Amanda Pratt, Vani Sayeed, and Lisa Tharp. Instead of the typical “Letter from the Editor,” Jo’s concept is to bring together designers to talk about real life design-related questions! Our conversation, about INSPIRATION, is published in the May 2019 print edition of House Beautiful.

Before the meeting, I was a nervous nail-biting mess, generally angst-ing over what I would say : Am I inspired by the right things? What if my inspiration isn’t good enough? What if I need more inspiration? How could my answers possibly be comparable to these successful, experienced designers?

We talked about so many things, so much more than what ended up in print. I loved that we each have our own approaches to projects — from creating a connection to the outdoors, to fulfilling the potential of the space itself, or bringing one’s own artistic sensibility into the home. I think we ultimately inspired each other!

And when it came to answering the question, “What inspires you?” we ALL agreed on the answer : Inspiration comes from the CLIENT. As designers, we bring to every project, our professional experience, creative muscle, and — let’s be honest — our infallibly good taste, but each client’s home is THEIR home, and should tell their own unique and complicated story. A good designer doesn’t impose their style onto other people, or dictate what colors you like or what you find comfortable. A good designer gets to know you and your family, and we synthesize your life and needs and style into a space that makes YOU happy.

So, if you’re looking to work with a designer, you might look for a portfolio that is varied, that isn’t committed to a specific style. Find a designer who wants to get to know you, and who makes you feel comfortable — comfortable enough to share your story, comfortable enough to share what inspires you. It should feel a bit like meeting someone you want to be friends with.

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