HOME & HAVEN
Written by Mark Huffman
Photography by Gordon Beall and Greg Premru
Recent and unprecedented circumstances have forced many people to reconsider the function and style of their homes. It has been many decades since the place we live has also been host to as many activities as we engage in from home today. Not only are we living at home, but we are working, teaching and learning from home. We are entertaining ourselves, attending worship services and exercising from home. In the sometimes chaotic circumstances life throws our way, one thing remains unchanged: our homes should be havens of tranquility, security, and joy.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but desperation is often the precursor to inspiration. For those whose stay-at-home period has them rethinking the style, comfort, and function of their living spaces, might I offer some suggestions and guidance on how to go about making those changes?
SCOPE OF WORK
When I help clients who are considering a renovation, I first ask them some leading questions. How do you define the concept of home? How do you want to live? What style represents your life - casual, formal, a little of both? What creature comforts can you not live without? What functional needs do we need to address for each member of the household, including pets? If money were no object, what big aspects of your home would you change? What types of spaces do you not have that you wish you did or are finding yourself needing? How do you like to entertain?
From the answers to these questions, a list of changes and additions will emerge. I call this a scope of work. The scope will help to determine the level of complexity. Are these changes something you can do yourself? Do you need the assistance of a professional interior designer, architect or contractor?
Imagery is powerful. One of the first questions we ask a new client is, “have you created an imagery file by pulling images from books, magazines, and websites?” These images can represent an attraction to any number of things: the overall feeling of a room, a specific piece of furniture or fixture, the color of the walls, a wall covering, or something as detailed as the profile of a baseboard.
Pinterest and Houzz are good and efficient tools in your search for imagery, but don’t discount the pleasure of leafing through magazines and books. Some of our favorite interior design-focused periodicals include Architectural Digest, Veranda, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Luxe, Milieu, Interiors, and Dwell. There’s never been a better time to indulge in a good book (or 4).
Our current favorite design monographs include (grouped
Traditional and classic: “The Great American House” and “A Place to Call Home” by Gil Schafer III
“Simply Serene” by Thomas Pheasant
“Timeless Style” by Suzanne Kasler
Exotic and layered: “Wanderlust” by Michelle Nussbaumer
Bold and Colorful: “Collected Cool” by Jay Jeffers
Modern: “Decoration” by Stephen Sills (noted for his classicmeets-modern style)
“MR Architecture + Decor” by David Mann
When a project exceeds your skills and experience don’t underestimate the value of working with a respected interior designer. An interior designer with an interior architectural background can usually solve problems that may have confounded you or your builder - and it is a lot easier to solve those problems ahead of time, rather than after a project has started.
As well, an interior designer will have strong, established relationships with qualified craftspeople and tradespeople within the industry. The level of confidence I have in my trade partners is unparalleled. A wonderful example is cabinet-maker Stan Cooley, who takes our design intent and brings it to life with the highest quality materials and painstakingly detailed execution.
Your interior designer should be fully capable of helping you with the following:
Establishing or refining your scope of work
Recommending architects and contractors
Recommending (and managing) trades and crafts people if the project does not require a full-service contractor
Creating furniture plans, elevations, millwork and cabinetry drawings to illustrate a design intent
Selecting and sourcing materials - from countertops, tile, wood or stone flooring and their patterns to appliances, fixtures, furniture, and accessories
Developing a budget
Scheduling and management of all installations and placement of materials and furnishings
The interior of your home should be a backdrop and a stage which hosts the most important moments of your life. A well-designed interior is not just about the wall colors and furnishings. It takes into consideration everything that makes up that interior – sensitivity to the architectural style of the house and the surrounding landscape. The envelope of each room – floors, walls, ceilings, windows...all should work together to create a balanced and harmonious interior that functions beautifully and represents you well to yourself and others.
Mark Huffman is the Principal Partner and Director of Design for Huffman & Huffman, a national interior architectural design and decoration company based in Columbus.