Wise Design: Making Beautiful Spaces Livable


I often tease clients that I could create the most stunning spaces for them—but if those very spaces are not also designed to be livable and comfy and suited to their unique lifestyle needs, they’re going to want to throw darts at my photo.

Stunning on the surface—at only the superficial level—means nothing without meaningful depth and comfort to back it up. After all, what good is a space that only looks good to the people who live there, but doesn’t feel good, as well?!

But, darlings, you can have it all—form together with function. Loveliness, livability, and longevity. It’s not an either/or… we don’t have to choose. Here’s how we combine the best of all worlds to implement whole-home design for our clients.

Wise design is all about your DNA

We absolutely want to create impeccable surroundings—but it’s not just a pretty picture for us. We’re first and foremost driven by what we refer to as our clients’ design fingerprint—you have one, too, and it’s incredibly unique to you, your aesthetic, and your lifestyle.

We start with what patterns, shapes, colors, styles, lines, tones, and textures ignite your senses. And then we explore how all of it packages within how you live on a day-to-day basis.

Indeed, livability actually lives in these elements of design. It’s not just about the aesthetic “look” of a space, where the eyes are indulged in beauty, it’s about envisioning the right flow in a space; creating interest through touch; getting really specific about the pieces in a room; and more. For example… What does a rug feel like under bare feet? How does that chair or that sofa sit at the end of a long day? How is that dining room serving up comfortable dinners with friends and family that could go hours into the night? All of this is packaged up within the millions of tiny details that comprise your design DNA—and that we wisely use to create the perfect interior for you.

Wise design is about getting strategic

Design is very strategic and logical—which is something that isn’t always readily put on the table, so to speak. But, it’s my responsibility as your designer to articulate to you the strategic benefit behind any and every design decision you’re being asked to make.

You cannot be expected to know the “why” behind every “what” we’re advising. That’s why we really prioritize this education process, so you can be fully informed—and this especially comes into play with the whole-home design process.

For wise design to occur, you have to know why we’re recommending “this” to lift the ceiling or “that” to create the right kind of kitchen for your lifestyle or “even that” shift to the hallway to optimize flow. When equipped with this information, it makes the decision-making process that much faster and more effective.

Wise design is about budget

We hate to bring the buzzkilling B word to bear here. But, in wise design, the budget has to be dealt with in a prudent, forthright, dispassionate, and responsible manner.

While it is none of my business as a designer to know how our clients align their budgets, it is absolutely my business to know the allocated budget from the get-go and to serve it well.

If I don’t know the budget, we will invariably shoot too high or too low on furnishings or prioritize investment in improper categories. It is core to our work at IDH to garner a client’s trust and protect it throughout every step of the process—and that includes wise, strategic budget management. That’s when the magic—and the best design outcome—happens.

Marrying design strategy and skill with a client’s design fingerprint is the secret-sauce elixir that delivers captivating spaces that are also functionally married to how you live and that last the test of time.

Connect with us to explore integrating wise design into your home.

P.S. Remember: Sometimes wise design is in the unexpected, too. We don’t want to be Johnny One Note in a space. Just like this jam session from clarinetist Martin Frost, who brought in breath innovation and texture to transform his performance, there are many innovative ways to create exciting, engaging, yet harmonious layers in a space.