Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another Question: In-Home Design Offices

We're still at the beach & I've been going to bed & waking up earlier & ealier. Today it was around 5 something when I actually gave up on trying to go back to sleep & decided to turn on the computer and I ended up going to one of my favorite places, The Skirted Roundtable to listen to 3 of my favorite bloggers. Well, I was so surprised when a favorite design icon, Vicente Wolf was the interviewee!!! (haha LOTS of "favorites!") You've got to go check it out here.

Anyway, I was just so impressed with Vicente's confidence (okay, I think I'd be really confident if I were him too! ;) & willingness to share his experience with other designers. As a lot of us know, this industry can be really competitive, which is why I think so many of us like-minded designers have begun to blog. Blogworld is a place where we can come and connect with other professionals who want to share knowledge & experience with each other. We like it when good things happen to other designers & we support each other & help each other become better. Anyway, Vincente seems to share in this philosophy and if you check out his blog, you'll see just how generous he is with his experience & design practices. (SO much valuable information!! image below from Vicente Wolf Home)
One of the things Vicente brought up at The Skirted Roundtable was that when you first meet a potential client you BOTH have to want to work together. It's not just, "Oh please pick me!!"... it has just as much to do with you wanting to take on the client as it does with them wanting to hire you. I think the confidence to make this clearer to potential clients comes with experience & also with reputation. It's important to have a balance of power when client & designer first meet so you're on equal playing ground & respect one another.

Another aspect that plays into this balance of power is having the first meeting (and possibly other meetings) with clients in your office, not their homes... even if your office is in your home. (It MUST be completely professional dedicated space & he said you need to show that you're serious about your work & the office must convey this.) Currently, I meet with clients only at their homes, but as my house is nearing completion, I've been considering having them come to my office at home. (There's a conference table & also a seating area but below is my old office without all of that... will be showing pics of my new one soon- promise!!)

So my question is, what if your house is really just a "normal" house? A modest home in a modest neighborhood... Not a big beautiful showhouse in an affluent neighborhood? Do you still invite the client for the first meeting at your home office? (I'm sure many of us use our homes to showcase some of our best work and people usually walk in & love it, but what about potential clients??) If they have a huge, expensive home, will they be turned off by your "normal" albeit beautifully-done modest house??? (image below of random house, not mine)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Designers, what do you do? Non-designers, how do you think you'd feel as a potential client? Would potential clients be turned off by a "normal" house?

*** Let me also say that I will most likely never have an out of home office... I (obviously) work at crazy times and need everything right when I need it and also, it's just an expense I wouldn't want to take on at this point... Add in kids & needing the flexibility of an in-home office.. and well, there you have it.***

Would love to hear your thoughts!!!