Throughout my three decades in this field, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to collaborate with some of the most remarkable clients. It’s often underestimated how profound the connection between an interior designer and their clientele can be. Our collaboration thrives on honesty, a principle deeply rooted in the spirit of the Southwest.
To achieve the authentic and desired results for their living spaces, I frequently delve into understanding my clients personally: their reading habits, preferences for a night at the Santa Fe Opera or a late night at Evangelo’s, and even whether they experience claustrophobia amidst our vast landscapes. I immerse myself in their car preferences—comfort for those long desert drives, speed for the open highways, and economy that reflects the resourcefulness of our region. In my world, we evolve into friends and confidants. I employ a favorite ice-breaker: during my initial presentation of ideas, if something, perhaps a fabric or tile, fails to resonate with the client, my favorite action is to casually toss it across the room. This gesture is my way of conveying to the client that this is their house, not mine. My aim is to ensure my clients are content, not coerced into a design. Therefore, I firmly believe that we, as design professionals in the Southwest, should emphasize one core principle: BUY WHAT YOU ADORE.
Don’t acquire what I love. Don’t obtain what you think others will admire or what glossy magazines suggest you should cherish. Surround yourself with what evokes a sense of well-being. In a way, it’s akin to how you should select your closest friends: they should be individuals who bring you joy, provide support, and reflect qualities you wish to highlight or simply admire and want to share. And it’s not merely about your personal delight; there’s something about that person, object, chair, fabric, or curtain that might even bring joy to others.
Purchasing what you love is a foolproof strategy. After all, you are the one who will encounter it daily. As an interior designer, my role is to seamlessly incorporate what you love into your everyday living spaces. No judgment, no criticism (though Fraser Crane might have a valid complaint about Martin’s green plaid Lazy Boy). Chances are, if you genuinely adore something, you’ll take good care of it. And if you care about it, you’ll want to keep it, ensuring its longevity. The more care you invest, the longer it endures, and the greater the joy it brings. Yes, this argument provides some economic justification for investing in something you adore, even if it’s expensive. As Carl Richards, a certified financial planner and author of “The Behavior Gap,” aptly puts it, “If you love it and you’ll use it, you’ll save not only money but retain the cognitive and emotional energy you would have used to replace the thing once a year.” Richards also invokes the old adage, “Buy nice, or buy twice.” Buying what you love is a derivative of that idea. Don’t settle for something less pricey; instead, embrace what you truly cherish. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself perpetually discontent, replacing items until you do.
The emotional aspect of this philosophy is one I will always stand by and continually emphasize to my clients. You should feel a genuine smile spread across your face when you enter any room in your home. You should revel in the feeling of being surrounded by things you adore. In my own home, I have a “Wall of Interesting Things.” This assortment includes a wooden figurine with a silver cowboy hat, a Scottish flask adorned with orange flowers, and crosses embellished with Milagros, among other items. This eclectic array extends into the powder room, where fortune cats, dragonflies, and Day of the Dead artwork reside. The point is, all these objects bring me immense joy. Every time I lay eyes on them, every time I pass by, I’m filled with a sense of delight. This is the sensation I strive to create for my clients. I want them to awaken surrounded by the things they love, to walk through any room in their home and encounter nothing but joy. In fact, I wish this feeling upon everyone. So, without hesitation, I say to you: BUY WHAT YOU ADORE.