When the Designer Becomes the Customer

I am a design to build remodeler. That means that I renovate other people’s homes for a living. But when it came time recently to start my own living room remodel, I started the process the same way most of our clients do: by looking at magazines, websites, and other sources of inspiration. I knew the direction I wanted to take with the room, but was having some trouble with furniture selection. Sorting through these resources helped to narrow down my choices and get a feel for some of the textures, styles, and options out there.


After taking some measurements, I then had to choose a professional who would be the right fit for this project. While I had the advantage of being able to wear two hats — that of the homeowner and the designer of the space — I still knew I’d want to bring in a pro to help review the final options and make recommendations. Just as when our company remodels a kitchen or other large project room, I rely on my suppliers to keep up to date on all the latest options, colors, and finishes, asking them to team with us as we design projects specially for each of our clients. And I know from many years in the business that the furnishing end of a project is just as critical as the design and construction phases, and it can be what brings a room together or takes away from the whole intent.

I met with our friend and design colleague, Doug Reinke, who had recently opened a third location of his home furnishings store HOST in Midtown Village. Since the space for my new sofa is a narrow, longer room, I wanted to make sure I kept an eye on scale and worked with someone who understood this concept. I knew Doug and his support staff would be familiar with a wide range of types and sizes of houses and have a broad selection of products to fit my needs. Sharing my room information with Doug, we were able to narrow the playing field down to a sofa with a cushionless upholstered back that helped to keep the overall visual size down. Next, it was on to the arm style. In trying to find the blend between comfort and style, there was lots to think about, but testing out some variations in the showroom made it easy to follow my initial instinct, which was an upholstered, short arm. We then looked at fabric samples and leg styles. Working with a pro, you know that the fabrics have already been vetted to match the demands appropriate for the function of the piece. A sofa intended for everyday use, for example, has a different demand than one used only occasionally in a formal living room. In the end, HOST had all the tools I needed — fabric samples, stain colors, catalogs — to make the right selection for my space in less than an hour.

This experience of shopping for interior furnishings for my own home reminded me why clearly communicating what I wanted, including my expected price range, was important. It allowed me to use the great resources of HOST efficiently and effectively! We love it when our clients do the same, and we have lots of great examples of the end product featured on our website. As you can see, really great projects start from these really great conversations.

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