Under such circumstances, it is extremely dangerous for your designer to attempt to referee a preferences debate by expressing personal positions and judgment or by trying to mitigate disputes with unknown histories. The best route for your designer (when you ask for help in such a situation) is to perhaps try to guide you in better ways to arrive at mutually acceptable decisions.
One route to that place is to use the old tried and true “opposing position lists.” It can be anything from Yes/No to Want/Don’t Want! As simplistic as that may seem, it is one way to sort out just where the trouble spots exist. With that information, your design team can then help you trouble-shoot the factors -- the pro and con elements – without getting into personalities.
No one wants a black eye when the goal is to create or improve an environment that will satisfy all participants. However, differences do arise and must be resolved before any specific phase can proceed. Many factors come into play in the process of determining the style, furnishings, lighting, colors and textures for an environment. Personal taste is a highly individual thing. Compromise is sometimes very difficult to achieve.
Let your designer in on what the differences are that are creating the battles. Often, your designer can provide solutions from his or her experience and knowledge that would easily resolve what feels to you like an insurmountable problem. Sometimes the solution is available in a way with which you are just not familiar.
Your professional won’t take sides! It is not their environment, and they know how important it is for the end result to be the client’s vision. While duels may be colorful (with all the posturing, huffing and puffing and thrusts and jabs) they waste precious time and can create lasting compatibility wounds. They usually don’t serve the health of your project, and there are better tools.
Once again, open communication is the answer. Having heated and unresolved disputes behind the scenes, then presenting your design professional with a falsely unified front, only promises trouble down the line. Don’t be embarrassed to reveal that you and another principal are struggling with an important answer that the design team needs.
For all the reasons mentioned, it is wise to cooperate with your professional by participating in regular meetings (and mini-meetings) to stay on top of potential trouble spots. Put away the weapons and bring out your notepads – electronic or otherwise – and brainstorm your way off the battlefield.
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo