Few things have shaken up the world of residential design as much as the advent of “experience design” in the world of commercial design. When I started in the business, no one came to me and said, “I want my home to feel like the Four Seasons, or the Plaza Hotel,” but since the rise of the boutique hotel and the destination restaurant, there has been a huge crossover between residential and commercial design, and that’s good thing!
I don’t think most of my clients want their homes to look like the last hotel they stayed in, with a reception desk and valet, but it does give them a wider vocabulary to express what they do and don’t like, which wasn’t available 20 years ago, except in magazines. A client can now say: "I had lunch at Leo’s Oyster Bar in San Francisco, and it was like eating in the jungle! Could we do something similar in my breakfast room?"
I can definitely hear a client say “I stayed at a hotel in LA where the sitting room was really graphic and modern. I didn’t think I’d like something like that, but I did. Think we could do something similar in my media room?”
I can’t tell you how excited I get when a client says things like that to me, mostly because being exposed to fabulous restaurants and hotels makes them eager to try new things, and not just want a cookie-cutter home like their neighbors. I recently featured a photo of a day spa I designed in a post on ceilings, but I would be tickled pink if one of my clients saw the spa, and said “That chandelier, that ceiling! Can we do something similar in my dining room?”
We designers also get excited about cool restaurants and hotels, because these establishments really showcase our fellow designers pulling out all the stops, sort of like how you might not wear a couture outfit from a Dior fashion show, but when you see the same beading detail on a simpler dress, it speaks to you because you are reminded of the spectacular couture creation.
Now would I hang 4 dozen mismatched baskets in somebody’s home? Probably not. But 3 or 4 mismatched baskets hung over sweetly patterned tufted chairs in a beach retreat eating area? Sign me up!
Now if you come home from vacation, and decide you want a 3-story lobby/atrium as your living room, I can’t do that for you without an architect and a year-and-a-half of your life for construction, but I can give you elements of what you loved - a light and airy color palette and a stunning screen to divide your living room and dining room.
So be sure to look around when you travel, and take lots of pictures. Inspiration is everywhere!For more commercial space inspiration, please visit my “Commercial Endeavors” Pinterest Board.