How I Work : It's Kismet
Every project begins with the client: Hello. Who are you? What makes your heart sing? How do you like to live? What don't you like? This, too, is a worthy question! The design process is, for me, organic. I am not the designer who shows you one plan with everything selected. And this is for one reason. Because discovering the perfect antique can’t be planned and I might argue that every room needs at least one. It’s kismet. But it’s also what makes my rooms look and live the way they do. This is how the magic happens. Below is the Cliff Notes version of a fairly complicated process, but will give you a sense of how I approach it.
- Comfort is my highest value and first priority as I begin to think about your home. There will be a table for the drink, a lamp for reading, a spot for your feet if you want it, a place for napping, chairs close enough to have an intimate conversation and areas for dining that suit you and your family. This is why I begin with the layout of each room. Comfort also means furniture and fabrics will be appropriate to the use they will receive – so that you don’t have to worry about them as your children drop into their favorite reading chair.
- Scale is the subtlest of qualities and it takes an unerring eye to get it right. It is, without question, the easiest place to make a mistake. Anyone can go to the nearest retail showroom and find furniture they like, but if it doesn’t suit the scale of the room, it’s never going to work in a satisfying way. I will always be keeping scale in mind – from the height of the table next to the sofa arm, to the height of the lamp next to the chair, to the size of the fireplace mantel you are considering. This is also considered when laying out each room. When you get the scale right for your home, the chances are very good the furniture will work for you again and again in almost any place you choose to live.
- Style. The part that is most fun for the client, it can be Pinterest-ed to death. I believe that each project is influenced by three points of view – that of the architecture, the client, and my own. It’s why you hire a designer, for their taste and good eye. Then, I work passionately to find just the right pieces to express the style without hitting you over the head with it, without being too overly literal in the interpretation of it. Most people would say my style is Eclectic. I would agree. And I’m not likely to change any time soon.
- Management. Managing the Project is not for sissies! Putting together budgets and managing them, making sure things are selected and ordered on schedule, working with other members of the team including architects, vendors, contractors and their sub-contractors keep us busy in ways the client never sees. I am a huge fan of keeping my eyes open for potential problems, communicating clearly and courteously, staying open to the possibility of a better solution (i.e. keeping the design process alive during the project), and always keeping the contractor happy!
- Beauty. I will always look for ways to express beauty in each and every room.
- Now it’s your turn. Feel at home and live well.
"Wondering if there’s any residual ear ringing after my Thursday night gathering? The gang had their jaws at their knees as they looked through our home. Most walked through every room and were seriously stunned at the beauty and quality of the house. 'Most Beautiful home I’ve ever been in', 'I love every room', 'Stunning Home'. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
Brigit Weberg, New York City and Aspen (From email to Alecia, architect Nate McBride and landscape designer Hilary Finn)
"Clients initially collaborate with designers because they share, at least directionally, a similar sense of style and presence and as a designer, Alecia's work stands on its own. I think the beauty of working with her - actually, one of many - is that after all the conversations are had and nudges given over a finished product, it's her mark that leaves an impression on a space but she's completely content in letting us think like we were the ones who made it happen."
- Nick Brown, Minneapolis
"What a complete pleasure it is to work with Alecia! She is that rare combination of visionary and collaborator and she makes working together a uniquely compelling and gratifying personal and professional experience."
- Nate McBride, McBride Architects
, New York, NY
"We had family at the S(an) F(rancisco) house for a long weekend. They could not stop RAVING about the house. They la la love it...They were gobsmacked at how lovely everything is!... I could go on and on...but I just want to thank you all for your great work."
- Lorie and George Halvorson, Minneapolis and San Francisco (From email to Alecia and architect, Jean Rehkamp)