Recently I was hired to design and furnish a house for a local southern gentleman; I was even more excited to learn that he's an avid golfer. While I can't golf (the closest that I've ever come to golfing is when I was nine at the local miniature golf); I do, however, respect the game of golf and, more importantly, I love the history and décor that envelops the sport. With that said, I developed an entire design plan for a home that threads the game of golf through each room (except the dining room and master bedroom - because that would be weird) all while combining the elegance of a southern gentleman. Thankfully, there is much in the way of inspiration to help and guide me along this journey.
Since the game of golf is over 700 years old, there is a significant amount of design inspiration to pull from for my current household. When I think of golf - I think of El Paso, Texas - bear with me on this one. I was raised in El Paso and our home backed up to a golf course. To this day I remember my father watching Lee Trevino and Nancy Lopez play and while I didn't understand the game - I did understand my father's joy in watching the sport. In addition to that fond memory, I also benefitted from bad golfing. You see, when the golfers missed their shot and shanked the golf ball that little nugget landed right in our backyard and while some found it annoying; my brother and I saw opportunity. We would gather those little nuggets and sell them back to the golfers for a dime a piece. Kiddy Capitalism at it's best. Now did West Texas lend itself as inspiration for my Scotsman in the South design? Nope - not one bit. It's just a sweet story; however, there are two locations that did inspire the design and they are St. Andrews in Scotland and Augusta, GA. Scotsman in the South... get it?
Corny - Perhaps; but sometimes you just need to define the design in order to move through what you're working on. Does this process help everyone? No of course not - some folks just wing it; and that's great. However, for me and for my client, I had to define the design in order to help both of us through the process. Back to Andrews and Augusta. These two locations drove the bus for this design and I couldn't have been happier with the results. Between haint and dark blue, coppers and tans, muted sage greens - oh and the tartans... did I mention the tartans? What would a Scotsman in the South be without a tartan to complete the design? We incorporated items such as leather tufted sofas, plantation shutters, leather topped kidney desk and coffee table all while tossing in a rustic nautical approach as a wink and nod to my client's military service. The dining room was a softer approach for an elegant evening as was the master bedroom to embrace the desire for a true southern retreat. Sound beautiful? Yep, it was. That's right - was.
While the design for my client is everything that I wanted his house to be - that wasn't what he wanted. My mind ran away with possibilities that didn't define my client. Was I upset? Of course not - because I knew that one day I could recycle that design scheme for someone else and I was right! I will recycle it here! (Photos to follow) I think sometimes designers can get lost in what they hope their clients want rather than just wait and let the customer tell us what they need. In my opinion, a timeless home should reflect the family - not the designer. How could a family possibly feel comfortable in home that doesn't represent who they are or what they love? Can designers try to respectfully guide their clients away from poor design choices - of course. Can designers offer options that may work more efficiently or serve a longer design life? Absolutely. However, in the end the client is the customer and their home is their sanctuary from everyday life - and that should, above everything else, be honored and respected.