The first phase of my work with clients is to develop an understanding of their situation and forge a partnership. I do not try and delve into the emotional process of what clients may be experiencing but rather be open to their ideas and how they think a change in their living or working space might be helpful to them. Usually my first questions about a client’s space are around how it should function. From this exploration clients can easily become specific about how they would like the space to feel.
Next we begin to explore what kinds of things they love and what inspires and/or nurtures their spirit. Often, we tour the current home with the client pointing out things she or he likes or doesn’t like. I believe my skills in helping people feel comfortable and open helps clients talk about the meaning of many of the physical things around them.
This can then lead to some ideas about what sorts of things could provide support and inspiration in a new living situation. For some this will be hanging on to many things from the past and finding a new context in which to display and enjoy these treasures. For others, letting go of things and envisioning a new kind of environment will be exciting. During this phase the purpose is to help clients realize the new possibilities in front of them. We gradually become more and more specific about possible choices and the prospect becomes less daunting and more like an exciting journey.
As we move farther into the process, we discover together their likes and dislikes in terms of how a space might look and consequently feel. We may do this through examination of their current space or by looking at pictures of different kinds of living spaces. My goal here is to help people feel more confident in identifying the kinds of things they like and dislike and support them in their choices.
“I used Design for Change to provide a new living/dining room layout. I am a difficult person to work with because I am reluctant to change, although I want to do so desperately. Kathleen Soloway understood this, understood my preferences and fears, and gently guided me. I love the results.”