Monday, March 31, 2014

(Borrowed post part 3) Biographical vs. autobiographical

For a young girl who honestly believed that autobiographies were better than biographies, it makes some sort of twisted sense to me I would know more about what I want in my house than someone else knows.

My husband and I interviewed four designers. He was there for one interview. Three of the designers gave the same answer to my question, "Do you have any experience with historically inspired southern style homes?" Each answered with the same defensive tone when telling me they were a professional and could handle any style.

I never meant to insult any of them. I would still ask that question if I were interviewing a designer today. I want to know what their knowledge and experience is with old New Orleans, old Charleston, or old plantation homes. One designer switched the subject and showed me photos of how she designs bathroom cabinets. Another designer turned the converstion into how impressed my builder would be if she was hired.

I didn't care how impressed my builder would be, nor did I want the other designer's signature bathroom cabinets. I want this house that has been painstakingly designed with an exterior that looks like an old house from the south, to be reiminiscent of classic design on the interior as well. The overwhelming majority of Charleston homes have fairly simple rooms and mouldings. The beautiful lines and curves of Tuscan design are common in our area, yet is so different from what we want.

Our solution was to work with a designer who loves southern homes, who knows the south and who has her own classic home. Instead of asking her to write the biography of our home by making all of our choices, we are working with her to write the autobiography ourselves.

I've realized that Lauren is playing the role of book editor in our autobiography. Periodically she needs to suggest we edit an item, add an addition here, rearrange this section, or suggest some other random edit. She provides wonderful ideas to consider, and is a great source of information. Her name will be on the finished design! We will be eternally grateful for her expertise and her wisdom, as well as our builder's well-tuned eye for design. But our home will be an autobiography written by the two of us and our family. It will reflect what we care about instead of what a random designer wants to buy for our home.

I like the idea of writing the autobiography of my home!

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