The Unconventional Question I Always Ask My Clients
Everyone who knows me, knows how I live and breath architecture and buildings. It is not only my full time job, but my obsession and passion. In recent years, however, I have also been studying Ashtanga yoga, meditation, online business, life coaching, visualisation, our relationship to nature (biophyllia) and interior and sustainable design.
Exploring these new fields has definitely changed the way I approach my work, especially with the client side of things. Now, I will always spend more time and focus more on the actual dreams and wants of my clients. I spend more time on talking to my client and figuring out what it is that they genuinely wish they could have rather than what their limiting beliefs tell me that they want. So the first time I get in writing what it is they “want”, then I ask my question and the answer is often similar, but just a little bit more exciting and adds that smile to their face!
You see I think architecture and buildings can be a little scary for the average person, especially if it is their largest investment and their current home, so people will stay practical and really do the bare minimum because they are afraid of costs, getting something wrong or a list of a million other things!
I always feel it is my duty to be creative enough to figure out a way to help give my clients what they want within the budget they have. I have the 20 years of knowledge in the building industry, I should know how to figure it out (most of the time anyway)! It was always the thing I got upset about when I heard it in architects offices:
“oh the client wants this AS WELL AS that, cant they see they cant have it all?”
I always wished I was in a position to be able to respond to the client myself. I always wished I could find a way for my client to have everything they asked for to “have it all”. I knew I could figure it out!
If money were no object, if you had everything you wanted in your life (such as a partner, child or that dream job) how would you want to live in this home?
I would never have asked this question to my clients a few years ago, but now I know that it always reveals to me what my client genuinely wishes for in their lifestyle, aspirations, hobbies and personal life. I can help filter out the myriad of unnecessary furnishing, fixtures, fabrics and design styles that just wouldn’t fit their current life or the life they want to lead and then also fit that in and balance it all with their budget. To be honest, much of it is common sense, but just digging a little deeper means that I can really give my client a result that will change their life for the better.
For most people, their home is one of their largest investments and yet often a client will tell me what they want with their “limited vision” glasses on. They will tell me “because of my budget I only want to do this and this” and “because I’m on my own I don’t want to do this and this”. Often such limiting views of their current lifestyle and circumstances keep them from moving towards what they really want. They often have an understanding that only a limited thing is possible, usually because of budget.
I often have to explain that as their designer, it is my job to do the hard work and figure out how to give them what they want on their budget. So at the beginning, I help them dream a little bigger than they usually allow themselves to. This definitely makes architecture and design fun again and we always get unbelievable results.