Designing a house from scratch can be daunting. When you can pick anything—literally anything within budget—it can be overwhelming. With limitless possibilities, how does one even start?
There’s really only one way.
First, you look at anything and everything and drive yourself crazy with options. You look for shower tile and fireplace designs. You consider shiplap and hardwood floors. Dark or light? Grey hews or brown? Gold? No, not gold. Then there are the paint colors. The color palette. Of course the countertops must be considered. If you go with something busy, the cabinets and floors better be chill, you know?
PS. Don’t go with something busy. It’s 2020 after all.
Besides the look, you need to choose material. Are we going granite or cement? No wait, quartz! But hold on, because if I do cream quarts countertops with a lovely little grey vein in the kitchen, and then also pick white cabinets and a white/cream backsplash will everything look too white? Where do we add color exactly?
PSS. No. It won’t look too white once you put all your stuff in there.
Then there is the cabinet hardware. If you go all white with everything else, should you go black or gold on the hardware so it pops? Yes, unless of course you like silver best, in which case always choose what you like best.
But look at me, spending all this time on cabinet hardware when there are obviously much more interesting things to consider anyway, like light fixtures and sinks.
Oh, the sinks.
Do you want a bowl sink? Don’t do it in your master. For the master, only inset sinks will do. Don’t pick one that mounts over the countertop. You know, the sinks that sit on top of the countertop and have ornate edges? So messy. No, you want under mount so you can just wipe whatever is on the counter quickly and cleanly back into the sink. But then again, that’s just me.
Then comes the worry. You have to worry whether it’s okay that you put silver faucets on your bathroom sinks but brass for you shower head (the answer is yes, it’s fine). And then you will worry about your doors. How will the doors open—in or out? Does my pantry need a door? Will it be a standard door or a barn door or a pocket door, or a dutch door or a paneled door or a white door or chalkboard door? A wood door? But wait—you have the wooden hutch that is going to go right by it and you are worried it will be too wood matchy. WILL IT BE TOO WOOD MATCHY?
So you’ll look at everything a drive yourself crazy with worry and options. And then you’ll feel shame for being so worried about something like house design when people in the world are suffering. You’ll vow to be better the next day. You’ll fail. Repeat cycle.
Okay, so that happens first. Best to be prepared for it.
If you do that long enough, here is what happens next: A path appears.
In order for a path to appear you have to find one thing—a tile pattern, a rug, a landscape design for your outdoor entertaining space—I don’t care what it is—but whatever it is, it will be one thing you are absolutely sold on. Something that looks so much like you and your specific taste that when you look at it your insides jump. This is actually what all the searching and pinning and scrolling through Luxe magazine’s instagram feed is for. You are not actually looking for “ideas.” You are looking for one thing to fall completely, madly, 100% in love with. Because when you do, a path appears.
Suddenly, you can sense what everything else in the room will feel like once this one thing is there. You instinctively know the color and tone. You can suddenly see it. You can pick a floor that will compliment without fuss.
That is the process. You look and look until you find one thing that you are absolutely sure about and smitten with, because when you do, it will inform the rest of the design and make it easier to pick everything else. And you won’t have to second guess yourself because all the decisions are being made around the thing you are certain about. So wait for the one thing you’re sure of.
This is how you start.
And this, my friends, is where design becomes a metaphor for life.
My one thing for my Park Place house was this gorgeous hand painted Tabarka Studio shower tile. It had me at “hello.”