Laura Medicus is the owner and principal designer of her namesake interior design firm, Laura Medicus Interiors. Based in Denver, Laura Medicus Interiors operates on the three pillars of good design: clean, classic and liveable.
Better said in person
In-person client consultations are always Laura's preference. Sitting face to face with a client allows Laura to pick up on physical cues. "I tend to notice body language, smaller facial expressions and other visual cues about people that help me relate to them."
But Laura lets her client's preferences take the lead, and so has become comfortable working over phone calls, texts and emails too. Client's preferences usually become apparent fairly early on in the project and Laura tries to be flexible to fit their comfort level and needs.
Communication styles and preferences can also change throughout the project. The beginnings of projects are typically heavy with in-person meetings. In the middle of the job, emails, texts and phone calls take priority—with a few site visits and shopping trips thrown in. Towards the very end of the job, in-person interaction in the form of site visits is more common. Often, it all depends on the client's level of involvement.
Evolution of ideas
When asking a client to collect inspiration, sample size is important—less is certainly not more. Case in point: when a client sends just two kitchen images they like, and they're both different, it becomes hard to decipher their true taste. The more references a client can provide, the easier it is to find a common thread in their style.
But pinning down 'taste' is not a one-shot affair.
"Sometimes you nail a client's style and sometimes you miss it over the course of a project—it's not usually a 100% hit every time."
And that's okay, revisions can be made. What's important is that your client trusts you—but that's easier said than done.
Trust in me
Laura's go-to strategy for building trust is respecting boundaries. "There's a delicate balance between pushing a client to go with something different than their neighbours' house, but not pushing so much that it's way outside of their comfort zone."
Even once trust is established, truly understanding a client's goals and needs is no easy task, so just how does Laura do it?
Given her long-term love for kitchen design, we challenged Laura to ascertain a client's functional preferences for their new family kitchen—if she only had 5 questions to work with...
What... type of entertaining do you do?
Do you have people over frequently and want people hanging out in the kitchen with you? Do you seldom entertain? How do you cater when you do entertain? How many people, ideally, do you want to seat in the kitchen?
When... you are done using appliances, do you want to tuck them away?
Or, are you comfortable seeing some things out like your toaster or coffee maker?
Why... don't you like your existing kitchen?
What doesn't work for you here?
Who... cooks the most often in this kitchen?
Is it one person or multiple cooking/helping at the same time? Do you need another sink in the space? What about another small refrigerator?
Where... do you want to store your everyday dishes?
Are you comfortable with them out on open shelves? Do you like to show them off, but want them behind glass doors? Or, do you want everything tucked away out of sight?