Lily Paulson-Ellis is the founder of LPE Designs, an interior design firm based in South West London. LPE Designs pride themselves on creating homes that stand the test of time, with comfort and practicality at their core.
The changing face of communication
Naturally, face-to-face has always been Lily's preferred method of communicating with clients. However, like everyone else, she and her team got used to Zoom calls over the last few years.
Lily has noticed her clients' preferred methods of communicating are slowly changing. "More and more clients send me images they see on Instagram by DM and we tend to WhatsApp a lot now too."
Lily usually begins a consultation by reviewing the images clients have brought as inspiration, or even anti-insipration, because Lily assures, "it is just as useful to see images a client dislikes as ones they love."
The key though is to get to the bottom of what it is that they like in any given image. Is it the overall feel of the space? Just the colour? An architectural detail like the woodwork or window? These questions are asked amidst an in-depth initial meeting to make sure Lily fully understands her client's aesthetic.
Finding a compromise
For Lily, the most challenging part of a design process occurs when a client is really set on an aesthetic detail that doesn’t work with the practical considerations and functionality that they require from the space. However, with years of experience to help, Lily's team always finds a good solution!
How do you handle a client who knows what they like, but can't quite articulate why they like it? We challenged Lily to dig deeper into a client's true feelings—if she had just 5 questions...
What... is it that you like about it?
Do you like the colours? Perhaps you like the overall effect but actually not the colour of the sofa? Is it a key architectural detail or the way the space has been laid out?
When... do you see yourself using it?
What sort of occasion—every day use or reserved for more formal occasions?
Why... specifically do you think you like this?
Is it a detail, the function or the overall feel?
Who... will be using the space?
The family, dogs and children? Or are we preserving this as a grown-ups only space?
Where... do you see yourself using it?
Questions like these are helpful to get a real understanding of how the family are going to use the space. Will they usually eat at the kitchen island, reserving the dining table just for dinner parties, or will the table be used daily for homework and most mealtimes?