One of the best things about the world of architecture and design is that everyday, every client, every home & every project is an amazingly unique journey. From watching my floor plans come to life to seeing the looks of amazement on my clients face when I’m able to translate their vision into their livable reality, I love every single minute of it. What’s funny is that more often than not the entire journey and all of the blood sweat and TEARS (lets just be honest haha) that can be apart of it are often depicted with just two single words: BEFORE and AFTER.
But wait, what about the glorious middle part of the road? Don’t they say it’s about the journey and not just the destination? That journey, the inspirational adventure between beginning and end that every designer dreams of, is all about the ride down sourcing street. It’s here that I set out to find the very pieces that will elevate your home from one that was simply decorated to one that was artfully designed. Anyone can go to their local furniture and décor warehouse superstore and order the showcase display and have a nicely decorated home but that’s not the type of sourcing that gets my blood flowing. I’m looking for the distinctive, the luxurious, the obscure. The couture of décor, if you will. I am always on the prowl for the unique pieces and materials that will have your home looking like an Architectural Digest spread instead of this seasons generic department store catalog.
Now, the question is how does one achieve this? And the answer is creatively. Look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere. I say let your design journey venture off the well-beaten path. There was no greater feeling then when I wandered into a mom and pop fabric shop where to my amazement I found the perfect print to create custom curtains for a client who up until that point couldn’t find anything in person or online to her liking. I think the feeling I got that day is what they are talking about when people refer to the thrill of the hunt. There’s definitely a rush that comes along with finding that one of a kind component that pulls your whole design together.
So keeping that experience in mind and in the spirit of chasing my next designer high, I found myself walking into a furniture auction while in New Jersey consulting a new client.
The space was filled with furniture, art, antiques, lighting, and décor from floor to ceiling. This is an actual designers dream. I felt like the fat kid in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory when he wants everything in sight and just cant get enough of the chocolate river. Except my name is Avissa instead of Augustus and the chocolate factory is a design factory filled with gorgeous pieces covering the entire style spectrum. And I had just finished a spin class so I wasn't feeling so fat.
Not knowing where to start or even look for that matter I took a step back (and a deep breathe) and started to make a mental list of my current clients. I formulated a plan to find any statement pieces for existing projects that would fit within the style aesthetic while simultaneously finding signature décor staples that I knew were once-in-a-lifetime finds. There was no cohesive rhyme or rhythm to what was being auctioned off and the most experienced designer could be at risk for passing something by without realizing the potential upon first glance.
The auction experience is completely different than sourcing in any store, showroom, or gallery where what you see is what you get. I learned quickly that this was not going to be about beauty that meets the eye but the potential to be beautiful that an older, worn, tired or forgotten furnishing possessed. While I had bid on and won pieces that could and would go straight into my clients’ homes it was the vintage treasures that I was most excited about. A group of hand carved wood chairs that showcased a level of craftsmanship indicative of times past sparked my imagination in ways that no new chair with its price tag hanging on it could. What color and texture of material would I use to reupholster these hidden gems in order to breathe new life into them while still respecting their structural integrity and style? The possibilities were endless. I loved the thought of being able to give my clients the ability to create and own a custom piece of history in the form of antique and restored furniture and décor.
Every item I found had more character and charm than the next and the anticipation to use them in my designs was practically palpable. Before I knew it the auction was over and while I was leaving with an empty wallet my mind was full of design ideas. I had hit the interior design jackpot and my prize was a collection of signature items that were destined to be conversation pieces in my clients’ homes, and at the end of the day what more could a designer want than to give them something to talk about.