[Inside] The Design Process: Sourcing

[Inside] The Design Process: Sourcing
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Vibes established? Check. Project Set-up? Check. Ready to design? Check. Now for the good stuff. Aaaaand, back to Pinterest. If you are wondering how I use Pinterest, you clearly didn’t read this. I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but you might as well catch up.

Next up is sourcing. Not selecting-sourcing. This is merely the mind map, the brain dump, the whirlwind in my brain. Creative juices flowing. You get the point. Everything from tile to plumbing and lighting to bed linens gets Pinned. It also helps me to work quickly. I can quickly skim my preferred vendors’ websites, Pin options, and edit once they are ALL in one spot. And I NEVER forget where I found something. This all might sound a little bit like common sense (work efficiently, work quickly, and know where you found something…), but here’s the thing: you have no idea how much we see on a regular basis. I’m going to let you in on a secret. We designers are authorities on The Google Search. Yeah, yeah, I know ya’ll can track down your old crush like a mother, but can you track down that little side table you saw on your cousin’s friend’s sister’s TikTok? Well, we can.

And hey, no shame, we do the same thing! We see a rug we absolutely love on an Instagram photo, in a Facebook ad, in a magazine and it is just perfect for that one project, so we hunt it down like a madwoman. Clients send us blurry, cut-off images from who knows where and ask us to find that stool half hidden by the chair that is in the portrait mode blur. And you know what we say? “YES! I got you client! I will find it for you!” Or we will try our hardest to find something really, really similar. Because, on the other hand, we are in the business of making your space unique. Custom. The One and Only. Which also means we need to be on top of our game. We know how to navigate the Pinterest Pin chain, the Google Image Search hole, which vendor site to scour, what Facebook group to ask in, or which fellow designer to text.

These area actual photos sent to designers from clients. I couldn’t even find the best of the best. And yes, these are the actual quality. 

I may be heading off on a tangent, so here’s my point: we look at hundreds of pieces of furniture, tile, wallcoverings, and so on, so we need to work efficiently and we need to know where to find it. We lose steam in the creative process as well, so we need to be able to turn out your specialized design in a timely manner and it needs to be special. Just for you. A neatly organized Pinterest board and organized Bookmarks helps us to work efficiently, keep our preferred vendors top of mind, and venture to those gems we saw at the last trade show. I can bring my clients a well-designed space that fits their lifestyle and tastes and I didn’t shop at a major retailer, so your space doesn’t look like your neighbor’s. And remember, this isn’t even the fun part. My time and efforts are really spent in the next few steps. This is just the sourcing grab to get started. These are not the selections we present to you, the client, in our design presentation. Remember, we inundate ourselves, not our clients.

You have no idea how many different white subway tiles there are and how we agonize over making yours look fabulous and just different enough. These are all options from one of my preferred vendors. And this is only a fraction. There are ONE HUNDRED-THIRTEEN options for white subway tile. THIS is why our sourcing skills have to be ON. POINT.

Back to my process and what you came to learn. I focus on one space at a time and one element at a time. I have many, many vendors bookmarked by product, style, budget, and values, etc. I start with one product and go to town. Once the tab is open I:

1. Assess the aesthetic. Do the vendor’s products fit on my mood board? Yes? Next. No? Close out.

2. By size, by color, by style. By value, pattern, cost. I add as many filters as I can to make my scrolling not so cumbersome.

3. Pin this, Pin that, don’t look back.

4. Next vendor, next element, next space. (Although I tend to design one space at a time; it just depends on scope and timeline.

Lastly, before I dive into the meat of the design, I do a quick edit of the Pinterest Board. “Oooooh, what was I thinking?! Oh yeah, that is going to the top. Love it, but missed the mark.” All the thoughts as I do another scroll. And if I am feeling particularly inspired by what I’ve found, I use that handy dandy Organize feature. Thank you, Pinterest! Now I can move my images around to see how they might work together without going through the bulk of the process. I can avoid downloading, importing, editing, sizing, yada, yada, more on that later, and get a sense of being on track aka mood. And, it saves time, money, and a tremendous amount of paper. #treehuggerhere

If you can’t tell, organization is the key to beginning the design of any space. It is what ultimately pulls together a well deigned, cohesive room. No vendor is left unturned, no element is forgotten, and it becomes #allaboutthedetails that make your space unique and especially YOU.

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