Addressing the Architectural Vocabulary

Our firm believes that respect for the architecture is the only way to create a harmonious whole. Residential interior design is really all about collaboration and integration – and understanding the architect’s vision is the first step. Every interior design decision must relate back to the architecture. As I explain to clients, sometimes a design decision isn’t about addressing what they or I want, it’s about what the building wants. The architect’s design establishes a vocabulary that is the starting point for the interior. If it is not addressed properly, than the home can become fragmented and discordant.

Since usually clients are not versed in the creative process one of the most interior designer’s primary responsibilities is to help them understand the priorities of what they’ve undertaken to create. We need to hear their wish list for the feeling of the interior – and it isn’t always the same as the one they’ve discussed with their architect. Then, we can negotiate ways in which to accommodate their wishes within the framework the architect has established.

Materials and colour selections and final room shapes must all relate in some way to the architectural vocabulary. We’ve worked on many homes where the client wanted an exterior that relates to the traditional nature of the neighbourhood and an interior that is starkly modern. To satisfy such contrasting desires, careful attention is paid to elements that establish continuity. In one home we introduced an interior split-faced stone wall made from the same stone used outside. In another, we repeated the window frame colour as a core element of the interior.

Jeffrey Douglas