Is food your key to great design?

When I work with clients to design their homes, we form a partnership.  I want them to feel comfortable talking to me about their ideas. My goal is to help them translate those ideas into a beautiful space that makes them feel at home.

But trying to describe what you love in a space is hard! Aren’t you supposed to know all the right terms, the furniture styles, and the names of the 200 shades of white paint Benjamin Moore has in its catalogue?  Nope, leave that to professionals like me. All you need to know is what you like. And what’s the easiest ways to learn to communicate about something you’re not familiar with? Relate it to something you do know. Like food!

I have yet to meet someone who’s not a fan of eating. Or, anyone who hasn’t gotten their likes and dislikes in the kitchen pretty well figured out. When we were kids, my brother kept a list of items he didn’t want showing up on the dinner table on a dry erase board just in case my mom forgot…

Personally, I have a borderline obsession with Mexican food that I round out with a passion for sushi and anything even tangentially connected to pizza. If you can wrap each or any of those things in great bread, I will eat it. Thank God for the elliptical machine.

Want me to tell you what makes these things my culinary faves? Easy. I can rattle off the flavors and textures I love, the colors that look great on a plate, the combinations of food that just feel so right. My guess is that five minutes into my food-inspired monologue, I’d tell you about the memories certain foods inspire or the emotional response I get when I eat them. And you know you could do it, too.

Now, you might feel a little more self-conscious talking to a chef about your top five given their encyclopedic knowledge of the topic. But it’s their job to be an expert on food. Your job? Be an expert on you. You may not know exactly what makes stuffed pizza taste like heaven in your mouth, but when you take that first bite, somehow you’re crystal clear. (I’m a Chicago girl, so don’t judge my pizza preferences all you 11"x14” thin crust eaters in NYC.)

Now, think about a room you love. Hopefully, it’s in your home but maybe it’s in a magazine or on a show you like. Try to describe it just like you would a great plate of food. What’s in front of you that catches your eye? Color? Texture? Arrangement?

Is it spare and clean like an incredible plate of sushi?

Does it give you that homey, comforting feeling like freshly baked bread?

Is it bursting with fun things to look at like a huge salad full of summer vegetables?

Don’t worry about the fancy jargon, that’s what designers are for. Focus on what you love and, as my dad says, “Dick and Jane it.” Be as simple as you can. Communicate what you see and why you like it. We’ll figure out the rest.

What's your favorite food inspiration?

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