I have been in a LOT of peoples homes over the years, as a friend, as a guest, as a relative and as a designer. What excites me the most about these visits is the opportunity to "read" their story and get to know them at a more personal level than their words can ever say.
I remember my childhood home and the way that I could look around and understand where I was in the world because of the things in it. My mother was born in Spain, and she had decorative items displayed throughout the house that were brought back each time she visited her family there. I remember her telling the stories of where she found each piece and why she chose it. These stories spiritually anchored me to my European family and heritage. I couldn't visit them, but I could look at the object and connect the story of it to the lives over there.
The same went with things that our family inherited from my paternal grandmother, Florence, who I was named after. She passed away when I was four years old, but the few things my father brought back to our home kept me connected. An old wooden chair, a pretty little milk glass lamp, some decorative glass and serving pieces. They told the story of her connection to Pennsylvania, where she was from.
But maybe there is a new story waiting to be told, one of a new life, a new union, a new venture, a new goal. Your home can tell a story that is unfolding, still being created. Sometimes the best thing to do is close the chapter and move on to a new one.
When I design someone's home, the hearing of the stories is my favorite part. Maybe it is a piece of art done by someone's mother, maybe it is an old wooden chest full of old photos that are over 100 years old, maybe it is a writing desk from a beloved aunt. Maybe it is a new story, of babies, puppies and new careers.
Listening to these stories is the best part of my job. Taking those stories home, imagining how my client's home could tell it in a beautiful and cohesive way is how I start every design. And then hearing later how much they love how their story is told and how much they enjoy sharing it with others is the icing on the cake for me!