Lately we’ve been discussing these television shows that claim to create a million dollar room with a $500 budget or
something along those lines. These shows always make me chuckle. In many ways that space reminds me of taking a picture
with your best friend George Clooney or Brad Pitt…except guess what, it’s just a cardboard cut out. They’re not real.
Less is often less for a reason. The “less” piece is a fiber board, plastic veneered rendition of a beautiful hand crafted piece. In
real life, one would be able to sense with touch and sight the falsity behind the piece. But please don’t get me wrong; I
understand budgets. I don’t love the word, but it is a reality, not only in my life but in everyone’s. Even my most lucratively
blessed clients have a budget; it may have a few more zeros but we do come up against it. And, honestly, it’s the responsible
thing to do: such is life. The question then becomes not “How do we recreate this space for next to no cost?” But instead it is
“How do we create this space smartly?”
The Smart LuxuryTM system that IMI has developed over the years not only prepares the clients for what to expect in the
form of processes but it maximizes the outcome within the parameters of the project—including budget and time. The
process includes prioritizing the important pieces. Acquire a few quality pieces, as budget allows, that will carry the feel of
the space. Then, with the wonderful resources available to a designer the remaining space can be made beautiful in that same
style and feel. Working with a designer opens up wonderful new resources that aren’t available to the general public that can
help with this process. After having been in this industry for more years than I care to admit—let’s say more than 15—I know
where to find some wonderful treasures.
An example of this: I found a rug making school in the Appalachians that hand knotted and vegetable dyed one-of-a-kind
creations fantastic for a casual rustic setting. The quality of care and love still resonated with the piece yet the price was so
affordable. Another way to work within a budget is to use a piece the clients already have but in a fresh, new way. A current
client has a wonderful old Asian chest with lines that were simple and appropriate. The painted panels, however, were too
busy for the modern aesthetic of the space. To solve the problem, we covered the panels in a simple removable leather. This
allowed us to spend more of the budget on an exquisite sectional needed to anchor that particular great room.
Knowing when to invest on crucial focal point pieces and where a quality, but non-branded name can compliment is a smart
strategy. I have a pair of killer YSL shoes on at the moment, complemented by a far less-expensive Zara frock. I think it’s
working quite well…
An experienced and talented designer can help think with fresh eyes while still maintaining design integrity and overall
quality within a comfortable investment. This is Optimizing Budget.