Beyond editing this publication, I teach beginning watercolor painting. In my classes, I try to explain the art of expressing with paint, of turning something out that’s notable, to my students. I liken the experience to a composer creating music, a songwriter mixing words with notes, an author weaving a plot, a fashion designer stitching together various fabric shapes and colors, or a designer planning an interior or exterior space, whether residential or commercial.
During the class I taught just before writing this letter, I announced to my students, who were at the time working intensely on a bird painting: “Soooo, it’s right about this time when I’m betting you really do NOT like your painting at all.” Everyone laughed and nodded their heads in agreement. That happens when creating, I tell them. You easily recognize what’s “not good,” and there’s a constant desire to shape (or shake!) things up. Patience is required.
The winners in this issue’s Detroit Home Design Awards (DHDA) have a goal in mind from the get-go. Whatever they’re working on, they want it to be great — and it’s not great if it doesn’t have their own personal seal of approval. Getting to that approval is a journey.
Those in the thick of the creative process — no matter if it’s writing a song, drawing and painting, choosing a color palette, or specifying a space within a landscape — will often pull something together, take it apart, step aside, view things from another angle, let it sit, shape it, ignore it, hate it, dream about it, and think about it when far away from it, all in the name of obtaining that elusive seal of approval. Or they might start again. The angst of creation!
Those things that circuitously happen as they go, whether in painting (we call them happy accidents) or in plotting a building’s design, are also part of the transformation process. Fundamentals and basics, happy accidents, advanced techniques, and all those pieces designers plan on — and don’t plan on — make up good final design.
Interior designer Armina Kasprowicz, owner of Armina Interiors in Rochester Hills and a DHDA winner in both the Conservatory/Screen Room/Sunroom and Finished Basement categories, says that each of her projects, when they’re in the creation mode, seems to be in a constant state of evolution.
“I love when a project gets to the point where it’s extraordinary,” Kasprowicz says. “That happens when you find that one piece of the puzzle that turns everything from looking nice to fabulous.”
When a project is fabulous in the designer’s eyes — the eyes of the beholder — it’s finally worthy of the seal of approval. Driving home that point, one of our award-winning DHDA judges this year says he only enters those works he truly loves in interior design competitions. “We pick the work we like the best and that reflects our best effort and capabilities,” says New Jersey-based Matthew Frederick, of M. Frederick Design.
The winning spaces on the following pages are the end result of an often-long, always fascinating process.
Architect Brad Angelini of Ann Arbor’s Angelini & Associates (winner in the Commercial Retail and Residential Stair and Railing categories), once thanked the magazine for holding this annual competition. “It’s a great motivator for us to keep trying to do better work, and for that the profession is thankful,” he said.
Thank you, Brad, and all of the creators represented on these pages, for sharing your design expressions with us and with our readers. For that, we are grateful.