Where do I fit in this industry? On one end of the spectrum there are the large commercial firms designing universities and corporate offices. On the other end are individual designers creating homes for millionaires.
Over a glass of wine, I tried to explain my feelings to my partner.
"Well, isn't there a middle ground?" he asked.
I think the people who can't afford $12,000 sofas fall into two camps, I said. They either have their own interiors down already, or they simply don't care.
"Now that can't be true for everyone! Look at us, we live comfortably in the middle ground."
Only because I care. And you're cheap.
"Come on. You can help guide people like us, help them find or refine their tastes."
True, I thought. I'd been contemplating becoming a clearinghouse of sorts, snatching up items I thought were interesting or that our friends would like, and then sell those objects to them if they were interested. If they weren't, I could easily find someone else. But even amongst our friends my hypothesis of the two opposite camps seemed true. While we know people who don't care (and will probably never care) about how their homes look or are perceived by others, we also have friends who inspire me: I always look forward to seeing how Lamar has inventively rearranged and reconfigured his flat, filled with found treasures and memorabilia; Julie has had the hipster midcentury aesthetic impeccably executed in her various homes for years; our friends and neighbors Chris and Alexis prove that young roommates can live in streamlined style.
"What about Gil and Debra?" he asked.
(Gil is one of my old roommates and Debra is his wife and my friend. They had recently asked me to help them decorate their three-bedroom craftsman house in our old neighborhood.)
I know it's going to take time to do that house, I said. Probably months. But what if the entire project falls apart? What if they don't really want such an undertaking?
"You're an interior designer," he said. "It's your job to convince them."
Wise man, I thought.
Two examples of my middle ground. One of my previous homes (left/top) and my current office (right/bottom).