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You Know You’re a Designer When ...

Lisa Masteller gives us a peek inside the mind of a designer. If you're more distracted by the dusty fake plants in the restaurant than the sweet aroma of the lava cake on your plate, you're probably a designer.

By Lisa Masteller   •  April 19, 2017 2:01 pm EDT

Tags: architectural design, blog, collaboration, interior design,

While joining friends at a local restaurant, you can't help but notice the following:

◦ You quickly realize that the carpet tile you're staring at is from Mannington, and you can recall the style and pattern number. Because you know you're right, you internally give yourself a high five.

◦The chair you're sitting in is from the new Tonon line from Sandler Seating, but you would have preferred it in "Linen."

◦When rushing to grab a stall, you notice the 60-inch allowance for the ADA partition is more like 40. And your mind goes back to the time "on that one job where" you had to forego this amazing design because of ADA requirements. But obviously, they just "got away with it."

◦While listening to the waiter give the list of specials for the evening, you start counting ceiling tiles behind his head to see how much room is between you and the back kitchen.

◦You would have chosen to put a purse hanger at a better height in every stall, so you don't hit your head on the bottom of your purse when standing up. I mean, it just makes sense.

◦You would replace each and every fake and dusty plant for a real one and ... "squirrel!"... while you lean in closer to hear your best friend tell her story, you roll your eyes and wonder why they didn't go the extra step to throw any sound proofing into the room.

Take me back just a little over seven years ago, where I would have thought more about the second piece of bread I planned on having, as well as wondering if they offer ice cream to go with the molten lava cake. I mean, much more important things to consume one's mind rather than insignificant details such as ADA compliance, am I right?

Be honest. Please say that I'm not alone. We all not only love what we do but we like to share it. Even during "off hours," we offer "Tips of the Trade" and suggestions when given the chance.

We could easily begin the "If people only knew ..." card but, in essence, it's how it should be. We have claimed a stake within the industry that allows us to share our love of good design and the process upon which every story is laid.

Either on a macro level, such as Urban Planning or Landscaping or on a micro level, involving construction or interior design, we all have something to offer not only our clients, but just as important, our colleagues.

If there is one thing that keeps my juices flowing, it's working shoulder to shoulder with vendors and artisans that are more experienced than I.

In fact, I find other facets of design fascinating. With every niche of design, there is a particular lingo and sense of knowledge devoted to every avenue of manufacturing and customization.

Each have studied their fields so well that they have crafted and fined tuned better ways to build and install -- saving me, time, money and resources.

I find time and again that my best work is revealed when I've leaned on them to help solve a problem or dream along with me, offering their creative skills and solutions.

Teaming with a variety of collaborative bright artists and engineers becomes much more rewarding than me trying to handle so much of the design alone.

As with most of my colleagues that I have the honor to know and call friend, it does my heart good to bring them into a new design project and, again, starts the wheel of invention and intrigue to what new things await us.

My challenge to you is to keep stretching yourself in ways you haven't tried. Reach out and develop relationships with unique artists and engineers or inventors who are thirsty to keep reinventing the wheel, one cog at a time.

"A man's trade is opt to make him narrow. It is good for the Bricklayer to have a chat with the Butcher; the Doctor should make friends with the Draper. Each man, in his own business, evolves a small hoard of ideas. It is good for them to be poured into a common pool and shared."

- "When Swans Fly High," Chips & Shavings, 1931, pg. 193.

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