Brooke Moorehead blog post The Practice of Choice featured image

The Practice of Choice

A corner of a newly finished living room on the Upper East Side.
Photo: Gieves Anderson

I find myself bombarded by choices these days. The customization of life today is an amazing thing, and yet, it is filled with so many options that it can be exhausting to define one’s life in such crystallized detail. Be it which kind of coffee I want, the best cell phone or running shoe, or how I am going to structure the arc of my weekend, minutia comes at me, like waves of the sea.

Interior design, inherently, is choice-ridden as well. I hear a lot: “You’re an interior designer! Wow! I love interior design, but oh my gosh, the decisions… they’re just endless… I could never do that.”

A closet I designed with custom doors, drawers, hardware and tonal paint colors. Photo: Jon Heil

I like to think of designing less about decisions and more about the vision. If there is a vision, you aren’t deciding between one thing and another. Rather, you are searching for something based on what you’ve already dreamed up… and then there’s no decision to be made. It isn’t “this sofa or that sofa, this paint color or that”. Those choices DO get tiring and endless, and they can zap out the creativity of building something. But if you can see it first, and then create it with the abundance of materials, resources, merchandise, etc. that the world has to offer, the end result is magical and the process is more of a forward motion momentum than a side-to-side head spin.

Where some might find an insurmountable number of choices in paint colors, I see not enough choices, because the paint color I’m thinking of may not even exist. Where some may tire of the trudge through a showroom, I might get tired too, but only because I haven’t yet found what I am looking for. (And if you know me, you know I wear sneakers a lot… for exactly this reason).

The product of a TriBeCa renovation. Wallpaper defines the dining area with custom cabinetry marking the entry hall. Photo: Jon Heil

This vision is THE reason to customize. If the client is willing and the budget warrants it, creating a custom piece, and, by extension, a custom home is the pinnacle of this “imagine it and it will arrive” scenario. This isn’t to say that unexpected surprises don’t arise in finding cool objects, antiques, accessories or vintage finds – they do. But if you have something in your head, creating that and making it a reality is where a project can find its own voice and really sing.

The corner of a newly completed Hamptons project’s bedroom. Stay tuned for more.
Photo: Gieves Anderson

Of course, it all takes practice. It’s in the day to day work of envisioning something, and then knowing that that vision will come to life in the right way, that the whole thing gets easier, and less “deciding” has to happen.

A customized nail polish drawer I designed for a client, showcasing another set of choices. Photo: Jon Heil

So what now? Dream big, find the vision, and then put on your blinders and go. And if you don’t have the vision you think you need, find someone who you think can see into your soul, let them read you, and then trust the process.

In good design,

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