A comfortable home is different for everyone

  • Be honest, is your home ready for an unannounced visit by guests?

    Be honest, is your home ready for an unannounced visit by guests? Creators Syndicate

By Joseph Pubillones
Posted5/2/2021 7:01 AM

Editor's note: Joseph Pubillones is taking some time off. This column originally published in 2017.

We are all familiar with the saying "Home, Sweet Home," but what does this mean? This varies greatly from person to person. What is comfortable and stylish for one person is not for another.


It is fascinating to find out how people truly live, and hard to find out. Once hired, this is what I sometimes resort to: an unannounced visit. Perhaps some consider it rude, but it is effective for me. You'll see why.

There is nothing I love more than to pay unannounced visits to my clients and friends -- and no, not because I am doing a "mother-in-law's" housekeeping visit. Lord knows the only housekeeping I know how to do involves hiring someone.

I love these visits because they are spontaneous, or at least I make it seem that way, and you can actually see how people live and use their spaces, without them taking time to show you the way they'd like to live. This always reveals the unedited version.

I always take away something from these visits. As a designer, I never try to impose a lifestyle on clients, but rather define and refine their own style. I actually learn something about my clients to better assist them.

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Your lifestyle is what should define your decoration. Working with a designer, a client enters into a relationship, where it is expected that you divest information that is somewhat private and can be considered intimate territory. So what if your teenage daughter loves to plaster the walls of her bedroom with adhesive tape, your live-in mother-in law is determined to move all your accessories around the house, or your husband sleeps in another room. When you are working with an interior designer, it is time to be bitterly honest about your household.

Your designer can often find solutions by design that can make your interventions seem like a great idea to your nemesis. This is not the time for keeping up appearances.

Creating your "Home, Sweet Home" is not unlike buying a couture gown, or having a custom suit made; it requires a little patience and some time for fittings so it can fit you like a glove. Whatever your design style is, the design has to function for your particular needs, or your family's.

This might mean letting go of conventional concepts of a household. For example, forgoing a formal dining room if you eat out all the time, or if your kitchen works best with a dining area. There shouldn't be any obstacles when making your space work for you, but it needs to make sense. Your designer should always be your sounding board for ideas, good and bad, and steer you in the right direction. Somewhere between their advice and your needs lies the best answer for your design.


My favorite quote about being sincere about your design needs is from Dr. Seuss: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.

© 2021, Creators Syndicate

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