Scoring Success in Client-Designer Relationships

March 30, 2023

As a designer, I thrive by making genuine, lasting connections with my clients. From the very beginning of the design process, we each vet one another–and for good reason. If the client-designer relationship is not a good fit, the project may, quite frankly, be doomed from the start. This is why it is so important to find alignment when searching for a designer for one’s project or when taking on a new client.

Enter our “Modern Hilltop Retreat,” a project that began in March of 2021. Our dynamic client, Richard, tasked us with an overhaul of his two-story home in Hermosa Beach. The 3-bedroom home has two separate living spaces, a floating staircase, a deck for entertaining, and is capped off by a not-so-average sweeping view of Palos Verdes to Malibu via the rooftop.

Keeping true to the personality of the client himself, he asked us to infuse his space with vibrant & playful furnishings & accessories. His unique home had so much untapped potential, which is essentially why he hired us. What transpired over the course of this project was a truly collaborative client-designer experience. Eventually, I was speaking with Richard on the phone (and in person) upwards of 3–4 times a day. His knowledge of his home and neighborhood and his attention to detail were unparalleled.

Upon taking on any new project, a designer must make a commitment to be aware of client needs and creatively explore these needs with them. In a client-designer relationship, it is imperative that each party feels heard and supported. As a designer, you’re not there to step on toes but rather nudge those feet in the direction you feel is best for the project overall. The designer wants the client to want for nothing and leave no stone unturned, but is also responsible for keeping the client on track within their budget and creative goals. It’s our job as hired professionals to be organized, educate, and problem-solve from start to finish.

I am honored to share with you the testimonial submitted by Richard upon completion of his Modern Hilltop Retreat:

“From our first meeting Shanna Shryne and I naturally 'clicked'. With excitement and optimism Shanna led the way. She really understood that I was looking for something out of the ordinary, my home was like none other, and she was passionate to create the look and feel with me. She listened attentively to what I said and didn't say. She listened to my emotions and body language, my ideals and dreams, and what I was and wasn't passionate about and why. She detailed a plan to create the look and feel that was just what I was looking for and within the budget constraints I wanted to live with.

We worked together forming plans and solutions on the exciting parts, on the hard parts, and on all the rest; all the way with a great relationship that lasts on. Timely, responsive, available, and on top of the details, we collaborated exceptionally well.  We resolved the challenges that naturally arise with creativity, fun, and I gained even more appreciation for Shanna's talent and expertise.

I'm very excited to think of when, one day, I'll get to create something fabulous again with Shanna.”

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