Weston Design Brings Dreams into the Here and Now: Using Intuition as a Path to Discovery09/01/2021 05:00PM ● By Jennifer Duby
How do the places in which we find ourselves—our homes and the towns and cities where they’re located, the jobs and schools that anchor us to those places—shape our sense of who we are and where we fit in the context of the larger world?
The turmoil of the last months has dislocated many of us, pushed us out of our homes either willingly or unwillingly, forcing us to reevaluate so many things, not least of which, who are we?
Every Project Begins with a Dream
These may seem weighty questions for an interior designer, but for Candy Kavanagh, owner of Weston Design, they are the essence of her job. Every design project begins with a dream. Clients have a vision of how they want their home to look. They seek out a designer to help them bring that vision from the world of dreams into the concrete here and now. They need practical help in putting together all the pieces—the fabrics, the furniture, the lighting, and the placement of all of it—to create a space that feels right.
But homing in on what a client’s dreams really mean and how to bring them to life takes some talent. It’s not just a matter of learning what colors someone likes or whether they need a table for six or a table for four. To genuinely understand what is best for someone, a good designer needs to be able to discover how the space the client lives in satisfies and expresses their most profound sense of who they are and how they exist in the world—no simple task.
Candy approaches the process in an intuitive way. “I’ve been intuitive a lot of my life. A lot of what shows up when I talk to clients is a feeling.” She often begins with a simple questionnaire of straightforward questions about who the clients are, what they do, and what they value. A discussion evolves from there about how they spend their time both at work and in leisure time, drawing out what they love about those things and what they wish they could change.
It’s Not Just Paint
Design projects involve a great many decisions. Sometimes clients fall prey to decision fatigue and begin to feel that their choices just don't matter that much. Candy says, "I tell them, 'It's not just paint. Let's spend a little more time on selecting the right hue. What we're doing is pulling out a desire you have to make this space your own.'"
Another client, a couple from a suburban/urban area in the Northeast, came to her to wrestle with how best to update a lakeside cabin in Vermont. The cabin is part of a historical vacation community, one of a cluster of rustic cabins on a small and picturesque lake. It’s a location that brings to mind the resort communities featured in Dirty Dancing or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the kind of place that brings families back for generations.
The Vermont Difference
The couple are busy professionals living a high-pressure urban life who come to Vermont to step back, relax, and reconnect with nature. The lake and its surroundings were special to one member of the couple as a place he had spent many summers of his youth with his family. When the couple decided to spend more time there during the pandemic, they knew they needed to update it from its rustic charm to something more modern and livable. Candy posed the question to them, “What do you love about Vermont that is different from where you came from?” Vermont is about being who you are, about people. “No one cares about what kind of car you’re driving or what brand your shoes are,” observes Candy.
Luxurious but Casual
Job one was to open up the cabin and make it feel more spacious, up-to-date, and functional to a modern family. The master bedroom ceiling was elevated and sloped, giving the room an airier feel. The washer and dryer were taken out of the bathroom and replaced with a stackable in the hallway.
With adult children who might conceivably bring grandkids to the cabin one day, the couple wanted to maximize the space they had. A fresh coat of white paint did wonders to brighten the bunk room.
The renovated cabin has a farmhouse style with a black-and-white palate that gives the place an organic, clean, and modern feel.
“We elevated that whole luxurious-but-casual, camp-like feel,” says Candy. “You don’t know what you were missing until it’s done. It feels like you can almost breathe on a different level.”