Working with Liz Finkelstein is a creative dream come true. She is in a league of her own, and possesses a unique and singular talent. Liz does not enter a room and prescribe a pre-conceived vision to it. She senses it, instead—feeling out the space, pondering, contemplating muses, and thoroughly assessing, measuring, and thinking out loud until she can confidently pronounce her lightbulb eureka moments. These lightbulb moments of hers left me floored every time.
Liz works electronically and on Pinterest in a very contemporary, modern, digital way. This was an adjustment for me at first, as I was used to paper design and custom built furniture, but I very quickly grew to love and embrace the electronic design process. It was so fluid, and I realize so necessary to reflect the evolving fluidity of Liz’s inspired style. From the moment I hired her, her design mind was always buzzing, 24/7, anticipating how the pieces we chose would all work together, & letting the entire room have its own Alchemy. Instead of “FIXING” the room, and making it a constrained, one-off project, the space was a living, breathing, evolving entity to Liz. She allowed it to dictate itself to her, by obsessive scrutiny and “listening” to it with her finely tuned design senses. The fact her nickname is the “House Whisperer” is grounded in the reality that she employs all her sensory faculties in order to feel, listen to, see and sense the potential in spaces unlike any designer I’ve ever met.
Working with Liz was involved, and there were moments of uncertainty as we shifted away from some of our original ideas and embarked in totally new directions. But I actually found this level of evolution to be refreshing. In Boulder especially, there can be a lot of rigidity when it comes to design. I’ve personally experienced resistance to creative openness and the embracing of nontraditional, “daring” design in this town. For a place with an “open” and liberal reputation, energy here can actually be very controlled and controlling. I’ve found designers to be rather left brain & “safe” which often doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for experimentation. The truth is, you really CAN’T know with 100% certainty in the beginning how the space is going to look with certain structural elements, or how colors will play with each other, or how textures, fabrics, and materials will clash or complement each other, or how a light fixture or metallic figurine can totally shift the balance of the décor in one corner of the room, requiring you to add, subtract, or compensate on the shelving in the opposite side of the room. All of that minutia may seem excessively detail oriented—and for those without an eye for design, it may also seem entirely superfluous. But the truth is, every single factor matters and weighs on the overall impact of a space. I needed a VERY specific environment and ambience created for me to be able to perform my creative work in my carriage house studio, and Liz delivered above and beyond my wildest dreams. As someone who’s experienced traditional & less bespoke interior design endeavors, I can say with confidence I can’t imagine how a room could truly come together any way other than this fun, intuitive, organic, approach.
Another thing that was pleasantly surprising about working with Liz was how direct her communication style is. It’s my personal experience that many people struggle with being direct and to-the-point, leaning instead on misleading or indirect ways of beating around the bush, especially when it involves spending money. Liz is very to the point, so that you know exactly how much the space will cost, and there are no hidden fees or upcharges down the road.
The bottom line is, design is incredibly subjective, and there really are no ‘mistakes’—there are only different paths to choose. For instance, in my scenario, we realized a different light would bring a new element to the room and that in turn affected other decisions we made. Nothing was wrong, just different than an earlier idea. While subjective design evolves organically, there are still some very important rules of balance that have to be there or it just won’t all work together. One can be open and creative and intuitive all they want, but if there is no core design foundation in place, and fundamental rules of design aren’t followed, the end result could be disastrous. Liz expertly walks this necessary fine line between following core rules of aesthetics & design, while simultaneously allowing her muse and inspiration to flow freely.
Ultimately, working with Liz taught me was that there is no ONE “right” way to do a room; you open Door A and there are 2 other doors. You choose door B and there are 3 other completely different doors. For those who want a less hands-on design experience, they could rest assured and be confident in the fact that Liz is entirely capable of listening to a client’s wishes and making those step-by-step calls on her own. However, for those like me who love the details, the collaboration in the process she afforded me was such a gift. After all, it’s my space and I have to be 100% happy with it. Thanks to Liz, I’m not just 100% happy with the space, I’m ecstatic to come to work every day. The end result is absolutely SPECTACULAR, it stuns every single person who enters with its unique, gorgeous, chic yet absolutely functional beauty. My space is truly one-of-a-kind, just like Liz Finkelstein.
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