Vicente Wolf joins us at the table!

You know when you're having a great conversation and the person you're chatting with just has so much to share? Well, you don't want it to end, which is what happened today when Megan and Linda (*) chatted with the fabulous Vicente Wolf! Mr. Wolf is clearly a born teacher and had so much to share about interior design and the business of design. So, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, sit back and join us in our in depth chat with Vicente Wolf!

And if you haven't been there, please do visit his website.

(*)Joni was experiencing technical problems, so have no fear, she'll be back at the table next time!


wow. excellent interview.
Terry said…
You just can't do this in print. Nothing works like a conversation. Thanks to Mr. Wolf.
Terry said…
Having been the husband in the process, Vincent is on the money. We've worked with 2 lady designers and one gentleman designer. They all were conscientious about our wife/husband relationship. It was very obvious that they were working with BOTH of us and they worked hard to try to understand us. There are stresses even with the best. Marriages break up during big design projects.
Anonymous said…
Wow! So amazing, I couldn't tear myself away! I can't believe how generous Vicente is with his knowledge.
Great job, ladies:)
Wow that was fun! Loved listening to him talk...but as I was looking at his name, I thought I must have been pronouncing it wrong. Vi(no n)cen-te. But apparently not, as I heard you call him Vincent.

Great interview...missed Joni, though.
Linda Merrill said…
Re: pronunciation - yes, spelled Vicente, pronounced Vincent.
Lauren said…
Great one. Loved hearing more about how to get on equal playing ground with potential clients... It's a tough spot for me too & there's even been times when I know that a client isn't right for me but I've gone ahead & taken the job anyway. (You know when it just doesn't sit right but you go against your gut??) I always end up wishing I hadn't taken the job in the end...

I'm not sure if Vicente is answering any more questions, but I'd love to hear how you gracefully decline a potential client?? I would never want to hurt any feelings or burn any bridges but sometimes something just doesn't feel right with a potential client. Also, sometimes it's not something tanglible that I feel I could explain to them or maybe it would hurt their feelings... Like "Your budget expectations are unrealistic..." (which I've actually been getting better at saying to clients) or sometimes they seem like they're the type who will never be happy with anything (when you come in & they're already complaining about past ppl they've worked with.) Or they are really mean to each other (a couple) and it's just bad/ awkward to be around. Anyway, I'd love any thoughts on this.

Also, Megan & Linda, do you work out of your homes or have clients meet you at a home office? I do have a nice in-home office but usually go to clients' homes. I do see how having them come into your territory would help balance out the playing field from the get-go and I also think it would be less pressure for them to ask you for your ideas on the spot because you haven't seen their home yet. Any thoughts here? Do you think it's better to have potential clients do the first meet at your home? (I will most likely never have an out-of-home office because of my working style & of course the cost.) Also, I live in a really "normal" home--- it looks great but it's not large or impressive or in an affluent neighborhood. Do you think more affluent clients would be turned off by this?? Would the fact that our income is obviously less than theirs take away any balance of power from the beginning that I would have gained from having them in my territory? Or do you think seeing something that looks really "normal" on the outside be so special on the inside would help?? Any thoughts??

SO sorry this was such a long one!! Thanks so much & really enjoyed this interview!!!

Lauren said…
ok, so you all got me really wondering about this so I just did a post on it here:

thanks (as always) for being so thought-provoking!! :)
KayEllen said…
Enjoyed this interview on sooo many levels:)

How great to connect to your interview and hear about this designers inspiring work... and of course the day to day life of the "Real" business of the industry:)

Thank you so much!!

Vicente Wolf said…
Thank you so much for the time yesterday - it was great to talk with you ladies!

To answer Lauren's question:

Part of the compromise of having the office in your home has to be that you have to let go of some of the creature comforts that you would have if it was just your living space. It has to be neutral enough to appeal to different types of clients but have a strong sense of who you are as a creative person. You need to have an area for presentations like a large round table where people can sit around and it should not look like you’re doing it in your dining room. So if it means closing off certain areas with curtains or putting in bi-folding doors, it should give the client a sense that they are in your office and it should give you the sense that you are not entertaining clients in your living room – giving you a stronger sense of confidence.
katiedid said…
Great interview! I must admit, I have been curious for ages about the sound of Vicente's I am so glad I had the chance to hear the interview.

Alot of great information here, especially about the initial "get to know you" processes: the first meeting, questionnaire, etc. I agree it is so important to meet the client for the first time in the designer's office. It is amazing how much brain picking can happen if the meeting is in the client's home, which may never lead to a formalized agreement. If the meeting is in the designer's office, the client sees how you work and a professional respect is generated. After you agree to work together (as Vicente so eloquently put it), then your design advice will be compensated.

I will be anxiously awaiting the Mr. Wolf's new book!!
Boxwood Terrace said…
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Boxwood Terrace said…
Such a treat to tune into Vincente Wolf on SRT. My impression is that Mr. Wolf has risen to the top of his field by simply doing what comes easily and naturally to him. The same thought comes to mind with great writers, artists, and musicians. Thanks for sharing such an insightful converation with all of us.
Anonymous said…
Slightly excrutiating to listen to, but I'd read the interview of him in NYSD, so I was somewhat prepared.

Megan, your comment about his dyslexia and his working methods made no sense. If someone is dyslexic--poor at processing written language--why would he rely on a questionnaire to gain critical information to do his job? Why wouldn't he give clients photographs, or books, and ask them to show him, visually, the things they like and don't like? Why would he choose to get his information from WRITTEN LANGUAGE, if he's bad at processing that? That's the question that should have been asked.
Cottage Rose said…
Now those are my kind of visits.. sounds like a great time was had by all.. I am going to jump on over and check out his blog...
Have a great week.

Unknown said…
Vicente is one of my favorites among the contemporary interior designers, great interview. It is good to put a voice to the man, he certainly has a particular style, dealing with clients included.

I found in my own practice, that too much bending backwards to please the client backfires with the expectations that you are endlessly availlable and ready for constant change. It is certainly good to bring the notion to the table that this is a business and a two - way - street, but designers are hired for their expertise, so let there be expertise and not a decorating back and for...There is only so much room for decorating negotiations!

Also: I work out of home, out of sheer neccesity, I can't afford an office nor any cut off space from our rather small family home.
Therefore I see clients in their places, I think that makes the first contact less intimidating and I get a feeling for the job at hand. Of course, a neat professional office would be great...It's a bit a chicken and egg situation.
Since my home is my castle and private, I do not want to give the impression, that my style at home refects my abilities as a decorator.

It was great to hear Vicente talking about the common problems of design work and his approach to solving them.

Thank you for another great Skirted Round Table!

As always!

Linda Merrill said…
Oh Anon at 6:35 - what are we to do with you? Well, I'm glad it was only "slightly excrutiating" for you to listen to. We strive to keep things from being full on excrutiating.
Unknown said…
What struck me about Vincente Wolf, considering he's one of the top designers in the industry, is how down to earth he is.
It's very refreshing to listen to a famous designer who is willing to share his experiences with others.
Thank you Vincente and skirted round table.
Posture. He's got great posture. (And for the record: Anon 6:35 is an asshole.)
cotedetexas said…
Posture? Liberty, please! he is full on sexy!!!!! and I had to miss it. I'm still crying. and no one even missed me. :(
I mean 'posture' in the very sexiest of ways silly. Hot. Hot. Hot. His voice. His 'from the hip' attitude. His assertiveness. His directness. His design confidence. His sharing. His frankness - self-taught. The whole idea of 'partnering, marrying his clients' is brilliant. I love him. And everyone missed you! (I heard that Vicente was torn up over the fact that you had technical difficulties.)
Michelle said…
I missed you Joni :)

A very diverse talent...some great information...thanks! I can't get over the way that the internet has changed everything.

72 and sunny said…
Joni! we missed you so much. I said to Linda, ' I really missed having Joni pop in with her great observations or opinions' It really changes the dynamic when one person isn't part of the group!
we missed you, dammit!
Ladies & Vicente. THANK YOU!! This was fabulous. I crave more, I didn't want it to end. I discovered Vicente's blog very early on and am so grateful for his wealth of information, his honesty, his straightforwardness his talents and all that he shares, purely truly wonderful. It was a great discussion that could have gone on all day and am very thankful that we had the honor of listening in, thank you. Joni, girlfriend you were missed!
Topsy Turvy said…
What a coup to get Vicente Wolf on air! And what a great interview, Megan and Linda! He is so open and generous with his point of view, talents and experiences - I felt like he was sitting in my living room, talking to me alone. (I can only wish!) Can't wait for that book.
Joni - your voice was greatly missed!

Jaime Rogers said…
I LOVED this post! Vicente is the reason I grew from retail to design over 13 years ago. I was a buyer for a showroom which specialized in globally sourced found objects, naturally one can see why I was so inspired by and enamored with his work as his aesthetic is so inclusive of many different cultures, periods and pedigrees...yet very sophisticated as the backdrop is frequently soft and somewhat diffused, such a beautiful compliment to his more rustic travel finds. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his work. His shop in Hell's Kitchen is a must see, always new stories to be told;) Ladies, thanks again for this post, I really enjoyed it!
Beth Connolly said…
This was my favorite SRT of all, and that is saying a lot. He is a great interview-interesting, frank, down to earth, informative, and mega talented. The Hotel Lorien and Brabo Restauarant in Old Town right near me is one of my favorites-beautifully designed by him. As to anon-I mentioned long ago in a comment/question on the SRT that I moderate comments and do not allow anonymous comments for just the reason above. Anonymous commenters are often unhappy people looking to vent their anger at the world. Joni responded to my comment about honesty, taking the good with the bad, etc. Perhaps you should rethink whether you want to give a forum for people who are too cowardly to identify themselves to insult honored guests like Mr. Wolf who are so generous on the SRT with their time and talents. Just my 2 cents-I love the SRT!
Anonymous said…
Congrats on another great interview, ladies - and thank you to Vicente for doing it!

I love his point of view on why it's important to meet with clients first in our own office or space - I'd just never thought of a number of those points, but they all make complete sense.

Having come from the client side, I can tell you that a lot of clients are just dying to see their designers' own homes, assuming that they are out of this world fabulous - but if your space is not pristine and very impressive, it could very well backfire to bring them in there. If you're going after a very high profile/high budget client and a large project in particular, they might look around your tiny little bungalow and decide you won't be able to handle their job unless perhaps it's *really* spectacular. But people tend to migrate towards others who are most like them, so too big of a mismatch between your home style and size and theirs won't bode well, I don't think. Commercial office space can help level that playing field immensely.

I also agree with Vicente that a home office may have to be more neutral in style than you may want to live with in order to appeal to a broader range of client tastes. Too many people simply cannot visualize anything other than what's right in front of them, and if your design work is contemporary but your personal style is more traditional (for example), many won't be able to make the leap.
Unknown said…
Oh Joni, I missed you and your spunky style....!
Can't wait for more from you all!

Lots of love - Victoria
Anonymous said…
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Vicente Wolf's generosity and honesty are incredibly refreshing.
I have always believed that we will only survive as an industry if we start being more supportive of each other. It's nice to hear one of our industry luminaries with the same outlook.
I hope he moves forward with his seminars. I will definitely be attending!
Thank you for a wonderful interview.

Enjoyed the interview! And I appreciated the reference he made about his color palette being "painterly." I see that. I thought it was interesting, too, how he works with clients -- inviting them to his office first, rather than seeing how they live.
thanks, -susan
I am a bit behind in my listening, but loved this interview. I appreciate so much the issue of transparency and support among designers, as well as the concept of working together with clients. All too often people get off on the wrong foot with haughty attitudes or control issues. Designing one's home should be a process of working together with mutual respect. What a treat to hear Vincente Wolf speak about his work and his background - thanks to all of you, and yes, I agree, Joni's voice and perspective were definitely missed!
Anonymous said…
Great interview, mostly because he is extremely talented and a natural at what he does. I just don't get that down-to-earth vibe. The man is from cuba, his name is VICENTE.
It is interesting that he talks about explaining things intelligently right after he uses the term architecturally-wise.
WillowDesignsInc said…
The SRT is a wonderful resource for design professionals. The fluid format and interesting topics make me feel as though I'm actually part of the conversation.

The Vincente Wolf interview was a great example of that. Although this was an interview the tone was so comfortable and conversational that I pictured the 3 of you sitting around a table together.

I was struck by Vincente Wolf's accessibility and his simple approach to the various steps involved in managing a project.

One comment in particular struck a cord with me. Vincente spoke of the importance of "keeping myself amused." I love that! Isn't that a big part of what we do? Stay engaged and stay amused!
Wow, what a treat! Amazing interview. Thank you! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!
Amanda said…
I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just heard Vincente's interview tonight. Life changing! I don't mean to be dramatic, but it's true.

I have just recently started design school after being in another field for close to 14 years. I feel like I've just learned a very important lesson. A lesson that I will be carrying into my own practice one day.

Thanks so much for doing the interviews. It is most appreciated.