Focused feedback

As well as residential work and show homes we also get involved in care home projects – homes for adults with learning disabilities as well as Extra Care schemes for the elderly.  Part of the design process with our Extra Care work involves me presenting to a focus group of potential residents.  At this meeting I talk through all elements of the design, inviting feedback on colours, furniture style and so forth.  This morning I attended one of these focus groups to present a new Extra Care scheme for a Crest Nicholson project in Kent.  The great thing about this type of audience is their immediate honesty.  As I talked through the board for the reception area, one lady’s expression told me everything about her views on paprika as a cushion colour.  Indeed nobody held back on questions and the insights gained through these kind of sessions are invaluable.  The paprika I am happy to say was the only eyebrow raiser!

It was at a previous focus group last year whilst working on a project for Galliford Try, that I met Pat (left).  We got talking, she shared her love of soft furnishings with me so I promised to send her some of our remnants.  Since then we have continued to batch up off cuts every few months and post them off to her.  As you will see on our website Pat uses these fabrics to make cushions for local cancer charities; she really enjoys making them and we love the fact that our remnant fabrics get put to good use.  Pat has turned into a friend and attended this morning’s group so I was able to deliver our latest pile of off cuts in person.  It really was great to see her and she has further developed a fantastic network of grateful charity shops and stalls, eager to take delivery of their next consignment of Pat’s handiwork.

What we hope to achieve through presenting to these focus groups is a clear sense that we are producing designs that residents would happily live with and that we as designers are seen to listen to how people like to live and ensure that the designs we produce enhance that.  This to me is the whole point of interior design.  Meeting lovely Pat at one of these forums and being able to recycle our remnants was for us the icing on the cake, and I received this wonderful email from Pat when I got back to the office.

“Hi again Jacqui,

I have tried to use “Twitter” to thank you, but I’m not really sure how it works,

But must thank you again for SO MUCH…wonderful fabric, this lot will keep me very busy, so off to the shops tomorrow for lots of pillows……Bless you. Pat xx”