Joanna Goodman is passionate about good design and knows that an ‘all inclusive’ approach results in a masterpiece. “I love what I do,” says the director Interiors for Nashville-based Christopher Architecture and Interiors. “Our approach translates into a cohesive and elegant product for our clients.”
“What we offer is unique, because we design the entire property in-house,” Goodman adds. “We have the ability to create a cohesive interior and exterior, and it is truly a collaborative effort among our teams.”
Managing expectations and visions is a large part of the process throughout the experience in working with homeowners who are setting out to build their dream house. The Christopher AI process begins with a meeting that includes the client, architects and designers. They work through a series of images and ideas to determine style preferences, but also to know the client’s values, lifestyle, and practical needs.
“I usually focus on the adjectives that they use,” Goodman says regarding her conversations with clients. “One client wanted it to be ‘welcoming’ and ‘comfortable,’ so I shared images that I thought evoked that feeling and response.” A custom design emerges from that first conversation that will represent the client’s style and personality.
In many respects the design process is both an evolution and an education, says Goodman. As the designers get to know the clients and their needs, the design evolves. As the client begins to see the formation of a cohesive design they are educated on how the process comes together, how spaces relate to one another or flow, and which materials and color palettes complement each other. We focus on strong elements like lighting fixtures, windows, and lines of site or focal points for each space, and integrate these well.” Again, collaboration is key.
“Our work is not a reflection of our own taste and desires but a reflection of our clients’ personalities, lifestyle, and memories,” says Goodman. “Listening to our clients is the most important thing we do. By incorporating these conversations along with our vast resources and our team’s talents, we are able to create a unique product that is customized to each individual client.”
A room that is used and enjoyed is a great investment, and designers cannot assume they can predict how a family chooses to dine, or relax, or entertain. All of those cultural elements have to be discussed. “It is important for us to have an understanding of how a space will be used. When navigating our designs we want our spaces to evoke a feeling. This is where the adjectives the client shared earlier comes into play. One room may sooth and act as a sanctuary while another may inspire creativity. When designing space, all factors are considered: natural light, traffic flow, volume, textiles and furnishings. Our goal is to create a space that looks like it evolved over time, and, above all, reflect the personality of its owners,” she says.
The homes Christopher Ai build “forever-homes” says Goodman. That’s why the drawing board takes in considerations for the inevitable transitions in life. For example, some homes will include the installation of elevators, outdoor showers, and multi-generational living spaces. The result says Goodman is, “a high-end eclectic style that speaks to who the client is and how they really live.” Sometimes we live with multiple pets, inlaws, regular guests, and eccentric collections or serious hobbies. All of these pragmatic concerns emerge in the conversation in an “all inclusive” design approach.
When asked what makes Christopher Ai stand out as one of the most prominent and influential design firms, Goodman said, “Because we are passionate about great design and we truly invest in what is important to our clients.”