Following the rules.
As a designer there are rules....and then there are RULES. Repetition, continuity, balance, texture - these are the written rules we keep in our heads as we create an interior or exterior design for a client. Call the town and find out what we are allowed and what we aren't. That's a rule. Call in a markout. That's a rule. Find out what are load-bearing walls. That's a pretty important rule.
Then - well, that's where following the rules stops ! Design is often more interesting and personal when the rules are bent. Paint the ceiling black, flip dining/living room, make a rusted gate the focal point of the landscape instead of a plant.
In college, when I was so frustrated with figuring out my design style my professor gave me sage advice, "Get out of your own way." When we stay within the perimeters of what is expected, redundant, the norm, we typically mimic and we don't CREATE.
The more I design - inside or out - the more chances I take. My clients feel that when I bring them a design it is so personal because I have done my homework. I follow the basic, sound rules of design and then I start bending them. I want to evoke memories, I want to draw you into a part of your yard you hated previously, I want you to have a party because your dining room is so much fun you WANT to eat in there now.
Give me a call and let's break a few rules !!!!