Spanish mediterranean chic interior design dining room, Palo Alto interior designer.

Fast, cheap, or good. In our fast moving society, we are sometimes lulled into thinking that if we see something we like, we should be able to have it right now — and for cheap. I have witnessed this mentality in meetings with potential clients. They review my portfolio and say, “I love your work! I want my home to be this beautiful, to only cost this much — and I want it right away.”

To which I say, “Really?!”

Here’s the LMB wisdom… You can have it beautiful, you can have it relatively soon, OR you can have it in the budget you want, but you cannot have all three. (Thanks to my dear friend Andi who schooled me in this theory)

It’s called the “Iron Triangle” theory of project management. The three sides are: Budget, Time and Scope. Each one affects the other and all three together determine the quality of the result.

If you don’t need your space to look like what you see in a shelter magazine, then the project will most likely cost you less, but still may take time to put together. If you want your project to be beautiful AND happen fast then you must be willing to spend the money to purchase the higher quality pieces that make for a beautiful space. Even so, the constraint of time may lead to compromises as customized and handmade pieces and unique, rare, or antique items may take longer to procure.

Patience can be a challenge.

While occasionally it might be true that your dream home design elements could be acquired with a credit card and a few clicks, this conditioned attitude can set us up for failure when we desire something more… something that can only be had with thought, consideration and curation.

Plus, aesthetic decisions are hard for most people.

That’s why good designers are worth our weight in gold; we know how to make good decisions about what looks good together. (And often we can come to those decisions more quickly.) Clients also have to trust us — this is key — not only on questions of aesthetics, but also trusting us on when it is worthwhile to have patience.

Like anything worth having — healthy relationships, a fit body, wisdom — creating a well-curated authentically designed home takes time; and the secret is to embrace the process, let go of unrealistic agendas and perfectionism and watch the results unfold. The reward is getting to play, work, and love in beautiful, personalized environments that are possibly even more fantastic than what we had imagined, that mirror the values we want to live and inspire us to be our best selves.