While reviewing entries for the 10th Detroit Home Design Awards (DHDA), I began reflecting on some competitions I’ve entered in the past several years — most of which have been in the art world. Every time I enter one of my watercolors into a juried competition, I tell myself (or my sons and husband, if they care to listen), as I’m carefully placing a framed painting in the back seat of my car or getting ready to hit “submit” on my laptop, “You don’t get an omelet if you don’t crack some eggs! Here we go again … if I’m in, great; if not, I’ll learn something.”
Weeks later, I might receive a letter of congratulations that inspires pure joy. My family sees me jump, yell, and “woohoo!” my way around the house.
And when I don’t get in, what do they see? A person who recognizes that not every judge has good taste. Just kidding! They see resilience: the desire to improve, to try again, to win next time. I don’t consider it a failure because I understand that judges give marks based on their own life experiences, mixed with knowledge and personal taste (beauty absolutely is in the eye of the beholder).
We at Detroit Home were fortunate to be the recent beholders of a ton of beauty during this year’s DHDA selection process. As we reviewed all the images that came through the system during the initial stages of the judging process, we were overwhelmed with the imaginative designs and awesome quality. The judges (many new) also were awestruck this year by the creativity in metro Detroit.
Not one of the entries that I can recall received anything less than several points — and the competition was as stiff as 1970s outdoors fabrics.
Metro Detroit designers inspire and innovate; there’s no doubt about that. This issue reveals the most aesthetically pleasing, and most creative ways to utilize space and to recognize those who often push the boundaries of living. Good design helps us live a better life. Whether through interior décor, architecture, at home or at work, design enlightens us.
How inspiring that so many of you — including both design veterans and newbies — pushed yourselves to enter. Not only is the work and creativity that you put into your designs commendable, but so is entering, period (and not just because entering the DHDA requires nearly a full-time employee with the title of “competition specialist” — writing about your project, procuring great photography, etc. isn’t easy!).
Here’s to all who hit “submit.” Those whose work appears on the following pages might have tales about how they had to embrace rejection at least once as a necessary step to their success. Maybe a winning architect remembers flunking Intro to Integrated Design or an interior designer recalls the Color Theory project that came in last. They know more than anyone that one doesn’t really win until one loses — and that involves cracking some eggs!