24 October 2009

Just doing what I do

I wrote a post on 15 September and in it I told the story of a client who was panicking about a back splash that was being installed. She was regretting her decision to follow my suggestion and she had a melt down. It happens. Sometimes, people reach a breaking point and they can't handle any more renovation-related aggravation. I don't take it personally, and I see it as part of my job to walk people through episodes like that.

When I design a room, I see it as mine. It's my vision after all and since I'm responsible for it, I consider it to belong to me until it's completed. As the job progresses, I start letting it go and by the time I'm doing my final walk-through, I've let it go completely. That may sound odd, but that's the process I usually go through during the course of a renovation. I tend not to go back to see them after my clients have moved back in and settled their stuff into whatever it was that just got renovated. It's odd, I really lose interest in them as soon as they're not mine any more.

There are a handful of clients I've had over the years who have evolved into friends, but for the most part, I never hear from people again after I leave for the last time. That's OK too.

Anyhow, from time to time a client will reach across the distance I put between myself and their completed job. One such client was my hysterical homeowner from September 15th. I received this in the mail yesterday:
Dear Paul,

Thank you so much for my beautiful kitchen. I'm really enjoying everything in it. You wouldn't believe the people who've been in our home. My friends here ask if they can bring their friends or families over to see our kitchen. People from Pittsburgh, Ohio, New York and Canada have said it's absolutely beautiful. Most people said the design and cabinets are high end. My one friend said the back splash is to die for!!!

Thank you again,

I cannot tell you what a day brightener that was.


  1. you know - I kind of work the same way. I always approach a house and say, what would I do if I lived here. makes it so much easier to me to design that way. never thought about putting the distance in afterwards but its true - i think because after the installation - all their things go into it - things you don't own and wouldn't have chosen. it's messy, cluttered. upsetting. better not to go there.

  2. Thanks Joni, I find that I can't work for someone unless I can put myself in the position you described. "What would I do if this were mine?" is how I start every floor plan. I may not like the particular finishes every time, but the floor plans are always how I would like things to be positioned if I did live there.

    I can't imagine doing this if I weren't invested, but I wouldn't be able to do it either if I stayed invested. It's definitely a case of love 'em and leave 'em.

    As always, thank for you comments. You always class up the place when you stop by. :)


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