Sometimes I Wish I Could Hire a Designer
I’ve been jotting notes on this topic for a while. Unfortunately I keep getting more source material. Regardless of the size of a project, almost always, something goes wrong.
I’ve had many successes this year — projects large and small — of which I am very proud. But almost every single job has had something go askew.
Sometimes I am able to catch an error before it is too late or even an issue. The custom dining bench with the fabric running the wrong way. The window shade produced in the wrong material. The wrong size shower door. The wrong size and shape tile. Old plumbing that springs a leak in the middle of a non-related project. Bathroom towel racks missing in action from a job site.
Other issues are more difficult to address.
A custom table that was 6 months late and then damaged by the delivery company. A production breakdown for a custom tile. The wrong leg style on a chair. A very special stone slab, which somehow between selection and final delivery, acquired a spiderweb of palpable cracks.
Sometimes the problem is fortuitous. That same stone slab problem was a hassle, but in the end we found a more affordable alternative that worked with the design and the finished space is fantastic.
As a designer, if I am hired to help coordinate a project, one of my goals is to limit the number of problems that occur and run interference when they do. I can’t completely eliminate problems, but I can help the clients solve problems or find alternatives, making it a much less painful process. While for me, this can be a frustrating part of the job, it’s much more stressful and emotional for a homeowner handling on his or her own. The added bonus of having a designer run interference became clear to me when I started wishing I had a “me” on call to troubleshoot one of the problems that popped up during our North Fork renovation.
Earlier this year, I fired up our brand new induction cooktop. It had been delivered to the job site two months prior to allow the cabinets to be installed and the stone counters measured and cut. The electrician and contractor had installed the cooktop, tested the power and we assumed we were ready to roll. Of course, when I actually went to use the cooktop, the power went on, but the burners did not connect properly. I asked the electrician to review; everything looked fine. I began to make calls. Calls to the appliance vendor. Calls to the manufacturer. Scheduled visits with appliance repair companies that never came to pass. A botched job by the repair company. Finally, a new cooktop sent by the manufacturer.
As I sat on hold on the phone, yet again, I thought, “I really wish I had someone else to deal with this.” Why was this so painful for me when I deal with these types of issues on a regular basis? It’s because, as the owner, I had to problem solve, understand the issue, be nice and also not so nice with the supplier, while at the same time try to determine how I was going to cater to my family and house guests over upcoming weeks.
Too much. Sigh.
In recent weeks I’ve had a variety of discussions with clients getting ready to take on a renovation project. One message I will communicate when the time comes: yes, issues will crop up. But problems can be dealt with and, in the end, your space will be better than you imagined. Hopefully, I can help you make it a less painful process...