Don’t Mess With A Mama Bear

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INTERIOR DESIGN ISN’T ALWAYS PRETTY AND YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHO TO TRUST

In our design firm, we are surrounded with clients who are as passionate about their homes as we are.  They have confidence in us that we will not only prepare concept plans and specifications perfect for their project, but we will advise them when choosing the individuals who will be responsible to implement these plans.  Our team of real estate agents, builders, developers, project managers, sub contractors and vendors all can’t wait to be part of our projects.  We count on each other to perform at our best for our clients.  Our day to day, tried and true systems are in place.  Sure, we get grumpy sometimes from sheer exhaustion or frustrated like in any other business.  However, rarely does something “bug” us…as in linger and get stuck in our brains.  We are in the business of problem solving and what might undo someone in another industry rolls off us like the proverbial water off the duck’s back.

EXCEPT WHEN SOMETHING DIRECTLY AFFECTS OUR CLIENTS AND MAY CAUSE THEM A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

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This is when the Mama bear protecting her cub comes out.  It’s when we will draw claws if needed.  You get the picture.

In Blog School (there really isn’t a school but there are talented IT people who I listen too most of the time) there are certain rules to follow for a successful blog.

  • Write about a subject you know. Check.
  • Be knowledgeable in these subjects and give credit to others when due. Check.
  • Be passionate about the content of each post. Check.
  • Write as if you are having a conversation with someone who cares about what you are saying. Check.
  • Use more photos than you think needed. Check-well maybe except for today.
  • Let readers know when something is bugging you.

Hmmm…I generally reserve these thoughts to those in my “safe circle”.  Mr. LBD is my number one sounding board.  He knows what to listen to and what to tune out. It’s pretty much a one sided conversation which is why we’ve been married so long.

There is another Blog school tidbit that suggests to tell a story.  So here we go…two real life stories of things that bug me.

THE 9-5 “DESIGNER”

Recently, a long time client, whom we’ve been privileged to work together with on several renovation projects, retained my services to aid them in selecting their interior finishes for a new construction home in a Florida development.  This developer allows a 4 hour session, with the in-house designer, to make all the selections for the finishes of a nearly 3000′ home.  Even with limited choices, this is a lot of pressure on anyone.  My job is to create a design with the options available, using all the knowledge I have of my client’s lifestyle, furnishings and goals for the project.  This is an exciting time and myself, and any other worker associated with this process, should do everything possible to keep it this way.

I’ve done so many of these types of consultations and know a good in house designer when I see one.  Thus, when we get one who obviously has their own agenda strictly dictated by a spreadsheet….it bugs me.  One who for some reason does not want to allow us to layout samples to look at all their options as they relate to each other.  I guess there’s too much work involved to put things back in the 10×10 space we were working in .  (Meow) And the biggie, the one that sets my teeth on edge, saying repeatedly “This is what everyone is doing”!

It does not matter if a home purchase is $100K or $1M plus, these are our homes. They all function like manors.  We eat, sleep, and bathe all the same.  Yet, we all have the opportunity to make any house our home with just a little planning and “what ifs”?  This is where we are going to do a shameless plug and promote designers who are available when you need them.

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THE LAST MAN STANDING

The second thing that is stuck in my crawl, and this is an ongoing one with workers who are not part of our established team, is the person who undoes the small part of the design concept plan they are responsible for mainly because they want to sell product or poor services.

Let me first say that everyone who is part of our team had a first project with us.  We are always open, and encourage newly met, talented trades people to become part of our resources.  Having skilled laborers is the only way we can bring our concepts to life.  Our team members count on us as much as we count on them.  It’s a perfect relationship.

This week, while working with a new client on a whole house remodel, a tile person neither of us had a history with, became an onsite designer and sales person.  He recommended yet another “trendy” product.  The product itself was not entirely bad, but the manner in which he suggested it was to be used would have created a new set of design problems.  On top of this, his suggestion would have created a mess, prevented other trades from the schedule they agreed to and cost our clients more than needed.  This person had no respect for the fact that our clients had paid a designer to develop a plan for the entire house and his suggestions would negate some of the plans.  He conveniently had a standard grade carpet board in his car when they mentioned there was some carpet to be replaced as well.  He was also a day late and had missed 2 appointments.  Unfortunately, this situation happens often in home renovation.  It bugs me mostly because it is so easy to prevent.

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Our client sent an email late in the same evening.  His words really inspired me to write this post and finish it on a positive note.  He said, “I pay my attorney for advice and listen to him, I pay my accountant for advice and listen to him….why would I treat my designer any differently?”

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Our homes are often our largest assets.  As designers, at any one time, we are trusted to be responsible for millions of dollars worth of properties.  Not just properties…your homes.  This is something we take very seriously, never forgetting we work for you.  To both our clients above we say thank you for the continued opportunities to help you achieve your perfect LBD.

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For now, we will tuck our claws back in but we will come out of hibernation as needed.  When things like this happen we are more motivated than ever.

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HAPPY MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY!

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