April 15th 2008

More Cuss & Discuss

As the designer of some pretty complicated stuff, it is my job to understand what the client wants, needs and can afford, and then design and build that vision. Sounds easy enough, eh? Well, there are always moments when it is not so easy. There can be very different opinions on what is beautiful from the two different personalities who might be in that design meeting.

For instance, she wants a beautiful, peaceful spa-like bath. He wants a plasma TV in the tub, each vanity and in the water closet (where the toilet is located). She wants a cook’s kitchen with built-in compartments for each conceivable cooking need, pull out cutting boards, a place for the Cuisinart with power in a “secret compartment”, etc. He wants to put the blender on the center island so he doesn’t ever have to find it. Oh yeah, with a plug ON TOP of the countertop. She immediately goes into combat mode and he looks surprised. This is a bonifide hissy fit moment. She digs in her heels and he is trying to run damage control.

This is one of the most important requirements of my job….marriage counseling. I throw myself right in the middle of the melt down and calmly say, “This is what we call a ‘Cuss and Discuss’. We will table the design for the kitchen at this meeting and move on. But, I want you both to write down what is important to you to include in the room. Then, cuss and discuss, and let me know in the next meeting what you decided.” Both go to their respective corners and we move on.

At the end of the meeting they almost always apologize and I let them know that it wasn’t the first time that has happened (probably not even the first time that day). This is a common occurrence in my world of Designdom.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in some of those “Cuss and Discuss” talks. But, without fail, at the next meeting they proudly come up with a compromise that works. Sometimes the compromise is not in the same room. He concedes to not give his input in the kitchen, but he has full control over the media room. She gets the kitchen of her dreams with thought into every single thing she does in the room, down to the flip down computer with all her recipes, connected to the internet to find even more. He wires the media room for plasmas, surround sound, speakers in every crevice of the room, and every conceivable source of media known to man. The wiring in the place would be the envy of NASA.

There, problem solved and everyone is happy. I always give a very wise piece of advice (when asked). Pick your fight, then fight to win!