May 15th 2008

Throwing my body in front of the bus

As a design professional, I pride myself in giving great advice on every aspect of the project. I bring elaborate designs with carefully chosen materials for a look to die for. Then, there are those rare moments when I just have to throw my body in front of the bus. A design disaster is eminent and I just have to stop it. Luckily, I use the utmost tact when body throwing, but I just flat out refuse to let someone make a mistake.

In my initial meeting with people, I always tell them that every choice is always theirs to make. My job is to bring creative ideas to the table, share with them “every trick in the book” about how to get a look and not, necessarily, pay the price. I bring options, they make the choice. But I promise them right then and there that if you are going to make a mistake, I will throw my body in front of the bus.

Your home should reflect you and your lifestyle, so what may be good for one person would be the absolute wrong choice for another. That’s where I come in. We talk about what the client wants, needs and can afford. We also talk about what the goal for the house may be. If you plan to live in a house for two years, your decisions would be very different than if you plan on going out of the place feet first.

Recently, I had a client who transferred in from another city. He wanted to build a house and the plan was to live there about five years before he went to the next city. He was single and really only wanted one bedroom, though the house would be about 5000 square feet.

So, could we build a one bedroom house? The good news is yes, you can build a one bedroom house. The bad news you will never sell it to anyone else. So, it would not be a wise decision to build just a one bedroom house when you will be selling in five years. He seemed very disappointed and I told him I would have some options for him in the next meeting.

I designed a plan that had a great Master Bedroom and two other wonderful suites. One he would use as a Study since he worked from home much of the time and other would be an exercise room. When he planned to move, we would stage the rooms as bedrooms. Problem solved. I threw my body in front of the bus and he was grateful.

Not only did he get the perfect floor plan for him, he also would eventually need it. Within a year, he married a woman with a small child he adores. We are now finishing the lower level for a play room, a media room (for Barney videos, I imagine) and an exercise room. He has decided to stay put in St. Louis to be near family and they want to build a new home in two years to house a whole family of kids! Good thing we didn’t build a one bedroom house!