For years, I have said that I was going to write a book called, ‘Well, The Way I See it’……
It was going to be a coffee table sort of book that had a bunch of ordinary life observations with random commentary (think Seinfeld), sprinkled with a bit of insight (from my own experiences), and a decent helping of silliness (always a ‘given’)…..kind of how I like to live my life. I now feel that the better format than a coffee table book would be a BLOG. Actual definition is ‘WEBLOG’, but I prefer to think of it as an ACRONYM for (Bag Load Of Goodies) where you get regular tidbits of helpful and fun information.
I kept thinking that I should wait until I was really organized and ready to compile a series of articles that would be helpful and entertaining to readers. The other night, I ended up watching a TV program during the ‘Stay-At Home’ 2020 COVID-19 Quarantine that was setup like a split-screen video conference between celebrities and their celebrity friends. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of ‘ordinary’ (non-celebrity) conversation, and how it was nice to get a glimpse into the fact that we all share the same types of struggles with work, family, and ourselves. It really comes down to how to have a sense of balance in our lives. Ahh, the age-old question (at least in contemporary times).
On the show, one of the friends, was commenting on how so many people are afraid to stumble and look foolish when starting out in a new venture, because they are unsure of where to get started and where to put their energy. His advice was to ‘not be afraid to stumble in’. “If you wait too long to figure out the ‘proper way’ to do things, you’ll never get anything done. You’ve got to just stumble in like an idiot, learn on the job, and gather your people around you.” Hearing this really struck a chord with me. Not sure if it was the part where it was OK to look foolish or be an idiot (both of which I have done my fair share) or if it was just highlighting the fact that too often we let opportunities (A.K.A. this thing called LIFE) pass us by, purely by not taking action.
I have heard this same sentiment before from several other authors, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Sometimes you just need to jump in with both feet, instead of being tentative and dipping just a toe in the water to test it out first. Sink or swim, I guess! Luckily, I am a good swimmer! With that being said, I am jumping in with both feet……. worst case, I know how to float! HA HA!
So, now’s as good of a time, as any. I’ve got more than 31 years of experience in architectural design and creative problem solving. Since starting my own architectural firm in 2003, I have had the pleasure of working with numerous clients, on a variety of project types. Their wants and needs, as well as, their budgets have been all over the place, but there are a few requests that they all have in common:
- I need it to meet my budget.
- I need it to work within my timeframe.
- I need it to function for how I want/need to use the space.
- I want it to look and feel like the space that I have always dreamed of (this is true of both residential and commercial clients).
Keeping these goals in mind as the basic requirements, I have learned that we all have a different image in our heads of what we imagine the result will be. Interestingly, not only are the images varied person to person, but we all have different levels of detail (some more than others) that go into what the vision has become over time. I find myself saying to clients time after time…..”Well, the Way I See It Is…”, (and I go on to explain what I envision, based on what I hear (and see) from them. Kind of an ‘imagination summary’ of what they have told me that they want. Sometimes they have photos that they have collected from magazines, Pinterest, Houzz or the internet, and sometimes it is a verbal description or a combination of the two. It is not just what words that they actually say, but also their body language and the feelings (and tones) being expressed along with the words. All of this information goes into my notes and decision-making when laying out the design for the project, whether it be residential or commercial, a custom home, a whole-house remodel, an addition, or interior design.
The real challenge and problem solving comes when I take the vision that we have collectively established and come up with an approach for adapting that vision to the budget, timeframe, and function needed for the project to have a successful completion. Orchestrating this balancing (there is that word again) act is the only way not to end up with a project that feels like it ‘missed the mark’ or is less than inspiring. (Here, just let me wave my magic wand, right?) Sometimes that’s how it feels when trying to pack 10 lbs. of stuff (you can decide what type of stuff) in a 5 lb. bag! The proverbial bag of course could be the actual size of the space, the budget, or even combining the ‘must have’ elements from each of the clients on a project.
I often joke about having refined my counseling skills, as well as, my architectural and problem-solving skills with this process, but it is true. I always want to be sure that each client feels that they were heard, by seeing what they asked for in the completed space, even if each client had different ‘must haves’ in the space. There is no winner when you end up with a compromised solution where neither client feels like they got what they asked for, and instead there is a mediocre space that does not inspire either of them. A successful project is creating spaces that not only inspire the user visually, but one that feels great to those within it. The best compliment that a client can give me (other than referrals, of course) is that they just love their new space and it is better than they ever imagined it would/could be!
So, are YOU ready to talk about what you want YOUR project to be? I’m ready to listen and you will know that I did, when I say, “Well, The Way I See It ….”.