Just delivered this beautiful dining table to clients that we have been working with for the better part of a year. We have installed faux beams in their living room, taken out a utility closet in the hall to make room for an enormous countertop which added a sight-line from the front door to the back porch, installed backsplash tile in the kitchen, painted, remodeled 2 bathrooms, installed a new mantle, and built a storage bench/banquette seating. But this is by far my favorite project to date.
When you have the pleasure (and burden) of working with clients who are not on site you learn to communicate well. Pictures are exchanged, emails and text messages blow up my phone, and trust is earned. I not only have to convey the concept, design, and budget, I have to help the client understand how each piece fits with the overall design of the home and the aesthetic we are trying to create, all while they are away. This is where the trust comes in.
We had an initial meeting with our clients to quickly go over plans and then I sent an estimate along with a timeline of the work to be done and in what order it would be completed. This took a lot of coordinating with contractors and vendors and required the owners to have enough confidence in me to not only do the work they were paying for but bring to life their vision and counsel them when it was getting off track.
Since they only came to see the home once in 9 months they really entrusted me to “get it right,” and I breathed a big sigh of relief when they arrived ready to move in and walked through the home they purchased almost a year ago and were thrilled with the final product. That’s the payoff for me but it does come with a lot of sleepless nights.
Remodeling from afar is not for the faint of heart, I don’t think I would be able to relinquish that much control and trust that someone would get it all right. But I am a control freak, comes with being a designer, and that’s why I communicate every detail. Poor communication is always the reason why things go wrong. That is the only lesson in this post.
No matter which side you are on, customer or designer, demand the communication that will make you feel comfortable or suffer the consequences later.