Saturday, April 18, 2009

I knew that....(warning graphic photos)


What on earth am I doing inside on this beautiful Saturday. Working for a couple of hours. Then heading out to the Whitewater Park to get some biking in. Last week, I tried, but my dear son decided to take the radiator cap off his car while hot. Well, you know.  Doing well now, fortunately missed his face by a hair. He hurt his pride more.  I started to give him the lecture on car safety. He just shook his and said what we all do in similar circumstances and said... I knew that.

(Safety warning: don't do this-ouch and have to admit I did photoshop the color to make it look less painful online. Didn't want to really gross anyone out)

We all make mistakes that we knew better. Like the time I dyed my hands purple while screen printing because after I was done I realized I forgot to put on liquid glove. Stayed that way for three days. 

A good portion of my work is fixing these type of errors for clients. Moments when they knew better, but okayed something stupid on their house. One client was having his dream home built on the lake. First major error; the whole reason it was their dream house was they finally would get that pool they wanted. Yet, their builder forgot to tell them that since they backed up to the lake, they had a bigger setback.  Now, they couldn't have their dream pool, until they called me. I was able to design the project with the pool on the side of the house, giving it an ornamental fountain look. We were granted the variance-first ever of that type for a very high end community. Yea, right.

Until, while siting the pool and the client mentioned that he fired the builder, took over himself. I said uh-ooh. He said he was real happy with the pace things were going now, they just finished the upper terrace. So proud he was, until I mentioned that the spiral staircase was missing, now there was no way to exit the rear of the house to reach the pool. This on a 2m dollar home.  So, I designed a minimally invasive  yet attractive correction which wrapped to the side.

Mistakes keep me working. I would rather not come in after, but it is what it is sometimes people just have to learn their lesson.  The smartest fellow I met was a successful physician, a specialist. He hired me to be his ghost designer of sorts. The request he made preserved his ego, while letting me have the freedom to keep his project sharp.  Basically, he said: " Alice, I am a really good doctor, don't have time for learning this house stuff can you  give me weekly lessons on what's being done so I can take credit for it with my friends".  Now that's honesty. We came to a mutual agreement and everyone was happy.

In fact you might have seen some of my work, just not realized who made it happen. I am called in by other firms to fix glitches or when they have design blocks.  Yes, even the best have an off day, I fill in holes for the pros as well the general public on an as needed basis.  Sometimes a client is very creative, but doesn't know how to make their dream happen. We are the first stop. Before architect, before builder. Sometimes the client thinks something is wrong and just wants a second opinion. We work in total confidentiality.

I have no ego at this stage in my career, I do have confidence in abilities. It serves no one not to find a way to make it happen.  I am very tired of seeing people spend money for bad design. The new era of design, will be more, should be more collaborative and integrative. I love putting the right team together, seeing the talent. That to me is when magic happens. This is the era of creativity, where the right brainers take over-stay tuned and I'll betcha you'll say "I knew that"...

Part 2-when disruptions bring order


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