first, have a good pow wow

Cloth wire winding up a wall supported by vintage buttons and rubber washers.

Cloth wire winding up a wall supported by vintage buttons and rubber washers.

I’m going to be brutally honest. So often on the first visit, I hear clients in an almost dooms day certainty, state their worries:

“ I want to find everything I own. Can you do that?”

I think: “ Hmmmmm… where would you like to start, do you have a range you want to spend and how long do you have to complete this task?”

or they might ask:

“I want it to look like we had a designer fix it all up. You’ll do that right?”

I think: “I would rather it look like you’ve got the taste and I assisted you install it.”

and quite often I hear this one:

“If you send me in a direction, I can find a lot of what I need. I just don’t know where to look.”

and I think: “Would that be advantageous? Usually not. Maybe with a plan, but not without one…hmmmm, I wonder if you will you believe this?”

Then we have a dialogue to bring it all out. From my perspective, sitting down and clarifying these differences, before beginning…and signing a contract, is essential. No assumptions. Just plain talk. What do you expect of me? What do I need from you to make a successful project happen? Oh, you don’t know your budget? Do you know it can cost more, just because you don’t know what you want to spend? If I don’t know your budget and design outside your affordable range, your project may have to be re-designed and more cost.

My advise is to always have an initial pow wow. Write down all your questions and make sure, your designer does her (or his) due diligence to answer them all. Here’s the best question asked of me, by a potential client:

“How have you become better over time and what lessons have you learned, that you want your customers to benefit from?”

Infuse yourself into the life and business workings of your designer, before setting foot into what is usually a long construction project, which may or may not be something irreversible once the train leaves the station.