July 2, 2020

How We Keep It Stress-Free for You . . . Even When There are Problems

Our team has a fine-tuned process for every project we take on, and we ensure it’s a totally smooth experience for our clients.

Sometimes people ask me what my most difficult project has been. I think they’re hoping to hear me dish about a high-maintenance client or a dramatic renovation in which everything went wrong. Luckily, I don’t have any stories like that. It may sound boring, but most of the hurdles we face are completely typical in the design world: quick deadlines, location challenges, product availability, etc. That’s not to say our work is always a walk in the park. It’s just that, after over 20 years in the industry, not much comes as a major surprise. An experienced designer knows how to get things done vs. figuring it out on the fly. And even better, our team has developed a streamlined process to face these trials head-on and make it a stress-free experience for our clients.

Here’s an example: A couple Februaries ago, longtime clients of ours came to us with another property, their home on Cape Cod. They wanted it ready for summertime, and since they were in the midst of a major renovation, we needed to make a lot of material and finish ASAP to stay on schedule. Four months to make design materials, finishes, and furnishings is crazy fast, but we got it done, and our clients were in love with the final product. In my blog post on Our Fine-Tuned Process for Tackling Any Problem, I explain how my team’s workflow and the trust we’ve built with our clients guide us through each and every venture we embark upon. I want to share even more details on how our process works, as well as some tips and tricks for how we get it done.

Set Realistic Expectations.

At our kickoff meeting, we always try to be very upfront about what can and can’t be accomplished within whatever restraints we have. We try our hardest to make all our clients’ wishes come true, but I’d hate to promise something that can’t be delivered. When we know what’s most important, we can prioritize that.

Know our Clients’ Style.

Having a clear picture of our clients’ style cuts down on back-and-forth time making changes to the design plan. With clients we’ve worked with before, we already have a good understanding of their vibe, but with new clients, it takes a little more work to ensure we’re on the same page. We ask them to collect images to bring to our kickoff meeting and discuss their lifestyle, as well.

Clearly Define Deadlines.

In the Beachfront Oasis job I was telling you about, we had a solid move-in date. We decided on the most critical 80% of the work that needed to be done so it was livable. Then, we planned on a second installation date for wrapping up finishing touches. We knew we needed shorter lead times on the essential pieces, but then we could explore more customization on accents, such as lighting, pillows, and wall coverings. This let us create a space that felt highly designed when completed.

Create a Plan.

With many of our projects, we come up with phases of work. A game plan with short-term and long-term goals helps us figure out how to address the space as a whole. Sometimes, when timing or budgets are tight, we will tackle a major space, such as a kitchen, in phase two. This lets our clients move in and start enjoying their home ASAP, and gives everyone a little more time to think about how the space can function best to suit their needs.

Decide When to Compromise.

As I explained above, we will do everything we can to give our clients what they desire, but we do run into limitations with some of our vendors. We’re always upfront with our clients, and when time is of the essence, let them make the call. Sometimes they’re willing to wait for something they have their hearts set on, and other times, we come up with another solution.

Move Nimbly.

There’s no denying a certain amount of stress when dealing with a quick turnaround, but my work designing boutique hotels has given me a lot of practice in that realm. My ability to manage large-scale projects helps me to dive right into new ventures and identify what to work on first. My team is excellent at taking action to get things done. That means we are in constant communication and coordination with contractors and vendors to move the process along.

Trust The Experts.

We’ve spent many years building strong relationships with our vendors. Without pressuring them, we can share when we’re in a tough spot, and if they’re able to accommodate us, they do. Loyalty pays off, and we’re lucky to work with such talented artisans.

By the time installation day arrived at the Beachfront Oasis, our clients were already down there. They have three young, active boys. Watching the children catapult themselves off the coffee table onto the sofas let us know we had nailed it! We knew the durable materials were appropriate for their family, and it was obvious they were already enjoying the space we created together. Although we continued to tweak the design down the road, our hard work and impeccable process got us to the finish line.

Until next time,

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