One quick way to suck all the fun out of a design project for yourself and everyone around you is to be in a rush to make your design decisions. Having to rush order tile that you don’t really love, but had to settle on because installers are waiting for you is so not fun for anyone involved. One of the best things you can do for yourself and for the success of your project is take the time to think things through carefully and shop wisely.
One thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that like life, the design process is unpredictable. If you can accept this as a rule in a project, you will be in a better place already. Things can take longer than you and your designers and contractors think they will. Accepting the unexpected and rolling with it is easier to do if you have had time to prepare.
I was walking through a project with my clients a few years ago and peeked into their newly finished powder room. It was a horrifically bright Cookie Monster Blue. I looked at both of them and nervously asked: “Um, did I pick out this color?” Turns out the client’s husband had picked it out in a last minute rush to get the room painted while painters were there. When he was asked what color the room should be he picked up a washcloth that was handy and said, This color! Needless to say, we had the room repainted!
Sometimes, too much time to make a design decision is crippling to some people. If that’s you, you have to trust your gut instinct on it and know that you’ve allowed yourself plenty of thinking and research time so you are informed to make that decision and move on. Try your best not to make changes to your design decisions during construction. It’s costly, it holds up the project and it has a tendency to suck the life out of your contractors and sub-contractors. If you give yourself some creative breathing time, you will usually have already changed your mind enough before it’s been built and have only driven yourself and your family crazy. If you’re lucky like me, they already know and accept your craziness.
I strongly believe that the design process should be fun. Allow time for creative research and decisions and indecisions to happen before you are forced into something that’s not thought through. Hire people that you enjoy being around and try to remember that the unexpected can bring beauty.
Here’s a song from Alabama that my family and I love to sing together in traffic and applies quite nicely to this post and, consequently, has been going around and around in my head ever since I started writing this (and yes, his hair is awesome):
PS. I used photo’s here from a really talented design firm, Studio McGee and they are all from one project of theirs. I think looking at one project from any design firm really helps you understand the amount of time and thought that goes into putting together a successful project of any scale.