Why We Do What We Do

Why did we choose design/build remodeling as our vocation? I’ve thought long and hard about why I personally chose to enter this challenging and rewarding world, and I’ve come up with three reasons:

  1. I enjoy the creative process. I love being challenged by a problem and then coming up with a solution. I love seeing something I design come to reality. I love looking at a beautiful new kitchen, room addition or office space and thinking, “I did that.”
  2. What I do makes the world a better place. I believe the work I do actually makes my clients’ lives better. It may be my design that makes their lives functionally easier by incorporating aging-in-place features, for example. It may be that what I create is so magnificent it is a source of pride for my clients.
  3. Ego may be the bottom line. What I do is very tangible. It is easy to see the results of my work—good or bad. Although I am very self-motivated and take pride when I think I do excellent work, it is certainly nice to have my work applauded by clients, the community and peers.

If you are like me, professional recognition by peers is extremely important. I see a desire in the world of design/build to be recognized and respected as professionals in the design community. Here are the things I think are most important to gain that respect:

  • Standard and consistent scope of services
  • Qualifications, licensing and/or professional designations (AIA, NAHBR, NARI, NKBA)
  • Continuing professional development (completing courses by NAHBR or NARI)
  • Professional insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, errors and omissions, etc.)
  • Brilliant work

Brilliant work is a function of two things: creative design and flawless execution. Flawless execution entails leading a diverse project team whose members often have competing goals.

For example, I recently was part of a large team for a complex project. I served as architect and was joined by an interior designer, kitchen designer, landscape architect, audio/video specialist, civil engineer and the remodeling contractor. We met every two weeks to work through design issues. We discussed how changing the grade along the exterior affected the landscaping plan and ingress and egress of the house. We asked whether the hardscaping material used on the exterior should be brought into the interior of the screened porch. Everyone made valid points in the discussions, and we used each other as sounding boards.

This leads me back to my initial thought that one of the reasons I am in the design/build profession is to participate in the creative process. With that in mind, let me offer you a chance to be involved in the process. As you can see, I have drawn two possible solutions for the relationship between the kitchen, breakfast area and den. One has the kitchen facing the backyard with a small den off to the side. The other swaps the den and kitchen.

Let me know what you think and why.

I will report back in a future column and share some of your solutions and the final design. This is your opportunity to be recognized; as I said, recognition is another reason we are in this profession.

For those of you attending the 2011 International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 12-15, I will be spending some time at the Qualified Remodeler booth, W2291. Stop by and say hello. I’d love to meet you.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Let us hope that 2011 will see a sorely needed and richly deserved increase in remodeling dollars.

Quote of the Month
“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” — Mother Teresa

 

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