Clients who create a positive experience, are educated, consistent and realistic in their desires are clients that many designers and builders would love to have. Dream became reality for Padgett Construction and McCoy Architects, both located in Lexington, Ky., when they worked together to design and build the Dhir Residence, also located in Lexington.
“We had the best clients we’ve ever had [when we worked on this project]. They were easy to talk to, professional and consistent. They knew what they wanted and were willing to go through the process,” says Christopher McCoy, AIA, president, McCoy Architects.
When the clients met with Tom Padgett, owner, Padgett Construction, he referred them to McCoy because of the firm’s positive work history. “We recommended McCoy to do the plans and from that point on, they worked with Chris. When they reached a certain stage in the design, we would tell them about the cost. We did that twice to keep the design on track,” Padgett says.”Armed with a CD loaded with all their needs and wants, the homeowners were prepared to give specific examples of what they were looking for in their new home. “The clients had all their selections on a CD including cabinetry, plumbing, flooring and stairways. They did their homework on the Internet and locally by visiting supply houses,” says Bill Dimon, project manager, Padgett Construction.
Throughout the process, the homeowners’ wish list was revised and updated mostly due to budget restrictions. “Their initial list included a garage with a porte cochere so we designed a large garage wing with a porte cochere. We ended up scaling it back for cost reasons and replaced it with a three-car garage,” McCoy says.
Some homeowner requests posed challenges to the design/build team. “[The homeowners] sourced a lot of material from the Internet. They sourced the fountain [in the front yard] from a supplier in Florida and the stairway from a manufacturer in Atlanta. You have to be careful to buy something so that when you get it, it works properly. When you get the stairway, it needs to fit the hole when it gets [to the site],” Dimon says.
The homeowners had a picture of the stone entry and path they wanted, which turned out to be one of the larger challenges of the project. “We ordered the stone and when the shipment arrived, it was the wrong stone. So returning that and getting it resolved was a nightmare,” Padgett adds.
McCoy says the floor plan isn’t exceptionally different than what can be found in the market, but it is customized to how the home-owners live. “It was refreshing that they didn’t want an excessive amount of rooms so we kept the core of the house small,” he says.
Sometimes incorporating so many details can create inconsistency resulting in a design that looks like a collage. But these homeowners had a consistent vision and point of view so the design was attainable and rewarding, McCoy adds.
A kitchen is particularly vulnerable to inconsistency when dealing with multiple features that typically are part of this room. With this home, the homeowners wanted the kitchen cabinetry to resemble furniture. “Laura Dalzell, kitchen designer with Cabinets and Designs Inc., designed the kitchen. We did a basic layout with an island and range, and a built-in French-styled hood. She tweaked it to make it all look like furniture,” McCoy says.
While the experience was positive for Padgett and McCoy, some builders and designers might have been gun shy to work with such visionary clients. “We were leery at first; having a client like them can be problematic. But in this case, they were thorough and had good judgment,” Padgett says.
Working closely, and pulling from their combined work experience, the project is viewed as a success from all parties involved. “We involved the builder in the design and were able to draw on his experience as well as our experience. We were also able to draw on our past experience working with [Padgett],” McCoy says.
McCoy adds that having a client who presents so many details at the beginning of the process, and making all those details come together, makes a project a success.
Padgett agrees. “It didn’t have the typical frustrations of building a house, and that relates to the way [the homeowners] approached it. Realistic expectations were set and met.”
Residential new construction: 50 percent
Residential remodeling: 50 percent
Average annual revenue: $12 million
Residential new construction: 40 percent
Residential remodeling: 60 percent
Doors: Marvin Windows and Doors
Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors
Locksets & hardware: Emtek
Insulation: Owens Corning
Doors: Marvin Windows and Doors
Sinks: Eljer, Kohler
Microwave oven: Sharp
Shower faucets: Delta
Sink faucets: Delta