Designers Discuss Long Distance Projects and the Challenges They Present

We do take long range jobs.  The difficult part is dealing with a different set of subcontractors that are not up to speed on the details of how I like things done.  The other problem is when I am dealing with a client on a long range project.  The face to face time is harder to pull off and that can cause mistakes in what the client thinks they are getting versus what the subs are doing.  Bottom line, the hardest part is job management regarding both the subs and the clients when I am doing a project that is not in my immediate area.”

Ron Lucas, Owner

R Lucas Construction and Design

Columbus, GA


“We find it is very important to select long distance projects based on work that we specialize in and can be efficient in production.  We want our clients to receive the greatest value possible to fit their needs, and if a particular project cannot produce the efficiency required to offset the driving distance, then the best direction should be a local contractor who can still provide the quality level they desire. Another key factor is that S.J. Janis Company has Project Managers on staff and long-term relationships with our trade associates, allowing for more communication and efficiency in the field and less down time leading to projects remaining on schedule regardless of distance.”

 Nathan Wachtl, Senior Design Consultant

S.J. Janis Company, Inc.

Wauwatosa, WI


“We do not take on long-distance projects. Our goal is to offer the very best remodeling experience in Atlanta, and we can't do that without being on sight every day. With that said, many of our clients travel extensively for their work, so they themselves may be absent during both our design phase as well as the build phase.  But because of our award-winning meticulous processes of 3-D design development, fixed price, and craftsmanship-driven construction, they have the full peace of mind knowing that they will get exactly what we promised them.”

Peter Michelson, CEO

Renewal Design Build

Decatur, GA  


“We have done projects in Florida, Virginia, Nantucket, and St Louis.  In most cases the client visited us here in New Canaan during the design process. The biggest issues were really dealing with the builders at the remote locations. We have to get the correct measurements from the builder.  Some builders do not want to commit to measurements they would be held accountable for.  We must make sure the builder knows how to install our cabinets based on our design.  Often they do not read the plan, but instead just do it the way they have been for 30 years. In some cases I was not there to inventory the cabinetry and check for shipping damage.  Fortunately we have not had any issues.”

Ken Pascal

True North Cabinets, LLC

New Canaan, CT


 “We do accept long distance projects. However, we consider long distance to be anything between 30 and 50 miles away. We are likely to turn down most projects further than that. Project supervision is the biggest challenge when management and supervisors can’t quickly and easily check-in on the project and the day’s progress. There is also a greater cost to the customer for us to complete the work due to travel and gas expenses.”

Rachel Peterson, Operations Manager

Simply Baths, Inc. & Showcase Kitchen

Monroe, CT


“Doing a long distance job has never been easier--between the internet, face time, next day air and multiple apps that make meeting long distance jobs very easy. Internet sites such as Houzz and Pinterest provide online scrapbooking that gives us an idea of what style they desire. It is also a way to send ideas for them to approve. Door samples and finishes can be sent effortlessly by UPS or FedEx overnight. The client must have a local contractor to measure and confirm the space, if not for a separate fee; we will fly out to the home to do a survey.”

Nancy Foreman, Creative Director

Performance Kitchens

Philadelphia, PA


“No we don't do long-distance projects. We did one in the past and the toll it took on my employees, spending over a year commuting an hour each direction--that's a long time by Wisconsin standards--had a big impact on morale.”

Abe J Degnan, President

Degnan Design Builders, Inc.

DeForest, WI


“Casa Verde does accept long distance projects and we have worked on projects from all over the United States. All of this is possible because of technology like Skype, e-mail and being able to scan and send plans. The biggest challenge is not being able to sell the ideas in person and talk with the plans in front of both of us. I think it would be simpler to express the ideas in front of the client and then see their reaction. When using e-mail it is easy for the client to reject or give up on an idea when they don’t fully understand it.”

Rosemary Merrill

Casa Verde Design

Minneapolis, MN


“We have done a few long-distance projects so far. When working long-distance, communication is vitally important. We try to include lots of detailed information and spell out everything we can in our messages. Email is a great tool because it makes it easy to keep records of conversations that can be referenced at a later time to keep important things from falling through the cracks.”

Karl Keul, President

Cameo Kitchens, Inc.

Falls Church, VA



“Yes, Blu accepts long distance projects. With factories based in Europe and Asia, and the ability to customize products to meet project requirements, we find that we are well equipped to support long distance projects just as we support projects closer to our North American base. We really don't find any additional challenges versus working on local projects - perhaps with the exception of different time zones! In fact, long distance projects we have worked on from Dubai to the Philippines have all proceeded smoothly in terms of direct shipments from our factories & fewer people in the chain.”

Michael Gottschalk, Founder & CEO

Blu Bathworks

Vancouver, BC

“For kitchen and bath renovations, I stay fairly local because I'm very hands on and like to make frequent job site visits during the construction phase. However, I have taken on a few long distance interior design projects and could imagine that it might be possible to use some of these strategies for kitchen and bath projects. When favorite clients moved across the country, they flew me out to help them with their new home.  Through my industry network I was able to connect with showrooms in their city and preview selections before the trip. With planning and focus we selected furniture and paint colors over the course of 3 jam packed days. After my return home, I continued to follow up.”


Tracey Stephens, President/Owner


Tracey Stephens Interior Design, Inc.


Montclair, NJ



“Long distance projects come with a variety of challenges, not the least being transportation of respective trades to and from the site. Depending on the location of the project and distance we will set up temporary residence near the site for our crew so that we can ensure the same quality we provide on local projects will be achieved long distance.  Other scenarios have included outsourcing to local trades in the area of the project, while Ecostruct maintains the project management role.  This allows us a little more flexibility in estimating and can many times be of help when dealing with local jurisdictions. Making ourselves as knowledgeable as possible regarding the project and its enveloping jurisdiction prior to inception is by far one of our greatest strengths when encountering a long distance project.”


Jonathan G. Eklund, Owner

Ecostruct, LLC


Brooklyn, NY


“The biggest challenge I find when working long distance is the during implementation of the project. I like to be all hands on deck when the project goes into the demolition and remodeling stage and I set myself up to be the go-between for the client and the contractor. When a project prohibits me to be on site at a project, I cannot step in and assist with those minute details that need to be solved right then and there.”

Allison Jaffe, Interior Designer

Allison Jaffe Interior Design, LLC

Austin, TX