Last year one goal I set was to get a full house project. Apartments were fun but, um, houses are MORE fun because there's inherently more opportunity for art and creative alternatives. One year later we have 5 live full house projects with more in the pipeline, in addition to our NYC apartment line up. Each project is different and we're learning ALL THE TIME, but here are three rules we've found keep our house clients happy and these larger projects on track.
1. Spell Out Expectations
Tackling the walls of a whole house is super daunting for clients who are typically juggling (or just getting over) a renovation and design process, plus their actual jobs and families. SO, we spell out the process and expectations for them in our proposal and agreement to make it a little more digestible. In those documents, we outline our step-by-step process, and what to expect for presentations, viewings, installations, timelines, service and payments. For full house projects we can together outline budgets and a timetable so everyone is and stays on the same page.
2. Accommodate the Decision-Makers
Everyone is busy, but I've found that getting all decision-makers together for at least the first presentation is key. Typically this happens after little-kid bedtime, so I bring over a bottle of vino and together we go through the wall recommendations, reasons behind the recommendations, and how it all works together. Having one decision-maker translate all this to the other is the best way to make zero progress.
3. Regular Status Updates
I'm a total quant-jock at heart and I LOVE making spreadsheets. Including these in preliminary budget talks and each presentation helps clients see how much they've spent, estimated remaining costs, and a complete breakdown of fees (art, paint, wallpaper, taxes, installation, framing, advisory, transportation, etc.). Not only does this help avoid not fun surprises, but it also builds a level of trust with clients that we're watching their spending and planning accordingly. Yes, it takes time to track, but I'd rather have my team do it for each step of the project then back pedal at the end if questions come up.
SO this is how we roll when dealing with the walls from soup to nuts. And note, that means making recommendations of art at diverse price points, paint, wallpaper, functional shelving, gallery walls, and miscellaneous objects that are my personal favorite (like the 50 rainbow boat cleats we're installing next week). It's a lot to consider but by removing the uncertainties, we make room for alllll that enjoyment from giving your home makeover.