Client Empathy Blog #4—Architects finally doing what they do for others.

“No news is good news,” the saying goes.
Construction continues with not a whole lot to report.

“Very fast” is still the schedule. 

When I last wrote, we were tasked with clearing part of the kitchen late into the night.
Other than a call from one of the kids that water was pouring into the kitchen via a light fixture, flooding the soon-to-be-demolished kitchen, the only event has been amazing progress!

As the client this time, what are we feeling?

Anxious.  Both Marvin and I find it hard to sleep at night.  There is quite a bit of pride involved, as you can imagine. 

Worried. Like our clients, to get into the budget number we were willing to invest in this project, we had to make choices.  The framing is up, and as we survey the spaces it became clear that the dormer we removed in the attic on the back of the house for a future potential third floor bathroom was really not the thing to take out.  The contractor came to us..... “I have an idea!  What you really need back here is another dormer in the attic.  I think you will like it and you could even add a bathroom in the future as it is directly over the existing one.” 

Yup, we know!

Yup, the mantra!— Follow the plans.  Don’t make changes. 

Weak—we added the dormer back in.  And of course …like our clients who make similar changes to the scope of work, we are justifying it to ourselves. “It really is the right thing to do.” “We don’t want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.”  “It will add to the resale value of the house in the future.” “We don’t have to put all the finest finishes in…”

Then we went to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and Kentuck Knob this weekend. Having put this visit off for years (just like the addition to our own house), our godchild's wedding celebration was in the area and we decided to make the pilgrimage to Falling Water as part of the weekend. We were so inspired.  The bathrooms had cork floors and walls.  You guessed it! The musing again about that third floor bathroom and how cool it would be to do it in all cork and extend that into the attic.  Phase II was quickly becoming a focus as the new space is so amazing.

Edgy—With things just a little out of place, our powder room and about 1/3 of our kitchen are gone. The contents of our attic crowd the bedrooms, we feel a little disorganized, and our surroundings are cluttered.  We repeatedly go to the old ironing-board-cabinet-turned-key-storage to get our keys only to remember that we emptied that a while ago.  And we run into the house to use the powder room and remember, as we try the powder room door, that it no longer exists and we have to run upstairs to the hall bath.

Guilty—there is so much going on in the world that is just devastating.  We feel pangs of guilt as we hear the news of the human suffering.

Fortunate—We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to improve our own home.

Empathetic—We are in the business and we see how stressful this process can be on individuals. Even though it is often elective/self-imposed, having your normal routine and belongings out of place and living in a space that is tarped to keep out the elements takes a toll on even the hardiest. To think we still have clean running water, electricity and refrigeration and that we can go to work and school and get away from it for a while, our hearts go out to those that are in true need right now.

So, I am signing off now and heading to the store to purchase relief items for the hurricane victims. I'm remembering that while there is no real suffering going on at my house and that we are on a “Very Fast" schedule, there are many out there that do not know when help will arrive or if their lives will ever be normal again.