By Marsie Klug
Two years ago I joined the Meadowlark team, anxiously excited to be working in my field of study and learning the practical knowledge only experience teaches. I cannot recall my expectations at the time, only how I was feeling: ready to be in the profession to warm up and train my structural knowledge, build client relation skills, stretch my design legs, and take a run at resolving design conundrums. Fast forward two years later and I feel virtually the same, although some of my muscles are more becoming more toned after a couple of seasons of experience. Most mornings I wake up anxiously excited to be working in my field (the extremely cold temperature days did produce hesitation when facing the prospect of leaving a warm bed and chiseling ice off a frozen car, but the hesitation dissipated upon comfortably settling into work and commiserating with co-workers on the abnormal temperatures). There is always more to learn and working with a great team of co-workers definitely helps. As with any profession, upon delving deeper into the profession, one discovers there is more to the profession than originally understood. A few takeaways follow:
1. Design-Build is fast-paced. As a part of the design department, we are continually balancing multiple projects. The moment a design project reaches contract it quickly moves into the construction phase. The goal is always to design well with an eye on the client’s budget, the environmental impact, and the functionality and practicality of the design. 2. Projects vary greatly. Our projects vary from small remodels to new custom homes, with styles that run the gamut from traditional design with lots of crown molding to the slick lines of modern minimalism. Every project is a puzzle waiting to be resolved. The ultimate prize? A space transformed into something a client feels is home. 3. Clients vary greatly. Each client brings their own style to the table – both in their personal aesthetic and in how they interact with our design team. Part of conveying and working through a design project is client psychology. How do we convey our ideas in the way the client will understand? Can the client read plans? How is his/her spatial understanding? Is the client detailed-oriented, preferring to have an opinion over every aspect of a project, from the overhang of a counter to the mounting position of a light fixture? Or, does the client get overwhelmed by all the details, preferring the designer to provide a few overall scheme options, like colors and finishes, and trusting the designer to the smaller details? Understanding how a client thinks and likes to work helps the design-build process move more smoothly and be more enjoyable for all involved.
4. Hardly two days are the same. Varying projects and varying clients are variables to a series of constants in a project. Just the amount of planning and design that goes into a project (everything from measuring an existing home for a remodel, to design charrettes, to drawing plans in a CAD program, to 3D rendering, to picking out plumbing fixtures and paint colors, to determining the construction details of how a wall meets a rim joist) could keep boredom at bay. Combining all of the variables of project types and client types with the project constants results in infinite permutations! 5. Meadowlark cares. Meadowlark cares about doing what is right: for the client, the environment, for the employees. The evidence of this philosophy is seen with how we approach each client’s questions, the amount of hard work my co-workers do, the laughter we share, and the time we take to educate ourselves on the latest green technology. I have learned that there is never a dull moment here at Meadowlark and I believe the design-build process can be as exciting for our clients as it is for me. If you are considering a project contact us.