After my stint as a Westfield High School Spanish teacher ended (or rather, was abruptly interrupted by a successful 6 months of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma), I was presented with the opportunity to work for a very smart and very successful local businessman. Tentative at first about entering the unfamiliar world of commercial construction, I was attracted to the idea of returning to my first love of Marketing, and knew that this would be an invaluable learning experience and a substantial step towards my ultimate goal of working for Mike's company.
It turns out that this man taught me many lessons, not just in business but in life as well. I would venture to say that a portion of his success should be attributed to a fear he had; in his own words, he has a fear of "missed opportunities." This fear of omission spanned all categories, from ordering office supplies to project proposal contents. His drive for thoroughness rubbed off on those of us who worked for him, and I've recently noticed that I have been adopting this own fear as one of my own. In a good way.
When Mike and I look at a client's architectural drawings pre-construction, we are constantly saying to each other, "These look great, but what's missing?"
How many times have you heard a varying version of the same story?
"We did this big kitchen remodel, and we forgot to put in enough cabinet space to accommodate our family's cereal obsession!"
"We did this master bathroom addition, and we forgot to put in outlets above the cabinets for our electric toothbrushes and hairdryers!"
"We did this mudroom renovation, and we forgot to add enough cubbies for each member of our family, and to house our dog's bowls, leashes, and food!"
You get the picture, right?
These kinds of admissions make me want to smack myself in the head in true Homer Simpson style (d'oh!). Call it a fear of omission, call it OCD, call it buyer's remorse, call it whatever you like, but we'll do our damndest to be sure that you just don't call us after the last coat of paint is on the walls and say, "I know we just finished x, but we forgot..."
Mike has a more or less comprehensive mental list of lifestyle questions (how many children do you have? do you plan on having more? do you have pets? how do you eat dinner? breakfast? lunch? do you watch a lot of TV? do you like to spend time outdoors? how many small kitchen appliances do you use on a weekly basis?) that he runs down with clients. These answers often lead to a "DO NOT FORGET" list that he incorporates into the construction project. He also has the benefit of working with several very experienced architects who think of these things when he or his clients fail to do so. (It's bound to happen to the best of us at some point, right?)
I, myself, have applied this fear to my design philosophy. I often look at a room and think, "what opportunities am I missing?"
"D'oh!" The ceiling.
I think the ceiling is one of the most overlooked spaces in a room. Think of it as the 5th wall. It is a blank canvas just begging for adornment.
You've got options, though. It doesn't have to be bold and statement-making like this wallpapered ceiling. It can be multi-dimensional like this coffered and painted ceiling we did in our dining room. We chose a darker color for the trim, and a different color all together for the inner "boxes" of ceiling. If you don't have the height or the desire to bring in more color, you can go for the monotone coastal look of this beadboard and flat beam ceiling. And finally, if you're not quite sure the accessorized ceiling is for you, I'd recommend choosing a paint color about 90% lighter than your wall color (works best when separated by crown moulding), just for a bit of "hmmmm, what's different in here?" Your local paint store can do this for you by adding more white to your chosen hue.
Some other inspiration you can look up to:
For these and more design ideas, and (an overwhelming amount) of inspiration, check out my Pinterest board. But I warn you, set aside some time. I'm totally addicted, and I'm pretty sure (like a great businessman's work ethic) it's contagious.
She can be reached at Ellie@MichaelRobertConstruction.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Michael Robert Construction, its affiliates, or its employees.