Blue Collar Builders

Design – Begin With The End In Mind

Think It Through Before You Do!

Think It Through Before You Do!

       There’s a phrase and experience that just about every consumers has had to deal with at one time or another. We call it buyers remorse. Most often it’s used in association with those negative feelings of anxiety which are the result of our consciences telling us we just made a frivolous, unnecessary purchase that has cost us way more than our budgets could reasonably allow. Whatever joy we original received at the mall was fleeting, leaving us to be, as Emerson wrote, slaves to the possessions that were supposed to bring us some measure of freedom and liberation. Not even our own denial can justify the additional stress from this burdensome expense.

       The second most common cause of buyers remorse can be even more frustrating for the individual, because it’s not the direct result of an impulsive purchase made in a moment of emotional blindness. On the contrary, these people usually do their best to make an informed decision prior to buying the product or service, but eventually comes to the realization that it was, in the end, a poor, shortsighted decision. It is this second consequence that today’s blog is intending to address with the hope of providing some professional wisdom that may help the reader to avoid happening. It should be mentioned however, that ultimately emotions arising from other factors & issues being considered at the time are usually always to blame.

Chicken or the egg

What Really Comes First ?

       Design is thought to be the first step in the process of building anything. Isn’t that true? After all, simple logic tells us that if we don’t know what we’re creating, how will you know what is needed to make it? Where this is the correct sequence for resolving the “How” in the process of building something, it does not explain the “Why” it was conceived in the first place. Everything that has been, is now, or ever will be developed was first invented in someone’s mind for a given purpose, to resolve a challenging problem or fulfill a need in some way. It is for this reason that I am encouraging anyone planning, or soon to break ground on a construction project to spend considerable time thinking about the end purpose, look, and functional layout of your design.

       I’m sure that many would believe this kind of analysis is always accomplished long before any contractor show up to bid the project. Otherwise why would they called out if the prospective client didn’t have a clear picture of what they wanted built. Well, I think you’d be surprise to know just how undefined and limited the actual details of these abstract ideas commonly are. In fact, under the strictest of terms, a contractor’s only professional responsibility is to construct the project itself. Designers, Architects, and even interior decorators are the industry professionals directly hired for the purpose of bringing conceptual form to these ideas. Unfortunately, this step is usually skipped for a variety of reasons. The customer :

  1. Believes they can do a thorough job themselves

  2. Doesn’t want the added expense

  3. Doesn’t know, or has never worked with a designer or architect

  4. Is not aware of the value & availability of this kind of skill

As a result, it is very typical for clients to naturally make request of contractors to “Give” them design ideas for their project, knowing that they would undoubtedly benefit from their years of experience in construction. There are many reasons why it may not be best to solicit the advice of contractors for design ideas, which can be considered in another blog, but for now let’s focus on the fact that many clients often want to start projects before design ideas are clearly thought out.

More Effort Equals Better Results!

More Effort Equals Better Results!

       Countless times I’ve sat across the table having to encourage a prospective client to slow down. Explaining, in my experience, most clients having the money, and wanting to get started right away, end up making mistakes that matter by not clarifying the last 10 to 15% of their design details. They assume they can just wing it. I’m telling you that it increases the likelihood of conflict, mistakes, increased costs due to expensive change orders, and buyer’s remorse. Even if the contractor builds what you asked them to, you won’t be happy if in the end it’s not what you really want. I’ve also advised clients to realize that in 10 or 20 years from now, you won’t remember or care that the project was delayed a few weeks or months if the better results are justified in quality, savings, comfort, & aesthetic.

Further design considerations might be :

  1. Layout – (Open, Function, Direction, Privacy, Utility, etc.)

  2. Theme – (Art deco, Rustic, Japanese, Clean, Ornamental, Industrial, etc,)

  3. Color pallet & hue – (Earth tones, Contrasting, Monochromatic, Light, Dark, etc.)

  4. Flow – (Between spaces, Between project phases, Work function, etc.)

  5. Energy – (Compliance, Cost, Efficiency, Solar, Gas, etc.)

  6. Use over time – (Change in : Family, Age, Market, Behavior, etc.)

  7. Value over time – (Investment, Popularity, Market, etc.)

Etc. – Etc. – Etc.

       As our site “” evolves, we will continue to add more comprehensive punch-lists of issues, items, & option to consider for developing a well thought out project design, so be sure and check back to find additional insight. For now let me encourage you to “Not” be in a rush to get your project going. More clarity and insight won’t detract from the success of your goals. Start a folder on your computer to copy Google images that you like. Label them for the reasons that you do. Talk to neighbors, friends, and family for ideas on likes, dislikes, experiences, & concerns. Read articles and home improvement magazines. Spend the money, ask around, and hire a designer or architects. Get some graph paper, draw the space being considered to scale, and move scaled “Cut out” representative objects around inside the space you’ve drawn. Go to home shows or showrooms for more inspiration. The bottom line message of this blog is to motivate readers to invest even more time into the design process than you expect to, before you call out a contractor. The beginning step, then, is to determine in the end how you want your final design to look and function. Only then should you begin to build. Like every good investment though, the benefits gained will far out way any additional expenditure of effort. So make the effort to see the end result before you begin to build.

Thanks for reading. I’m Thump’r with Blue Collar Builders

Remember – “If You’re Going To Make It… Make It Right!”

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