A longstanding client called me in to revamp her very tired, seventies looking kitchen. About time, I said. The initial process being the brief, in this scenario, was a very informal, laid back, fun hour between myself and client. I already knew her take on what she liked, what she always leaned towards and her amazing love for design and the arts. Her husband trusted and believed in me implicitly so was not in on the brief. But he did say he wanted me to keep the arch!? At the scullery side.
After brief, I go and survey (measure) the area in detail and sketch alongside. Photos help to remember. Concept stage usually takes 2weeks to present back to client. Concept is made up of drawing the area in plan and elevation form – no need for sections at this stage. It is then drawn with new layout, colour/s, specs and new build with annotations. A concept board is put together and after many calls, visits and liasing with suppliers and builder, a date is set to present. During the two weeks, a lot of calls are made to me via the client, about extras wanted and how they cannot see where I will be able to fit the extra storage etc, etc. Leave it to me, I say. But really, leave it to me!!
Client and husband are in this sitting as I always insist the couple be together at this stage. This is the complex and interesting phase. They loved the concept and all the specs recommended. The removal of arch was never brought up again by hubby. Now the questions start and suggestions of using other materials, perhaps?? And more extras. This can go on for awhile until the fear dies away. This is the stage where they know they will be living in dust and mess. Thereafter the big question, how much?? Usually a budget is provided – actually this is not true. Clients never know but if you mention a figure, a reaction is made and you can take it from that point.
With my clients, they had a budget, knew the process and knew my drawings could easily be handed over to my builder to quote and proceed with build. It saved the client my project management fee. But not the headache of managing the build themselves. I was in constant contact with my builder – he hates it when I don’t do the PM side of project. It takes longer, more mistakes happen and just not as smooth sailing as it should be. I was called in twice to help and this gets charged to client. Anyway, after a long while, the project was complete and the clients called to say how happy they were and had already started cooking et al. It was a fab reno and I really credit my builder with the completion. He understood and went according to my drawings and it really looks great. It was published in HOME/TUIS magazine.
I wouldn’t recommend skipping the PM phase to reduce professional fees. It actually costs you more, drives the builder mad and the morale of subbies etc can fall to a low.