Over the past week or so, I have had the pleasure of working with the talented interior designer (and blogger extraordinaire) Christine Dovey on a residential basement renovation. For those of you who are not familiar with Christine, here is a link to her inspiring design blog: bijou and boheme
As this project is for her own dwelling, it's exciting opportunity for me to work with a client who is open to, and actually encourages, thinking "outside the box". Christine is completely receptive to new and innovative ideas. Indeed, the conversations can be animated, lengthy and detailed as we both have considerable knowledge to bring to the table. This is not a typical architectural designer - client relationship which requires a lot of guidance and a firm hand on the part of the designer. This dynamic is playful, fluid, responsive and inspiring even when faced with the challenges that occur in any project... More on those challenges, later.
Consultations with the client and family members to evaluate needs and wants, documenting site conditions and creating a workable design to present to the client and contractor are all typical steps I take towards a successful project. On this particular project, I've been lucky to have a familiarity with a client who's involved and provides considerable design inspiration. In large part, the seeds of this design have germinated in Christine's own creativity and were brought to me for pruning and cultivating. Rarely, in my past experience, has a client had such a strong sense of the end-product, and vision towards what could be.
Basement renovations are tricky. Not only are the spaces (typically) dark, confined and largely uninspiring they are filled with the "guts" and "bones" of what makes the remainder of the upper-storeys livable. Christine and I came-up with a dramatic transformation to her existing space, and presented the design to the contractor. Demolition commenced, and the ugly head of the underlying structure, reared. Quickly, I was able to evaluate the site conditions and revise the design / layout to retain the majority of the "must-haves" on Christine's list, while minimizing impact (on the schedule and budget) by re-configuring spaces so construction could proceed without a delay.
I must say, it was this responsiveness to my client's needs and site conditions, that I'm most proud of to this stage. This example is what I want my practice to be primarily known for: Attentive and responsive to the client and considerate in all aspects of the project. Good design is paramount and, by nature, considerate.
I am looking forward to seeing this project progress, and excited to experience the renovated space. I hope to be able to share this (and more on other, current projects) through this blog, as I get more comfortable with posting, the layout and it's intricacies. Exciting stuff ahead!
Thanks for reading... Stay tuned!