design advice {pulling the plug}…

im not sure if this is a taboo topic or not, but i have a question for all of you designers out there: have you ever had to pull the plug on a potential client?

if so, were there red flags? what was the final straw? & how did you execute the cut-off?

a couple of months ago i found myself in the deliciously decadent position of having all my stars align…

i had a lead on a local ff&e design job, an offer for an internship at one of my favourite interiors magazines & motivationally speaking i was back on track after a long hiatus…

i met with the client & was invited to submit a design for their guest room so that they could gauge if our styles were compatible…

that seemed fair enough, so i set about putting together a scheme having been shown the existing furniture {a bed & wardrobe}, paint colours & some imagery of rooms the client liked the style of…

there was no budget {yes, i asked} & the design brief was “high-end residential”…

anomadicabode_client moodboard

this was my first submission…

the whole process took about 12 hours {there were, of course, several iterations} & was submitted just over 24 hours after my initial client interview…

anomadicabode_client moodboard 02

i subsequently went back & tweaked some things to add a bit more colour into what was a particularly neutral scheme…

the feedback from the client was predominantly very positive, apart from wishing to change the overhead lighting {they wanted something cosier}, create more of a feature behind the bed & to disguise the exposed radiator …

but it quickly became apparent that even these changes were still not going to be enough to secure the role…

the client also wanted me to populate some photos they’d taken of the room to see if the pieces i’d chosen would work & i was provided with some plans, dimensions & imagery…

again, there were several iterations before i finalised my submission…

anomadicabode_client guest room 02

i suggested we build out the bedhead {also creating some storage behind} & add some artwork {though i generally think this should be something the client should be involved with as appreciation of art is a very personal thing}

anomadicabode_client guest room 03

the reading nook was kept simple & i provided three options to disguise the radiator, including built in cabinetry…

anomadicabode_client guest room 01

whilst the dressing area continued the clean, classic & elegant feel consistent throughout…

this submission took approximately 14 hours to pull together & involved some additional sourcing, image manipulation & drawing…

again the client feedback was positive & i felt proud of myself for persevering, especially considering the tight deadlines & moving goal posts…

but then the clincher came…

the client had obviously done some research based on my submissions, priced some of my options &, after telling me i had expensive taste {remember, there was no budget & the spec was “high-end”}, asked me to source cheaper options for some of the pieces i had proposed…

this is where i personally wanted to stop the merry-go-round & get off, but my boyfriend suggested i arrange another one-on-one meeting with the client as there’d clearly been some confusion: i thought the purpose of these boards was for the client to determine if our styles were compatible {this was never intended as a final, costed submission}

i politely declined the offer to sink more of my time into what was increasingly looking like a futile process & suggested we meet for coffee to discuss matters further including how the project would progress {timings, payment, logistics, etc.}, but this suggestion was met with a phone call from the client telling me that they still wanted me to supply cheaper options of certain pieces before they were willing to proceed…

& this, my friends, is the moment i pulled the plug: 2 weeks of back & forth & 26 hours worth of submissions later & my patience expired…

i was becoming more than a little suspicious that there wasn’t going to be any paid work at the end of this process & i determined my time & energy was better spent pursuing other options…

but i’m curious…

tell me please, what would you have done?

would you have gone the next step & provided budget options? or would you have pulled the plug on this project a lot earlier? if so, when?

begin at the beginning…

"Alice catches sight of the white rabbit"  by sir john tenniel, 1865

the white rabbit put on his spectacles. `where shall I begin, please your majesty?’ he asked.

`begin at the beginning,’ the king said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

* * *

sometimes i find simply beginning a project the hardest part of the whole design process…

i attribute this to knowing that in doing so i’m about to fall down the longest, deepest, darkest rabbit hole in existence…

as rabbit holes go, it’s a nice one… don’t get me wrong!

it’s just that i know my entire existence is about to be engulfed in the process, so i often need to take time to draw breath & collect my thoughts before i take the leap…

to complicate matters, i’m planning on straying a little from the design path i was set on with my studies…

of course there’s no getting around it, the design process needs to start with a client brief so as to understand the fundamentals of what is required…

but i’m not content with simply knowing what the space will be used for or what kind of furniture the client likes…

instead i want to really explore the notion of how my clients want to feel when they’re in their space…

this, for me, represents the beginning…

so i’m off to find my torch: those rabbit holes can get mighty murky at times you know!

image via: victorian web

quote via: alice’s adventures in wonderland by lewis carroll

like waiting for buses…

you know the saying, you wait ages & nothing, then three buses come along all at once: well, it would appear that this phenomenon is not restricted to public transportation…

indeed, in my case, it appears to also be true with design projects!

& so it is…

exciting news to report, it looks like i’m going to be a busy lady in the upcoming weeks & months…

first things first, i’m going to church {hence the seemingly random image choice above}, but not to pray for divine intervention, strength or courage, but rather to design consult on this beauty…

unfortunately the hard work has already been done here {church conversions are notoriously difficult to get right}, but i’ll be offering my advice to a particularly sassy lady on how to turn a former house of prayer into a home…

next on the agenda i’ll be advising two renters {one a creative & one a tech head} on marrying their respective styles to give a temporary lodging a cohesive transformation…

& finally, drum roll please…

i’m building a home! from scratch!

it’s a tear down & start over scenario which is terrifying, exciting & no-doubt grey-hair inducing… so i’ll be sure to share with you whatever i learn along the way, which is bound to be heaps because i’ve never done this before!

where to start? bloody good question… & as soon as i find out i’ll be sure to let you know!

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