Designing for the Sexes: Garage Version

M & J are creating two new spaces, and that means there is something for both of them.  I am impressed with how well these two homeowners, who have very different talents, are coping through this complex project.  They are a model for any married couple who wants to build big and still be married at the end of the project.

art work or torture
art or instrument of torture?

J is an engineer.  He reads the blueprint plans like he’s reading the morning newspaper.  He models different versions of the project on his computer just for fun.  He gets excited about how and where the plumbing lines are.  He’s been late to work several times because he’s hanging out with the construction crew, chatting about the details.

M is very visual.  She is building her new family room around the painting that she bought just for this room.  She picked her paint color out 6 months ago.  She gets excited about where the furniture is going to sit after all the demo and dirty work are completed.

M pointed out their different styles to me when she admitted that she can barely read a map, while J thinks they are works of art, worthy of framing in fact.  She just finds this incomprehensible.

But both homeowners are staying on top of the details, each in their own way.  M is the one who noticed, before anyone else, that the garage windows had been framed too high this week.  Things just looked out of scale to her.  After checking with J and the architect, it was agreed that they were, indeed, framed too high.  Although she admits that the plans were a mystery to her, she had a good sense of what things were supposed to look like.

Once you’ve planned and plotted, gotten engineering clearance and hired a trustworthy contractor, it’s easy to think that they are executing according to plan.  At this stage of the game, the couple is treading a delicate line.  The structure is beginning to take form, and they need to stay on top of small things so they don’t become big things that could cost them additional money down the road. Catching construction mistakes makes sense and saves money.  But at the same time, they realize that seeing the actual structure in real life is different than seeing it on paper.  As their architect counseled, “At this stage, it’s hard to imagine the finished product.  Trust the plan.”  I run in to this often when I’m working on a decorating project.  It is hard, maybe impossible, for about 80% of the population to see a completed design project.  That is why home staging is so critical, because home buyers can’t always imagine potential that a home may have hidden.  So engineers, designers and regular folks can all coexist by keeping the lines of communication open.  Hopefully the end result comes in on time, on budget, and within scope.   Hang in there, M, you’ll get to decorate, soon!