Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Planning for the Unexpected

It would seem a crystal ball should be in order, if we were blessed with the gift of seeing into the future for life’s unexpected events.  After all, if we could know something is about to occur, we would not be caught off guard.  Life is just not always so easily predicted, nor its circumstances or situations!

img-thingJust this week, after logging onto Facebook, I unexpectedly downloaded a nasty malware that decided to take up unwelcome residence on my computer.  I consider my computer a most valued “assistant”, so the thought of it sitting in the shop for several days, felt like a part of me was missing.  (You know the one?  I think we refer to it as our right arm.)  Fortunately, I did have a back-up hard drive, a laptop and an additional computer, but there were some important bits and pieces I still had on the trusty business workhorse and I didn’t want to cross-contaminate the others.  Still, I wasn’t too worried.  I have a great company, Creative Computers, for whom I could rely upon to restore things back to working order and keep me moving along.  That kept me from panicking or making poor decisions, which might have had a more costly impact, later on.

WhewThis little bump-in-the-road, made me think about solving problems in interiors.  In fact, when I was in design school, I took a course with just that title. I really enjoyed the class as it made us combine both the logical and creative sides of interior design.  It has fared me well, in many of my jobs.  Even if I pre-plan, there will inevitably be something that will present an opportunity for me to rise to the occasion and to save the day – or rather – the project!

Interior Design is truly a discipline.  Managing projects, clients and resources takes focus and a calm approach to each area.  I’ll share with you, a few “behind-the-scenes” moments, where I had to think on my feet and “plan for the unexpected”.  (To protect the privacy of clients, only some of the design issues will be shared.)

Culpepper Bookcase -b4

There was some question, in this client’s builder’s specs, about the library’s built-in bookcases.  The client thought the builder would be providing stained, wood cabinets and she received MDF painted cabinets.  Since the ceiling had cedar beams, the room was not properly connected.


Decorative painting to the rescue!  The client did not want to rip out what had been placed, so we hired Whitney Preslar Bayer, my premium decorative artist, and the age-old art of faux graining transformed these from flat to fabulous!  She even added knots and burl “inlay” in the recessed spaces.  What once was a disappointment, is now a work of art!

Frenette - FP Detail 1

In the instance of this impressive stone and brick fireplace, in a lower level entertainment room, a clock outlet had been placed for artwork to be illuminated.  After considering the desire to eliminate this function, the client wanted it to “go away”. 


The solution was somewhat simple, thanks to my electrician, Carlton Staples.  I found the appropriate light fixture, had it placed it in an upward position, and they now have added accent lighting and an extra glow, when the fireplace is not in use.

Homearama - Master Windows - Before 

This lovely window layout was provided for me to adorn in a showhouse I completed.  (I did an entire home, at once!)  So what could be the challenge?  Just think of how you might add softness and a veil of privacy, while honoring the builder’s desire to allow everyone to see the lovely outdoor space, below.  And . . .  look at the expanded curve.  This was a head scratcher!

IMG_3025_editedHere was my solution – linen sheer roman shades, banded in the same silk strié as the attached valances.  By treating the windows individually, I was able to maintain an airy feeling while bringing in some warmth through the texture.  We used the side banding to hide the rings for raising and lowering the shades.  The option would be available, to add a privacy liner, for a future homeowner.


In the same showhouse, the master bathroom had lots of beautiful features – a barrel ceiling, built-in shelves and a back wall of mosaic tile made for an architectural feast!  Now, how to treat the window?


Thank goodness for wood trim!  The builder still wanted an open view and I honored that while softening the edges with a sheer, metallic swagged treatment.  Eventually, the windows could receive a decorative glass treatment or shaped, iron shutters with fabric placed behind them. 

The moral of this story?  Do everything you can to plan for the best, anticipate some challenges and don’t panic.  There’s a professional who can keep the ship sailing smoothly and hold your hand if the waves get bumpy!

Cheers to you!  Wanda


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I know all about this, Wanda. Sometimes, best laid plans and all that. I love the roman shades in that really curved bay, probably the best answer for that area. The faux painting is great. I recommended a faux painter to a client this year for a very large and beautiful cabinet - when I saw it after I couldn't believe it. This woman {the faux painter} is on the top of my list for referrals of this kind.

Jane Ann Maxwell said...

Terrific post Wanda! Any designer that has been at it awhile runs into these kinds of things and it is just a natural part of our job to problem solve and offer creative solutions. It helps when you have responsive and excellent sub contractors!

Interior Concepts by Wanda said...

Kathy and Jane - You hit the nail on the head. While we designers create the solutions, we rely on our "team" of experts to implement them.

Cote de Texas said...

You did a whole showhouse wow. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!!! great pictures - your work is really great!

Interior Concepts by Wanda said...

Joni - That means so much, coming from you! I love your design aesthetic and your blog is the best! Yes, I have done three Homearama houses and they do require a lot of time and energy. They have been great experiences in helping me to know how to manage large house projects.

DesignTies said...

Sometimes the most beautiful and interesting architectural elements create the biggest design dilemmas. You came up with great solutions for yours :-) The faux finished bookcases are my favourite -- you would never guess they aren't really wood!!

Thanks for your comment on my yellow vs purple post :-) Now I have to check out your post about purple :-)


Norbridge Antiques said...

How beautifully the bookcases turned out with the faux finish! I love this blog post. It gives us an inside perspective of the challenges you face when working on a project.

Interior Concepts by Wanda said...

Thank you - the bookcase was amazing! Whitney really outdid herself. I forgot to mention, in the case of the light fixture for the fireplace, I had the challenge to find a fixture where the backplate was large enough to cover up the outlet, while finding the appropriate style. The devil is always in the details!

FrenchGardenHouse said...

What a great post. {and eek! on the computer} All your solutions were brilliant, especially the bookcases. Your work is absolutely stunning, Wanda.
xo Lidy

Elise said...

Lovely post Wanda, really enjoyed it - & I'm loving your blog ! Best wishes..

Interior Concepts by Wanda said...

Thank you, Lidy & Elise! You both have fabulous blogs so your comments are such a nice blessing! The cogwheels are clicking for the next post. Work to catch-up on, this week, first!