As a busy design firm in Vancouver, Canada, change is our constant, and at times we can be too quick to ask “what’s next”? I mean, the reason we design houses is to help our clients realize their dreams, but too often we are off onto the next creative challenge before even catching a glimpse of how our current design is being received and appreciated. We mean to change that in a big way! Senior Manager Ken Best had this simple but insightful idea of “celebrating our successes” by asking clients to open up their home when almost finished (but still in its raw state) to the designers on the front lines (and often behind the scenes), as well as clients, potential clients, and even those who simply love the art and culture of viewing new or newly renovated homes. Not only does this help celebrate the client’s vision, but it helps us as designers to understand how the spaces that were imagined actually work. Hopefully any surprises are only pleasant!
Even when the contractor is professional and courteous there is a potentially important impact to “pay it forward” to neighbours who have day in and day out (sometimes for over a year) witnessed the noise, big trucks, workers parking in front of their homes, and all the other “joys” that construction brings. Some clients are proactive and do knock on neighbours’ doors to introduce themselves, and we always send out these pre-construction notices reading:
“We are currently making noise in your area. Actually the contractors are making the noise but we are responsible for the design. We trust it will bring about improvements in your neighbourhood and do appreciate your patience. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at (604) 980-2087 or email us through www.synthesisdesign.ca”
And while this helps, we could do more. Community is created, not found, and there are often neighbours who are challenged by change and tough to appease. Even in these situations, we are happy to try and talk them down. Afterall, it’s their neighbourhood too and they were there first. We try to build connections, not break them down.
Below is a recent invitation that was emailed and posted on our social media sites:
All Systems Go – Synthesis Home Tour
The most recent Synthesis Custom Home is completed, and we couldn’t be prouder!
This home features timber work, vaulted spaces, nana-walls, concrete countertops, and custom cabinetry.
We and the Home Owners would like to extend an open invitation to design fans to see it first-hand.
Space is limited, so contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your spot! Address will be provided once you are on the list!
We received a great response and truly appreciated the client’s willingness in providing the venue for the party, and for graciously touring guests around their new home and answering the multitude of questions surrounding the design and build.
Stay tuned for the next “All Systems Go” Synthesis Home Tour. Who knows you may just run into a neighbor you have been looking for a chance to meet!