We had our “No Changes” meeting with the builder last Thursday, and by we I mean I, because Kent did not go. This is the last big meeting before ground breaking and the last chance to bring up anything you want to amend.
I had a careful look at the plans before hand and had a number of questions/changes. That number being 16. Was I going to have to fight for all 16 propositions? Was everything going to cost an arm and a leg and require new architectural plans and permits and set everything back by another two months? Gah! I was so sick with worry that I couldn’t sleep for two days. Truthfully, I am so worn down from Christmas prep, singing, conducting, and constant house building issues, that I didn’t know how much spine I had left in me. I really wanted Kent there for moral support, but there was just no way he could make a Thursday afternoon meeting, and we didn’t want to delay any longer.
And then contrary to all expectation, it was the most fun 90 minutes I’ve spent in recent memory! After a brief contractual checklist, the company president invited me into his office and dismissed the person who “usually does this meeting”. He said I had some interesting choices and he wanted to pick my brains. He then went over all of my 16 questions and addressed everything, boom, boom, boom. I felt like a) he really got me, and b) he was highly intelligent and immediately grasped my meaning without me having to waste any time explaining what I meant by a key stone header over the door.
For instance, I had drawn a floorplan which turned two of the upstairs bedrooms into a large bedroom with an en suite bath and a separate laundry. When the architect came back with the actual drawing and dimensions, It turned out the princess suite was 19 ft long and the double window in it was on one side. I worried this would make the room tunnel-like and lopsided. He immediately saw precisely what I meant, said “Three windows on that wall is too much because it destroys the utility of the wall” (Exactly! You end up having to put something in front of the window!) “So let’s separate the double window, and put the other window at this end.” “Perfect, then it becomes it’s own sitting area.” He was sharp and profession and didn’t fight me on crap. And he went to Harvard and MIT (and Cornell), so I felt like he was one of my Boston egghead peeps.
So then he started asking me about my design choices. “Yes, we can move the cooktop to the other side of the island. Now, why would you want to do that?” Friends, if you’ve read my thoughts on granite, you know that I currently spend the majority of my life researching design trends and visualizing my day to day life in the new house. Unfortunately for me, hardly any one (especially Kent) is as interested in the rationale behind my design choices as I am in expounding it, but now someone actually wanted to hear it. “If I’m cooking at the cooktop on this side, my back is turned to the morning room where the kids are playing. But if we put it over here, I can see the kids in the morning room, I have a sight line to the T.V. over the fireplace (“Ah!” he says), I can talk to the people I have over sitting at the bar. If I put the cooktop here in the perimeter, then my back is turned to everything and the uppers (cabinets) block my view of the kids in the morning room. I’m cooking into the wall. I’m isolated. But if I put the cooktop here, it’s like my throne from which I can survey my whole realm while I cook.”
So then he asked me about my cabinet hardware which I purchased myself rather than using one of their options, and my flooring, and my molding, and my windows, induction cooktops, telescopic venting, and why I moved the prep sink.
He asked as which style would I classify acacia floors. “On it’s own, it’s exotic, but it could be used in many applications. Looked fabulous in the craftsman on Park St.. I would love to see the lightest version used in a modern rustic home with a farmhouse sink with an apron and bin pull on the cabinets, maybe a grey island.”
And that’s when he offered me a job. Not really. I should not exaggerate. He asked me whether I was employed and whether I would consider doing some design consulting for him on a future project.
HECK YEAH! To get paid to do something I’m totally into! And the timing couldn’t be better because I currently possess encyclopedic knowledge of home design trends thanks to countless hours of internet research. Even if the work never materializes, I was still delighted to be asked. It is far from the first time someone has told me I should be a designer, or asked me to help them redo their beachhouse/advise on home rennovations and design choices, or featured my house on Design Mom, but it might be the first time I’ve been paid anything decent. I guess we’ll see.
Oh, and the light granite? Done! I may have to pick out my slabs which is advisable when you’re dealing with delicatas style granite (that’s a whole family of granites with dark patterns and flecks of quartzite mottled on a light background) because there is so much variation from slab to slab. Uba Tuba is always Uba Tuba, but White Spring you really have to see the individual slab.
So of course, after I left the “No Changes” meeting, I had to torture myself with whether I should have brought up my secret Question Number 17, “Can I move the powder room toilet over here so that some day when I get rich, I can rip out this pedestal sink and do a full-wall, statement vanity, maybe a retrofitted antique with a giant mirror?” Ah, well. No Changes.