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Monday, January 27, 2014

Before and After

Here's the same room today after The Teich Group transformed it into a working office.  A dramatic floor to ceiling shelving wall was built to house part of the owners' library as well as a collection of antique large-gauge toy railroad cars.  Now this room sets the tone for the rest of the house.
This was a typical living room  located to one side of the entry foyer.  It wanted to be an important room but, being small and somewhat removed from the other living spaces of the house, it was nondescript and under utilized.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

For years I've heard the phrase "the devil is in the details."  I don't know about the "devil" but I do know that the "details" can make or break a project. For a designer, it might be a molding detail, or a door location, or a window treatment, or a paint color.  For the client, it may be something much different.

I was reminded of this yesterday.  I met with a client who was looking for a new counter top material to be used in her laundry room.  She was determined to select a natural stone. She felt that granite would have the depth and richness she was looking for.  In her previous home she had installed a polished limestone.  As many of you know, limestone is very porous and even with a professional sealer applied, it is so absorbent that it stains almost immediately.  She definitely wanted to avoid that.  Unfortunately, the one stone she was attracted to was another polished limestone.  I suggested she look at one of the new man-made quartz products as an alternative.  To say the least, she was some what skeptical. I made arrangements to meet her at a local tile and stone showroom, Ciot.  This chic designer showroom displays incredible  products including porcelain, ceramic, glass and stone tile. They also have a large warehouse featuring slabs of onyx, marble, granite, and man-made quartz. 

While the client and I were discussing counter top alternatives I mentioned to her that the surface we had just set our coffee cups on was a quartz product. It was approximately the color she was looking for and it had a lot of the "depth" that she thought she could only get with granite.  After looking at all the alternatives, her final decision was for the Caesarstone's "Shitake."

The time spent looking for a counter top that met the visual and functional needs of the client was well worth it.  She came away from the meeting satisfied that one of her "detail" concerns had been addressed. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This is going to be a hard act to follow!

Yesterday we met with our client who is moving from a suburban home on 2.5 acres to a townhouse in the neighboring city of Birmingham, MI.  The above photograph of their current living room illustrates their appreciation of art, antiques and fine detail.  We are taking many of these furnishings, objects and are and moving them to the new house. 

This is the new living room.  It has completely different proportions (floor layout, ceiling heights, window openings, etc.) which would usually require furnishing, lamp and accessory selections that reflected this more expansive space.  Over the next couple of months we'll be sharing pictures of the transformation.

What we really want to share with you is the process a designer goes through when tackling a job like this.

Initially, we make an inventory of the clients' existing furniture, rugs, lamps, accessories, art and various other objects that make up their home.  We document all of them with photographs along with meticulous measurements..  We take that documentation and develop an initial furniture layout with rug and lamp locations.  This "map" illustrates where there are empty spaces requiring additional pieces.  Over a series of meetings with the clients the proposed layout is reviewed and approved by them. 

At this stage we keep things pretty loose and sketchy.  Nothing is hard lined onto the drawing.  We don't want to intimidate the client into thinking that the decisions are final and carved in stone.  Continuing discussions lead to modifications.  This drawing was developed for final review at which time the sofa facing the fireplace was switched with the two chairs and the sofa table was eliminated. Also, by request of the clients,  the secretary and two chairs in the gallery hall are being moved into the great room and will be placed on the wall to the left of the fireplace.  (I'm not sure that will work but we'll see at the time of installation.) 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good Morning!  Michigan is one of the MANY states hit by a major winter storm.  We are all digging out while the temps are still bearable in hopes that tomorrow's subzero weather won't bring with it more snow.
This is the scene directly outside our office door.  This doesn't start to show how miserable it is out there.  Hopefully, most of you are home, sitting in front of a fire and drinking a hot cup of cocoa.

This morning as I was getting ready for work I had HGTV on my TV set and was listening to the Property Brothers.  They were discussing the "scope of work" and the "budget." The show delivers on its hype. Like most of the viewers I was impressed with the final product. BUT (and this is a big BUT) the budgets are totally unrealistic.  From a professional's viewpoint, who has had 35 years experience working with builders, it is obvious to me that the Brothers labor costs are greatly reduced or non-existent.  Materials used in their projects must be donated or sold "at or below" cost.  I have just gone through the renovation process myself.  I was able to do a lot of the purchasing myself (which saved me money) but the budget averaged $80.00/sq. ft.  Most homeowners planning a renovation project should plan on spending $80 to $100/sq. ft. and more if they elect to use higher end finishes, appliances, etc.  It is great fun to see the finished projects on the many TV design shows but the unrealistic expectations they create can put a real damper on a project when applied to the real world.

I have a couple of interesting projects coming up in the near future that I will be sharing with you.  One involves rebuilding a home that was destroyed by fire this past fall.  The clients have a real sense of their design esthetic and should be a lot of fun to work with.  The other clients are moving from a suburban colonial on a heavily landscaped 2.5 acre lot to a detached townhouse in Birmingham, MI.  They have collected beautiful antiques while traveling the world.  It was wonderful working with them on the last house and I'm looking forward to another exciting experience working on this new one.

Oh, and one more thing......

I work with two wonderful people, Stanley and Tracey.  Stan is a senior designer with the firm and Tracey acts as our project manager.  From time to time, they will also be posting on this site.  They will have their own unique "take" on the projects coming out of our studio. 

Enjoy your day.  Stay warm and stay safe.