Article Line Long1
Design

The 3 Lessons Our Design/Build Team Has Learned Working With Me (A Fun, Fast, And Yet Often Indecisive Social Media Design Blogger)

From Em: This is the first time we’ve worked with an outside design team and it’s SUCH a different experience, I can’t even tell you. I feel a shared pressure, a shared workload, and Anne and her team bring skills, expertise, and experience that I just don’t have. It’s been a DREAM and while there is time for things to get hairy as they likely will at times, Brian and I feel so safe in this relationship. But I know that working with me is certainly a different experience – not just because I’m a designer (and designing for a designer is SO HARD) but because all of you are watching and weighing in (thank goodness – you’ve really affected certain decisions for the good). So Anne said she wanted to write about the experience thus far and of course I was down for it. What could possibly be the harm?? Take it away Anne. 🙂

It’s not often that I get to work with another designer on her future home, so I’ve embraced this experience with Emily to the fullest. Here are three things I’ve learned so far about designing for an influencer and fellow designer.

emily at rejuvenation test driving the main bath bathtub

Please bear with me, this is my very first blog post. Being an introvert and a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of person, I always love hanging out with storytellers. I love stories. I am just not confident about being able to tell a story myself but really wanted to take on this challenge.

anne reading yet another 1,200-page book

But here I go. Considering that I love organized thoughts in bullet-points, numbers, and no-nonsense systems, this is going to be challenging for me.  

(Ok, there will still be numbers)! 

1. Working On This Farm Is So Much Fun

one of many wonderful 3-hr zoom design meetings

Emily and Brian are kind, self-deprecating go-getters, and eternally enthusiastic and creative. I am having so much fun. We have been spending countless hours remotely together exploring many ideas. Not having a social life due to social distancing, I have been “pretend-living” their lives in their new home looking at it from every possible angle, including through the many eyes of Emily’s very kind and inspiring audience, her brother, and my husband. It is like having a million best friends. I always tell my clients that the fewer cooks in the kitchen, the better, not to design for their friends and family, and to be careful of following trends as they tend to date a project. 

Well, in this case, Emily, Brian, and I are confusing ourselves by looking at every trend, listening to all our friends and families, and going in circles like there is no tomorrow. While this is not an efficient way to design by any stretch of the imagination, the three of us are having so much fun in the process!  

The other day we had one of our 3-4-hour meetings. I am having to put my foot down so we can finalize the window and door sizes and locations so we can get the framing plan wrapped up. Well, I thought we had a lot of windows before today’s meeting, but ohhh nooo, Emily and Brian were able to find room for more skylights!

Emily and Brian also decided last week to move the mudroom from one end of the house to the other. We carved this out of their large main bedroom, which, for the longest time, they convinced me they needed. We actually added onto the ’60s addition to make the bedroom larger. Well, it was a great change to the spaces and we even added a gallery… with more windows (of course) and we found a space for a library ladder… again. The dog washing station keeps going into and out of the plans. I decided to stop designing yet another version but just write a note into the plans that it might come back. 

So, 1st lesson to remember, Anne: there is a lot of fun to be had by not being your German, efficient self and instead, taking the long, explorative route to the destination. 

screenshot of the not-current design folder. sooo many options.  

2. My One-Step-At-A-Time Approach + Emily’s Exploratory One = Great Creative Challenge

Arciform’s 20-plus years of experience has taught us that, if we do not have most of our ducks in a row before we start with a remodel, we all hustle to make final decisions on the fly, financial predictions are harder to make, and the result might not be quite as thought-out. 

Well, working with a social media influencer/blogger who goes at rapid speed and loves a lot of different ideas (we have this very much in common), we are approaching this project from all sides. We are still designing windows and door sizes and layouts while we have the engineer doing structural calculations and the demo phase has begun. Granted, doing the demo early in this case is smart, as the Henderson family is not living in the house. We are calling it the “Discovery Phase”. Homes that have been remodeled often tend to have hidden “treasures” behind the walls, or under the ceiling and floorboards. By uncovering those early on, we can make more informed decisions about the home’s new structure. 

Emily, Brian, and I were a bundle of nerves about having made the right decision with regard to demo-ing the front porch when we did. We have peeled back layers of past trends and can now see through the framing with x-ray vision towards the future of this old home. It is funny when Emily and I fret over tile layouts, plumbing, and lighting fixture choices while we are not even sure if the space we are designing these details for will exist the next week! I must admit I have gone down the design rabbit hole in most every option we have come up with. Not efficient at all! Stephyn Meiner, Arciform’s Design Associate, keeps telling me to hold my horses, but it is hard when one is having fun.   

original siding below ‘80s aluminum siding

The 2nd lesson learned: stepping out of my more structured comfort zone by exploring so many more options than usual and demo-ing before the scope is set has pushed me creatively. It does confirm to me that I love this momentum and Emily and Brian should keep it up!

Here are some of the “hidden treasures”:

lots of room for vaulted ceilings below the dropped ceiling of the ‘60s remodel
dead space between the brick of the ‘60s fireplace addition and the ‘80s walls created for the foster home for elders. 
a transom window hidden behind ‘60s paneling

3. Emily Has A Lot Of Industry Partnerships And Works Hard For Those Relationships

It is incredibly impressive to see how hard Emily and her team work to promote and support their partners. Emily wants to make it worth everyone’s time to team up with her and does she ever! She is loyal to a fault, and we all must be sure she makes decisions that are best for her and her family in the end. She also admitted to me that we must keep her in check so she does not design just for a photo op. This is a new one for me, but I really like the way she looks at a space through the lens of a camera. It balances the practical with composition and the element of the story she wants to tell. So, in addition to designing for a family that is re-inventing themselves by moving from sunny California to less-sunny Oregon to live on a mini-farm for the first time, we are also looking at the project through the lens of promotional opportunities and the many ways Emily can tell her stories. 

So, the 3rd lesson that I have learned is that looking at designs through a camera lens, or as if I were promoting a product, is a great additional tool to help design spaces.

Spinning and twirling and exploring and considering has been the norm for the last 3 months and it has been nothing but fun! ‘Til next time!

0 0 vote
Article Rating

WANT MORE OF WHERE THAT CAME FROM?

Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

37 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jessica
4 months ago

Interesting discoveries! I enjoyed hearing more about your process together.

Kelly
4 months ago

Great first blog post! I’m intrigued by this new place for the mudroom. On the opposite side of the house if I remember correctly….. : )

Susan
4 months ago

So doesn’t it increase the cost significantly to keep talking designing changing and never finalizing the plan? I get that a person doesn’t want to rush the process and risk getting it wrong, but how do you know when enough is enough and its time to just move forward? Seems like you could stay in this stage forever. Just wondering as the people hired to help make this happen, who makes that call?

Amanda McCullough
4 months ago
Reply to  Susan

another perspective: you’re spending a big chunk of money and don’t want to hate something every time you look at it because you rushed a decision….

Erin
4 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Money. Money calls the shots. And outside circumstances beyond your control like contractors, materials and life stuffs. I spent over 6 years designing my family home and certainly could have gone on longer, it was fun but you do want to live in it eventually 😉 Our stretching things out so long actually saved us money beyond our belief when our bank decided not to lend us to build because we wanted to build it ourselves. We took a leap, built the house with savings and earnings as we went along and 16 months into construction we should be set to move in this summer with NO DEBT.
Designing your own family home that you want to be in long-term is so much fun (for some) it’s like the best most gratifying Tetris game ever but you get to live it when you’re done. And the feeling of “I made that!” or “I made that happen!” is like high leg kicks and cartwheels for the soul.

Emma
4 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Long story short, it’s not one person “making the call” since it is a professional service rendered on a contractual basis, and the cost impact depends on the fee structure. A licensed architect will be able to suggest the fee/contract structure best suited to the project, client, and schedule, and the contract should be drawn up and signed before work begins. For example, if you are working on a lump sum basis you can easily end up in the red because of an unsophisticated client who may not understand or appreciate the complexity of the process (as opposed to project managers who act as clients professionally). Lump sum agreements are attractive to many clients because they know the fee up front (same reason clients like having a GMP!) but it often requires comprehensive knowledge of the project beforehand. You might work on an hourly basis if the existing conditions or scope of the project are unclear, making it harder to estimate the cost ahead of time. You can imagine how that could be the case with renovations, but it can even happen with new builds if the site conditions are unknown or if the program is not yet decided. It… Read more »

Cris S.
4 months ago

So, there is a green button saying “Would love your thoughts, please comment.” that won’t go away, is blocking part of the text and pictures and the pop up X disappears when you try to get to it. My thought, before even reading the article (which I’m super interested in!) is, “Please make the green comment icon go away!!!!” Thank you!

Lisa
4 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Oh yes please! It feels a lot less ‘hey please feel invited to our super cool comment section’ and a lot more ‘I SHALL HARASS YOU UNTIL YOU COMMEEEEENT’ which is frankly a lot less pleasant… I mean I also comment pretty regularly here anyway, so for me it also invokes the feeling of being a child and having your parents frequently remind you to do a task that YES I KNOW WAS GONNA DO THAT ANYWAY, MUM lol

Rusty
4 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Yup, it’s annoying for sure and blocks part of the screen!
If it ain’t broke, please don’t ‘fix’ it by making it worse.

Lisa
4 months ago

Ouuh what a super cool post – thank you Anne!! I have sometimes wondered what its like being the other side of this design team and loved getting your insights and also all the cool in progress photos!! Would be super stoked about more of those also 😉 Best wishes and many sympathies from a fellow structure-loving German! 😀 I’m looking forward to where this will go and love getting insight into this very special team work!!

Lane
4 months ago

Looks like both sides complement each other very well. I enjoy this series so much. I’m also interested about the costs or weekly checkins and redesign. How do you all manage that part to prevent it from being wasteful on both sides.

Andrea
4 months ago

Anne, I love hearing about the hidden treasures… love a bit of mystery. Thank you for more of the inside view on this journey.

Roberta Davis
4 months ago

As long as you get paid by the hour!

anon
4 months ago

Requesting that the EDH staff check in on the insider group forum. There is discussion about the paid forum community being ignored. Again. Please check in.

Sunny
4 months ago
Reply to  anon

Not a paid forum community member (I did the 7 days tho) and wondered if it would lose steam.

Hana
4 months ago

I love hearing about this from your perspective and that picture of you and your dog is lovely! Please tell them to keep the dog washing station even if it is just outside in with a covered area with warm water. It needn’t be fancy and it could also be used for outdoor showers for people if you design it that way! Also, if they put in a raised area for the dog to stand on with a ring to tether the dog to it will be a back saver and frustration eliminator. This will really be a lifesaver with two muddy dogs to deal with. And as the mother of two grown boys having an outdoor shower for them to wash after mud runs with their buddies is so useful! Ours is outside the laundry room so they can put their muddy clothes straight into the washer and gives the dogs a place to dry off a bit before coming into the house after their bath. I also want to see it because I want to redo mine and I’d love to see what you all come up with!

Emily
4 months ago
Reply to  Hana

Seconding the idea about the raised level for the dog wash station. I don’t have a great back to begin with, but there are certain things that REALLY trigger it, one of which is giving the dogs a bath. A raised washing area would be a lifesaver! Also recommend having two dog hookup spots, one for the dog currently getting washed off and another for the dog that may or may not be dreading their turn.

Molly M Phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Hana

We added a raised dog shower to our remodeled farmhouse and I love it, especially since we have a creek on our property. But I will say that the height is still tricky with a bad back. It’s difficult to make it high enough to save your back but low enough that the dogs can safely jump in and out without a human helping lift them.

Lola in shower.jpeg
Remington
4 months ago

I love organized thoughts in bullet-points, numbers, and no-nonsense systems…”—I think we might be the same person, LOL. It’s great to hear your perspective, Anne! I’d love to hear more from your perspective as you go through this project.

Rusty
4 months ago

Anne, so interesting so read your side of the experience. The hidden surprises are intriguing.
I think you struck gold working with these two! Team Hendo and Aric all the way!
I really enjoyed your POV and hope you post again.

Dang, that comment bubble is freakin’ annoying! 🤬
The text font has changed too – harder to read, and neither of these things is a change for the better IMHO. Gah!

Gabrielle
4 months ago

Very interesting, of course this is the best outcome for the homeowner, literally exhausting every design option, almost creating a gift of artwork.
Yet how does it work financially in business ?
I am assuming if on flat fee you didn’t factor in the time for designing out up to 14 options, if on an hourly fee having those 3-4 hr meetings that only remove options and don’t forward a project, would eventually need to see a ROI
Anne, I think you deserve a standing ovation!
It is extraordinary that someone so efficient, organized and task completion orientated could take on the reverse, actually doing the opposite of refusing to close down tasks and keep it open.
From Emily’s side, how great to be giving herself such a beautiful gift, of additional different perspectives.
‘The beauty of all this thoughtfulness is going to shine thru in the most effortless appearing, timeless and personalized for the way they live space, so excited for you all.
How incredibly fortunate we are to watch it! THANK YOU!
This is serious collaboration on all levels, well done!

AJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Gabrielle

This is such a nice comment. All I could think of was “Jeez this sounds like an absolute bloody nightmare” 😂

Emma
4 months ago
Reply to  Gabrielle

I’ll copy and paste a response I left above, from the perspective of an architect: Long story short, it’s not one person “making the call” since it is a professional service rendered on a contractual basis, and the cost impact depends on the fee structure. A licensed architect will be able to suggest the fee/contract structure best suited to the project, client, and schedule, and the contract should be drawn up and signed before work begins. For example, if you are working on a lump sum basis you can easily end up in the red because of an unsophisticated client who may not understand or appreciate the complexity of the process (as opposed to project managers who act as clients professionally). Lump sum agreements are attractive to many clients because they know the fee up front (same reason clients like having a GMP!) but it often requires comprehensive knowledge of the project beforehand. You might work on an hourly basis if the existing conditions or scope of the project are unclear, making it harder to estimate the cost ahead of time. You can imagine how that could be the case with renovations, but it can even happen with new builds… Read more »

Rusty
4 months ago

Oooooh, check this out!
All the info. in one article.
I never thlught about wool carpet thisway!

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/can-a-home-renovation-ever-truly-be-green-36910469

Irene
4 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

That article was wonderful – thanks. I never had any idea concrete was so problematic; glad I read this before getting all the cracking and crumbling concrete in my house and yard repaired.

I did know about fenceline communities, but not that name. Now it’ll be easier for me to research and follow progress.

Funny how a site called Apartment Therapy as much useful information for people who live in detached houses as it does for apartment dwellers.

Rusty
4 months ago
Reply to  Irene

Irene, Apartment Therapy is doing excellent posts on environmental impacts in builds, renovations (room by room, how to deal with daily garbage fisposal vs recycling…they’re killin’ it!
Have a dig around their site.
They’ve really stepped up this year.

Erin
4 months ago

An interesting perspective-thanks, Anne! I always kind of felt that working with Emily would be like working with Goldie Hawn=FUN. You just accept the crazy stuff that happens on the adventure because you would be missing out on the whole experience. Seriously, who would say “no” to working with Goldie???

Michelle
4 months ago

Well done, Anne! It’s great to hear things from your perspective. Thanks for sharing!

Lindsay
4 months ago

So cool to see the “guts” of the house, and it really reveals the potential! Great post.

4 months ago

Such a fun partnership and it has been a joy to follow along!!! I love hearing about how strongly Em feels about her partnerships as well, so inspiring!!

4 months ago

I love this!

But more importantly, do I spy a Borzoi?! I have a Borzoi/Scottish Deerhound and love them. 🙂 🙂 🙂

4 months ago

Informative and insightful post. Thanks for writing and sharing this post with us.

Megan
4 months ago

The skylight comment and version control had me in stitches. Pure gold.

Sona
4 months ago

Since all of us in the EHD community adore Emily and Brian, I am so happy to hear that you love them too! This project is huge but I know it will be fabulous in the end and I’m loving the ride!

Aaron
4 months ago

Those masks :/ ….. plenty of states have lifted mask mandates and are on their way back to normal. Thank the Lord! After all, a boomer flu with a 99.7% survival rate is one I’ll ‘take my chances’ with.

bh
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

I didn’t realize masks were on the Lord’s priority list and I thought masks mandates were lifted because of vaccination!

Kate
4 months ago

So glad for this post, Anne! Looking forward to your insights & perspectives in future posts, too–hooray!

Go To Top