The Virginia Street Approach to Construction
Imagine a little girl holding what seems like a hundred balloons. Slowly one or two of them start to rise above her—first the ones in the middle that are bound to go, no matter how tight she keeps her grip. Then, to her horror, more start to follow, and, before long, the sheer frustration of having lost so many balloons causes her to unconsciously loosen her grip altogether.
Unfortunately, doing a renovation or building a house can often play out in a similar fashion. Projects start with hopes, dreams, unrealistic expectations, varying visions that go unshared, and, often times, no one on the project who’s willing to rein them in and bring an objective opinion to the table.
The builder has his crew, his subs, his business, reputation, connections and bottom line to juggle. The clients have their real lives to juggle, and often the details (and this is everything from vent registers to product sourcing logistics), like the little girl’s balloons, just start to slip away. It usually starts with one small thing here and there, but can ultimately lead to a landslide of misunderstandings, days of inefficiency, and in the worst cases, downright mistakes.
How It Works
Because Virginia is first, a professional organizer, and second, a home designer, and never, an interior designer, she offers her clients a unique approach to construction. There is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” renovation or construction project, when it’s your home on the line. For this reason, while there are set processes that Virginia follows, each client’s range of services will vary from project to project.
The process from start to finish looks a little bit like this:
- Virginia meets with clients, during the planning stages, which can be as early as whenever clients start brainstorming. At this point, she gives clients targeted lifestyle assessments, which help her to determine exactly which range of services would be most helpful to the project.
- Virginia meets with builder/contractor to better understand his/her process, find out which subs will be on the project and which local resources the builder prefers to use.
- Virginia meets with architect or drafter to better understand his/her vision for the project. (This piece is not always applicable, but, when it is, it can be a crucial piece to the whole efficiency puzzle.)
- Virginia draws up a plan of action and timeline, collaborating closely with the builder, his/her subs and local venders.
- Virginia creates a whole home inventory, including every decision a client will have to make throughout the process, and detailing, deadlines before which those decisions need to be made, as well as noting items that can be sourced via Virginia Street Design’s extensive and dynamic product sourcing library.
- Now, ground is broken.
Notice how much work is completed prior to knocking the first wall down or digging the first mound of dirt out. This process sets the whole project on firm ground, where each party’s cards are on the table. This type of collaboration and confidence in the decision-making process is rarely achieved within the constructs of a typical construction project. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Finally, if you’re still reading this rather lengthy foray into Virginia’s approach to construction, here’s a word for all the stay-at-home moms, -dads and anyone, who’s blessed (or, cursed!) enough to call their office, “home.” One of the biggest myths out there is that, since a “stay-at-homer” is at home and “free,” she/he should be able to just absorb the stresses of decision-making and logistics into her/his everyday routine. This idea written down sounds ludicrous; however, Virginia sees it frequently. The reasoning behind it can range from, “Well, I have a Type A personality, and I want to make all of the decisions, ” to, “I didn’t know there was another option.”
Here’s the myth buster analysis on this myth:
A stay-at-homer’s “office” is now a construction zone.
A stay-at-homer all of a sudden has to go to a job site to take care of issues, when the flow of the day rests in the routine of the primary house.
Anyone who’s worked amidst chaos, whether it’s two businesses merging or simply having to share your space with a new co-worker, knows that efficiency and productivity suffer greatly during these times. So, it goes without saying, that the stay-at-homer’s efficiency and productivity are going to be greatly (and almost certainly, negatively) affected by a renovation or new construction. To expect that life can continue with all of the balls up in the air, as they’ve always been, during a construction project, is a bit short-sighted. What’s worse is it’s completely unnecessary.
Virginia has always said, “If there’s money to be tearing down or building up walls, then there’s money to get help managing the inevitable mischief that building causes.” The reason she can so confidently and consistently say that, is that her process ultimately helps projects save money, by decreasing total project length and tightening up logistics and scheduling, so that subs don’t show up, when a decision hasn’t been made prior to their arrival. The nickel-and-dime issues that add up tend to decrease on Virginia’s projects, and, while there are always crises (every honest-to-goodness construction project has at least one), clients never have to deal with them alone. When problems occur, reasoning (and a paper trail) can usually be employed to trace back to the source of the error, bring it to light and reckon with it in the open. Human error is inevitable, but feeling helpless in the face of human error doesn’t have to be.
Contact Virginia for a free, in-home consultation.
She can’t wait to start helping you manage the mischief of your construction project!