15 Nov 2011
Today’s post is written by a good friend of mine – Jamie Goldberg, a NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer. I have long maintained on my site that working with design specialists has broadened my knowledge base and since Jamie is one of the most respected kitchen specialists in the industry, I value her opinion. She contacted me last week with the idea of writing about something from a perspective that I never could … working with an architect as a consultant and collaborator.
As an independent kitchen and bath designer, I work with homeowners, builders, interior designers, general contractors and architects. In this case, last is definitely not least. Architects are some of my favorite human beings. (Well, most of them, anyway.)
My best friend of 20 years, Dean Larkin, AIA, is an architect – and an architectural archetype, at that. My favorite design book author, Sarah Susanka of Not So Big House fame, is an architect I’ve enjoyed reading for longer than I’ve been a designer myself. Last, and also not least, the author of this ridiculously wonderful blog, Bob Borson, is an architect I have enjoyed getting to know this year. In fact, his many clever, insightful lists inspired this guest post, which I shamelessly foisted on him this week as a much-needed break from the kitchen book I’m writing.
But I digress… Here are the top 10 reasons why I love working with architects:
1) Architects are dreamers. A suburban tract home is more than a suburban tract home to an architect. It’s an opportunity to leave your intellectual mark on the genre Mr. Levitt popularized for the greatest generation. This makes designing its kitchen and bathrooms that much more inspiring.
2) Architects are big thinkers. You see what a home could be in an ideal world and you work your fannies off to make the client’s humble shell of a house into a dream dwelling worthy of their grandest ideals.
3) Architects have global vision. Architects tend to have a world view, rather than just a local or national perspective. You study legends and cultures from across the oceans and eras, which makes you impressively well-informed on a large body of information, not just your specialty.
4) Architects are open-minded. I’ve never heard an architect dismiss a new building material or idea with a lame “we’ve always done it this way” or “widget X works just fine, we’ll stick with what we know” rejection.
5) Architects appreciate attention to detail. While you create master plans for entire buildings, you also savor the small details that make a project special. Kitchens and bathrooms are ideal repositories for those creative touches.
6) Architects are funny. Let’s face it, you need a solid sense of humor in the construction industry, especially these days. Every architect I’ve ever met has had a dry wit that I find engaging. This makes working together great fun. And shouldn’t work be fun???
7) Architects are idealists. Yes, there are architects who only design for the super-rich, but most of you feel that everyone deserves great architecture. Your idealism inspires your public projects and your volunteerism. I respect that. You’re macro. I’m micro. It works.
8) Architects have style. I like the architect’s un-uniform, but then I’m generally suspicious of anyone who appears to spend too much time, energy or money on their wardrobe. You remind me of college professors who have been let out of the ivory tower for a couple of weekends a year.
9) Architects aren’t trying to destroy my livelihood. Unlike other industry colleagues, your professional association isn’t constantly pushing legislation that would restrict others’ scope of practice.
10) Architects pay my mortgage. While you may design kitchen and bath spaces, you typically partner with a specialist to bring in the cabinetry, countertops, fixtures and other elements that keep a roof over my head.
Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS is an NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer in San Diego, Cal. Her Gold Notes blog updates every Tuesday and her first kitchen book will be published by Taunton Press in November 2012. Jamie also writes on design for Fine Homebuilding, Kitchens.com and the San Diego Union-Tribune. You can also follow her on Twitter right this very instant!