Construction Administration: The Final Design Phase

Construction Administration: The Final Design Phase

What IS Construction Administration? I recently heard an architect friend compare it to the healthy food in a meal, but if we're to compare it to food, I see it more like a chef planning and carrying through a meal:

  1. First, she determines what kind of event the meal is for (programming).

  2. Next, she generates ideas for the meal (schematic).

  3. Then, she begins testing the meal- putting the ingredients together and tasting them (design development).

  4. Finally, she writes down the recipe (construction documents)

  5. Lastly, she prepares the meal... or in this case, we'll say the restaurant prepares the meal with her oversight (construction administration). 

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How to work with EXISTING furniture

We've all been there. You work your tail off for a sofa that you're madly in love with and put a lot of money into it. Five years later, your style has changed, but the sofa has not. You and your sofa may have grown apart, but there are absolutely ways to work with your existing furniture and incorporate your new style!

work with existing furniture: dress it up

I just did a project where the homeowner had a dark green sofa from a previous home. The living room in the new home lacked natural daylight and they felt as though they were living in a cave. They dreamed of a more traditional coastal style space, and were stuck with this modern green sofa.


Ignoring the green was not an option. Please don't try to bury those pieces and ignore that they exist. They do exist. Let's not put lipstick on a pig. Instead, we'll give our little pig a Miss Piggy overhaul. Yes, I know how bad that was... bear with me.

Beginning with a throw pillow that incorporated the green,as well as some of the homeowners' preferred colors, allowed us to branch out and incorporate those softer colors. Accessories used offered a transitional approach, hitting somewhere between the modern lines of the sofa and the soft traditional curve that was desired.


As I mentioned above, the color absolutely cannot be ignored. Once you do that, trust me, it will stand out even more. Instead, complement the color, find it in prints mixed with colors you do like. Use variations of the color to allow yourself to enjoy that color again! 

working with existing furniture: ADJUST THE STYLE

So, you love modern furniture, and you're stuck with an 80's puffy sofa. Play it up! Make it modern! Mix the styles, and introduce elements from the 80's that look good today (brass is making a HUGE comeback). In the example above, the homeowner wanted a more traditional, coastal look. Again, we can't ignore what is there, but introducing traditional elements as well as some pieces that share the same line as the sofa, the design becomes intentionally transitional. 

Wondering how the final space turned out? Me too, it's still coming together! Below is the concept board showing how bringing in these simple tips can make a piece that was previously thought to be an eyesore into a highlight!


Rachel McBraggypants

That should be my new name, because my last post was about how I'm.... um.... the BEST. And, now I have to share that I WON AN AWARD!!! It is such an honor, and it still feels a bit surreal. I am absolutely floored. I designed a space that I entered into a competition with hundreds of other designers... and I won second place in the 2014 Northwest Design Awards. 


I am bouncing back and forth between thinking, "Well, of course I won! It is a BEAUTIFUL kitchen. We did SO MUCH on a tight budget and it came together wonderfully" and "That was my FIRST project as an entrepreneur. How could it possibly win in a competition?!" It's like I just pushed my toddler out into the Olympics and he came in second in a race. I went from toddling to flying in a heartbeat. Could it really be real?

Yup, it's real. Take a look:

My husband compared me today to the dad from the moving "A Christmas Story" with his "Fra-gee-lay" leg lamp. He's not far off. When that award arrives, it will receive a very special place in my office where I can view it while I work!


The project that won this award may be viewed here.

Stay tuned- I have more photos coming up next month on a master bath and more still in June of a work in progress- a full home remodel!

A Designer's "Style"

Last weekend was a blast! I participated in my community's Home Fair, which gave me the opportunity to meet other business owners in the field and of course, homeowners looking for help in their projects. What was most important to me though was the community aspect of it. I grew up in Seattle and always viewed myself as a "city mouse". I love the conveniences and luxuries of the city, particularly MY city, which is what I always viewed Seattle as. When my family moved to Vashon, I was nervous. My husband is also a "city mouse"- what were we thinking moving to an island where the only way back to the city was by boat, and not a cheap ride either? A town where the entire "downtown" is about 1.5 city blocks. A town where everyone knows everyone.

I love knowing people

I forgot about this very important part of my personality. I love familiarity. I love community and being a part of it, rather than hiding from it. Fortunately, the island is only a 20 minute ride from Seattle, so I can get my weekly douse of culture, but the community I experience here is like nothing I've ever felt before. I love knowing people, and I love knowing that I am giving people a space that speaks to them, a space that reflects who they are and what they love.

One of the questions I was asked at the home fair (and this is a typical question) was, "What is your design style". I have seen so many designers say "My style is your style", "I don't have a style".  And, while we want this to be true and it is our jobs to adapt and be flexible, we absolutely do have a style. A doctor will provide services based on your needs, but they have an approach they take that is their own. Every career, every profession has a "style". We also have personal taste, and every designer's taste is different. What is important is that we do not impose our taste on you. 

I don't care if my favorite color is green and I'm not a fan of pink. If you tell me you want a pink room and hate green- you will get the most amazing pink room I can develop, and as I work on it, I will love it. I have designed French Country Kitchens and started with the thought that I do not like French Country. Turns out, once I got my creative juices flowing, I fell in love with what I was doing. This will happen in your project.

However, I do have a style. I tend to simplify. I tend to try to make spaces light and airy, but remaining warm. Of course, if you come to me and tell me you want a sterile environment, it is what I will provide (though, I will ask with genuine curiosity why you want this). See, the profession of design is one where respect and empathy is key in order to create truly successful designs. The designs should be nurtured and guided by the designer- but the idea, well that came from you!