Design-Build: What it is and What it ISN'T

Design-Build: What it is and What it ISN'T

I’ve been noticing a lot of contractors with the title “design-build” in their company name. When I saw how many there were initially, I was excited and motivated. What a wonderful solution for building owners- to be able to hire one company who can completely manage their project from start to finish, have a keen eye on the costs as they design, and an equally keen eye on design as they build. I reached out to a few of these firms, and was astonished to find that most of them do not have a designer on staff!

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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!