When talking to people involved in corporate America, the term “deliverable” is often used.
Why? Because they want to know what do they get for their money.
This is a difficult concept in my business, because sometimes we’re not the ones supplying the “stuff”.
There are contractors who do the build-outs and supply the construction materials; there are manufacturers who supply goods; there are custom work rooms and installers who actually do the work and “deliver” the products that go into a home’s interior. So what does an interior designer “deliver”... A set of CAD drawings for construction? A moodboard to show you how everything will look? Some sketches or drawings? A design plan fleshed out digitally or on paper that uses those tools to present ideas and concepts? When homeowners boil it down to a product — a single, concrete object you can hold in your hand or touch and feel — our value goes out the window.
The deliverables of design are really much more...
The true deliverable of design, oftentimes, can’t be realized until long after the project is completed. And truthfully, there are times when a good design is absolutely not noticed at all.
During a remodel, or any kind of project, it’s rare to have those kind of surprise-reveals that you see on tv. Most of the time homeowners have been heavily involved in the process of design. They are familiar with what they are buying; they are witnessing and living with the progress on a day to day basis. When the day finally comes, when the project is substantially complete, homeowners are more focused on the final details getting done than how great everything is after the whole process. They are so much more intent on getting the final touches finished...the punch list complete...the people out of their house so they can start living their lives without all the interruption...the furniture and window treatments properly installed and plumped. You know…all that joy, that excitement, that happiness of finally having what they’ve dreamed: none of that is really dawning on them yet. At this point, it’s their time to grab everyone one last time to make things perfect for them. The last thing they are focused on is how wonderful it all is.
Many times, what is accomplished in a project is pain removal.
By that I mean removing that pain-point that bugs you so much and was one of the reasons the project was done in the first place. Here’s the thing about removing pain: When it’s gone, you don’t remember it so much. It’s just out of the way, forgotten, deleted from worry. While yes, you know it’s been done and you’re glad about that, you tend to focus on other things and not recall that issue you had with the way the cabinet drawers were too small and didn’t function for you, or how your oven door hit the moulding every time you opened it, or how awful the dining room looked and made you embarrassed to have your friends over and entertain. You simply just move on. Many times the benefits, the “deliverable” of design, is not noticed or appreciated until long after you have been using your space — after repeated use, after being able to entertain, after experiencing moments of delight when you realize things are working the way you always wanted. Those are the moments when the “deliverable” of good design truly arrives.
Many times that joy or happiness is never really expressed by homeowners or clients. Instead, it’s kind of like... “Here’s your final payment. Thanks a lot. And do you really have to photograph my project? I just want everyone out of my house.” (Okay, so maybe they don’t say that outright, but that’s what lots of them are thinking. :-)That is until they call again — one year, two years, five years down the road — and they have another project. Over time they realize how the pains before were eliminated, how the design and all the money and effort was worth it, how they are so glad they did it. That’s when they’re ready to go again and are ready to relieve some more pain-points.
The “deliverable” of design is a long and slowly realized product that continues to deliver years after you contracted for the work.
Just be patient. ;-)