Cheryl Umbles Interior Design
3D Rendering, Art Selection, Basement Design, Bathroom Design, Bedroom Design, Closet Design, Color Consulting, Custom Bathroom Vanities, Custom Beds, Custom Blinds & Shades, Custom Bookcases, Custom Built-ins, Custom Cabinets, Custom Fireplace Mantels, Custom Furniture, Custom Kitchen Cabinets, Custom Pantries, Custom Rugs, Custom Storage, Custom Walk-in Closets, Decluttering, Design Consultation, Dining Room Design, Downsizing, Entry Design, Floor Plans, Furniture Selection, Garage Design, Guesthouse Design & Construction, Home Office Design, Home Theater Design, Interior Design, Kids Bedroom Design, Kitchen Design, Laundry Room Design, Lighting Design, Living Room Design, Mudroom Design, Nursery Design, Outdoor Kitchen Design, Playroom Design, Project Management, Space Planning, Sunroom Design & Construction, Universal Design, Wine Cellar Design, Kitchen Remodeling
Ashland, Avondale, Centreville, Greenville, Hockessin, Landenberg, Montchanin, New London, Newark, North Star, Pike Creek, Rockland, West Grove, Wilmington, Winterthur, Yorklyn
2018 Sub-Zero, Wolf & Cove Regional Kitchen Design Contest - 2nd Place 2018 IDA Honorable Mention Kitchen Design $75,000+ ASID Pennsylvania East 2016 & 2017 African American Top 20 Designers-Black Interior Design Network American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Black Artist & Design Guild
While, as interior designers, in most cases, we are not the official ‘general contractor of record’ for our clients’ projects, in my experience, projects encounter ‘far fewer to no’ surprises, especially for the client, when we, as designers, embrace the role of ‘general contractor’ as part of our mindset and our actions throughout the design and renovation process. Most designers will admit they really are the general contractor for the project even if is just from their computer keyboard or the telephone in their studio. The result - well informed, continuous communication, necessary review on action items, with checks and balances prior to all critical action steps – a must have for a successful design project, and even more so when new construction is part of the mix. As a designer, taking on this role can be a bit challenging, and even more so when the homeowner (client) sees themself in the role as well; there is such a thing as being ‘too close’ to the project. As a boutique design firm, we often subcontract professionals on the client’s behalf or work with the client’s own contractor of record. Either scenario can produce a successful project that is well designed and a happy client to enjoy it, but when issues arise, it is how all parties work together to resolve those challenges that makes all the difference.
In review of this project, (1) exaggerated timeline delays early in the process due to weather for the construction team, (2) the client’s GC unable to fully take on his designated role and the homeowner taking on that role, and (3) failure to get all vested parties in the same room – client, contractor, electrician, carpenters and designer at critical action steps were key culprits on this project. Add to that required changes in construction for both structural and aesthetic purposes after the renovation was underway (again, not uncommon, but resulting in additional budget spend) compound the stress of renovation and are always a challenge to accept for any client.
Did all parties involved, including yours truly, learn something from this project? Yes. There is something to be learned from every design experience, positive or negative, and it the learning opportunity as the takeaway that should be focused on. Did we all have a part to play on some level in some of the challenges that presented themselves? Again, yes. As a result, Cheryl Umbles Interior Design now has revised policies and practices in place to that reflect a ‘three-point’ acknowledgement, review, and approval by client, contractor and our firm – additional checks and balances per our executed contract with the client. All parties (or designated representatives thereof) agree by signature at project start meet to review, discuss and approve any final action taken at pre-determined critical phase steps of the design implementation or build-out as it pertains to or impacts the interior construction and physical layout of the final space.
At the end of a somewhat bumpy road, The Collins are happy with their new kitchen and family room, just not some of the detours that arose in the process, and the paths to correction. As a design professional and business owner, I regret that one of our clients had a less than positive experience during the overall design & construction process and now, as a result, our team puts forth even greater effort on behalf of all parties involved, especially our clients, to ensure the highest satisfaction levels at every step from the first consultation meeting until that last accessory goes into place!