Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hooray Monet!

A curved dormer for the Monet roof.
The front door wall of the Monet Cottage
A Seurat Cottage window
If you've been keeping up with this blog you will know that we have been working hard on producing four cottages for the children's area of the Dallas Arboretum gardens (See the October 2o, and November 24th posts) . Well, three down now and one to go! You see, we have a secret weapon. Turns out my operating partner, Phillip McCloud is a whiz bang at all of this stuff! Of course it doesn't hurt that he was a framing contractor for twenty-two years. Anyway, he's moving nearly twice as fast as the door/window/oeil de beouf production guy (that would be your's truly!). Could it have something to do with actual knowledge of the trade? Oh well, I'm in there giving it the old college try!

Monet rafter tails
It would be a big stretch to tell you I am an asset to Phillip in the warehouse! Matter of fact it would be an all out lie. But he is tolerant beyond belief as he gives me tasks to perform and laughs when I screw them up. With the amount of effort he is putting into each one of the cottages, our garden exhibit that will last from March through December, will really be special for the kids! I can almost hear my grandkids whooping and hollering as they race through the playhouses! 

An elegant Chihuly bowl - how does he think of this stuff?
And then comes the Chihuly Glass exhibit in May! This will be spectacular! But it's not lost on me that they want us in before Chihuly, and out after Chihuly - heck the Arboretum doesn't want us breaking his stuff! I mean this Chihuly bowl is only $25,000 (I'll take a setting of six please!).

Funny how it works out that we have a wonderful home for the Palmers that is getting ready to start just two blocks away. I guess after the Arboretum cottages we will just have to move our cottage operation over a few streets to work on the Palmer's "mega-cottage!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shop 'Til You Drop!

No, this post is not about Christmas! Aux Contrare - it's about a part of our home building program that enables  us to help our clients pick out wonderful things for their homes. Yesterday I went shopping with the Palmers for appliances and plumbing fixtures and it got me to thinking about the process. 

One of Hoebeke Builder's distinctives has always been to shop with our clients. Most of the other guys will wind their customers up like little toy soldiers with a list of things that need to be selected and turn 'em loose. Total chaos ensues! With a universe of options the homeowner normally gets confused, and overwhelmed. We have an orderly system that clearly identifies those items we will need selected to build your home; dates by which selections need to be completed; vendor lists where we already have accounts; tips for things to look for when making those selections; and charts to record the selections once made. Sounds difficult right? Actually through the years our clients have found our system amazingly user friendly. Could that be why we have two "three peat", eight repeat, and two next generation clients?

It's not enough though to equip the client with specific information needed and let them forge around trying to come up with things they are going to have to live with for years. They need to be lead! We strongly encourage the use of an interior designer, but even that is not enough to systematically get through selections. Since we have the accounts, and since we need the information to be able to complete their home in a timely fashion, we REALLY like to go with them to guide them along. My operating partner Phillip McCloud hates to shop, so yours truly is fortunate enough to make the arrangements and help guide the process. 

Still another reason that I like to shop with our clients is so we get to HEAR our customer. On almost every shopping trip either an expectation of the client, or some treasure they have always wanted in their home is usually revealed. If we don't shop with them - we miss it! Not long ago my client, her decorator, and I were in a tile store shopping hard for hidden treasures. Very casually my client said "...this will look fabulous with the limestone hood in the Kitchen!" (Ah....what limestone hood? First I've heard of it - and oh by the way that will require steel columns, brackets etc. in the wall to support the load!) Unflappable as I always am, I quietly took notes and quickly got the steel in the wall for the limestone! Had I not been shopping, we would have totally missed the need for steel and it would have required major renovation to add later.

We have fun! Lot's of fun! And when you are spending a lot of money for that "tailor made" home of your dreams, it NEEDS TO BE LOT'S OF FUN!! Maybe that explains my second title here at Hoebeke Builders - "Vice-President In Charge of A Good Time!"