Remodeling & Relationships

Jul 30, 2019 | Designer Insider

The Bickerson’s Story

 by Laura McCranner

Have you ever wondered how designers, builders, and architects navigate the dynamics of couples when designing a remodel?  This can be a pretty in-depth process, and as a homeowner, it can bring out the best in a relationship…or the worst…or maybe the most interesting parts of both.

I’m going to share with you a few anecdotes that will hopefully entertain and maybe even help when delving into a remodel.

Take the Bickersons for example.  Pat and Chris decide they’re going to remodel their kitchen. They set up a meeting with a designer.  Once they finally agree on a time to meet (yes, one decision down), they do their preliminary homework assigned by their designer, to gather magazine clippings and Pinterest “pins”.

From these images the designer will get style direction, storage priorities, and general layout ideas from the homeowner. Typically, the clippings make this step relatively painless, but for some, like the Bickersons none of the pins or images match up. Sound familiar? This isn’t so bad if you are willing to compromise, but the Bickersons take it as a challenge.  *Designer’s take note*: a tally sheet is very helpful in this step. PS. Go ahead and let the client know you’re keeping score.

Pat Bickerson is the chef of the family and wanted the kitchen to work and function a certain way. For Chris however, it was very important that the kitchen look a certain way.  The discussions on this topic got pretty heated. *Designer’s take note*: When the tally system no longer works, it’s okay to walk away for a moment. Hopefully a few minutes is enough for things to calm down, show Pat some unique accessories for gadget storage and redirect Chris to decorative hardware.

During this phase, Chris is extremely indecisive and Pat insists that there will be no walls coming down and the bulkheads have to remain. Meanwhile Chris appreciates the designer’s suggestion to remove the wall and encourages Pat to consider this idea.  Pat insists that this is not possible, or if it is, it must be costly. This whole process has been going on for about 6 weeks until one day the designer gets a frantic call from Chris exclaiming that they need their cabinets right away because Pat has removed half of the cabinets, part of a wall, and one wall of bulkheads. The designer makes an “emergency” appointment with the Bickersons to finalize their kitchen and reminds them that cabinets have a 6-week lead time.  The designer meets the Bickersons at their house and finds that it’s far worse than Chris had originally described. The kitchen is now stripped of everything except the sink and appliances and Chris is “fit to be tied”.

Pat: “Can’t you just rush the cabinets?”

Designer: *palm to forehead* “Pat, you’ve unearthed some new obstacles and opportunities. We will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a new design based on an entirely new floor plan.  Chris, you’ll need to get used to the idea of camping in your house. Unless you plan to move into the Extended Stay Inn #IToreUpMyHouseBeforeIHadAPlanHotel! NO PROBLEM!