Mar 3, 2011

5 things i've learned the hard way: #5

thing i've learned the hard way #5:
never underestimate the power of 
proper communication.
this post will be especially useful
to anyone who might hire any type of contractor, 
seamstress, upholsterer, painter,
electrician, trim carpenter, or designer.
and proper communication is essential
in getting what you WANT.
there are several communication
tools that you can put to use:

learn proper names.
are you having some window treatments made?
if so, do a little research first, and find out the
"proper" name of the treatment you want. if you show up 
to drop off the fabric, and say :
", what i want...
well, it's kinda flat here, but then it swoops at the bottom,
and then it comes up on the side just a little..."
i promise you, you will get a black stare and
probably a laugh. but if you show up
and say "i need a london shade made"...
well, guess what? 
you're going to get a london shade.
electricians, plumbers, painters...
if you can learn to "speak their language",
you are far more likely to get what you
want, and communicating with any subcontractor 
will go more smoothly.

even if you think you can't draw at all,
 a quick sketch of what you want is often enough 
to effectively communicate your desires.

good measurements are essential.
installing some wainscoting?
how high? how wide? where does it stop?
getting some window treatments made?
what is the finished length? how wide do you want them?
installing can lighting in your ceiling?
how close to the wall? how far apart?
painting stripes on your wall?
how wide? how many will there be?

images printed off the internet, 
or magazine clippings.
the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words",
is especially true when trying to convey
important information to someone that
you have hired to do a job for you.
(via caldwell flake interiors)
for a "big job", like a remodel or if you
are building a house, consider making a binder
filled with vital information.
(multiple copies are a good for you,
and one for the contractor/sub contractor.)
when we were remodeling house #5,
i made a binder for the painters:
in it, i listed each room, and the paint colors
going in that room, and in the back, i listed
each paint color and the areas where it would be put.
this little binder averting MANY mistakes, 
and the painters thanked me over and over
for making it for their reference.
whether you are having one room painted, remodeling
a bathroom, or building a home, never underestimate
the power of proper communication.


  1. That binder is BRILLIANT! Great idea and looks like it would be super easy to throw together once you know your color choices! Great tips!

  2. What a fantastic post! I will be using that binder idea for sure!

  3. I love the new title graphic for your blog. Beautiful. Can I ask a question about the layout of your blog though? Why is the text of each post center-aligned? Is there a reason? (I just ask because document design is one of my design interests.)

  4. Very useful information! Thank you. We are due to buy our 1st home soon, I will take all this into consideration in the future! Especially to binder idea :)


  5. Can you share the colors that you used? They look exactly in the family that I am looking for. I love that you are painting ceilings too. I really want to do that this time.

  6. i'm liking the remodel--very nice!!

    this is so true. my seamstress was like, "you keep saying you mean banding???" uh, yeah. sorry. (lol). knowing the right terminology is key to a successful project!

  7. AMEN! You are brilliant! Happy Friday, xoxox!

  8. So true! A binder for every job is an absolute must and the more communication, the fewer surprises!

  9. so so true. I'm having London shades made right now out of burlap {I know, crazy!} and to be honest I didn't know the proper name until my seamstress informed me. Some things you pick up as you go. Love this series Autumn, you are a brilliant designer and it is so fun learning from you.

  10. hi debby!
    the colors on the first page,are from top to bottom:
    brandon beige
    raccoon hollow
    linen sand (which we alter swapped out for powel buff)
    decatur buff
    sea pine

    i loved all of the colors and would use them again in a heartbeat!

  11. josephine,
    i have always centered my text..i don't know why exactly. i guess it's because when i am writing i have ADD and like to write in short little spurts.
    and i have always centered my text...but the new layout (which is still MAJORLY under construction) made it much more obvious because of the wide format. there is still a lot of work to do (layout-wise) and that may be one of the things that i change.

  12. Great tips for any homeowner or designer. I have done binders and given the sub contractors their own drawings to refer to. I can't tell you how many times they have lost them or ruined them, kind of goes with the territory.