los angeles based designer

Opportunity for the Bamhouse

Opportunity for the Bamhouse

So yesterday I had a rough go of it, a rollercoaster of emotions. I had a developer reach out to me in the beginning of the week for a possible chance to design the inside of two brand new houses on top of a hill in the valley. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. I left work in Orange County, drove all the way up to the jobsite (which took me about 2 hours, wheew) and just when I was ready to kill someone because of all the traffic, my tires hit the dirt of the site and my eyes were literally hearts. The hustle and bustle of a job site, everyone doing their job, pulling these ginormous houses together, was too much to handle, in a good way. I walked into one of these monstrosities and thus began my “interview.”

The developer (not going to use his name) seemed like a nice man. He described himself as “very demanding” but not mean. He wanted to give me the opportunity, but he also already had ideas and mockups of what he wanted which left me asking myself why exactly he needed me. I appreciate that he didn’t need me to know CAD and he had a pretty relaxed view of things, telling me that “people make their own stress” by freaking out and not just getting a job done. I think he wanted to work with me and asked me my price and I know I lowballed myself, but I am new at this and have never worked on a project of this scope, but it slowly became apparent that he needed more from me than I could give. I’ve said it a thousand times, there are just not enough hours in the day. This guy needed someone to be at his beck and call for 2 months and to keep him updated with every decision you made the second you made it. I think that’s fair, but I have a full time job and a toddler. Where would I find the time to do this?

The offer was also a little too good to be true. The design aspect was never going to be my vision, it was his and he wanted CHEAP. It’s amazing to me that someone could spend all this money building these 8,000 sq. ft. homes and totally cheap out on the cabinets / appliances / etc. I knew almost right away that I wasn’t the person for this job and basically was trying to tell him that. He told me to write up a contract and a price and to go home and think about it.

Cut to me driving home and having a melt down with my mom on the phone. Was I making excuses because it was going to be hard working for this guy? Was I not doing it because I am so comfortable (albeit unsatisfied) at my job now? When did she know that it was time to take the leap and start her own business full time? So many questions, so many doubts. I had a vision of me quitting my marketing job and taking the leap with this developer, seeing myself become successful because I took this chance, but also becoming jaded from hours of driving everyday and always worrying where my next job was going to come from. Was a I throwing away an opportunity of a lifetime because it was going to be hard?

I officially declined the offer because of a gut feeling. Designing should make me happy and this was stressing me out. My mom (God, I love her) had some good points, but ultimately she made me feel that it was OK to turn down this opportunity. It was OK to follow my gut instinct, and it’s OK to take my time and decide what’s best for myself and my family. I hope it’s not the last offer I ever get (plllleeeaaseee interior design Gods), but I have to know something better will come along and I will be glad that I held off.

I spent the rest of the day with my mom, a badass woman in the construction industry*, walking jobs with her by the beach, meeting contractors and clients (maybe potential design clients?) and dreaming of our future as business owners together, devising plans to make us both successful and happy. It’s pretty much what I needed after a crazy morning. It felt right, being down by the beach, meeting these people and planting THESE seeds and I have a feeling everything will eventually work out if I keep working hard at this.

*My mom sells doors, windows, trim, hardware, and lots of other things. What makes her business unique is she really is the only door and window shop (in the South Bay at least) to walk jobs and service contractors. She has explained to me that it’s very rare for any door, window, and trim supplier to go the extra mile that Alltrim does. Most other shops just take the order supplied by the contractor / homeowner / designer and that’s that, but she makes herself accountable for her work. She is a boss lady.

What do you guys think? Did I throw away an opportunity or is it good that I followed a gut feeling? I want to know your thoughts!



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