Filial Affiliate of the Year to Philadelphia

In the October 2003 Issue of Yankee Magazine, way back when when it was a small format magazine, a home that I designed with Julie Fergus on a New Hampshire lake was featured.  16 years later, the owners were able to purchase some additional land for a second cottage for the next generation.  It is so much fun to be working with them again.  After a few months of becoming comfortable with the concept of a connected garage and house to comply with zoning and allow for living space over the garage, I started designing this second cottage as I had time since there was not a rush.  Then one Tuesday a few weeks ago my phone rang and Jonathan Lovering, the construction guy who had built their first cottage called me out of the blue to ask if they had found anybody yet to build this second one.  The owners had looped in with him many times as had I to try to snag him but he was booked for years to come.  The next project he was about to hop onto wound up with an additional set of approvals that was going to take some time and he was looking for a small filler like what we had in mind.

The trick was he needed to start right quick if he was going to do this second cottage and I had a lot of things to show for a first review with the owner but I had not shown them anything yet.  I have found over the years that a face to face is vital for a first review to allow for gaining all of the feedback of body language.  Follow up meetings as we cycle through options is fine over the digital connections of PDF and Quicktime movies along with phone calls.  The owners were going to be up to Boston from Philadelphia in 10 days or so.  Jonathan made it clear that to snag him we had to really move.  So three days after the 3:00 pm call on Tuesday the 7th, I drove 8 hours to the owner’s Philadelphia home and landed at 3:00 pm on Friday the 10th.

We met that evening as they babysat their granddaughter while daughter and son in law dears celebrated an anniversary.  I then got up and worked in the wife’s totally awesome office perched way up in a gable bay window at the ridge of their home on a hill in the trees with bird’s flying and singing by.  Late morning we had a walk and I worked a bit more and then we met again before I left at 3:00 pm Saturday for the trip back to New Hampshire.  We met again on Saturday the 18th in Boston at the Seaport Hotel and will do so tomorrow at their first cottage in New Hampshire at which point I should get a sign off to get the construction drawings underway.  We also will gain their signature to get the septic plan application off to the state tomorrow.

I am so glad I had opted to start picking away at designing some options prior to the pedal being slammed to the metal.  We wound up for the most part keeping the core of one of the earlier option plans.  Anyways, I thought my desire for dedication and the concierge approach was pretty well illustrated here.  And the puns and rhymes between being awarded the NHCIBOR Affiliate of the Year, striving to be filial, and driving to Philadelphia were way too much fun as is working with these lovely owners again.