Designer Becky Walter Joins the Sineath Construction Team
We are thrilled to welcome Becky Walter back to the Sineath Construction team, and this time in a slightly different and exciting capacity than her previous affiliation as a design consultant. Filling a new role at the company, Becky is leaning into her deep construction experience as our design manager.
Becky will work in collaboration with LaShawn Thomason, our selection coordinator. Together they’ll put their creative minds and energies into this work together for our clients and our build teams.
On a day-to-day basis, Becky will be focused on what is the front-end of our business – meeting with new clients, understanding the scope of the project, defining the priorities and vision for their finished home, putting it all together, and managing the finish process. The work breaks down into four phases.
The first of the four phases of the design and finish process involves meeting with new clients and getting an understanding of the scope of their project. During this phase, it’s important to align expectations with realities such as time frames, budgets, and materials. Having clear expectations is essential for the success of every project.
“One aspect of the building process that clients can always count on is that we are diligent with setting expectations. We want to make sure dreams and visions are realistic based on timing, budget, and materials,” Becky said. “The goal is to build the dream, yet I sometimes joke about feeling like a ‘Dream Wrecker’ in this phase when dreams are out of whack with reality. That’s where phase two becomes increasingly important.”
In phase two, Becky will get an understanding of a client’s priorities and the vision they have for their finished home. She will spend time looking at inspirational images and listening. It can take some coaxing to have a client fully articulate their vision. Our goal is to ask the right questions and listen so that clients feel heard and seen.
Making decisions about what elements are most important is essential. As a result of this process, Becky will reflect to them a palette of colors, materials, and images that brings to life exactly what they envision. This reflection guides our process forward.
“Phase two is critical to building a client’s vision. Building costs have escalated, so there is more at stake for everyone,” Becky continued. “Figuring out ways to evoke the look and feeling a client wants within their budget is an integral part of my role as design manager.”
“The third phase is really my favorite. It’s when we put together their vision and their priorities, and we strategically and artfully punch it up,” said Becky. “Phase three is when we get to take the design beyond what they have envisioned and compose the space in such a way that the vision and priorities come together.”
There are so many exciting materials available to us these days. With paint alone, we can bring a whole house together, helping it to feel elevated, interesting, and beautiful.
In this phase we get strategic. We play up the priorities to give impact where it is wanted most and find efficiency in areas of lesser importance. Realistically, it takes some time to get to know clients and to earn their creative trust. As a client-designer team, we spend time getting to know each other, and as a result, most clients see the value professional design brings to their projects.
Phase four involves building and using a reliable process for keeping the design and finishes on track moving forward. In this phase, we build and use a comprehensive finish schedule for each job. A finish schedule is a document that allows the client and build team to pace out the selections, track the progress, and then reference each selection per room as we move through the build process.
A comprehensive finish schedule is essential for the execution of the interior and exterior materials portion of the work, and it is one of the most useful tools for our field managers. The finish schedule portions out these decisions ahead of time, ensures the selections are purchased, and lists exactly where they all go. It’s the counterpart to the set of plans in terms of the working documents that guide a project.
The Benefits of a Professional Design Team
We find that most often clients need help bringing it all together. They have a lot of individual ideas, and they might even have a wide range of styles, colors, and energies that want to use in their home. The photos of the interiors and exteriors that they like show everything blending seamlessly together.
Becky says that oftentimes clients have a strong vision, but they don’t know how to get it to that ‘Instagramable’ place. “They get selection paralysis in trying to pick out everything. It just seems too vast and overwhelming.”
That’s when having a skilled design team pays off – in the composing and editing part of the design process. It’s having someone to help cast a vision at the start that is aligned with priorities, is grounded in a realistic set of expectations, and looks exactly like the vision.
“The value of good design is that it can help people save money and time, elevate the end result, and make their lives easier overall,” Becky said.
Collaborating with Clients’ Designers
It’s fun to bring new designers into a project, too. We all love to see creativity – a fresh look, a new vision on a project! When clients already have an interior designer, Becky will spend some time ensuring each of these four phases has been worked out, especially regarding expectations.
Once we are up to speed with the work the client has established with their designer, Becky can contribute to the punching-up phase if they want. When working with the client’s designer, Becky is that extra set of eyes, making sure that the finish schedule and all details are carried out as the client and their designer envisioned.
Creating Beautiful Spaces
When there’s so much at stake – a vision, a dream – setting realistic expectations is a crucial step in the design process. That’s when having a design manager who can turn a vision into beautiful, instagramable live spaces is critical. Whether she’s collaborating with a client’s designer or starting from scratch, Becky is a solid addition to the Sineath team. You can read more about Becky’s background in an earlier blog post.
Tell us, what’s your vision for your home? How may we help you bring it to life?