07 Mar 2019

Repeat Clients — Do It Again!

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Watch this vintage life savers commercial about a parent and child eating life savers candy and watching the sun set. The experience was so good the first time the child whispers, “Do it again Daddy.”

I remember this commercial fondly. I thought it was about parent-child time together, but it was really about savoring a moment that is so good you want to do it again.

That sentiment isn’t reserved for lifesavers and sunsets. It’s also relevant to architecture service because nine of my clients (and counting) enjoyed their first WishingRock project so thoroughly that they returned for a second. Three of those nine clients returned for a third project. These projects belong to the Rome, Katz, Bella, Cinq, Carrel, Gise, Horn, Sydney and Houston families and I was the architect for all of them.

The Romes

The first commission was a referral from an interior designer assigned to one of my remodel projects. She introduced me to a stately retired couple. They were professionals and ranchers by trade and hired me to design their hierloom-home remodel (Project 1). We reconfigured indoor space to upgrade the master suite and living areas. After completion, the same interior designer encouraged the family to build a new home (Project 2) near the heirloom remodel. It was a 3BR, 2BA, universal-design home perched under century oaks with views of the man-made pond. A year later when they retired and became full-time ranchers/conservationists, they hired me to re-remodel the heirloom home (Project 3) to modernize it and we all lived happily ever after.

The Katzs

This turn-of-the-century couple found a WishingRock Studio advertisement and called to schedule an appointment. The wife was a doting career homemaker who epitomized the 70’s sitcom mom and the breadwinner husband was a cunning, softspoken man. After their adult children left home, they seized the opportunity to finally remodel the home they commissioned 37 years before to expand the living space and kitchen (Project 1) to entertain all the grandchildren that would one day visit. Our addition worked so well that one adult child returned 8 years later so the couple + 1 hired me to convert the garage (Project 2) into a premier efficiency apartment. They were and will always be All in the family.

The Bellas

This couple discovered me online and called during one of my site visits to another project. Since I was nearby, I scheduled a visit to meet them. They were young professionals bursting with ideas and ambition. They desired a kitchen addition (Project 1) to convert the tiny U-shaped kitchen in a 1960’s era ranch home into an island-style kitchen. The Owner was especially talented and performed most of the interior finish work himself. They professed their desire to also add a master suite and four years later called me to add the bold master suite (Project 2) complete with a signature tower between the original home and new addition.

The Cinqs

A marketing partner shared my name with the Cinqs. They had recently designed their own home using a retail design program, but weren’t enamored with the results so they contacted me for advice. You may have never met the perfect couple, but I did and all four of their perfect children. Our first project started in 2008. We designed a 6BR, 5-1/2BA French-inspired estate (Project 1). Despite their full-time jobs, community involvement and copious activities, the whole family planted lavish landscape around the property, but hired me 5 years later to design a comprehensive landscape plan with paving, water features and decorative planters (Project 2). The WishingRock experience was irresistable and 3 years later they hired me to convert space into a 7th bedroom (Project 3) for the newest arrival, child #5 and the perpetual perfection continues.

The Carrels

This client discovered me in a service ad and selected me from a list of several architects. It was a one-man household and he wanted his outdoorsy wife and 3 daughters to be happy. They loved their home, but couldn’t use the outdoors because the steep grade was difficult to use. They hired me (Project 1) to create a covered outdoor living space where the family could gather to entertain themselves and guests. The draw to outdoors was so strong they contacted me 2 years later to create another outdoor space (Project 2) for entertainment, cooking and the family tricycler. Everyone is grown now, but they still gather to entertain, cook and watch the next generation trike riders.

The Gises

The armed forces are a good life for many families. When that stage of life wanes, service members seek a place to call home. A contractor I worked with shared my name with this retiree and we connected immediately. Our similarly-minded modern sensibilities meshed to create a unique 3BR, 3BA blend of American and Japanese influences (Project 1). Once she learned her retirement income was plenty to support her lifestyle and add landscape (Project 2), she hired me 2 years later to design a hill-country/Japanese fusion that completed her original vision. From East to West, there’s no place like home.

The Horns

Similar to the Gise story, a contractor-referred me to a retired armed forces veteran who hired me to create another modern home, but like these unique clients, this 3BR, 2-1/2BA home (Project 1) was personalized to reflect this client’s style and land. This home originated in the sustainable era and included a solar array, rainwater catchment, heat-pump pool heater and a full-time theatre room (just for fun). Construction leaves a site barren, but when the need to beautify with indigenous xeriscape plants prevailed, this client called her faithful architect to create a zen-themed hardscape/softscape design (Project 2). It’s a home with inner and outer harmony.

The Sydneys

The Sydneys are another three project client who purchased a foreclosed home in a prime area at a bargain price, but the property was in desperate need of TLC. The matriarch was a former colleague. She called me to ask for architect references. I obliged and proposed myself as one of the competitors. My boldness prevailed because they hired me to remodel their daughter’s bedroom/bathroom/closet suite (Project 1). I combined existing spaces and moved minimal walls for minimal disruption to create big impact. After the dust settled, they requested a major roof remodel (Project 2). The original roof was a flat roof with poor drainage and significant leaks. The previous owner added a steep roof that created more problems than it solved so we reconfigured the roof with hips and sheds to eliminate leaks and introduce compatible scale. Reengergized, they returned 5 months later to add a perimeter fence (Project 3) that complemented the new roof and facade design. They may have started with a clunker but they created a keeper.

The Houstons

Long distance projects are no surprise in WishingRock Studio. I’ve design projects for people across the state or located in other states. This client found me in an architect directory and met me at their hillside property for an interview. They hired me immediately. We worked for months to create a 4BR, 3-1/2BA (Project 1), with an elevator, that fit this challenged property. They were entertainers and invited me for parties and 5 years later invited me to design a ramp (Project 2) to navigate the stepped entry and steep terrain for easier access on aging knees. Now they can entertain in this home forever!

What a ride! When I started my business I did not anticipate repeat architecture clients because well-designed and well-built buildings have a life that far outlasts individuals. I expected to provide quality architecture and consulting service that encouraged clients to refer me to colleagues, family or friends (all of which happened), but I didn’t envision multiple follow-on projects for multiple repeat clients. How short-sighted of me!

I’ve learned a great deal since then, so I believe many more clients will return and I’ll be ready to provide quality architectural service to them, their children and God willing maybe even their grandchildren. Why not? I enjoyed working with all of these clients during the first project and every project after. Each of them can call me their architect again and again.

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 32 years experience in design, construction observation and life.