One of the most exciting things about custom homebuilding is the opportunity to work for so many different people; they all bring their own life stories into the experience. Building a home can be one of the scariest, yet most stimulating times of a person’s life. For me, the client’s passion and positive energy make coming to work very exciting.
From the beginning I set out to create a design/build company where the client’s true desires and dreams are identified in the earliest stages of design. This would require being an active listener, which proved to be harder than I anticipated. I had worked with architects who pushed their own ideas onto the client, only to hear the client complain later. My company’s passion would be helping the client make their own ideas better.”
Tom’s Tearful Story
“On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon I often spend time by myself, leisurely inspecting the jobsites to see how things are progressing. About 22 years ago I had a career altering experience during one of my site visits. On this particular Saturday afternoon, I was walking through a house whose floor plan I had drawn against my better judgment. Halfway through the walk-thru I heard the sound of sniffling coming from one of the bedrooms, and followed it to find my client in tears. Since it had taken three redraws to get her floor plan just the way she wanted it, I stood there totally bewildered; I couldn’t image what could be wrong.
The client’s lot was stunning! It was on a charming lake, with huge oaks and pastoral views; not even the neighbor’s house could be seen through those gorgeous trees. The house she wanted me to draw was a very simple (dated) home – a box with small windows; I couldn’t believe it. Still, I did my best to incorporate what she wanted, while still taking full advantage of the property’s features. I drew expansive windows on the back side to take in those spectacular views of the lake, but she hated the plans and told me I had totally missed the mark. Still not willing to compromise on the type of home “I” thought the site deserved, in the 2nd set of plans I made some adjustments and modified the size of the windows by about 50%, hoping to placate her. She told me I was getting close, but was not quite there. At this point I just gave up. I had tried, but she had her mind made up - only a box with tiny windows was going to make her happy.
As construction began, even my subcontractors asked what was going on. They had never seen me build a home that didn’t compliment and take advantage of its surroundings. I could only shrug and shake my head.
So here I stood with the house 75% complete and my client in tears. Reluctantly I asked her what was wrong. She took a moment and then said, “Nothing, you have just built me the house I grew up in.” Those were tears of joy!
From that point on, she began telling everyone how completely happy she was with the home I had drawn and built for her. People she talked to became new clients. They didn’t want her exact home, but they wanted to be as happy as she was in hers.
I had almost missed an amazing opportunity, because I thought my expertise was more relevant than what the client was requesting. That’s a mistake I don’t make any more. The lesson I learned from my tearful client became the heart of why at Hofmeister Design and Construction, it’s about ‘the client’s dream’.
If your dreaming of your own “castle”, be sure to read about others experiences on our testimonial page or call us today at (352) 589-2700.
Tom L. Hofmeister, President/CEO