Diary by ASID Designer Carol Spong
As a designer, I’ve been to hundreds…maybe thousands…of homes and honestly thought I had heard every doorbell there was. But when I arrived for the preliminary design meeting with our client, Lori, standing at her door -- I heard drumming. And this was no rock band style of drumming either. It was a Djembe, an African drum; and its rhythm crept out of the house like some sort of stalking panther. It took me a second to realize that this was no doorbell, nor had I been transplanted to a Kenyan plain. It was Lori herself!
It seems that while some people knit and others take medicine, Lori plays the Djembe to keep her arthritis at bay. Lori says it also helps prevent joint stiffening as does her Qigong.
With thoughts of grasslands and prowling wildcats receding from my thoughts, we sat down and I shared with Lori our preliminary plans of her kitchen. She examined the basic layout noting the function we’d indicated for each area of her kitchen. We also talked about some of our thoughts on some of the finishes that will really bring the room together.
By the time we finished our presentation, Lori was grinning. “Wow! I would have been pleased if you had given me HALF of what was on my list and you have almost all of it!"
I grinned back. There’s nothing better than hitting the bull’s-eye with a client. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. And Lori is truly a delight to work with...she’s just so enthusiastic and very down to earth, drums notwithstanding.
Even though we're hot on the trail of finishing our design, there’s still one dark cloud on our horizon. The storm looming that most concerns us most is…no surprise…the budget! Trying to stay within the parameters of the vendor allowances is a challenge but it also makes this a very, very interesting project. One of the most interesting we've been involved with, actually.
Thinking about Lori and her needs makes me view this design project as a sort of laboratory for organizations like ReVisions, AARP, and ASID. We have an amazing opportunity to contribute to the growing body of information on Aging in Place. I honestly feel, particularly for those of us who are approaching the time when we have to evaluate where and how we live, that this information will help us decide how to stay where we are for as long as possible.
Another wonderful aspect about raising public awareness is that we’re creating an arena from which manufacturers can draw clues regarding consumer needs. As we designers specify and request specific products, we are pointing the direction to take for the development of new products for this very important niche of customers.