Monday, November 14, 2011

Riding Shotgun

(by guest blogger, Dave Gray...Susan's loving husband)

After more than two years of searching for, then designing, and eventually overseeing the construction of Daxko's new home, I had no plans for another building project.  However, after taking possession of our new office at 5:00 one Friday evening in May 2011 (see photos below), we received our final draft of our new home's blueprint from the Williams Partnership at 5:15 that same day.

So I got a whopping 15 minutes off between construction projects.

Photos of Daxko's new headquarters designed by Ray Harsh Design and built by Murray Construction, both businesses owned by fellow Homewood residents. Photography by Liesa Cole

For our home construction project, I knew I wouldn't have the time to get deep into the details.  Since I trust Susan's taste, once the blueprints were finished, I've tried to stay out of her way...other than enforcing the budget when necessary.

This has me riding shotgun on a pretty big endeavor for our family. For an admitted control freak, it is a big deal when you consider the resulting home will hopefully be where we raise our kids the majority of their childhood and where Susan and I plan to least until we're empty nesters. 

My decision to play a secondary role was made easier for me for three main reasons.  First, I was involved in every detail of our new 32,000 square foot workspace, which Susan says allowed me to express my inner "urban loft" desires, and I wasn't eager for another such project.  Secondly, I simply don't have the time, and instead I need to stay focused on work to ensure we can actually pay for this project.  And finally, it's probably best for our relationship if there's only one driver on this bus.  As my father-in-law is fond of saying..."I'm happy when she (i.e. the wife) is happy."

Although I typically like to be in control, I like surprises too...a bit of a paradox I must admit.  So as I ride shotgun, there is much going on with the design that I'm not even aware of.  From lighting and bath fixtures to external paint colors and flooring.  I had to ask Susan to give me the examples I used's the first time I've seen most of them.

Pendant light in my home office.
Faucets for our master bath.
The approximate paint color for our cedar shingle.
Flooring for our mudroom and laundry room.

Of course, throughout, Susan shows me ideas she hunts down from her favorite design blogs and images among her 41 boards on Pinterest.  She'll ask me my opinion on an idea or help in making the final call between a couple of her final options. To make the calls fall her way, she believes that if she refers to any of her choices as "clean" or "contemporary" I'm more likely to sign-off on a selection (back to the whole "urban loft" thing).

Not being in the driver seat on this journey is going to allow this project to be a series of small surprises as it unfolds.  This is particularly the case when I'm traveling.  For instance, I'm headed to Chicago soon for a couple days, and I'll look forward to seeing what's been done and what new decisions have been made in my absence.

So although I don't like her driving when I'm in a real car.  In this case, I'm more than happy to ride shotgun.

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