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  • By Jacqueline Hosford

Homage to the excellent tradesperson

Here's a re-post I wrote some time ago that's worth reconnecting with. I am always so very appreciative to the excellent tradespeople I work with. They make my designs shine and without them, I would have fewer happy clients. Here's to those most excellent folks!

Working both as an interior designer and as a high-end residential construction project manager for many years, I have encountered innumerable tradespeople, from plumbers to French polishers, electricians to custom mirror/glass installers. Here, the golden qualities of reliability, promptness, thoroughness and fine workmanship are treasures to be discovered and once found, honored with appreciation and respect.

But sometimes I've encountered clients who look down their noses at the tradespeople I bring in to work on their home redesign or renovation. Let's take a look at this more closely, and consider how best to view and treat, this great asset—the tradesman or tradeswoman who turn renovation designs and concepts into reality.

Consider plumbers. The good ones are incredibly smart and worth their weight in gold. They have to consider the project broadly, not just focus on the plumbing. Like any person good at his or her work, a smart plumber considers how the job impacts the whole project. They are the first trades to establish where the sink, the toilet, the shower will go. Are there issues with the framing, the proposed electrical, the proposed ductwork? He’ll figure it out.

I always feel it is part of my job to encourage fine craftsmanship in tradespeople. Part of my philosophy of life is that without competent tradespeople, our civilization—and your project—takes a nosedive.

We take so much for granted without thinking for a moment that turning on that light switch is not possible without the knowledge and skill of the electrician. Or the toilet flushing and emptying without backflow is evidence of a plumber who well knows how to pitch the waste lines and run the vent line.

Properly done, work is done to code with a deep understanding of why, with no shortcuts so that the work product will last as long as it is supposed to and won't cause damage and harm down the line. This means that your home will not suddenly erupt into flames because a nail penetrated the protective cover of electrical wiring and caused sparking, which over time one day suddenly became a fire that burned down the house. (If your contractor uses nail guards inside the walls where electrical wires run, you won't have this problem.) Or, you won't discover that you have leakage under your house because of some jury-rigged set up. I have heard stories too innumerable to tell of horrors encountered by home inspectors, architects and competent contractors. A cheap solution, a shortcut, a do-it-yourself novice job, can be dangerous to your home and your health. And, yes, most often you get what you pay for.

The tradesperson that you hire, or hire through a professional interior designer, is an investment in yourself. You are paying for knowledge, skill and professionalism.

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