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Partially Guided or directed creativity

I've never been the contractor who likes a duplicate another builders work. I enjoy being creative. I can be guided by pictures and drawings of what what a client of mine desires but to be truthful my best work is done when i am allowed to go with the flow of my creative building. What i mean by this is interesting. For example, one of my favorite projects to date is the cedar, hardwood and faux rock octagon gazebo i built. Here's a quick version of the story and how this gazebo came to be.

I showed up to build a simple 20'x8' front entrance deck, matching the beautiful back deck I built the year before. As we stood at the front of the house that morning, my clients, Kevin and Carmen said, 'do you think we could add a circle gazebo on that end of the deck?"

My brain fired into overdrive with creativity and excitement, my first reply, "circle... I can do a circle however an octagon is considerably less labor intensive, no bending of wood, no steam box, just miters, bevels and some geometry."

Their reply "an octagon is fine" BOOM creativity throttle engaged.

I'm a very visual person, i have auto CAD in my head. Thinking to myself crap the helical screw pile driver was on his way, a quick phone call. "How many extra piles did you bring?"

"2" he siad

I started reworking the foundation layout. 2 piles were enough, I check my beam spans and developed a plan, and wala. A beautiful octagon gazebo that is highly finished and functional. Kevin and Carmen use it all the time and are very grateful with how it turned out. Enjoying fires in the antique pot belly stove on chilly, rainy mornings, or a cool fall night.

The intention I have behind this blog post is an important one, especially to me. I have generally found that my clients that allow me to build the concept or design I have in my head of their outdoor space almost always are the most satisfied with the outcome. As soon as I set my eyes on a project or an old deck I have a vision, guided by a couple key pieces of information and input from my clients. The cool interactive thing is most of the time I do not have all the details, layout and finishing completed, it comes together as I go. Things change as I build, I see new designs and ideas. Being creative is super rewarding and interactive. I involve my clients, I ask for their opinions and input before completing or redesigning features, trim or concepts. I hold up pieces allowing them to see my design. For instance in the octagon, I though hey, its pretty woody in here what happens if we add a little porcelain in the back of the book shelf and along the base wall of the stairs, and boom, the flow. and then I had my centerpiece for the floor matching dark porcelain.

Online photos and projects are a good guide and starting point. Every project needs direction. Lets see what we can come up with together that is unique and functional getting desired reactions from everyone that comes to enjoy your beautiful outdoor living area.

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