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Monday, February 16, 2009
February Blog - Stimulus Time
WOW – this year is flying by. We are already into mid February and a lot is happening. President Obama is in and Bush is out and the recession carries on. Stimulus package number two has been passed on Friday the 13th, GM and Chrysler are hitting their deadlines, loans are coming due or being called in by banks faster than TARP money can be passed out. I have had clients (yes plural) dreams shattered by the infamous Bernie Madoff who made off with their money and the funding for their projects. We are blessed with some wonderful new projects in the last six months but we are definitely seeing another wave of fear and reluctance out there. Everyone is so uncertain and who can blame them?
Those clients that are moving forward are doing so whereby they can get the very best in talent, expertise, and pricing, I’ve seen in the thirty years I have been doing this. Everyone is motivated, every staff is down to their best people, attention to service is first and foremost, and we are all working twice as hard for half as much. But that is ok – being an architect I guess I just am wired to love to work – I love what we do. Some of our best work ever is either just being completed or on the boards as I write this. I look back at the work done in the 30’s and 40’s and really that too was some of the best work over the last 80 years – so there is something to all of this.
We were fortunate to have one of our homes featured in the February issue of Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. It's a beautiful home in Silverleaf constructed by Schultz Development decorated by Treken Interiors. It’s still on news stands so please pick up a copy. We also have a kitchen featured next month in a national magazine and I understand one of our homes will be on the Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine home tour in November. So we are very excited about that. I am also acting as guest chef for a paella dinner in conjunction with Kitchen Southwest and SubZero next month. I find people need to get out, talk, share stories of what is going on and opportunities spring forth. It’s amazing how far some good food and vino go to get people excited about an idea or a project and I am always surprised by the connections and six degrees of separation events like this create.
I am contemplating our seventh Italy Trip for this fall. Ten full days starting in Florence for two days, living in a country house in Umbria for six days, and winding down in Roma for two days. I have several clients, designers, vendors, and contacts interested in the trip this year. I have gotten so many great leads I would have never imagined from this yearly adventure. Not to mention the inspiration just being there each year does for me as an architect and someone who appreciates and preaches good living. I hope we can pull this together and get a good group to go. If interested, please contact our office. I try and limit the trip to four or five couples as the Trattorias can be quite quaint and when you walk in with 10 or 12 hungry Americans it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s a great trip and I will dedicate an entire blog just to this trip very soon.
We have a client with whom we are designing a classic Santa Barbara home for so we are planning a research trip there next month. I hope to write a nice summary of that trip in the weeks ahead. Two other clients want to take me to the Far East this year to research new sources for ironwork, stonework, windows, you name it. We have a couple companies that want us to design our own line of pre-cast elements, ironwork, doors, etc., etc. Like I say, good thing its slow out there!
I guess, its easy to get down on the economy and all the doom and gloom out there – trust me I fall victim to it – ask my wife (she has permanently banned me from CNBC in the morning). But we need to keep plugging on and what happens will happen – we’re all feeling it. The Stimulus Package is passed and the extra $13 a week we will all see in our paycheck should at least allow me to add my Spanish latte back into my morning routine!
I’ll keep drawing, creating, and trying to bring happiness to our clients through our beautiful homes. I love being an architect, a friend, a husband and a father.