How To Approach A Home Project On A Tight Deadline

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For 90 percent of the projects done by Equilibrium Interior Design Inc (Equilibrium Interiors) small time frames are the norm. In today’s world of “now,” no one wants to wait if you can get it sooner. We see it as a fact of life. We embrace it!

Let me ask you, if you could get your home built in one year, why would you want to wait a year and a half to finish? Understanding and accepting this phenomenon allows us to serve our clients better.

Service and quality are always top priority for us, but time is always of the essence. Our strategy is very simple: “if you don’t know where you’re going, you will never get there.” It applies to projects of any size and any timeframe – proper planning and scheduling are always key priorities at the onset of any project.

To expedite the design and construction process on very tight time-frame projects we recommend pre-ordering materials, while design drawings are still pending city permits. Once blueprints are cleared, all materials are in our hands and ready to go. It is also critical that furniture (which sometimes can take 6-8 months or even longer for custom pieces) is finalized and ordered as early as possible in the process. These two components of our work usually occur simultaneously to speed up the project.

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To accelerate a project without compromising its integrity, I always tell my staff – and that is the motto we live by – “put yourself in the client’s position, and then you will know how you need to act.” This is always the best position to make our decisions from as it allows us to grasp our clients’ needs and address them. If you want to know how a project delays affects your client, “put yourself in their shoes. If you want to know how your client feels because prices increased on some products, “put yourself in their shoes.” If a contractor is messy in your client’s almost completed home, “put yourself in their shoes.” In my experience, this is the most unbiased position when making critical decisions affecting our clients and projects – it always keeps our client’s best interest in mind.

If you are doing a full construction project, you may also choose to apply for a foundation permit separately, instead of the full permit. This will allow your contractor to start the process and be ahead of schedule while City is reviewing architectural drawings. Some clients ask us about not obtaining permits for certain renovation jobs, but we never support it. It is just a matter of time before an unpermitted project runs into issues and that only hurts the owner. When that happens, not only projects get stopped nad you are required to submit construction drawing, pay fines, but you will also be required to disclose performing work without permit when you decide to sell the house and your insurance company may refuse coverage.

Keep in mind that the permitting process exists in part to protect the homeowner to ensure that the design drawings are performed to code and minimum standards of construction. Some Cities allow expedited permitting service that will cost you more up front but will save you time and money in the long run.

Having a solid plan and an appropriate team that shares the same goal with matching priorities is the best way to ensure that a design and construction project is as efficient as possible. We also recommend scheduling regular meetings for the duration of the project to keep everyone accountable and address issues that may surface as early as possible. Equilibrium Interior Design assists clients in the management of their project team as well as anticipates problems before they even happen and offers solutions early in the process.


Speaking from experience, there are a few things I would never recommend rushing:

  •  the finishing portion of your project (this is the portion of the work you will always see once your home is completed);
  • rushing the drying process of millwork and cabinetry (I learned this the hard way when we shipped cabinetry to a project in the Hamptons that didn’t dry properly before packaging only to find out that finishing lacquer got stuck to the packaging materials);
  • changing selections to ones you don’t really love in order to save on delivery times (you will regret that you didn’t go for what you loved).

Your home project might be on a tight time frame, but living and enjoying your residence comes with no deadlines. Better create spaces you love.

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