All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pay no mind to what they say, doesn't matter anyway (our lips are sealed)

Last week I was thrilled to have Apartment Therapy feature the recent bathroom renovation I did for my friend--the attention always makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile with Retrograde. But of course the comments started rolling in. Many of them were in favor of the old bathroom and a lot of the comments were from readers weighing in with their own opinions and tastes (that's what comment/message boards are for, right?) Some of them just stung, like, "You killed the pretty bathroom."

Ouch.

I suddenly realized why so many people in the public eye don't read comments or articles about themselves. It can really affect you and throw you off, like some sort of emotional hit and run. I guess I've always been lucky--even as an actor, the worst review I've ever received was simply no mention at all in a so-so play. Talking it out with my partner, I realized that these folks didn't necessarily want to examine the design. Instead, they were posting their knee-jerk reaction to the end of a long process. Halfway through the comments, I tried to justify my process, but the "I hate it" comments buried my post. (To be fair, there were many commenters who realized that the renovated bathroom better served the person who actually lived there, and who could appreciate the design process.)

So for all the haters, here's what happened behind the scenes:
  • In interior design, there is the "Programming Phase" where the designer talks to the client and determines how to best meet his/her needs for the space. Once it's established, we try to stick with the Program.
  • A lot of people liked the original red and white bathroom floor, but my friend had lived with it for over a decade and was ready for a change. Plus, the tiles were worn and chipped in places.
  • Many readers disliked the vessel sink and new vanity, but what they didn't consider is that my friend is 6'-3" tall and the old sink was only 30" high--typical for older bathrooms that catered to families with children.
  • My friend does not have children. He never will.
  • We changed to a smaller mirror just over the sink so artwork could be placed on the wall space next to it. Both of us thought a large mirror spanning the entire wall looked a little cheap, so we went with a mirror that felt more like an accessory or framed art than a built-in feature.
  • Other readers didn't like the walk-in shower and wished I had kept the tub. Well, my 6'-3" friend didn't really fit in the old tub and rarely took baths, so a larger shower made more sense and made the space feel more spacious.
  • Female readers thought the dark blue walls would make make-up application difficult. My homeowner friend is a man and didn't need to consider that problem.
  • Another reader was glad my plan for the tonal stripe on the floor and walls got nixed. In fact, it's there and because it's so subtle, I've succeeded in adding an element that doesn't scream out in photographs.
The last two comments (at least when I stopped checking) were actually flattering and considered some of the points above (and also came to my defense against some of the other comments.)

deelw wrote, "I generally like dark wall colors in small spaces, but I didn't realize that this was actually navy and not black until I saw the pics on Jason's blog. I wonder how it reads in person. Love the walk-in shower. I would jump at the chance to convert my tub. I don't think the before was awful, but the style of the after is so different. If this fits well with the rest of the house, then the before must have really been out of place."

And mauishopgirl wrote, "If everyone only remodeled for resale value, it would be a very boring and bland world."
At the end of the day, you don't have to live there. I don't have to live there. My friend lives there and he's quite happy with his new bathroom, thankyouverymuch.
 
Regardless, I'm just glad my work got some attention. Like I wrote above, the worst review is no mention at all in a so-so play...
 

1 comment:

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