working blueprint

Go with the Flow

We have a friend who is a long-time restaurateur. Unlike some who obsess about the food or linger over lighting choices, his career path in family friendly dining created an obsession with efficiency.

When one of his restaurants was being renovated, he had the option of booths or tables. One of the things that he measured and tracked was called “through-put.” This was the amount of time from when a server opened a check for a new table until the customers paid. In other words, how long they were seated.

His restaurant was mostly booths created for parties of four. After watching and tracking and thinking about it, he decided to eliminate all but two of those booths, and create long banquettes that would run down the exterior walls, and he created dozens of tables for two. Those could be joined for parties of 4 or parties of 6 with great efficiency. Smaller parties were seated more quickly, and he could better accommodate larger gatherings.

In the first month after his renovation, his “through-put” went from 54 minutes to 42 minutes.

But that’s now he looked at things. How many steps did it take to bread and cook chicken tenders? How many times did a cook turn around to grill a steak? How could he organize his kitchens and service areas to improve the efficiency – the ergonomics – of his restaurants?

We help our clients do the same thing when designing a custom home. After looking through magazines and catalogs and visiting dozens of model homes, they often have ideas about features and design choices, but when you put all of those ideas together, how do they flow?

If your daily routine begins with a pot of coffee, is the process efficient? That counter may seem a perfect spot for a Keurig machine, but if the sink is across the kitchen, you may have picked the wrong spot. If the person who handles most of the cooking is just over 5-feet tall, having all of the cabinetry run to the ceiling may have been a poor choice.

When we help clients design their dream home, we try to think like our restaurant friend.

The washer & drier shouldn’t be a focal point, but it should be convenient to your wardrobe.

That huge wall may seem perfect for a big screen television, but it won’t work without access to electricity and cable.

We can create a perfect nook for reading a book on a cold day, and we know that it’s going to need proper lighting and the right ductwork to generate warmth.

When we sit down with a blueprint, we can point out bedrooms, bathrooms, dens and kitchens, and talk about square footage. It’s important, however, to imagine all of those spacious rooms filled with furniture, and how you will actually use those rooms. We close our eyes and imagine the steps needed to travel from the sofa to the microwave for more popcorn. We stand in front of the microwave and wonder where the largest bowl is kept.

The design of your home doesn’t impact your customer count on a Saturday night or improve your labor cost. It does, however, allow you to flow from room to room, enjoying your dream home as you live your most efficient life.