Custom Design & Collaboration with Elizabeth Demos

Custom Design & Collaboration with Elizabeth Demos

Elizabeth is a multi-talented designer, content contributor, producer, and writer.  I had a great time working with Elizabeth and it’s no surprise that her client list is as extensive as it is.  She knows what she wants and finds a way to make it happen.

Truth be told, I love working with designers.  And my favorite part is the mutual thought process and collaboration that is done between the maker and the designer to bring an idea to reality.  

Back in April of this year Elizabeth Demos contacted me about a lighting dilemma they were having for a DIY Network giveaway house.  We chatted for a week or so about the project and landed on a lighting solution that worked for both of us.  It was sort of a whirlwind of ideas all leading to a rather quick turnaround custom piece for this show.

I was a bit surprised to hear back from Elizabeth this week when she sent me links for the DIY Network Ultimate Retreat Giveaway home that my fixture is proudly hanging in the kitchen.  Elizabeth was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions on how she came to choose my company and my work for her very special DIY Network project.

Brad:
So Elizabeth, the Ultimate Retreat home in VT is simply amazing!  As the designer for the show it must have been quite an undertaking picking all the vendors and products.  What made you look to a small business like mine for one of your pieces?  

Elizabeth:
Thank you, I think Ultimate Retreat is pretty amazing too! I love to work with artisans and local makers whenever possible so I knew I wanted to incorporate items that fed to my taste for unique details. I also had a challenging situation with an off center kitchen island that only a custom fixture could remedy.

Brad:
I was so happy that we compiled both of our ideas to get to the final custom fixture.  Do you find yourself collaborating with makers for the perfect custom pieces or trying to find ready-made items?  Or both?

Elizabeth:
It depends on the clients, the budget and the timeline. I like to think I dress a house in a way that combines custom with some off the shelf items. In the end the entire look feels layered in and purposeful. I'm a big "save here, splurge here" kind of designer.

Brad:
How did you find my little company in the sea of lighting out there online?

Elizabeth:
I’m fairly certain I typed something like “vintage multi-globe pendant” online. I was immediately drawn into Lucent Lampwork’s lovely story, beautiful selection and simple vintage styling. I also liked that I could choose finishes and wire options to customize the look. Best of all you sent me a speedy reply and were game from the very start even with the tight turn-around time I requested.

Brad:
How important is efficient communication between makers and yourself when working on date specific projects?  

Elizabeth:
Efficient communication is crucial and in my experience, not something I encounter with independent artisans. I wish everyone was as responsive and positive as you were when approached about a project like this. I do I understand though, because with sweepstakes homes I have to keep the details a secret but business is business and a client is a client, no matter how mysterious.

Brad:
I can tell with the amazing outcome of the design of the home that you have an eye for quality products and thoughtful and smart design.  Do you have any suggestions for a small business like mine in navigating the design trends that seem to come and go so fast?  

Elizabeth:
I flip back and forth with the whole idea of trends and I think I sway more toward freshened up classics. For example I love subway tile but try to tweak it a bit with a different size or textural look like I did in the Ultimate Retreat kitchen.  Another great nod to classic is in the lighting I selected. I chose very traditional circle shaped chandeliers in the dining room and living room but by incorporating the open globe theme it took it in a bit more modern direction. In fact, by choosing globe fixtures in the main open spaces I was able to walk that line of trend and classic. Lucent Lampworks fixture over the kitchen island elevated the look to the next level. It pulled the globe look into the space but amped it up with a modern asymmetrical suspension.

My advice, find your niche (as you have), stick to classic looks but put your spin on it. Follow trends to know how to place yourself in the market, observe color and scale trends but don't let them dictate your product line. Influence perhaps, but not dictate.

Brad:
Thank you Elizabeth for your time in taking these questions.  I look forward to working with you for years to come.  All the best to you and yours.

www.elizabethdemos.com

http://www.diynetwork.com/ultimate-retreat/2017/diy-network-ultimate-retreat-2017-kitchen-pictures

 

The Shop Dog... Kale

I am a dog person.  Cats... not so much.  I have always had dogs.  2 years ago our family adopted a sad faced black border collie / labrador (Borador for short) from a local rescue.  He came to us with the name "Boots".  Being as I am not much of a cat person I especially am not fond of dogs being given cat names... like "Boots".  

My first dog that I was "gifted" (don't ask) during college I aptly named "Guinness" after the beer.  This was a manly name.  So obviously the name "Boots" had to go.  I am outnumbered in our house 2 girls to me (and the new male dog who unfortunately is a non-voting member).  

So the ever important task of naming my soon to be shop dog was upon us.  I was excited for the possibilities.  Maybe Edison?  Tesla?  Volt?  All cool names if you ask me and very fitting for the shop dog of a lighting guy.  Yet, after very little deliberation and input from yours truly the name for our new dog was Kale.  Yes.. Kale, like the leafy green.  Black dog named after a leafy green you ask?  Don't get me started.  You see our family was on a bit of a vegan eating kick and I will leave it at that.  My wife and daughter loved the name Kale.  I did not.  So we compromised and his name is Kale.  

Kale is the CFL of Lucent Lampworks.  Its a pretty sweet gig for him.  Free room and board and meals, full dental, full healthcare, plus unlimited vacation days.  Being the Chief Face Licker (CFL) of my company does require some work.  He is the client greeter, tennis ball dropper and morale booster.  I say its win win for all.  

Kale the Borador

Kale the Borador

What does US Made really look like?

I love the old buildings from the industrial age of this country.  From the weathered age and color of the brick to the rusted color muted metal detailing of these tattered buildings.  And the vintage industrial lighting was just so cool in that era.  The simple utilitarian nature of these structures is just perfect to me.  I would hope to have my company housed in one of these unique old buildings someday.  Someday.

We live in a global economy.  No sense in denying that fact.  If you want anything made you have choices all over the world.  I want to start this by saying that I am not anti-global consumerism.  As I walk around my house it is hard to deny the presence of items made all over the world.  It would be hypocritical for me to say I am against that.  But in my personal life as well as in my business I make strides everyday to buy more local, buy more from small businesses with grounded roots here in the US. 

The first time I met David (the owner of a 3rd generation metal stamping company) I knew it would be a long relationship.  He welcomed my fledgling business into his factory in a way that made me feel like a Fortune 500 company.  A sign at the door "Welcome Brad from Lucent Lampworks", a delicious cup of coffee placed in my hand and a warm pastry to enjoy.  Did I really just walk into an industrial metal stamping facility?  In the background I hear (and feel) the loud floor pounding boom of 30-Ton stamping machines turning sheet metal into all types of unique parts.  

David is the kind of person who treats you like family.  He answers my strange requests always "yes" and rarely "no".  It seemed HIS goal was to help me and my business.  He was not there waiting for me to help him.  I was a little shocked at how flexible and down to earth he was.  We walked through the factory for over an hour.  He introduced me to his crew, we talked lighting parts, laughed about life and learned about each other.  

I drove the 2 hours home high on ideas and possibilities.  My eyes wide open to how business should be done.  THIS is why I will search out more and more US manufacturing facilities to make the parts for my lighting fixtures.  Thank you David!  

David & Yours Truly in 2014

David & Yours Truly in 2014

Metal Stamping.... its pretty damn cool!

Metal Stamping.... its pretty damn cool!

Yup!  Both make perfect sense to me.  

Yup!  Both make perfect sense to me.