cabin remodel st louis mo stemm (11)

I’m a sucker for a good quote. The ability to sum up an idea or concept succinctly is a very compelling thing. Words are powerful. String the right words together and they have the ability to heal, to hurt, to motivate and turn something on inside the soul. To me the digestion of words is therapy. When I just can’t, words help me do. They help organize my thoughts and emotions and motivate me to act. I have collected a few insanely well-written sentences and included my not so dynamic ramblings about why they are fuel to me.

“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.” –Ray Kroc

I am often thought of as a “creative”. What does that even mean? On most days I feel like Ray Kroc hit the nail on the head. Plus, I like that really successful people use the word “highfalutin”.

“Leave it better than you found it.” –Bruce A. Nordstrom

This is a dang good way to allow yourself room to breathe. The redesign of a room can be rather suffocating at the start. The expectations of what you can and need to do can out run your energy to perform. If you keep referring back to leaving something better than you found it, you can take each step free from things that clutter the mind like self-doubt.

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” –Ralf Speth

Can I get an Amen? We understand why you love those social media posts about design fails. Do you really want to live them? The wrong team will cost you money, time, sleep and emotional strain. I stand on the front line of the battle called remodeling and I see it everyday.

“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests” –Charles Eames


“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” –Charles Eames

As designers we should be asking a lot of questions. We should be constantly searching through your answers, digging into your needs and finding solutions to problems you didn’t even realize you had.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” –Henry Ford

Think bigger. Henry Ford is screaming in this genius sentence, telling us to look where the crowd is headed and pioneer a new path.

“A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist, and evolutionary strategist.” –Buckminster Fuller

The only thing Buckminster left out of this quote was therapist! Kitchen and Bath design is technical. You have to be an expert on about a billion different products and how they all mechanically work together. You have to be conscious of budgets and how the family will evolve in the space you are creating. You have to me able to think in 3 dimensions and find ways to do things that have never been done before because every house and project is 100% different. We don’t do this job because it is easy; we do it because it is hard.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt” –Sylvia Plath

No one is harder on you than you. Great design can’t flow from a paralysis of failure. You have to be willing to throw your ideas out there and be confident that in all the chaos there is brilliance.

“To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.” –Paul Rand

The clarity of the job we perform for people help those little voices of demeaning self-doubt shrink back into the shadows where they belong. To say, “I designs kitchens” really says nothing about what I do. To say, “ I add value, illuminate, simplify, clarify, modify and dignify your home” is much more powerful. The right words can make us stronger.

“Those who don’t build must burn.” –Ray Bradbury

The next line to that quote from Fahrenheit 451 is, “It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents”. It reminds me to keep facing forward, to not listen to the hateful chatter that sometimes surrounds us. It reminds me that 2 types of people have always existed, those that are here to make things better and those that are here to stand in the way of progress. I choose to build, not burn.