Meet the Team: Dana Longhurst, Project Selections Coordinator
Posted by Lindsay Wilson in Meet the Team
“Having someone there to guide the client and support them I think really brings in the essence of custom design/build. We’re helping the client custom design every feature. Every detail’s thought out.”-Dana Longhurst
Design is where personal expression meets form and function. It can require highly specialized knowledge, and that can be intimidating for the average homeowner. Embarking on the journey of designing and building a home or renovation is exciting, but what if you’re overwhelmed with choices? Or just plain unsure of how to express your unique sense of style?
Guiding Clients Towards Design Solutions
Dana Longhurst, KLC’s Project Selections Coordinator, takes on the role of guide to help homeowners navigate all of the choices presented during the design/build process. Her role is to assist in helping clients achieve the fullest expression of their own unique style. She defines her role as “supporting the Project Developers in finishing aspects of the project. My main objective with the 21 divisions KLC utilizes is to help narrow down the client’s vision and selection for each one of those items. In every division there is some sort of selection that goes along with it. I help with every single part but it’s really client-driven in terms of how they want the final product to turn out and we have to show them all the examples.”
Dana’s first project as Project Selections Coordinator was a commercial renovation that resulted in a local bakery, Lakefield Bakery on Queen. She felt an instant rapport with the clients & co-owners: “They gave me so much creative freedom that it was amazing because they trusted my insight. They told me “We love it, just take the reins. Just go with it. The bakery looks phenomenal. Commercial space is a big responsibility. You have hundreds of people there through a day. It’s going to be a brand.”
After the bakery, she was approached to work on more projects. A typical day in the life sees Dana “offer my advice, keep everything organized, and make decisions. It’s a lot of detail to take in and you have to be kind-of an expert on everything. I think the biggest part about having a Project Selections Coordinator in a design/build firm like Kawartha Lakes Construction is there are so many decisions to be made that people don’t realize. Having someone there to guide the client and support them really brings in the essence of custom design/build. We’re helping the client custom design every feature. Every detail’s thought out.”
Helping Align Form, Function & Budget
It’s not just about aesthetic though. The Project Selections Coordinator responsibilities include asking those all-important questions about form, function, and feasibility. Function’s part in the design process is as important as form: “I don’t like to design so it just looks nice because I live in a house too, and it would be great if it looked nice all the time, but it’s not realistic. So, sometimes you have to give up some design features for functionality.” Dana cites a current client who’s building a cottage: “They won’t be there all the time, and they don’t want to spend a great deal of time cleaning when they are there, so we avoided a lot of things that had a lot of ridges, or a lot of extra detail. On their cupboards we did a shaker with a 45% angled edge so it’s actually easier to clean in the corners.”
Feasibility also takes precedence. Price-point can be a major concern for many clients, but the Project Selections Coordinator’s vast knowledge can help quell a client’s anxieties. Dana is always looking at “balancing the budget, the functionality. Balance and talking ahead of time. Make sure everyone’s on the same page and you’re not overspending. I always talk about investment rather than just a purchase.”
She notes that it’s to a client’s advantage to spend more up-front, both in terms of form and function: “One of our cottager client’s we are currently working with, when we were shopping, I explained to them: “You’ve got to buy a nice couch and a dining room table. Just thinking logistics (they are on an island!). You’re not going to want to ship another couch in five years if you don’t like it. You want something traditional that’s going to be a classic for a long time, and good quality because you use it all the time. Those are the places to invest your money and then be smart about other things. I think it’s smart not to be reinvesting two and three times because it’s a waste. You can get really nice pieces for a marginal amount more. You don’t spend three times. Save up. Spend it once.”
Advice for Homeowners
Dana has one quick piece of advice for someone considering building a new home or renovating: “I always encourage anyone, even if they’ve never done it before, go on Pinterest and just start looking. Just look. The more you start looking you might see what catches your eye, notate what you liked about it, and then from there we can see patterns and what you chose, what’s leading you because everyone has a natural pull to something. You have your natural style and I think everyone just needs a bit of love and push to get out there. Explore!”
Dana Longhurst is the Project Selections Coordinator at Kawartha Lakes Construction. If you’re exploring a renovation, or pondering updating your home or cottage, stop in and chat with Dana at our office in Lakefield!