Faster than quick dry epoxy flooring, more powerful than a C-Joist, able to leap over complex specs in a single bound. Meet your resource librarian: an interior designer or architect’s own personal superhero. In the never-ending battle to stay under budget and on deadline – while preserving your design vision – the resource librarian puts these 12 superpowers to work for you. Prepare to be amazed…
#1) Protection From Villainous Vendors
Ok, 99% of vendors aren’t villains. But the 1% who are can derail a design project. The best resource librarian takes precautions to protect you from fraud.
How? By putting a Russian proverb into play: Trust but verify (doveryai, no proveryai). A resource librarian always gets vendor promises in writing, passing along the documentation to you.
Then, if the vendor doesn’t deliver on their promise, you’re legally protected.
#2) Coaxing Your REAL Design Intent
As a designer or architect, one of your superhuman powers is staying on top of the latest trends…like dark walnut walls. To achieve the elegant retro look, you begin the hunt for a walnut veneer. Your resource librarian will stop you right there. What is it about dark wood that fits into your design vision? Is it the grain? The luster? Can you show me a rendering or photo of what you envision?
These questions gently push you to further flesh out your creative intent. Then the resource librarian can reveal another superpower…
#3) Suggesting More Readily Available, Affordable Options
A good resource librarian knows the materials market: walnut veneer is one of the most expensive veneers available.
The resource librarian could suggest a similar but more affordable option, like an anigre or makore veneer. These woods have similar grains to walnut. Not only do they cost less, the flitch (or slice of wood) is larger which can create a more uniform look.
#4) Knowing Other Superheroes
Just as all Marvel Comic superheroes are connected – from Black Panther to Captain America – your resource librarian is part of a larger network of helpful folks. If you really are set on getting real walnut wood for your project, the resource librarian knows who to call. It may be a local millworker or a direct contact at the manufacturer.
#5) Shielding You From Contractor Errors
Like vendors, most contractors aren’t villains. But their focus (especially in New York) is on getting the job done – by any materials necessary. Your resource librarian will remind you – to remind the contractor – to always order lighting fixtures first. With an average delivery time of 12-16 weeks, it should be the first order placed for your project. Otherwise, if the fixtures don’t arrive on time, the contractor may use inadequate fixtures that will probably not align with your project’s vision.
#6) Making YOU Look Like the Hero
Oftentimes, your clients drive the design process. Many NYC design clients request a trendy seamless white concrete floor. Easy, you think. I’ll spec out a white self-leveling concrete at 1/8” thick. That’s when a call to a resource librarian could save you from danger.
Buildings move, and unless you install control joints (which are unattractive to say the least), that concrete will crack within months. Instead, the resource librarian would suggest a high performance and low-cost white floor paint. You’d be the hero to your client, showing them that you respect their vision – but have a better way of achieving it.
#7) Putting Day Two, First
Everyone knows that plank wood floors are “in.” From Brooklyn boutiques to NYC offices, but incorporating plank flooring into your design requires time…lots of time. Otherwise, you may get a call from an angry client in a year: “the edges of the planks are literally curling up!”
A resource librarian plans for day two (more accurately, for year two). The librarian would explain the timing and variables involved in wood flooring.
If, for example, a wood floor is installed over a poured concrete subfloor, your resource librarian would know that concrete takes up to 30 days to cure. Those 30 days are needed to allow moisture within the concrete to evaporate. Otherwise, water from uncured concrete subfloor seeps into the wood – warping and curling it.
You should also plan for the wood to arrive to the job site at least 3 weeks before installation. That way, the moisture in the air equalizes with the moisture in the wood.
Again, passing along the resource librarian’s knowledge to the client and their contractor makes YOU look like the hero – from day one through day two and beyond.
#8) More Rescue Work from Day Two
Since most New York City work involves retrofitting existing structures, you often inherit day two issues from a previous designer or architect. Or maybe it’s a problem arising from one of your own projects. Take the open office trend. One of the most common day-two complaints is unexpected noise. Before you resort to (ugly!) cubicles, call your resource librarian. He can suggest a wide range of acoustic panels – in many design styles – for walls and ceilings that can dampen the noise.
#9) Revealing Hidden Costs
Another superpower a resource librarian possesses? Factoring in cost of ownership when sourcing materials. Thanks to value engineering, your client may push you to source the cheapest possible materials – like vinyl composition tile. Yes, a materials Google search shows you can score it for about 75 cents a square foot. But to maintain that shine? The client will need to invest time and tons of money in upkeep. Near constant waxing and stripping is required to keep that vinyl looking good. The resource librarian will advise a luxury vinyl that’s yes, more expensive, at $4/square foot – but requires virtually no upkeep.
#10) Going Beyond Buzzwords
“My New York City client needs a sustainable material.” Any resource librarian will tell you, it’s one of today’s most common requests. But what are you really asking for? Sustainability can be defined by locality. Do you want a material that’s produced within your region or state? Sustainability could also refer to recycled materials – or materials that are made in a way that protects all workers involved in production.
It is up to the client to define how they want their project sustainable. But it is up to the resource librarian to ensure the facts are straight and the numbers add up.
#11) Warning You of Over-Engineered Products
If you’re an NYC designer or architect working for a hospitality or commercial client, sometimes sustainable materials can be your enemy. One definition of sustainability is a product that is meant to last for decades – even centuries. But if your client is only leasing a space, the average New York City commercial lease is just 7-10 years. If it’s a hotel? Plan on 3-4 years before a refresh. Investing in a high-performance product with a 20-year warranty doesn’t make financial sense. A resource librarian can warn you before you splurge on over-engineered hospitality carpeting that will be torn out in 3 years anyways.
#12) Join Forces with Your Resource Librarian
The very best superhuman power a resource librarian possesses? Adding more time to your day. Stop wasting hours fielding calls from overeager vendors. Quit spending afternoons on Google, hunting for that illusive Italian marble you believe is just one click away. A resource librarian is like that guy on the Ed Sullivan Show, spinning 10 plates at a time – so you don’t have to.
At Streamline Material Resourcing, our mission is to protect you from threats to your time – and the integrity of your project. Contact us when you need help sourcing materials for your next project. We may not wear capes, but we’re always striving to be superheroes in the world of material resourcing.