Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.
– Popular Misconception
We’re going to Germany. Not because we’ve given up with the house, but to visit the Schwoerer factory.
Things have moved on a little, and it’s time to bring you up to date. Having decided to go, we mailed Karl, the architect, asked him to start, transferred the initial fees to him, and went off on holiday. We weren’t quite expecting the plans to be complete by our return, but we had expected more than a notice from our bank detecting “fraudulent activity” and declining the money transfer.
There followed a tedious and pointless conversation with The One Account about why the transfer had been refused:
“Why did you suspect it might be fraudulent?”
“We can’t tell you”
“How can I avoid this in the future?”
“If you think a transaction may be identified as fraudulent, call us”
“But you won’t tell me the criteria, so how should I decide?”
And so on. But we sorted it out, Karl received his first payment, and we settled down to wait.
Let’s See A House
As discussed before, Schwoerer currently have little presence in the UK, but we wanted to see one of their houses anyway.
“We don’t have any show houses in the UK,” they told us, “But you’re very welcome to visit the factory and see the show houses there.” “No problem,” said we, “It doesn’t need to be a show house; we’re happy to just visit a house that you’ve built in the UK”.
Turns out that they haven’t built any here for about 25 years. Viewing a house from the
1970s 1990s (is that the time already?) didn’t seem to make that much sense.
Schwoerer gave us around two weeks’ notice for “the English visit” to their factory. Well, fitting in an additional cup of coffee with two weeks’ notice would be a challenge; spending two days in Germany was out of the question.
Some emails, some juggling of business appointments, some calling in of favours to ensure we don’t have to leave Lucy at home with a tin opener, and we agreed a date.
On Tuesday, 1 December, we fly out to Stuttgart. We’ll be met at the airport and taken to the hotel, and on Wednesday we’ll visit the factory. Presumably we’ll see how to make a house (I used to have a Lego set, so this will be mostly revision for me), and we’ll also see the show houses on site. I believe there will also be a discussion around prices and plans…
A Cunning Plan
Karl, the architect, has been working on some plans for us. He sent us a first draft a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve looked at them and talked about them. It’s an interesting start. They aren’t quite right, but they’re not entirely “wrong”, either.
We did spend some time at work with the plans displayed on the 60″ monitor (gotta love a big monitor), and we drew up some feedback. It’s actually quite hard to avoid saying, “Move that wall” or “Make that room longer”, but it’s important that we remember we are not architects. We see this at work sometimes: clients telling us what they want us to do instead of describing the problem they want to solve. You don’t (typically) go to your
GP and ask for 50mg Amoxicillin: rather, you tell the doctor what your symptoms are.
So we tried to avoid “solving” problems with our feedback, and focussed on what we felt the issues were with the plans. To be fair to Karl, he’d done a good first pass of taking our rambling requirements and turning them into an idea for a home. He’d not unreasonably made one or two assumptions that aren’t quite right, and we’ve tried to refine our requirements accordingly. So, the mail has gone to Karl, and we’ve not heard back from him yet. Hopefully he hasn’t given up on us as being impossible to please.
So it’s exciting! Will Karl be in Stuttgart when we are? Will the visit fill us with admiration for Schwoerer? Will the show house inspire and please? Will it snow in Stuttgart?
We don’t know the answer to any of those questions yet, but in early December we should do. Update to follow!