The Bugatti Veyron

I have told architects for several years the sad story of a large home being built in 2001 for a very famous celebrity. When I was still selling lumber for Frank Miller Lumber I was called by all of the hardwood flooring suppliers in the region, all looking for lumber for 10,000 square feet of rift sawn white oak flooring for the house. Simply put, the specifications for the rift sawn white oak flooring could never be met. I told everyone the truth in the hopes that the specifications would change and come down to reality. The specs didn’t change, because one distributor kept calling mills until someone said “we have that lumber”.

The flooring manufacturer was shipped lumber that did not resemble the specification except that it was white oak. Now desperate, he tried his best to satisfy the contractor, who tried to satisfy the celebrity homeowner. Making a long, painful story short, no one was satisfied. The hardwood flooring manufacturer went bankrupt waiting to get paid and the contractor wound up in court for years, fighting for the remaining $1.5 million owed on the job.

Why did I title this blog “The Bugatti Veyron”?  Because the Bugatti is my dream car, in the same way this house was a dream house for this family.  Let’s pretend I had $1.5 million to buy this car and put down a hefty deposit, ordering a cobalt blue Bugatti.  I would have to wait 9 months for the car to arrive, as only 6 are imported each year.  A call from the dealer tells me that my car has arrived.  I go to the dealer, give him the balance owed and he hands me the keys.  The dealer then points to a cherry red Bugatti in the lot, not the cobalt blue Bugatti I ordered.  When I complain about the color, the dealer says that while it isn’t the color I wanted, it is still a Bugatti.   I have the option of waiting another 9 months in the hope of getting the color I want or driving away in the red car.  Of course I take the car.  However, no matter how much I might love my Bugatti, I would still be upset every time I get in it, because it isn’t what I ordered.

The same would be true for the family with an expansive floor that doesn’t look anything like the floor they ordered. Yes, it is still white oak, but no one told them that they couldn’t have the special rift sawn white oak flooring they ordered until it was too late. The moral of the story is to minimize heartache and disappointment by running reality checks on your aesthetic vision at the very beginning of the project.