Ask anyone in my profession what skills they find are crucial to being a good interior designer and I promise you that problem-solving and the ability to think on one's feet will be at the top of the list. I wanted to share this recent exercise in problem management with you and can do so because thankfully, it's about my own personal project and NOT one of my clients.
We recently decided that it was time to say goodbye to the Miami Vice decade and update our condo in Florida. So, like every good designer, I set about measuring the space, selecting the furnishings and plotting out my floor plan. The big day arrived and as I went down to the lobby to meet my delivery guys I was mortified to learn that my sofa would NOT fit in the elevator. The dimensions I received were off just a hair - but enough to guarantee it was not going up sixteen floors in that elevator.
"OK," I said to my guys, "If I tip you big are you willing to take it up sixteen flights of stairs in 94 degree heat?" They told me they were game and set off to begin their ascent. Well, as they approached the third floor stairwell the ceiling lost three feet of height and it was evident that my sofa would be damaged if they had to squeeze and scrape it over the railing thirteen times. I had to come up with another option.
It was presented to me that on such occasions the movers can - with assistance from the elevator operating company - put furniture on top of an elevator and ride it up slowly, getting out between floors. Well, that's against the law so we would take no such a risk.
What about creating a pully system over our balcony and bringing it up that way? Condo manager said "Nope - may damage the balcony." Everyone said I would have to send the sofa back - well, since I was the decorator and there was nothing wrong with the sofa I knew that was not an option.
I thought to myself, how do they get shingles up on these high rises? Then it hit me, I needed a crane. So, I asked the condo manager, "Can I get a crane in here?" He said, "Yes, but you need to have a certificate of insurance, workers comp, board approval etc...." Then I knew I needed to find a crane but time was of the essence because we were leaving for Ohio the next day and I have a sofa sitting in the parking lot. .
So, thanks to my trusty I -Phone, I googled, 'Crane Naples, Florida' and two numbers appeared. I called the first, who were quite affordable but could only go up about thirteen floors. So, I called the next company and they did in fact have a crane that could make the sixteen floors and they could do it that day. Once we had all the legal paperwork in hand and the crane was set up we were ready to go.
One small hitch was that due to a balcony overhang one floor above our's that the crane could hit, they would only be able to take the sofa to the fifteenth floor and the movers would then need to take it up one flight of stairs. I asked the movers if they wrapped the sofa in a blanket then shrink-wrapped it super tight could they squeeze it up one flight? They assured me they could so we were in business.
Though this whole drama drug on from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the actual lifting of the sofa took a mere ten minutes. I'm happy to report that the sofa is now resting comfortably - with the matching loveseat, in our living room where it will stay happily ever after. So, when and if we sell the condo, the sofa will be part of the deal!
I'd like to thank my movers from Warehouse Services and the very skilled crane operators from Allied Crane -- these guys are all true professionals and were just as determined as I was to get that sofa in our condo.