Charge for What You Change

One Shed Fits All is a story about an architect and the minimalist house he designed. At its heart,  is about believing completely in what you make, regardless of what others think.

The architect, Stephen Atkinson, designed his perfect house. Thousands of people admired his design and some sought the plans to build it themselves. He knew, though, that as much as they said they loved the design, they would want a few small changes.

What people failed to understand was that the perfection of his design came from the totality of the design. No change was minor or without consequence. Attempts at improving the design were, in effect, ruining it.

We should trust creators and their vision and resist reacting to work with "It's perfect, but..." It's good to separate our experience of something from the thing itself.

I enjoy debating whether a cover song can be better than the original. My take is that the original is the true expression of the artist's vision. Even if we like the cover version more, it doesn't make it better.

The architect came up with a solution. He would give the plans for free to the eager couple who wanted them if they would pay for every change, every deviation from his vision.

Put another way, the more closely the house hewed to his vision, the less it would cost them. Mr. Atkinson, for whom this house has become something of an obsession, was making sure that the third incarnation of the structure he called the Zachary House would be close to perfect.

It's a simple solution that shows his commitment to what he created.

When creators are asked to work on a project or cause, they naturally hesitate knowing that the freedom and trust at the beginning can be replaced by revisions and second-guessing later.

Clarifying from the start that the will be charges for changes is an elegant way to build respect and boundaries into the work.

Stand up for what you create. Let helpful feedback inform your next project. This thing you've created, though, it is finished and it is everything it was meant to be.