This post goes into the category of “If it was a snake, it would have bit me.”
That’s what happens when something is so close to us, to who we are, that we have a hard time seeing it. That’s how it is with me and case studies (AKA stories). I love telling stories about buildings and how they were designed and built. What happened? Who said what? What were the challenges? What were the solutions? What happened next?
I have been writing stories about buildings for decades. I did it for 13 years for the Los Angeles Times in my series title “Pardon Our Dust.” I did it for 7 years, once a week, for the Santa Barbara News-Press, which was then owned by the New York Times. Telling stories is my favorite type of writing.
So what does it mean? I recall some advice by Deepak Chopra, who suggests that we ask three questions when deciding how to spend our precious work hours:
1) What do I like to do?
2) What am I good at?
3) What does the world need?
The third question has been in my mind lately as I’ve been using my journalism skills to develop continuing education units for architects, builders, and others. When I create a CEU, the topic is typically about solving a problem using advanced building materials or systems. In order to bring the topic alive, I want to feature several case studies. I want to say to the learners: Here’s how these principles work in a real-life scenario.
So when a company or the sponsor of a CEU has a wealth of case studies, I’m overjoyed. Yes! Likely any journalist who writes about buildings will have the same reaction. As we try to wrap our minds around the topic, reading stories of problems and solutions in the real world is a shortcut to a deeper comprehension.
But when a company or sponsor of a CEU does not have many or any case studies available, I really feel the lack, the emptiness, to void. Sometimes a client of mine may suggest that they come up with some case studies. But I know how hard it is. Because I wrote stories for a couple of decades, I know that it requires a certain skill set to identify a potential good story, to figure out the main message it contains, to reach out to the principals, to interview them, to get them excited enough to speak about it, to earn their trust so they will open up, to write down the powerful quotes, to ask for and get images, and to put it all together in a compelling story.
Yes, it takes a lot of skill. I’m not bragging. I just know how it is. And that is exactly why so many companies do not have case studies available on their websites. And that is why so many journalists and trade magazine writes are disappointed when looking for case studies to liven up their articles. Case studies are not easy to create.
So lately I was pondering how to bring in more assignments that are in my wheelhouse. And it occurred to me that case studies are:
1) What I like to do.
2) What I am good at.
3) What the world needs.
If anyone reading this needs and wants case studies for their website, please keep me in mind. Shoot me an email at kathyprice at aol.com and I’ll quote you a price and we can set up a quick timeline. I like to get things DONE.
The precious time we devote to earning money and serving clients must be very carefully allotted. Time is short. I’d love to help you reach your goals as they relate to case studies.
In the meantime, here are some of my L.A. Times articles. What incredible joy I received from producing these.
- 12/20/08 — Reitz, Burbank — Kitchen remodel opens up work space without enlarging room
- 10/25/08 — Beville, Burbank — Rebuilding a home after a fluke flood
- 9/13/08 — Surmelis, Echo Park — HGTV’s Angelo Surmelis renovated kitchen in Echo Park home
- 7/6/08 — Moreta — Her remodeling theme: Start fresh, but keep it low stress
- 6/22/08 — Maurizio, Rosarito Beach, Mexico — On a budget, and on the beach
- 3/9/08 — Orelemann, Eagle Rock — Patience and maybe a protractor
- 2/17/08 — Johnson/Franke, Glassel Park — This face-lift is so 1941
- 1/13/08 — Nebalon, Hermosa Beach — Beach redo is a family affair
- 9/7/07 — Kanclerz/Coleman, Hollywood Hills — Kitchen remodel is a front-burner project
- 8/12/07 — Curet, Eastside Los Angeles — A large dose of charisma
- 7/1/07 — Jahnke, Claremont — Fire paves the way for a green remodel
- 5/6/07 — Doering, Santa Barbara — Turning a tract home into a model for green living
- 4/1/07 — Gomez, Long Beach — Building on his love of the avant-garde
- 2/18/07 — Petitti, Lake Arrowhead — A bright idea, it turns out
- 11/12/06 — Frazier, Leisure World — A career is rekindled by a condo remodel
- 7/9/06 — Mitsui, Mar Vista — A Mar Vista family’s journey to inner space
- 6/11/06 — Deboo, West Hollywood — After several takes, it’s right
- 4/23/06 — Palm Springs — They had a plan, then reality intruded
- 2/5/06 — McLaughlin, Thousand Oaks — Don’t add on, just go outside the box
- 9/25/05 — Foster, Long Beach — Nothing a few years and a dad can’t fix
- 8/28/05 — Toll, Sherman Oaks — A remodel done by remote control
- 6/26/05 — Neals, Redondo Beach — The dual-personality remodel: his and hers
- 5/8/05 — Kean, Los Angeles — Bought it bland, made it grand
- 3/27/05 — Rose, Eagle Rock — It’s her sanctuary of simplicity
- 2/20/05 — Balton, Mar Vista — Remodeler picks his poison
- 12/26/04 — Sun, Miracle Mile — Tranquillity in 400 square feet
- 9/12/04 — Koenig, Oxnard — This old thing? It’s a fixer of their dreams
- 6/27/04 — Ryavec, Venice — A color piece of Venice history
- 4/25/04 — Tovey, Granada Hills — What they always wanted: a door
- 2/29/04 — Hammerschmidt, Venice — The view was a fixer upper
- 8/17/03 — Schaaf, Long Beach — Sibling renovations spur a tale of two kitchens
- 1/26/03 — Beach, Sherman Oaks — A “quick sale” remodel sold them on staying
- 12/15/02 — Vaillancourt, West Hollywood — Writing their own script
- 10/6/02 — Roberts, San Pedro — Calling it their bluff
- 9/15/02 — Gonzalez/Jenkins, Del Rey — The price is right on vacant home
- 9/1/02 — Hall, Brea — Leaving nothing to chance
- 8/16/02 — Denchasy, Venice — Finding his inner chef
- 7/21/02 — Stango/Gonzales, North Hollywood — Mission statement
- 6/12/02 — Christian, Los Feliz — Den of festivity
- 5/26/02 — Van De Yacht, North Hollywood — Modest kitchen remodel: It’s top-drawer
- 5/19/02 — Van De Yacht, North Hollywood — With the work in full swing, glitches and stress mount
- 4/14/02 — Richards, Downey — Do-it-yourself wizardry
- 3/17/02 — Chang, Long Beach — From junkyard to gem
- 2/17/02 — Kohout, Pasadena — A Victorian victory
- 11/18/01 —Hammerschmidt, Venice — The right ingredients
- 9/23/01 — La Plante, Newport Beach — A marriage of two styles
- 7/15/01 — Lackey, Hollywood Hills — A “fixer” becomes a keeper
- 6/10/01 — Shall, Westlake — A clean break with the past
- 5/20/01 — Sciore, South Pasadena — Following in her blueprints
- 3/11/01 — Mabari, Los Angeles — The second time around
- 9/3/00 — DiFrancesco, Westminster — My blue haven
- 8/6/00 — Farrell, Carona del Mar — Stay Young – Remodel
- 6/11/00 — West Los Angeles — The Green House Effect
- 4/16/00 — Goldman, Santa Monica — Beauty unboxed
- 3/19/00 — Noller, Whittier — Garage transformed into family room
- 2/6/00 — Rabuchin, Pacific Palisades — Extended family room
- 12/5/99 — Liebeler, Hollywood Hills — Awash in Elegance
- 10/31/99 — Nordlund, Woodland Hills — A room with a view
- 9/2/99 — Brun-Sanglard, Hollywood — From darkness, he creates beauty
- 7/22/99 — Wakil, Silver Lake — Color Capers
- 6/24/99 — Wolfe, Mission Viejo — Homemade haven
- 4/29/99 — Kirkpatrick, Manhattan Beach — The big flip-flop
- 4/18/99 — Insull, Pasadena — The art of compromise
- 1/28/99 — Zee, Santa Barbara — Letting in light and lush vistas
- 10/3/99 — Taylor, Corona — Making quick work of a remodel
- 9/13/98 — Regan, Manhattan Beach — Ugly to Elegant
- 8/2/98 — Hornstein, Hollywood — Designer turns home for resale into her own
- 6/21/98 — Moussalli, Palos Verdes Peninsula — P.V. home buyers put up a good front
- 5/31/98 — Struthers, San Clemente — Shake Charmer
- 3/15/98 — Berstler, West Los Angeles — That was then, this is wow
- 2/8/98 — Salaya, Long Beach — Back to the ’20s
- 1/11/98 — Henry, Thousand Oaks — Cooking up a dream
- 12/28/97 — Lieberman, Westwood — When remodeling becomes a “dig”
- 12/21/97 — Mini Twelve Step House, South-Central L.A. — A fresh start
- 10/26/97 — Arroyo, Sherman Oaks — Splendor in the Oaks
- 7/20/97 — Mosher, Pasadena — Sun room is the cat’s meow
- 6/8/97 — Rice, Torrance — The little pink house grows up