The common phrase “the devil is in the detail” has the figurative meaning that there is something unexpected to be found in the detail of something.  This idiom is thought to have grown from the earlier “God is in the detail”.  The later saying is reported to have numerous origins, but is known to have been linked to prominent post-World War I architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  I find this very fitting as a quality home is defined by not just the basic structure but also the finishes as well.  He was strongly influential in ushering in a definitive era of modern design committed to minimalism, free-flowing spaces and connection of the interior and exterior.  This common catchphrase of his is meant to convey the principle that whatever task one undertakes should be completed with precision.  Details matter – significantly.  The details set apart the average from the excellent.  This is true in every aspect of life and it’s true in architecture as well.  The new home we purchased a few weeks ago is what prompted me to write about the importance of details.

We are just beginning to settle in.  Totes and boxes are still piled high, most rooms are in some stage of disarray and lack organization, but it is coming together.  I really have my parents to thank for much of what we’ve accomplished so far.  They took both our girls home to Juneau for a little visit at “Camp Nana-Papa” so we could physically move without little ones underfoot and then came and spent a weekend helping organize the mass of packaged belongings; we had my Dad hang shelving and more, all the while entertaining our children.  My mother is magic in the kitchen – not just because of her baking and cooking skills, but because she knows what to put where so that this part of the home is efficient and easy to work in.

Amid the chaos that is moving – I am finding new devilish details of the house and appreciating that the previous owners were obviously thorough in both their planning and completion of this home.  In fact, I’ve struggled with writing this piece because I’m so in awe that I wanted to share every fabulous features of the home – and ended up with a book instead of an article.  Then I thought instead, I’d share just a few of the finishes the sub-contractors missed, so that if you are building or re-modeling you’ll remember to check them.  I had to delete that piece as well; it sounded ungrateful.  So I’m honestly a bit stuck on what to share with all of you about my new home that you’ll enjoy and find useful.

This article was difficult to write because of my own internal struggle in my personal and professional life to maintain a dynamic equilibrium between just getting things done and getting them done right.  I am by nature a perfectionist.  I get mired in the details….so much so that the task at hand often doesn’t get done, doesn’t get done on time, or is so rushed to meet the deadline that it isn’t even close to perfect.  Then I’m left feeling frustrated and exhausted.  In contrast, I’ve been in lots of situations where people cared so little about the details that I thought it would have been better off had they just not done anything at all!  Neither extremes are qualities you want in choosing a contractor to build your dream home or even do a one room remodel.  I wanted this article to emphasize that finding professionals who care about quality details are critical to your home whether it is the builder, real estate agent, loan officer, or whomever that will be part of obtaining and maintaining your home.  The only way to really know what you might get, is by reputation.  You may need to have seen examples of their work and hopefully both new and older examples.  Work that looks nice at first glance may not stand the test of time. You need to ask people who you know are reliable sources for their opinions.  We relied on a trusted friend who is a general contractor and who has a long established reputation as a quality builder in this area to do the formal inspection of our home.  I am just repeating my lay version of what he and other professional people who were part of our purchase process told us when I say that the bones of the construction on this home not only meet but exceed requirements and codes in so many areas, that it truly is of exceptional quality.  That was a huge selling point for us. In addition the attention in the added features and finish work are not just attractive but thoughtfully planned and executed.  I feel like several of my past few articles keep coming back to the same underlying theme, but it is so important: find and hire quality professionals to be part of your team.  After all, a home purchase is most peoples’ single largest financial investment and one of the places they will spend the most time.

Dr. Summer Beattie,ND was born and grew up in Southeawst Alaska – it will always be home.  A 2004 graduate of Bastyr University, she served two terms on the board of directors for the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and has worked in a variety of primary and specialty care settings.  This has given her a broad wealth of experience that she now uses in a unique clinical practice with a focus on rejuvenative physical and aesthetic medicine. Dr. Beattie,ND offers comprehensive care as it relates to physical rehabilitation from a Naturopathic Orthopedic perspective. You can find her and on-line patient programs at