Another wonderful surprise to be asked to return to the microphone and create another podcast with the wonderful people over at Easemakers!!!  In this episode, we addressed the longstanding tension that arises between Household & Estate Managers and Architects & Interior Designers.  A larger percentage of Private Service Professionals are going to help their principals coordinate a remodel, renovation, or complete rebuild.  Every construction job is stressful, and with missed deadlines and cost overruns, we should be doing everything we can to mitigate the impact on our Principal’s sanity.  One of the small positives we can provide is to ensure that our principals know that we are all on the same page for THEIR benefit.  

In this episode of the Easemakers Podcast Ep. 17 – Tension Between Estate Managers and Interior Designers, Kristen Twiford & Mohamed Elzomor invited English Minter of English Minter Design and me to discuss our perspectives on the source of this conflict and how we can overcome it.  After all, English & I worked on a project together and found harmony and balance between our styles and jobs in one of the most difficult environments I have been involved with.  Did we disagree on things?  Yes.  Did we let it stop us or let our principal/client know? No!

Below is a brief synopsis of our conversation. For the full month and all the details, Click Here to listen to the full episode and many others that Easemakers has created!

What is at the core of this conflict?

Peter and English agree that the conflict centers around three key items:

  • Ego of different personalities and perspectives.
  • Different responsibilities between the Estate Managers and Interior Designers.
  • Combative versus collaborative conversations.


Both English and Peter acknowledge that a heavy dose of ego is involved with creative personnel executing the Principal’s vision. Any critique or recommendation about a creative’s vision can be taken personally, breaking down any bridges for collaboration.  Alternatively, Household and Estate Managers may be their own obstacle with their own ego. This prevents them from seeing the designer’s vision, being blinded by what we may perceive as what is in the Principal’s and household’s best interest. Conflict invariably arrives if the design interferes with the management of the household or maintenance of the property.

Different Responsibilities

Interior Designers often have a close relationship with the Principal during the design and execution phase of their work that a Private Service Professional does not enjoy as part of the staff. In this scenario, the Interior Designer feels a deep responsibility to the Principal’s vision, often attempting to execute it at all costs without considering how it affects the operation of the household. 

Household and Estate Managers, however, must look after their Principal and ensure the longevity and maintenance of all design projects. Balancing fulfilling the Principal’s vision with household continuity and longevity is a critical skill. However, there are ways to let the Principal eat their cake and have it too.  The “Professional” will always search out this path.

Collaborative Communication

The podcast relates specific stories of how effective collaborative communication can be. For example, when Estate Managers and Interior Designers set the tone of their communication by asking, “What do you need me to do to help you?” each constructive criticism works towards fulfilling the design vision and successful management of the household. Of course, there is a give and take. Some design details may be impossible to keep. Likewise, not every request for a change will receive the Principal’s support. But collaborative communication is key to having the best of both worlds.

The Easemakers Podcast is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and anywhere you listen to your favorite shows. Check out other episodes here.

Thank you to Peter Van Ryder for sharing his thoughts and advice with us. You can catch Peter on the Five Star Service Club with Latricia Friend on Thursdays at 7pm ET on Clubhouse. Plus, check out his course, The Essentials of Household & Estate Management

Want to connect with other estate managers and private service professionals to swap tips for navigating the job search? Join the conversation in the Easemakers community. The Easemakers Podcast is presented by Nines, the modern platform for streamlining household management.