From Ideas to Reality

Maybe you've watched every season of Fixer Upper and you can't get enough, or  you've been dreaming up a renovation for a new office space in that beautiful old building you love. Whatever you're dreaming of, the process of designing a beautifully and functional space from scratch can be daunting to most of us. Lucky for you, interior designer Blake Marlar has shared our team’s process for creating the overall look and feel of Paris Board of Public Utilities' renovation. 



Take it All in

Every project begins with a kickoff meeting. This is when we sit down with the client and get to know them and what they want for the space. Asking as many questions as possible in the beginning always helps keep the project on schedule and moving forward. In this case, the clients wanted an updated, inviting environment for customers. The space needed to provide privacy for client conversations, while keeping the space open as possible. 


Evaluate your Space

Accurate dimensions are critical when beginning a new project. Visiting the site and verifying all existing windows, doors, and columns will be a great help when beginning space planning. This step includes making sure that all features the client wants are where they should be, and helps find the most efficient way to use the space.

The client wanted to make sure that customers could find who they need to speak with as easily as possible. We accomplished this by opening up the lobby to keep sight lines to the receptionist, tellers, and customer service open.



Research, Research, Research

You can never have too much information, especially when dealing with a new type of facility. I always find it helpful to visit and research facilities similar to the one I will be designing. For instance, not every bank or school functions the same way, so it's always important to combine research with the unique needs of the business. This project involved researching how to create a welcoming environment for employees and customers to interact.


Build a Palette

Inspiration for a space can come from anywhere; whether it's school colors, a photo, or a fabric pattern. Each new project brings the opportunity to create a refined solution specific to the client’s vision for the space. We help select paint colors, materials, furniture, and fabrics that convey how the client wants people to feel and interact in the space, making sure that the finishes are as durable as they are beautiful. I always remind myself that the end space isn’t for me, and that I am here to help the client’s vision come to life.   

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The Final Product

During construction, you get to see all aspects of the design process come together. We use 3D models to help our clients visualize how the space will look before it is completed. This gives them a preview of what to expect when construction is over - as well as an opportunity to spot anything they may want to change. Throughout the remainder of the project, we make site visits to ensure the project stays as close to the plans as possible. The most rewarding part of a project is seeing the completed space in use. 


Inspired to tackle a commercial renovation with our help? Let's talk.

James Chandler, Project Manager, Retires after 22 years at TLM

James Chandler retired in August, after 22 years as project manager. He joined the team at TLM in 1995, following his work as a general contractor for his father’s business. In his role as Project Coordinator, James served as a liason between designers at TLM and project owners, ensuring that from the designer, to the contractor, to the owner, the project was being carried out successfully.  James' role included reviewing shop drawings, construction administration, and coordinating change orders. 

I enjoyed meeting people and watching something go from dirt to a three story building.
— James Chandler

The projects that stood out the most to him were larger projects such as the Madison County Justice Center or buildings at Union University, as the larger structures provided more complex challenges.

However, he said it was the people he worked with every day that made the job most rewarding, as he interacted with everyone from the architects and engineers to the owners, contractors, and construction crew.

“I enjoyed meeting people and watching something go from dirt to a three story building. I have had good clients and made good friends,” he reflected.


 “I’ve been blessed by being here for 22 years. TLM has been very good to me and my family.”

In his retirement, he looks forward to spending time with his wife and traveling, and continuing his involvement with the Boy Scouts. 

"James was an integral part of our team to ensure construction administration was handled correctly.  He was a great administrator and liaison between the contractor and our clients.  Although we hope he enjoys retirement to the fullest, he is greatly missed around the office," said Vice President Ginger French.







Some of the projects James has worked on:

Union University Projects | Jackson City Hall | Madison County CJC | Weakley County CJC | Tennergy Building | UTM Student Housing |  Pickwick Electric |   Weakley County Schools |  Jackson State Nursing Building