Quality is in the Details

bump out additions

During our summer vacation trek from Dallas to Pine Mountain, Georgia, we chose Jackson, Mississippi as our stopping point on Day 1.


Dresser not placed in the correct position

Road trip tradition in the Davis family calls for dinner at a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and a night at a Hampton Inn. We were able to check the box for Cracker Barrel, but there was no room at the Inn. They were all full due to the Miss Mississippi pageant in Jackson. We ultimately booked one of the last rooms at a newly built hotel by another large national hotel chain. My husband was highly anticipating seeing beautiful contestants strutting up and down the halls but alas all we saw were families as road-weary as we were.

While it wasn’t a Hampton, I felt fairly confident, based on the photos and decent rating I found online, that we’d enjoy a quality stay. However, no establishment stands a chance when two architects walk in. We can’t help it. Our eyes immediately “zero in” on everything wrong. Well, let’s be more positive and say, “every opportunity for improvement.” This is a helpful skill to possess if you’re doing punch lists at the end of construction. But, on the flip side, if all you want to do is relax, this attention to random imperfections is distracting.

Sprinkler head

Sprinkler head missing escutcheon plate

So, in celebration of nitpickers everywhere, I thought I’d share a few of the oddities in our room that nearly caused me to lose sleep. Makes me wonder, “Did they remember to connect the wires correctly to the smoke detector?!”

1. Seen here: The dresser was not placed in the correct position.
Ideally: The dresser would conceal the wood strip that secures it to the wall and the outlets would be behind the TV.

2. Seen here: Fire sprinkler head missing escutcheon plate at ceiling to cover drywall opening.
Ideally: Fire protection subcontractor would have located the sprinkler head low enough to accommodate the thickness of the ceiling.

Long pipe

Extremely long drain pipe

3. Seen here: Ridiculously long drain pipe and water lines due to an odd location of plumbing lines.
Ideally: Steps would be taken to conceal the plumbing, especially under an open front vanity, or locate the sink logically near the plumbing. At least they read the specifications enough to use chrome pipes rather than PVC.

While I’m comfortably perched on my soap box, allow me to mention the coil compact fluorescent light bulbs in the recessed ceiling fixtures (awful lighting quality), the shower valve control and faucet that shifted when pushed, and the thermostat that only allowed us to lower the temperature. We tried to change rooms based on the last problem, but the hotel was completely booked. Fortunately the beds were comfortable and the TV system was easy to use (important for the three year-old in tow).

Today we are rested, despite the chilly temps in our room, and eager to get to our destination. I have a fresh Diet Coke in the console and we’re cranking up Bert and Ernie’s Sing-a-Long. Let Day 2 of the Davis Family Vacation begin.


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VP, Architect, hpd architecture + interiors
Laura Davis is a Texas and Colorado registered architect and interior designer, and a co-founder of hpd architecture + interiors. With a diverse portfolio spanning residential, commercial, retail, and historical projects, Laura’s heart lies with her specialty in Historic Preservation. She loves to revitalize older properties, cherishing their character and the stories they hold. Her true passion lies in understanding her clients deeply, uncovering their desires and motivations, and crafting designs that turn houses into cherished homes.

Laura Davis is a registered architect and interior designer in the state of Texas and Colorado, and a founding member of hpd architecture + interiors. Laura's extensive experience includes residential as well as commercial and retail projects.  She also has a particular interest in restoration, holding a certificate in Historic Preservation. She is energized by the character of older homes and the stories of those who have lived there. Responding to the needs of the current owner, while also honoring the personality of the original home is a delicate process to be enjoyed.

Laura Davis

Vice President, Architect, Interior Designer Principal , hpd architecture + interiors


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