5 Ways To Say “I Love You” With A Project At Home

5 Ways To Say "I Love You" With A Project At Home

This year, you might be thinking about exchanging the annual Valentine’s evening out for a quiet evening at home with some take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Since there is such a large focus on our home environments right now, why not think out of the box this year and plan a little Home project that you can work on together with a spouse or family members.

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You could surprise a loved one with a quick home project or work together on a project that will show your home a little love, choose a project that will give you quick results and that both of you will enjoy once completed.

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ONE

Decorate for the holiday. If you plan a quiet evening at home, or a night at home with the kids, make it memorable with some simple decor. Think about your favorite restaurant and what makes the ambiance so unique. Fresh flowers, candlelight, music, and layered lighting can re-create a special evening or for a little romantic vibe for the whole month of February. Add some heart-shaped accent pillows, some touches of red and pink to your home decor, or involve the kids making some homemade decorations to spread a little love throughout the house. Make a music mix with some favorite love songs. Enjoy the Valentine’s Day holiday for a few days or throughout the month!

TWO

Collaborate on an organizing project. Show a little love to each other and your home by tackling an area in your home that frustrates you. Empty that pantry or hall closet and re-organize. Purge unused items and group like items with storage bins and baskets. Create a system that works for you and your family.

THREE

Organize old family photos. Organizing photos is easier now that most of our photos are conveniently stored in digital format. However, many of us have physical photos somewhere in our home, especially photos from previous generations of family members. Spend an afternoon sorting, scanning, or scrapbooking these precious photos. You will feel great after completing this task and might have some fun revisiting some old family memories.

FOUR

Start planning that master bedroom renovation that you have been talking about. Spend an afternoon making a list and looking through inspiration photos. Put all your dreams into one list. Dreaming and planning together can help narrow down the options when you finally get serious about the project, and planning gets you one step closer to your goals.

FIVE

Plan a small gathering and share the love with a few family members or friends. A little Valentine’s day brunch could be a fun way to share some love. Plan a Valentines themed table setting and enjoy the holiday!

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Creating A Peaceful Retreat

Creating A Peaceful Retreat

One of the things that I have noticed in the last few months, as predicted, most people’s homes have turned into a multi-functioning area almost overnight. Homeowners everywhere are hurrying to keep up with the new lifestyle of working from home, schooling from home, setting up a home gym for working out at home, and the overall lifestyle changes that this has brought us. One of the things that I am hearing and seeing is that those moments of having a bit of quiet time for private thought or a place to retreat from a hectic day are now nonexistent in homes that are very active with families and children.

The abrupt lifestyle changes also explain why so many people are finally deciding to renovate their master bedroom or master bathroom. The need for creating a peaceful retreat right in your own home has become more critical than ever. While most people seem to be enjoying working from home, they are finding that they are putting in long hours and cannot get away from their work.

Of course, there are many ways that you can create a retreat right in your own home:

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ONE

Prepare for next summer’s outdoor renovation projects now. With the renovation at an all-time high, prepare beforehand to have a quality contracting team for the project. Lead times for ordering building supplies are longer than usual. Planning is everything, especially right now.

TWO

Make small changes using furnishings and decor to create a peaceful area for reading or relaxing. Make small changes in your furniture arrangement. It could create a feeling of privacy without adding additional space, such as a relaxing chair near a window with a view an area for books or your favorite projects or artwork could be created easily by moving a few things around in your home.

THREE

Take a look at any unused space in your home and involve a professional to help you visualize and create a private area in which to retreat. In a loft, a small room, or a place above the garage might work perfectly and you might not visualize what can be done, but involving a designer brings you a fresh set of ideas for the space.

FOUR

Re-think the current floor plan in your home. Sometimes even swapping rooms enable them to function differently. For instance, an unused dining room could be moved and swapped out with another room giving you more living space or more of an area to create a private reading nook or hobby area. Don’t be afraid to look at your current square footage and make changes to reflect your recent lifestyle changes.

FIVE

Of course, you certainly could create that luxurious master bedroom and bathroom suite that you’ve always dreamed of. At the end of the day, being able to retreat to a beautifully designed and customized space to create a restful environment will welcome improvement in your home. Think about everything you would love to include in the space and meet with a designer to find out how to best incorporate these ideas into a professionally designed Master suite project.

 

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Your Design Goals For The New Year

Your Design Goals For The New Year

A new year means a fresh start! This year we welcome the new year with open arms as we look ahead and plan for the upcoming year.

After a year where just about everything revolved around your home, you might be thinking of some of the challenges your home presents and looking for guidance on making your home look great and function for your family and lifestyle.

An Interior Designer can make all the difference in the outcome of any of your upcoming projects. 

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ONE

Be open to getting a professional designer involved from the beginning. With so much access to “information,” it is easy for homeowners to assume that they can google their way through a project. I can assure you that this is not a great way to design a project and cause significant design and budget problems. Sadly most of these projects do not have the desired outcome, and often a professional designer is later called to correct issues causing further cost to the homeowner. Savvy homeowners call in the pros from the beginning recognizing the value of experience and ready to invest in professional services to get professional results.

Now, with the daily changes with suppliers, resources, and vendors and the increased demand for experienced contractors, the value of what a skilled professional designer brings to your project is more significant than ever.

TWO

Make a list of all long term design and renovation projects you would like to tackle in your home. Review this list with your designer; discuss your priorities. Listen to your designer’s advice about what makes the most sense regarding what to tackle first. Understanding the process and what is involved will help you phase your project in a way that avoids costly backtracking. Choose a designer with history and the experience to deal with phasing a long term renovation on a professional level, setting your project up for success right from the beginning.

THREE

List specific challenges with your home’s function and tell your designer how you want your home to feel. Some of the solutions that you might be thinking of might not necessarily solve your challenges. Listing your specific challenges, needs, and goals will help you ensure that your challenges are all addressed. Most pros will ask the needed questions to solve your design problems, but be sure to discuss them at your first meeting with a pro. Homeowners may have ideas on how to solve these issues; listen to what the pros bring to the table as they are looking at your home in a different light and with years of experience that they can add to your project. A great designer will listen to your ideas, create something that you love, and help you meet your overall goals.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Country Estate -Master Suite-Part 1 -Master Bath Project

Country Estate Master Suite - Bath Renovation

I am so excited to share the transformation of one of our completed master bath projects this week. A complete design and renovation project and was part of a more extensive home renovation that we did for these lovely clients. I’ll be sharing more of this beautiful home with you soon.

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The master bath renovation was an absolute priority for this client.  Its dated fixtures, strangely angled walls, and tiny shower called out for a complete transformation.

Although this was a reasonably large room, this older home, formerly renovated by a previous homeowner in the late 1980’s, contained numerous angled walls creating strange angles, dead spaces, and lots of wasted space. Visually the room’s odd proportions were confusing and not pleasing to the eye. Changing the configuration was something I knew would make a dramatic difference in the space.

The small closet off the bathroom was in dire need of enlargement as it served as the master closet in this home and was very small and angled.

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After viewing this property and discussing the needs of the homeowner, I got right to work designing this bathroom.

My first step was to reconfigure the space changing the shape of the room. I eliminated the false angled walls, squared off the room, eliminated the dead spaces, re-located doorways, and enlarged the window, which opened up space and allowed me to design a beautiful enlarged bathroom. Complete with a freestanding soaking tub, two vanities, and a large custom, tiled steam shower complete with chroma-color, aromatherapy, rain head, and it’s own sound system—a far cry from the small shower stall in the original bathroom. Now my homeowner can enjoy their luxurious steam shower equivalent to the finest spa, right in the comfort of their home. The new toilet area no longer houses a bidet but added custom cabinets for additional storage. We eliminated a small hallway to nowhere behind the existing small closet and the space added to a new large custom master closet.

The design details, material selections, color scheme, and classic architectural details were selected to create a quiet, soothing environment, complement the architecture of this historical 1700 era home, and not overpower the beautiful ever-changing lush views from every direction from this New England country estate. All of the modern conveniences of an updated renovated space with classic details that my clients love.

I can’t wait to show you more of this project, including the master bedroom coming up next week.

 

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

Working From Home During Your Renovation

Working From Home During Your Renovation

You might have been planning your home renovation project for some time. If you have hired a design and build company like mine, you have a designer/project manager overseeing your project from start to completion.

You knew this was the right choice since you need to keep focused on work and certainly don’t have the time or desire to be learning how to be a designer and a renovation manager at the same time. You also know that you want professional-level results, and you value the skills and experience of professionals. Now you can concentrate on your job and career knowing the project is in good hands.

There is one thing you might not have anticipated…that you might be working from home during the renovation process. 

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Working from home is now the new normal, and homeowners everywhere are settling into their new working environment. Most people are enjoying the new freedom of working in their home environments. No long commute, all the comforts of home, and increased productivity. (see my previous blog article, pro tips for working from home)

Now that your project start date is approaching, and with the recent construction and renovation boom, you are delighted that you have booked this project in advance and with a firm that has you on their schedule.  So, of course, you are ready to start and see the results of your thoroughly planned project. But now, how are you going to handle having a house filled with construction while you are working from home and having daily zoom calls?

Here are some tips for working from home during your renovation:

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ONE

Discuss any additional projects as soon as possible with your designer/project manager. For example, you may have decided that you want to set up a work area in a bedroom away from the renovation activity. You may need a desk, additional electrical outlets, a comfortable desk chair, or further assistance moving furnishings into a place where you can work comfortably. We would be glad to assist our clients with these things, and often we do. The sooner we know this, the better we can help you with getting settled. Your designer can source out the additional furniture items that you might need and will be familiar with the new projected lead time of different vendors and companies.

TWO 

Discuss the renovation process as far as what areas of the house will need to be cleared out or inaccessible during construction. Sometimes homeowners are unaware of how much space will be affected during renovation or construction. We try to prepare our clients for this. For instance, if we are working on a bedroom renovation, we will need to clear out everything in the bedroom until the project is complete to have access to walls, ceiling, flooring, and to have space to bring in the necessary tools to work on the project. This could affect the question of where is the best place to set up that temporary working space.

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THREE

Contact your project manager with your questions as they have all of the information on your renovation project. When working with a design and build firm, all contractors and artisans have been well informed by the project manager as to what they are making and all of the details involved. Although now that you are home watching the process, it is hard not to get distracted with questions about the process. Questions are always welcomed and answered quickly and thoroughly by my firm and most reputable professionals. The on-site plumber or electrician might not know all the details of things that don’t pertain to his part of the project. Your project manager will answer your questions quickly so you can have the answers you are looking for, so you can then be able to concentrate on your work.

 

FOUR

Even in the most well planned and prepared renovation, there will be construction noise. Not fun when you are trying to work or make that zoom call to a colleague. When you need some quiet, plan an alternative working space to give yourself a little break. Even as someone who is no stranger to daily construction noise, numerous renovations for clients, as well as my own home, I found myself in this position a few years ago when I had my crew re-finish all of the floors in my home. Although my office was isolated, I got to a point where I couldn’t take another 8 hours of floor sanding noise. I made my escape and spent a few working offsite in a quiet coffee shop. The peace and quiet, and maybe the extra caffeine, allowed me to be more productive in those very focused hours than if I had stuck it out at home. Removing myself allowed my crew to work more efficiently without worrying about clearing a path for me whenever I needed to walk through to the less than accessible bathroom. Just know that we feel your pain. No one enjoys living on a renovation site, much less working on one. Just know that we are doing whatever we can to lessen the impact yet still complete your project with high-quality work, efficiently, and with as little disruption to your work as possible

 

FIVE

Know that the renovation process is only temporary. Once your renovation is complete, and you can enjoy your new space, you will be so glad that you invested the time, money, and a little inconvenience to reap the benefits of your newly designed and renovated space. We also know that working from home can be a bit isolating. Some clients miss all the activity and progress in their home once the renovation is complete, and quickly start planning the next project. We love nothing more than continuing to plan with you for your next project.

 

Until next time,
Gia

 

From The Blog

The Real Cost of Free Design Advice

The REAL Cost of Free Design Advice.

In the age of having information available everywhere, there is no shortage of free advice in many areas in which we might need assistance.  We can find numerous individuals anywhere with the click of a computer key. We are willing to decide that these search results know as much, or more, than the experts? They are willing to give free advice about an upcoming surgical procedure that you might need, how to do your own electrical work, legal issues or free advice on how you should invest your money. But of course, there is always no lack of free interior design and renovation advice. These well-meaning individuals with a little bit of knowledge can be costing you quite a bit when it comes to advice for designing your home.

broken floor tile

Recently, while doing my weekly Instagram posts, I noticed a popular design blogger doing a video in which she was giving advice to the masses about selecting tile for a bathroom project in her home. In this video she was recommending a tile that was not suitable for use on floors as a great selection for a floor tile. And then outlined her process of making design selections as follows: “First I look at every store I could find until I had seen everything and then I ask everybody I know (family, friends, etc.) for their opinion before I made my selection.” This, for the record, is actually some of the worst design advice that I’ve ever seen in regards to making a design decision. This very lovely, well-meaning person, whose design experience consists of selecting seasonal accessories for her own home, is now giving advice as to how to select the tile for YOUR home. This blogger actually uses an architectural interior design firm for her home, a fact that usually gets omitted when passing out design advice to followers. So for her home, most of her ideas will be filtered and developed by the pros before they are implemented in her home, something that you might not have when taking action on her design advice. This is a sure way to lead your project astray before you even start.

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My point to this is to be careful where you get your advice. Free advice could actually be quite costly in the end. 

How can that be?  

FIRST

Consider where the advice comes from and the level of experience with professional projects. People that don’t have the level of experience working on professional projects oversimplify the things that have to be considered when making selections. Especially for things like tile for construction-based selections because they do not know what they do not know. Just because you want to be an expert in design or have good taste when shopping for things doesn’t make you an expert in design.

In fact, the only thing that makes you a real expert is many years of practical full-time experience working on different homes with different materials for different clients, with different sets of circumstances at each project, day in and day out. Even then you are always continuing to learn when presented with each unique challenge, but you are armed with a developed skill set that will navigate these challenges and that allows you to successfully sail through what could be devastating and expensive problems for the inexperienced designer.

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However harmless it might seem to take a little design advice, a selection of a tile that’s not meant for a floor can cause very expensive problems! First, if you find a tile installer to actually install this tile on the floor after you have purchased it, will probably cost you twice as much because of the time involved, extra labor involved, or overall liability since most likely the tile installer, who might have advised against this installation knows of the problems that will occur.

A thin veneer-like marble looking tile found in a quick Internet search and chosen because of its looks will not perform well as floor tile. Results can be expected such as cracking, safety issues, durability issues, and poor performance. So, you’ve just wasted thousands of dollars installing something suggested to you under the heading of “free design advice”. Who is going to pay the cost of repairs on this floor when it fails?

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SECOND

When a professional designer or experienced contractor steers you away from using certain items there is usually a good reason. Another design blogger writes about how “20 professionals told her not to use this product in her shower but she did it anyway and it looks great.” Yes, it might look great for a few weeks or months. The reason the professionals steer you toward certain product selections is because they have the knowledge of durability, longevity, quality,and safety. They also know that there are a lot more products out there that have a similar or superior look and perform better than the products that you’re looking at. Just because you came up with a beautiful piece of tile and you use it anyway does not mean that you know more than the pros, it means that you did not ask questions about why they don’t suggest these products. Smart homeowners will listen to professional advice and consider the risks when using a product that the pros think is not necessarily a good idea. Should you choose to proceed with that product at least you know the risks.

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THIRD

Consider how this free advisor is getting paid. Are you getting free advice from a retailer selling products? Their goal is to sell products, not necessarily to do what is best for the client, or suggest products that might be better for their project that might be available elsewhere. Usually, these free designers don’t have the ability to design a complete space through to completion or to see what other existing elements or challenges you might have in your home. Their job is to coordinate several pieces of furniture together to make a bigger sale, or to sell their cabinets. Therefore the design costs are built into product sales. All of this might be fine for a few small things and you might get lucky and find individuals with some level of skill in selecting nice pieces. But these are not the designers to design your home renovation projects. It’s always best, no matter how small or large your project, to choose a designer that has exposure and the ability to source product from many different manufacturers. This allows them to suggest a product that is absolutely right for you, your taste, and your budget.

In the end, the real cost of that “free design advice” is that your project may be even more costly than if you hired a professional, to begin with. But in addition to that cost, the final end results might not be the beautifully well-designed space you had imagined.

 

Until next time, 

Gia

From The Blog

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