7 Reasons Why A Renovation Project Goes Astray

7 Reasons Why A Renovation Project Goes Astray

We’ve all heard the stories. A homeowner begins a renovation; maybe they decide to put in a new kitchen or bathroom. They are very excited about the project; therefore, they jump right in and are anxious to get going. They hire a contractor that put in their roof or garage because they liked him, and he calls them back, and they’re off and running. This contractor assures them he can put in a kitchen for their home, and he’s anxious to get started on it right away.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Until a few weeks in, the contractor starts to ask you some questions about what you’d like to see in the space. What kind of a sink do you want? What kind of cabinets? How tall is your faucet? What is the new layout? What thickness is your floor tile? You dig through your endless file of Pinterest boards and design ideas that you’ve been collecting, and you show him photos and ask his opinion because you haven’t made a final decision. You figured you had a little more time to make these decisions since they just started the demo.

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Then one of two things can happen from here. The contractor decides that you can take all the time you need to make your decisions, then promptly packs up his tools and leaves and asks you to give them a call back when you’ve decided on all these things. Or your contractor, anxious to keep construction going, will quickly suggest to layout and tell you that’s the best way to do it. He’ll pick out a sink and faucet for you.

What I have just described is the number one way that a project goes astray, by not having a complete detailed design plan before construction begins. Although many contractors are very skilled, and some might even have a good design sense, it is not their job to design your project. They will build what you tell them to build. It’s not their job to guide you through all of the options, all of the design elements and help you make decisions that are right for your household or decisions to accomplish your design goals.

 

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ONE

Lack of detailed design. In these previous scenarios, the homeowner skipped a vital step in building a new kitchen or bathroom or any renovation, the design. The design consists of every decision made regarding layout and all materials: the floor plan, the elevations, the product, material selections, and placement directions. For the best results in any design project, these decisions happen before construction begins. Knowing the thickness of the tile that you plan to use in the shower allows for better planning with everything around that tile, etc. When these elements are not known, things cannot be appropriately planned, leaving some awkward details in the final results. Although many savvy contractors will talk with a homeowner at the beginning stage of a project and steer them towards hiring a designer to prepare a design, many do not allow the homeowner to navigate the process. Much to their demise, this creates numerous delays in the project, pauses on your project, and in the end, there is not always a cohesive design, so the results may not be with the homeowner anticipated.

TWO

Using materials that might not be suitable for your project. There are so many options when it comes to design elements that go into a renovated space. They are decisions to make regarding flooring, tile, wood woodwork, molding profiles, lighting placement, and numerous other design choices. Thorough knowledge of what is available and where it could and should be used is essential to get the desired results. Also, a thorough knowledge of the price point of these items is necessary. When a homeowner does this on their own, they may quickly fall in love with a particular decorative tile, not realizing that it’s not meant for the floor or that the price point will drastically increase the total cost.

THREE

Improper space planning– Measurements matter, measuring the products going into the space and how everything works together and the necessary amount of space that it takes to do all of the work that needs to be done to place that item. For instance, the vanity sink measurements might look like it works for the size vanity that you’ve chosen, but you have to allow for areas of attachment on an under-mount sink and for plumbers to be able to attach all fittings properly. You couldn’t possibly know these things unless you are a pro that does this every day or you have made this costly error yourself previously.

FOUR

Hiring the wrong contractor for the job. There are so many levels of skill involved in building. Contractors all have their specialties and areas of more remarkable talent. You want to find artisans that specialize in the type of project you are doing, which is extremely important in the kitchen and bath renovation area. A contractor that does kitchens once in a while most likely does not have the skill level, and I have a contractor specializing in this area, hiring a design and build firm like mine becomes so valuable. As a designer, I know the level of skills needed for every project that I design. I bring a team of professionals to my projects to implement all projects with a high level of skill, creating a seamless process from the initial design through the construction, creating the best results possible.

FIVE

Starting a project based on no design and only”rough numbers”- Not having a detailed quote. One way that a project truly goes astray. The key to your project’s success has a well-developed design plan that allows contractors to know precisely what they are building, right down to the final details. In return, this allows the opportunity for you to obtain a detailed quote for the project. The nature of construction is that there will always be extra things that come up during the build—opening up a wall and finding a pipe that needs to be moved or adding some additional details while you’re in progress. However, designing the entire project as you’re going is a sure way to create a financial disaster. Without a detailed design plan, you might get a quick number that a contractor throws out in Lou of a quote. Then while you’re in progress and you start choosing design elements, your quick quote can easily double or triple while you’re in progress. It’s always better to figure the cost as close as possible before you begin a project. And at least you know the reality of what your project is going to cost, and you could factor in a percentage for unexpected issues.

SIX

Not sifting out all your design ideas before construction. A huge reason why a project might go astray. Your very patient contractor might continue moving that same wall repeatedly until you decide what you want to do, but I assure you that this is not the best way to design your project if you are paying him by the hour. Hiring a designer does not mean that you will be unaware of what your project will look like when completed. In reality, A good designer will listen to your ideas and discuss what additional options might be available for you and your home. Designers have a wealth of experience to bring to your project. The designer will design the right project for you and your family so your newly renovated home will reflect you and your lifestyle.

SEVEN

Homeowners thinking that they should know how to design and manage a renovation project. Homeowners, take the pressure off yourself. Why would you expect to know everything needed to produce a professionally designed and implemented renovation? We are bombarded with the oversimplification of the design and renovation in media and advertising. However, I assure you, the process itself is not simple. Hiring a pro will be the best decision that you make throughout your project. It will allow you to breathe easily, confidently knowing that you are making the best possible decisions for your project and that you will love the final results.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Common Design Mistakes

Common Design Mistakes

Recently I was interviewed on a local television show; I’ll share this interview with you soon. The host of the show asked me a question, “what are the most common design mistakes that you see people make in their homes?

The truth is, there are several very common mistakes that I see when I go into people’s homes. I don’t always consider poor design choices mistakes because I believe anytime someone is trying to improve their home, it’s a great thing and a great way to learn. However, for a busy homeowner that doesn’t have the time or extra funds to experiment and learn by experimentation, some professional advice or a professionally designed project is always the best way to go.
Unfortunately, because of reality TV, homeowners are led to believe that the solving of their design issues is very simple as long as they buy specific products and use generic design ideas. No wonder homeowners are not getting the results that they want. They are confused and led to believe that they could quickly and easily achieve the equivalent of high-end design.

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Here are some of the most common things that I see:

ONE

Trying to fit too much into a space. Most people do not have a great idea of spatial awareness and can visualize how much space an item will take up in a room. Therefore, when homeowners are doing projects independently, they vastly overestimate the number of items that can go into a room and the size of those items. Proper spatial planning involves knowing the exact size of items you’re bringing into a space and the amount of room you need for clearances for traffic flow and maneuverability. The amount of room and space that it takes to live in a room around the items you put into the room leads to buying expensive furniture pieces that do not fit and do not function well in your home. These are problematic errors to correct, as it usually involves replacing pieces or changing the design of a room to Accommodate these poorly oversized items.

TWO

Conflicting design ideas. This is another common mistake I can see. People are over-exposed to so many different ideas, design trends, and products for their homes. Design ideas are like tools; You must know which ideas to use and when to use them. If I have a specific design challenge that I’m trying to solve in a space, I know which design ideas will accomplish this as an experienced professional. Homeowners often have access to design tools but don’t know how to execute these ideas we needed properly. For instance, not every home needs an accent wall or crown molding. These are great design details and tools that I use when I’m trying to create something specific. Also, not every design idea should go into a home. Homeowners are confused; the media and corporations are trying to sell products to homeowners trying to solve their design issues. The problem is purchases do not solve some design problems. The result is homeowners are purchasing items for their homes more than ever, but not necessarily solving their design problems.

THREE

Purchasing products too soon. This is quite common as everyone is excited when they take on a new project. A well-executed design project involves thorough and exact planning well before products are purchased. When this step is skipped, the desired results are always compromised. A complete and detailed design plan prepared by a professional will eliminate design errors, and you will be able to draw from the years of experience of a pro. This will give you the desired finished product, a beautiful and functional room, without purchasing items that you regret buying.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Choosing Appliances For Your Kitchen Renovation

Choosing Appliances For Your Kitchen Renovation

When I work with a client on a kitchen renovation project, I always start conversations with the new space’s appliance needs. When designing a kitchen, you can easily get distracted by all of the tile, countertop, and material selections involved with the kitchen renovation. However, the choice of appliances is always where I start as a professional. That is because the size of those appliances and the selection of appliances needed will dictate the overall kitchen layout. So the time to choose appliances is the in the very beginning. So how do we make our appliance selections?

Here are some of the questions that I ask clients when discussing appliance selections.

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ONE

What type of cooking do you want to be able to do in your new kitchen? Discussing the cooking needs, it’s essential because people use their kitchens very differently. Some people use their ovens more than their cooktop. Some people use a microwave more than anything, and some people don’t use their microwaves at all. The list goes on. Knowing exactly what type of cooking my client will be doing helps with steering them in appliance choices that they will be happy with.

TWO

Be realistic with your appliance goals. Double ovens are great; however, you need a certain amount of wall space for a double wall oven. Using a double wall oven may not be a great use of valuable wall space. It also might eat up an area that could be used for more countertop. So be realistic about the appliance usage. If you’re only going to use that second oven once a year, is it worth any space that you might be giving up for something else? Discuss this with your designer. Some kitchens with space limitations can be tricky. There are many ways that a double oven might be worked into a kitchen, depending on your layout. Be open to discussing your cooking needs with your designer And consider some new ideas.

THREE

Refrigeration needs can also vary significantly from household to household. Think about how much space you need for refrigeration and some of the features you would like to see in your new refrigerator. Your designer can help you meet these goals, specifically when you know what features you really would like to include in your refrigerator. Refrigerator drawers can also be a great option in kitchens short on wall space; this could also be an excellent feature for a large kitchen spreading out the refrigeration area from being in one place.

FOUR

Other appliances like dishwashers, microwaves, steam ovens, etc., all have unique features. Start the search by looking at the features of these appliances, how much daily usage they will get, and how well they will fit into the amount of space that you have in your new kitchen. Designers can help you evaluate these items and create the proper placement in your floor plan.

FIVE

Once you find the features you like in your appliances, then we start to look at finishes and details like handles, etc. Depending on the rest of your space’s design, size of your kitchen, and the overall look, your appliances don’t necessarily need to match. But there should be cohesive elements that tie them together and work well with the overall design.

SIX

Think about small appliances. Which small appliances do you use daily, are there features in your larger appliances that could eliminate the need for some of your existing small appliances? Think about what you use daily, and be sure to include it in your plan. Other small appliances seldomly used will need to be part of the new space’s overall storage plan.

 

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

Considering A Kitchen Renovation? Start Here

Considering A Kitchen Renovation? Start Here

This past year, we have realized that the kitchen is the heart of the home more than ever. It is the place where we prepare meals, but it’s also much more. It’s the place where we congregate with family, store our necessities, sort our groceries, and can even be the place where we do our school or work from home—a tall order for many of our kitchens.

Although many people are always dreaming about a kitchen renovation, many people are seriously considering this much-needed renovation project to meet their family’s needs. With the holidays approaching, our already overworked kitchens will be in full gear as many people prepare to spend the holidays at home. More than ever, this current year is the best time to assess the workings of our existing kitchen and how we can make improvements to meet all of our needs.

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The first step is to take notes on what is not working in your current space. Sometimes it takes a while to figure this out. Many people that move into a new house immediately think that they know what they want to do with their kitchen, but after living in the space for a little while, they have a much better idea of how the room functions. The advantage of thinking about that renovation for some time, you will have a good understanding of what needs to change. These notes are so valuable when you sit down with a designer to create your new kitchen space. In my over 20 years of designing kitchens for clients, I have learned that all clients use their kitchens differently, and although there might be some common needs for the kitchen space, those unique needs can be met by asking the right questions

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Here are some tips on how to evaluate your current kitchen space

ONE

Additional Storage is a common request for any kitchen renovation project. But something to take note of is what exactly do YOU store. How many large pots do you want to be able to store in your new kitchen? What do you keep as far as food storage items? Some people store lots of canned goods, and others need more refrigerated storage. How often do you shop for groceries? Look at what you are currently storing and what you would like to store in your kitchen space. How many small appliances do you own and use regularly? What needs to be accessible for daily use, and what could be stored to bring out when needed?

TWO

Appliances – What do you need for the way that you cook? How much do you cook? How much do you use your oven, how many burners do you use at once on your range? What elements are necessary, and what features should be luxurious and desired if you have the space to work them into your new kitchen design?

THREE

Countertop space – Do you have areas in your current kitchen that do not function well because of a lack of countertop space? Think about all the tasks you perform in your kitchen and think about difficulties. So often, we learn to operate within the confinements of our current space. Think about what would be ideal, and then your designer can help you achieve what is possible for your room, knowing what you would like to have.

FOUR

What additional tasks do you use your kitchen for? Do you work at your kitchen countertop? Do you bake regularly? If you entertain, what does that typically look like for you? A few people for dinner or a larger gathering?

FIVE

Items that need a home in your kitchen. Do you store other items in your kitchen besides kitchen items? Like I mentioned before, people use their homes in unique ways. Do you currently store paper products, cleaners, medical supplies in your kitchen? Art supplies for the kids? Are you presently storing kitchen items elsewhere in your home? Are these items that you would like to keep in your kitchen?

Again, you do not need to know how to solve all of these issues; just having a list of not only what you want to see in your new space design-wise, but what is needed for your kitchen to function better for you and your family, will help your designer create a space that meets your needs.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog