Designing your new space

This month’s topic is home design.  Many times, I meet with homeowners who want to remodel their bathroom or kitchen, but they have no idea what they actually want to accomplish within these spaces.  Typically, I ask what they do not like about this space. The answer varies, but its safe to say they hate everything

OK—a lot of the spaces I see do not work well, meaning the space could be used more efficiently or is dated. This is especially true in kitchens.  In addition to knowing what you want to accomplish in the space, I also need to know your budget.  These two questions can help guide your ultimate design.

Think of it this way, when you go to buy a vehicle, you have an idea of what you want (car, SUV, truck), the amenities (heated seats, hands-free calling) and about how much you want to spend ($25, 000 off the lot, $350/month).  Coming in prepared with these concepts can also serve you well when remodeling a home.

Here are some points to keep in mind when designing the space:

1.  In the design, define wants and needs.  What can I live with and live without.

o   Using the car example above, if you have 4 children, you probably want a larger vehicle, perhaps with built in child-seats and a few screens. You can probably give up lighted mirrors or a heated steering wheel as compromise. If you are single with a dog, perhaps a small hybrid with a dog cage in the back is more beneficial, but a heated driver’s seat is an absolute!

2.  Make design decisions early, changing your mind while in the process may be costly.

o   It is your money, in the end. But changing from tile to wood flooring will not only cost you material funding, it may delay the project or there could be re-stocking fees.

3.  Remodeling takes time.  Be ready for contractors, flooring people, plumbers, and electricians in your home. 

o   It is a process. Often step A needs to be done before step B, and so on. Contrary to television, it is rare that a home renovation can be done quickly without compromising quality and price.

4.  Remember, as part of the demo, we may find things that need to be corrected as part of the project.  This may be an additional cost.  As licensed professionals, we need to follow building code as this is the minimum acceptable requirements.

o    In a future discussion, I will talk about building code and best building practices. 

Many homeowners believe that designing a space is a free service provided by the contractor.  This is not the case with most home improvement contractors.  If they offer design services, this is at a cost. You can always design your space yourself if you are confident and have a strong design aesthetic.  If you are struggling with the design or want assistance with selections, hiring an interior designer is typically money well spent. They can listen to your ideas and help you work out the detail aspects (space, materials, lighting, etc.) of a remodeling project.  They can also help you select products that fit your lifestyle.

Having these items in mind—use of space, budget, materials, and the time involved in the project—go a long way in getting your project started and completed on time and in the desired budget.