With the plethora of home and garden television shows currently on the air, many of us have contracted the “renovation worm,” that inexplicable urge to tear down and rebuild our homes and create the home of our dreams. Whether you are contemplating renovating, restoring or redecorating your home, at its core what you truly strive to do is create the right setting for your lives and the lives of our families and friends.
Changing your home can be an incredibly pleasurable process that unleashes your inner creativity while expanding our understanding of ourselves, our families, and our aspirations. The key to a successful renovation can be divided into your planning, adaptability, and research.
Of course, the big question everyone asks before a renovation is “Will my renovation wreak havoc on my life and my family?” The honest answer to this is “Yes”, but often in a cool and unexpected way! Renovating or redesigning our homes allows us to grow, learn more about ourselves, and create the right environment for our lives that we envision living in.
HOW TO APPROACH YOUR RENEWAL
o Be realistic: if you live in a bungalow and are remodeling your basement family room and love urban loft living, 14-foot ceilings, and downtown views, you’re not going to get it. However, if you want it to have a contemporary style with warmth, sensuality and cutting edge, then that is completely doable.
o Have a detailed budget for your project. – Calculate EVERYTHING from nuts and bolts to silks and light plates. Make sure your designer and/or contractor knows what the budget ceiling is for each project and item and if you go over one of them, that means you’ll have to cut elsewhere or accept the budget increase.
o Research the best contractor for you. – Find the best contractor that fits your project, your personality and shares your design vision. Be sure to meet with at least 3 designers or contractors before making a decision.
o Understand wait times – custom sofas can take 12-14 weeks. Custom cabinetry typically takes 10-16 weeks; some fabrics may take up to 3 months. DO RESEARCH your selections so there are no misunderstandings.
o Put a positive spin on the process: the reality is that there will be ugly and inconvenient days without water or without cooking or both. If you have kids make it a fun experience, pitch a tent and camp in an area of the house to make it fun for them and budget for a hotel suite for the worst period and do all the ugly stuff while you’re away. Be sure to think creatively about how to best “spin” yourself and your family through difficult times.
o Don’t worry about the small stuff: if for some reason something is delayed beyond anyone’s expectations, it won’t do you any good to explode and send your blood pressure through the roof. In the case of the “no show” item, please reselect the item or accept that it is late. Those are literally the only options, so make life easier for yourself (and your family) and learn to tailor your design plan (I always recommend having a backup selection just in case to avoid wasting time and money).
Of course, before you can start ANY renovation, you need to figure out “who are you” and “what’s your style”. Are you passionate about Traditional, Contemporary, Transitional, Modern, Urban, Zen, Ethnic or Eclectic styles? You cannot successfully begin this process without being able to firmly establish what your style is and what is the goal of your renewal and how you live your life. You will also need the help of a good designer to perfect what you are trying to create. Be sure to head out and see what’s available; go to as many showrooms and vendors as possible. You will find these trips to be inspiring and also a great learning experience.
As we all know, the biggest, most expensive, and most detailed project in your home renovation is your kitchen. When planning the design of your new kitchen, determine what suits your lifestyle; You are growing needs and your aesthetic. Always keep in mind that your kitchen is critical to your home resale, so plan wisely. Plan not only for the important elements, like appliances, flooring, cabinets, and countertops, but also for the little details that really make a design great, like hardware, lighting, hidden and built-in storage, and items that reflect your personality and style. Think about whether you LOVE to cook (then add a faucet above your stove), entertain often (then put a sink on the island), if you have a large family (then open up some walls and really make it the heart of your home). The answers to these questions will guide the fixtures and appliances you choose for your kitchen.
When laying out your kitchen layout, don’t just trust the kitchen planner or the designers’ words that the space is right for you and your family. Take a careful look at your plan and think about how to best maximize the space in your kitchen and make your life easier. No one knows your needs and the needs of your family as well as you. How about adding a multi-use island with sinks, storage, prep, and seating? What about the impressive new professional sinks with integrated pasta cookers?
When we talk about kitchen design, we are really talking about options, hundreds and hundreds of options for every aspect of your kitchen. For example, when selecting your countertops, you can have tile, granite (a designer favorite), marble (stunning but not kid-friendly), solid surface, stainless steel (sleek and modern), wood, concrete (perfect for an ultra-modern condo or home), glass, laminate (the most affordable and readily available), and many more, not to mention hundreds of options within each material. Don’t be overwhelmed by the options, always keep in mind what works best for your style, your lifestyle and your BUDGET
A small kitchen can be as much a work of art as a large family kitchen. It just means you need to plan and research twice as hard, but they can often be the most dramatic because you can put in more money per square foot and make higher quality selections than you would with a large barn-sized kitchen. Details are what will make a small kitchen sizzle. Add our pull-out drawers with stainless steel glides and pull-outs and a double-door pantry with full interior access.
An often forgotten but critical component to a great design, in your kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere in your home is your lighting plan. Good lighting is what differentiates a beautiful room from a spectacular room. Incorporate under-counter lighting pucks, overhead lighting in a cove, glass-front cabinet lighting, a beautiful fixture above the island or table, rope lighting hidden in a recessed-ceiling tray detail, the options are endless. Remember, when you’re talking about lighting, you need to consider the 3 components of a great lighting plan: task, accent, and ambient lighting.
KITCHEN DESIGN TIPS
o Use quality materials whenever possible
o Determine your cabinet heights: floor to ceiling whenever possible
o Paint or stain
o Select the best countertop you can afford
o Install a kitchen island
o Do not overdo the ornaments or details
o Add interest – Add your personality
ECONOMY KITCHEN “QUICK FIXES”
o Paint your kitchen: walls, ceiling, trim, cabinets
o Change your backsplash
o Change all the hardware in your kitchen
o Change the kitchen faucet
o Add crown molding and reinforce millwork
o Update your accessories and small appliances
or EDIT – EDIT – EDIT clutter and garbage
The next most important area in a home renovation and almost as complicated as a kitchen with its endless options, selections, and style is your bathroom.
WHEN PLANNING YOUR BATHROOM, REMEMBER
o Doors should never prevent the use of any accessory.
o All receptacles must be GFCI
o Allow a min. 6″ between fixtures
o Select anti-slip floor
o Provide ambient, task and accent lighting
o Designate areas for storage
o Consider how to foster a sense of privacy
Our bathrooms are our personal refuge to rejuvenate our spirit and our energy; They are homemade Spa’s that act as a refuge after a tiring day. Central to this is the design of your shower, now the most coveted aspect in a great bathroom design and an important detail in resale. Do not forget that “SPA” is the key word. Go to a variety of showrooms, the options are endless, from steam, waterfall, multi-jet and massage options. Remember to pamper yourself and treat yourself as well as a guest. Always select the best accessories that your budget allows and really do your research for the best deal. I have seen products in showrooms for $2500 for a product and then bought online and got the exact same product for less than half! Look around, do your research and shop smart and don’t forget to always sit in your bathtub or jacuzzi before you buy it. What is comfortable for one is not always for another.
When renovating your kitchen, bathroom or any other room in your home, always keep in mind that the goal is to create the right setting for our lives, our family and friends that best exemplifies your spirit and expresses who you want to be and how you want to live. Get inspired, challenge yourself and ENJOY yourself and your loved ones and never be afraid of change.