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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning From Mistakes

Real Advice from Real People
The popular home improvement website Houzz recently asked its'
readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. These are our favorites:

"Never paint a bedroom before buying the bedding."

"Never paint test swatches directly on your walls. The color and or change in finish will telegraph through the finished paint job unless you spend extra time and money to sand and prime. Paint big swatches on poster board so you can move them around to different areas and in different lighting."
"Never have a red, orange or harsh yellow bedroom. No matter how much you like it, those colors are too energizing/irritating to foster rest."

"Don't let yourself get talked into something if it's not right for you or the way you and your family live and function."

"Never buy furniture or appliances until you have measured all the doors the item will have to pass through."

"Never put the kitchen sink in a corner."

I recently learned the hard way to never, never buy furniture unless you can first take home a cushion or fabric sample. I ended up with a pink couch and side chair when I thought I was buying cream. Now if I can't get a sample to see how the color will really look in my own home, I go somewhere else."
"Never install very dark wood or laminate floors. They will only look good for about five minutes after you clean them. And you have to clean every square inch or the undone areas will be very noticeable. Trust me. I made this mistake. We kept the floors for about a year and then had them replaced."

"Never attempt to buy an area rug before you are sure you have the proper measurements."

"Never buy artwork or accessories just to fill a space. Buy what you love and find a space for it."

"Never have white floors. Trust me, I've done it more than once. I'm a slow learner."

"Never ever sign a contract/agreement without reading it. Read the whole agreement - each and every clause. Understand what you are reading/signing. If you don't, ask someone. Make sure everything you were promised verbally appears in writing."

"Never ever let someone start a job in your home or for you without a written contract. Smiles and handshakes are for the easily duped."

"Never hire relatives to help you renovate. When something doesn't go your way or if you don't like their ideas, it can be a disaster. Hire someone who can guarantee their work."

"Never take the lowest bid to save money. Go with your gut. It always knows what is right for you."
 "Don't do cheap. If you can't afford it, wait. You will end up saving money because when you invest in high-quality goods, you won't have to replace it."

"When you buy a house, especially a resale, don't change every single thing you don't like before you live in it a little while. You find some things are a certain way for a good reason and you are glad you didn't 'fix' it."

"Never ever do something because it is a trend. Do it because you love it."
"Never don't do something you like because it is a trend."

"Never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbors etc. aren't paying for it. You are. Get what you love. Also, a designer isn't a personal shopper. If you are looking for the cheapest/best price/bargain, hire a personal shopper or surf the web yourself."

"Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn't crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won't suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don't have company now in your 'humble home,' odds are you won't suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships."

"Never tell your teenager he or she can decorate his or her own room unless you are prepared to live with black paint, plastic skulls and a coffin-shaped bed."

"Never, ever, ever buy your wife brand-new kitchen appliances for Christmas. 'They are not gifts! They are machines for doing work.' So I am told."

"One poster's 'never' is another poster's 'always.' Never assume what's right for you, your taste, your budget, your situation, is right for everyone."

Friday, April 8, 2016

Design Tip
Colors taken from spring bouquets can create perfect interior color palettes. For example, the different purple tones seen in hydrangeas work well with the buttery tones of the daffodil. Remember, purples and yellows always pair nicely since they're complementary hues on the color wheel.  Decorate using inspiration from your favorite spring flowers and enjoy the look all year!
Thinking About Remodeling?
Are you considering a big remodeling project?  We all want to update and improve our home, but where do we start?  How do we get from talking about it to the finished project?  Here are a few tips:

First- What is your goal? Have you lived in your home a few years and just lived with things that either really weren't your style or just didn't work for your lifestyle and needs, so now is the time to right some wrongs? Make the place your own: colors, textures, new appliances, floor coverings and walls, because your comfort and that of your family has value.

OR- are you planning to sell in the next couple of years and need to spruce up and make it appealing to potential buyers? If so, keep it neutral and budget friendly.  In either case, don't overspend for the neighborhood and respect your home's style.

Make a wish list, and organize it by priority.  The probability is that not everything will make it into your final plan, either because it just won't work within the framework that exists, or for financial reasons. So know ahead which are the most important, and which are not.

Which rooms are you going to remodel? Sounds like a simple question, but remember that the Master Bath adjoins the Master Bedroom, and the Living Room frequently is connected to the Dining Room. So take into account how remodeling one room will affect the next. Also consider what is on either side of a wall. The washing machine backing up to the baby's bedroom wall or your husband's at-home office is not such a good idea.

Know what your style is: contemporary, traditional, minimalist, light and airy, or cozy and plush?  There are lots of websites where you can get an idea of what you like, and what you don't like. Colors? Warm and comfy, or cool and subdued?  How will the room be used? Family friendly, or "guests only?" TV addicts, or quiet readers? Will you need lots of storage?

What floor do you envisage in your new room? Window treatments? Lighting?  And if it's a kitchen, gas or electric, granite or quartz? So much to think about!

Have a budget, make it realistic, and stick to it. Include all the details.  An experienced professional can help here by making sure nothing is overlooked and suggesting more budget friendly alternatives when needed.

Work with a company that comes recommended by people you trust. A reputable contractor will be able to explain why there are expenses for things that can't be seen, but are necessary nonetheless. Everything will cost more than you expect, so be prepared for sticker shock.  Research and understand your options.  And sometimes the cheapest route may turn out to be the most expensive, for example, when you have to pay to redo a mistake.

Some other considerations and things you need to think about before you begin the process:

~~expect dust! Remodeling involves demolition and generates a lot of dust, and it gets on everything. Be sure that all non-work rooms are sealed off thoroughly.

~~don't allow the project to begin until all the materials are here and ready. One late component can delay a project for weeks.

~~include as part of your budget an allowance for eating out if you are remodeling the kitchen. It will be unavailable for a while, and eating out every meal can add up.

~~always build in some extra money for the unexpected!