The Kind of Design Consultation You Really Need

Are you in need of a bit of advice for your next home renovation project?

Do you need a professional opinion on setting a budget
before you settle on the size of your project?

Are you in need of help to determine all the options
and figure out the best solution?

Would you like the option of planning your project
in small steps without obligation?

I’ve got a solution!

Finding the above needs more commonly requested these days, I am now offering Information-Intensive Design Consultations!

Here’s the deal…

In your initial Two Hour In-Home Design Consultation, here is what you can expect:

  • An assessment of the existing conditions
  • Determination of your needs
  • Brainstorming the options for solutions based on your preferences, including draft sketches
  • Discussion of cost parameters for each option
  • An overview of what to expect during the course of your project
  • List of referrals for qualified craftsmen and/or
  • A do-it-yourself shopping list

Design Consultation Fee = $195

Of course, extended design services are available as needed.

Let’s get started!  I’m excited to work with you on your next project!

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The Best Kind of Kitchen

What would be your ideal kitchen?  Something fancy and grand?  Something quaint and cozy?  Something simple and sleek?

Even more important than the appeal of the design is the feeling you get when living in your kitchen.  It is the heart of the home, the most used room in the house, the warm place everyone tends to gather, no matter how small.  If you think of it like that… a gathering room… then what becomes of the dream kitchen you imagine?

Take a look at House Beautiful’s slideshow of designer kitchens.  Here are a few of my favorites…

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Call me old fashioned. I am! But, I just love this mix of farmhouse and formal elements.

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The size and beauty of this kitchen is cleverly extended with large, untrimmed archways.  Simple and breathtaking elegance!

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Small and casual kitchens are not to be thought fruitless of potential!  What a fun idea to paint the cabinet interiors with a bright and cheery color!  Such a delight should give one joy to be in the kitchen!

There are endless, fabulous solutions for every size kitchen and every size budget.  What do you want to improve in your kitchen?  Ask me!  I’ll be more than happy to help with a free consultation!

Have you seen Houzz yet?

Have you seen Houzz yet?

This is a great site for homeowners or anyone interested in design.  While you’re browsing, look me up!  I’ll have more photos posted soon of the cupola project progress.  It’s nearing completion!

Project Bloopers, Episode 1

I once had a client who called me in to help figure a very basic bathroom remodel. They had a limited budget.  I told them we could help them get what they needed within their budget as long as we stuck to inexpensive finishes and fixtures.

The next thing I knew the clients wanted to add finishing a portion of their basement. We went through the exercise of design for both the bathroom and basement, keeping things simple for a low budget project.

It wasn’t until I delivered the renovation estimate that the clients broke out into a sweat and told me they had expected me to stay within the budget of that very first ball-park number, the one I gave when the project was for the bathroom only.  I had assumed it was understood that the cost would increase as the project scope increased.

Sometimes what you think is obvious is not so clear to someone else.  I learned it’s best to communicate, put it out there, state the obvious, never assume.

Renovating on a Budget?

I’m about to risk raising some eyebrows with this suggestion, but I’m going to make it anyway.

There is a simple way for homeowners to save significant sums on renovation projects. And that is, if you cannot act as your own general contractor, hire an Owner’s Project Manager (O.P.M.) to manage the project on your behalf.

Why should that raise eyebrows? Because it relieves the general contractor of that duty, and therefore also relieves him of a hefty mark-up on the subcontractors. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the function of a general contractor, especially on large and complex projects (in which case having both an O.P.M. and G.C. would be a good idea). But, on smaller projects where the G.C. may be only funneling work to the subs and there is not a lot of work for his own crew, an O.P.M. seems to make sense.

A G.C. doesn’t really want to be bothered with a bathroom renovation, for example, where there is little carpentry involved. However, some homeowners have neither the time or the inclination to be their own G.C. This is where an O.P.M. can help. An O.P.M. can organize the project, coordinate the subs, communicate between the client and subs, make decisions on behalf of the client when necessary, manage the schedule, manage the budget, and see that everything is done according to the project specifications. For this service, an O.P.M. could save a client literally thousands compared to a G.C.’s mark-up.

If you plan to give it a try, look for an experienced Construction Project Manager, preferably with a Construction Supervisor’s License and general liability insurance.   Here is one resource for locating a Construction Project Manager in your area:

http://cmaanet.org/find-a-cm-pm

Before You Hire A Contractor…

Don’t jump to sign a contract with the lowest bidder. Do your research. Because what you really should want is someone you can share your home with for the duration of your renovation project. Find out the following…

Does the company have a good reputation in their service area?

Do they have a wealth of happy and repeat clients?

What is their track record on completing projects on time, within budget and issuing change orders?

Is the crew respectful not only of clients and their property, but also of their neighbors?

Does the contractor have a solid team of sub-contractors with whom they work cohesively on a regular basis?

What is their average rate of call-backs for repairs, (i.e. long-term quality of craftsmanship)?

Positive answers to the above are professional virtues that should not be overlooked in favor of a lower price. If you weren’t already aware, you should know that there are contractors out there who will low ball their bid to be awarded the project with every intention of making up their financial loss with multiple change orders. (Another very good reason to have a solid project plan and specifications!)

Consider hiring the contractor with whom you feel you will gladly develop a long-term professional relationship, even if he is not the cheapest. Peace of mind and smiling faces at the end of a project are worth every penny. After all, the lowest bidder may not turn out to be a good financial investment at all.

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