Smart and savvy tips for homeowners before you start your build or renovation.
EVERY PROJECT MUST BEGIN WITH FUNCTION
This is essential to the success of all space design. If a space is beautiful but there is nowhere comfortable to sit or nowhere to store your belongings I guarantee your love for the design will be short-lived. The design should take into consideration what you have and how you live. A bathroom with an open vanity is beautiful but only if there is a cabinet or closet nearby to store towels etc. and only if you have another designated area where you get ready in the morning. Hair dryers, skin care products and make-up should each have a storage area even if you don't use it on a daily basis. That is functional design.
TAKE BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES and DOCUMENT ALL OF YOUR PURCHASES
If you have hired a professional designer or decorator they will likely document the process for you but otherwise, be sure to keep notes and samples (if possible) and take lots of pictures. Keep a spreadsheet of the work that was done and what you purchased and where. In this documentation also be sure to track any structural enhancements you make for current or future needs.
DECIDE ON A DESIGN PLAN AND MAKE CHOICES EARLY
Indecision is guaranteed to extend the completion of a reno project so be sure to make selections early. There is no need to buy everything in advance (warning, items such as leftover tiles can often only be returned for 30 days so don't buy too soon) but having the plan in place and knowing the lead times for orders will allow the flow of trades to be unimpeded by unnecessary delays. This makes you and the trades (and the designer) much happier. Use sites like Pinterest.com (this is my account). I share private Pinterest sites with most of my clients so we can collect and exchange ideas.
SPEND YOUR MONEY WISELY
If you are trying to reno on a budget there are plenty of areas where you can cut costs (For example: DIY the gut, look for sales, auctions and seconds for furniture and lighting fixtures) but these are a few of the things you should invest in:
Wood Flooring - Read the diynetwork.com article on wood flooring options. Note, although the article says differently, most engineered hardwood cannot be refinished.
Appliances - There are a lot of good makes so you don't need to break the bank but higher end appliances will provide extras in terms of performance and aesthetics. What are among my favourites at the moment? I love the Miele Steam Oven for its versatility and ease of use and the quality of the Miele dishwasher is unmatched. I am also loving the Jenn-Air Rise line for both look and performance. Also, I would highly recommend a refrigerator with interior water/ice dispenser. The tray on the exterior models often needs replacing because it peels or gets mouldy over time.
General Contractors / Trades People - It may seem like they are a dime a dozen, but 70% are duds (maybe more). Do your research and check references based on the work to be completed. Ask a lot of questions and don't pay for work upfront. A good contractor will have an installment plan based on milestones throughout the project.
Lighting Plan - This is another area where you may want to consider design advice. A lighting plan ensures you have adequate light (ambient/wayfaring, task, and accent lighting) and if planned correctly you also avoid the look of a landing strip on your ceiling. Builders too often use an unimaginative formula that does not meet the homeowners needs so I suggest you consult a pro and /or do your research. See tips from mydomaine.com and freshome.com for more info.
FALL IN LOVE WITH COLOUR AGAIN
As children, we seek out colour. Colour denotes life and mood and reflects nature. I beg you to tap into your inner child and find your colour happy place. In case it wasn't apparent, I have had a bit of a bug up my butt since the advent of Staging. So many houses have become bland and stripped of character and homeowners are afraid to put their own stamp on the place because we are inundated with images of bland boredom. Don't get me wrong, white done right is truly fabulous as are grey and beige when used in a restrained manner but really, aren't you kind of tired of that look? If you like colour, choose colour! If you are afraid, of making the wrong choices, consult an expert. Begin small with a bathroom and I predict it will be the beginning of something great. If you are worried about committing, paint the walls. Paint is so easy to change and makes such a huge impact.
Colour creates mood, defines spaces and enhances your art. Full stop.