I’m participating in an interesting “blog off” hosted by elocal USA – the Nation’s #1 Online Directories. It is a series intended to bring bloggers and professionals together to discuss the hot trends and topics in the world of home improvement and design while providing useful information and engaging conversation to you (the homeowner). Here is the first question in the series. Q: “When in the design process should plumbing and electrical decisions be made”? A: Should the homeowner create a concept for the space first, saving all plumbing and electrical decisions for later, so as not to influence the creative vision? Or A: Should the homeowner make plumbing and electrical decisions first, designing a concept around the appropriate plumbing and electrical capabilities first? Here’s a more detailed version of my answer: A: I’ve lost count but I've probably designed close to one hundred bathrooms over the years. They've come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, yet at the end of the day each of my clients share one common goal: To re-design their tired, dingy and dated master bathroom by improving its overall function and bring it into the 21st century. Whether it’s a partial remodel or a full bathroom renovation – you’ll be required to re-think the space from top to bottom, and in order to get exactly what you want – you’ll need to ask yourself questions like these: What is our creative vision? How do we make this space more user-friendly and elegant at the same time? Do we need to remove walls, add space, add new or relocate windows, plumbing and electrical to get what we want? Where is the best location for the spa tub and steam shower for two? Do we have space for a private WC? We live very differently today than in years past and many times the dysfunctional bathroom layouts of 20+ years ago, require some re-working of the floor plan in order to provide you (the homeowner) with a more user-friendly design. An efficient floor plan, layout and flow are everything! If your original bathroom footprint works for you – fabulous! But often times the perfect design solution means re-orienting and relocating plumbing and electrical to accommodate the changing needs of the homeowner. In this case function and concept come first and the mechanics follow. The smart approach to creating your spa retreat is to develop the concept for your master bathroom space first – saving all plumbing and electrical decisions for later, so as not to compromise the creative vision and the mission at hand. The reality is, when conceptualizing your new master bath plans, plumbing and electrical considerations are made in conjunction with the overall design concept – as they are integral to the ideal design solution. Remember, If your master bath's original footprint continues to meet your needs and functions perfectly well, then maintaining the original plumbing walls, stacks and other mechanics will save you money in the long run. If however you’re borrowing some existing space from within the home or even adding extra square footage to create a larger master bath, then it’s more than likely that the plumbing and electrical will need to be relocated and supplemented for your new master bath work more efficiently. Join in on the discussion. Would love to hear your input and comments. http://www.elocal.plumbers.com/blog/blogoff-when-to-make-plumbing-electrical-decisions-4259 Stay Inspired! I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2011 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Are you thinking about tackling your own home renovation project over the holidays? Are you petrified to begin and would love to have someone help guide you? Homerenovations.about.com is a great site to help you with that and more. Whether you’re a first time DIYer or a serial remodeler will help steer you in which ever direction you’re headed – at the same time empowering you with great tips, insights and design inspiration to help navigate you through the renovation world. I want to thank Lee Wallender for featuring one of my renovation projects as one of the 10 Sexy Bathroom Remodels featured on his site today. Check it out here. So if you plan to upgrade or renovate any part of your home first check in with Lee and browse through the site. You’ll find everything you need to know. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
As a Designer it’s so important to be well versed on all upcoming home design and renovation trends – from building trends to paint colors and everything in between. Benjamin Moore’s 2011 Color Forecast was released to Architects and Designers last month – and I wanted to share their findings with you. Each year the color expert team at Benjamin Moore declares their predictions for the upcoming year by tracking the more recent social, cultural and political conditions and how they directly impact fashion and design trends. What they discovered was an overwhelming desire for a sense of balance coupled with four underlying themes: The Farm, Order, Escape and Tribe. 1. The Farm There is a major focus on hearth and home for obvious reasons and most are anchoring themselves within a new reality. Earthy colors straight from the farm will be dominating interiors this year. Just take a look at your local Farmers Market for inspiration. From earthy browns, buttery yellows and milky whites – to tomatoes, pumpkins and greens. Also look for handcrafted fabrics, burlaps, tea-stained materials, and all types of petrified, bleached and natural woods – which suggests a return to life’s simpler things. 2. Order We are craving a sense of balance and order from the chaos of the past couple of years. This is interpreted by infusing red, blues, yellows and greens to juxtapose with more monochromatic variations of black, white and gray. Geometric patterns with crisp stripes, dots and spirals uplift our spirit and improve our mood. These days it’s all about making ourselves feel happy. 3. Escape The world has been a little harsh lately so escaping into a dream world full of hope and optimism for the future– is extremely appealing at the moment. The dreamy glamour of sheer draped fabrics, metallic finishes and softened textures coupled with a more pale, frosted and opalescent color palette can be just the remedy for overcoming adversity. 4. Tribe A focus back to our ethnic communities and much like the farm, we are aching to return to the simpler things in life yet in a more soulful way. The spicy color palette of the land such as rich berry, cinnamon, saffron and fire orange are anchored with bronzes and charcoals. There is a huge focus on patterns, stencils, hand embroidery and beading, So how will you seek that order and balance in your life? Will you be returning to the hearth, escaping into your dreams or focusing on your community when gathering your home design inspiration for this year? I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
When you live in a home long enough, eventually some neglected areas will beg to be repaired, upgraded or completely remodeled – the basic wear and tear of the property. I met with a woman this week who had uncovered some mold in her master bath and since she’s now faced with correcting that problem, feels it would be the right time to finally update and gut her tired and very dated master bath. But something else factors in to the equation here. She’s on the fence about whether to stay in her home or sell. Her husband passed a couple of years ago and she’s now faced with a decision as to whether or not she wants to continue living in this spacious home. She is seriously considering a move. Obviously she’ll want to spend her money wisely – and in this particular situation a new master bath design should appeal not only to her, but the potential buyer as well. So when considering a bathroom remodel of this kind it’s imperative to resist the urge to spend money on expensive fixtures, fittings and flashy trends that won’t appeal to the demographic you or your agent will be targeting. Here are a few tips to consider when renovating your bath for a maximum return on investment. Know your buyer and renovate with that demographic in mind. Commit to timeless and classic materials and finishes, which are beautiful and appealing to that particular target. Be aware that homes are typically purchased on emotions and the reality is when it comes to many home improvements – women tend to be the nesters and the ones that will be most impressed with the kitchen and bath designs. Design a frameless glass shower enclosure to visually expand the space. Select an easy to clean neutral toned stone or quartz for the countertops and complementary floor and wall tile. To make a more sophisticated statement, tile the entire wall surfaces from floor to ceiling. Don’t over design the space for the current market – at the same time give it a special touch with accessories. Lighting is everything. Bright cheery baths flooded with light will perk up anyone’s spirit! Whether you ultimately decide to stay or move, plan for a well-designed bathroom renovation which includes high quality materials and finishes. If the space appeals to you, it will more than likely appeal to the potential buyer as well. And that’s more cash in your pocket. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
I was having a conversation the other day with a friend about the pros and cons of staying or leaving during the construction phase a home renovation project. Obviously it depends on the scope of your remodel, but the truth is if you’re planning on living at home during the entire renovation process, be prepared to make some serious life adjustments – and embrace your new (yet temporary) lifestyle! Here are a few things to consider: If You Stay Pros See progress and attend meetings easily. Handle challenges quickly. Avoid added cost in renting. Minimal disruption of family routines. Monitor security of property. Cons Putting up with noise, mess, and lack of privacy. Need to manage stress of disruption and disorganization. Project may take longer due to contractor needing to work around you. Health concerns. Quality of life temporarily compromised. Relationships will be challenged. Lack of space for family to live comfortably. If You Go Pros Easier on contractor and sub trades to get work done. Subcontractors can perform more efficiently without being scrutinized. Don’t have to put up with construction mess and disruption of house. Less stress, easier on relationships. Cons Not on site to oversee progress and problems. Need to trust contractor. Disorientation in relocating. Financial burden if project takes longer than estimated. Should you decide to stay – there is a lot you can do to survive – and thrive during this adventure—and even keep your sanity and relationships intact. Be flexible. Be patient. Be realistic. Be understanding. Your home renovation may not be a walk in the park, but it’s very important to realize that your mental, emotional, and physical health is most important. It’s okay to keep your head in the clouds, but make sure your feet stay planted firmly on the ground. Your general contractor and subs are more than likely managing more than one job at a time, so you may not see him or his crew exactly when you expect to. Those trades you expect to see on any given day—for whatever reason may not show up at all. Stuff happens! Schedules change! Delays are inevitable! That doesn’t mean you sit idly by and have them take advantage. After all, you hired the most reputable, competent, and reliable contractor out there – right? And contrary to public opinion, your extreme makeover won’t be completed in a week—like on TV! The unfortunate reality is—if the contractor says your project will take six months, be prepared—and double it! You may as well sit back, have a glass of wine, and try to enjoy the ride. If you’re prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically then it’s easier to survive the demo and construction phases. These are just some ideas I’ve found over the years in this business that worked for my clients and I think will make your renovation experience more manageable. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Whether you’re doing a major kitchen renovation or a moderate upgrade, planning a kitchen remodel can create an extremely stressful and challenging environment for everyone in the household. So before you hire the contractor or pick up a hammer consider these valuable insider tips to help you make the best choices when tackling your kitchen re-design and avoid costly mistakes. Do Your Research. Do your due diligence and educate yourself on what’s out there in the design world and marketplace. There are an endless array of cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, appliances and flooring materials on the market – so get to know what works best for you. Grab some kitchen design magazines, and focus on the styles of kitchens and interiors you’re drawn to. It doesn’t matter if it’s a window style, a cabinet detail, or a paint color you’re in love with. Just tear out the pages and make notes indicating what you specifically love about it. Is it the 6-burner stainless steel stove, those gorgeous French doors, or the overall kitchen layout? Create an inspiration file and use this as your starting point. Once you know what you like you will be more decisive in the planning stage and that will save you time and money. Resist The Latest Fads. Fads in products and interior design don’t have the longevity of an established style – or even a new trend – which could have a long-term influence. For example: the glossy photo of the turquoise French Oven that you fell madly in love should stay on the pages of the magazine. Ask yourself: Will you still love that range in 10 years? A color like that will instantly date your kitchen – so opt for more timeless neutral colors and finishes. Keep all the big-ticket items such as cabinetry, appliances and countertops more elegant and timeless – but dress up the backsplash for punch. If it’s that green apple-tini color you’re craving, paint out a wall or two and install some accent pendant lamps over the island to give your kitchen the color infusion you need. Efficiency Is Key. Design your kitchen for the way you really live and don’t sacrifice function for design. Of course your new kitchen should look spectacular but not at the expense of overall efficiency. Make it a working kitchen. Your kitchen layout should be top of your list of priorities and should be designed with precision planning and great attention to detail – making every inch count. Don’t Do It Yourself. I know, I know. You always hear that if you DIY you’ll save a lot of M-O-N-E-Y. The reality is that DIY projects typically take 3 to 4 times longer than a highly trained contractor to do the job – and eventually 20% of ambitious home re-modelers will need to call for some professional back up – not just to complete the work, but repair the damage that the homeowners themselves have caused. If your kitchen renovation is more than staining, re-facing or painting your existing cabinets (and you’re not that handy) then hire a professional to do the job. Hire The Right Contractor. I’d highly recommend you give serious thought to hiring a General Contractor (GC) when your kitchen projects are more complicated than simply refinishing or painting. If your job involves tearing down walls, building new ones, or relocating and supplementing any plumbing and electrical systems, then you should definitely consider hiring a general contractor. While most general contractors do fabulous work and come highly recommended, I’ve found there are still a lot of unscrupulous characters out there! So be careful – get references and check out their work! The last thing you want is to get ripped off by the very person you entrusted to deliver your ultimate dream kitchen. Do your best to find the right contractor for you, so all the time and money you spend planning, budgeting, and designing your kitchen will be put into the right hands. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
When it comes to renovating your home for re-sale there are a few major renovations that top the list. 1. Major Kitchen Remodels. (ROI 75-85%) The function of the kitchen has evolved over the years and now more than ever the kitchen must meet those needs. Buyers want to envision themselves in a gorgeous newly renovated kitchen where they can actually see themselves – preparing meals for their friends and family –where the kids nestle into a cozy banquette doing their homework, or their guests mingling around that gorgeous island. Buyers want to see this in their minds eye and know that it’s attainable. A major kitchen remodel may need to include a new floor plan to improve on a poorly designed work triangle. If the kitchen is completely dated, isolated and compartmentalized with an inefficient floor plan and layout – don’t think that replacing the cabinets and appliances will camouflage the problem. It won’t! If at all possible add an island into those plans. Everyone loves them! Replacing all cabinetry, appliances, lighting, flooring, finishes and fixtures and new French doors and windows will grab the buyers’ attention. Since kitchens and baths are the costliest rooms to renovate, the buyer will be thrilled that the work is already done for them. 2. Family Room Additions. (75% ROI) The family room is the second most popular space in the home after the kitchen. Adding 400 sq. ft. of bright and cheery living space (if your neighborhood will bare it), will definitely improve the value of the home. Increase the overall height of your space and introduce a vaulted ceiling. Creating a sense of volume instantly makes a room feel more spacious. Consider the details and add beautiful French doors, floor to ceiling windows or even skylights to flood this new space with light and maximizes a view. Take it one step further and add the deck. 3. Deck Addition. (72-95% ROI) Deck additions are quite possibly the best investments these days. They naturally transition the interior to the exterior – instantly expanding your living space. And who doesn’t love that? It’s a vacation-at-home experience, as it expands your living space and extends the summer season – forcing you to live more outdoors before the winter season sets in. Its design can be as simple or elaborate as the home it’s attached to. Multi-leveled or single, built in seating or casual seating areas, hot tubs, and outdoor kitchens – all of which add to the vacation home atmosphere. Decks are more popular than pools and relatively easy to build. Design the deck to compliment the character of your home’s exterior architecture. Give it some thought in planning – it should be proportionate to the size of your yard. Incorporate energy efficient solar or led lighting. 4. Main Floor Master Bedroom Addition (73% ROI) Adding a 400 sq.ft. master bedroom suite and spa-like bath provides a private retreat and appeals to many home buyers. Access to main floor is gaining in popularity. Empty nesters and others, who no longer want to tackle stairs, prefer to have the master bedroom and bath retreat on the main floor level of the home. Immediate access to a gorgeous deck or patio outdoors also adds to the return. 5. Two-Story Addition (77% ROI) A two-story addition of 800 square feet could include a new main floor family room and an upper level master suite complete with a full bath. Or utilizing that extra space and designating it, as the home office, is very appealing to home- buyers. Homeowners are spending more time working from home and with the homepreneur trend growing, buyers are attracted to the extra space dedicated solely to operating their home based business. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
1. BEGIN A PROJECT WITHOUT PREPLANNING More people begin their home renovation projects without much pre-planning and believe they’ll just work out the details and figure it out as they move along. For a successful home renovation project you need to follow a plan! Literally and figuratively. For larger projects, you’ll need to invest in a set of detailed construction drawings with plans, elevations and details. If you’re simply updating a bathroom and introducing new materials have a list that covers the scope of what your project entails. Without planning – rest assured, you will experience one delay after another and throw good money after bad. Don’t demolish anything unless you have a documented plan. Planning ahead will save you valuable time and money.. 2. OVER-UPGRADING OR SCRIMPING ON THE RENOVATION When the scope of the project and the final result is incongruent or disproportionate with the home’s market value and the standards of the neighborhood, then there’s a problem. Whether you live in a more modest community, middle class or very affluent neighborhood renovate and update your home according to what your neighborhood will tolerate. It should be congruent with what your neighborhood will allow. Don’t scrimp in the high-end market and don’t overspend on the lower end market. You definitely won’t recoup your money when you go to sell. 3. DIY PROJECTS GONE AWRY The reality is that DIY projects typically take three to four times longer than it would take for a skilled contractor to do it. Do you have the luxury of time on your side? Many DIY projects become even more complicated than expected. Approximately 20% of ambitious home remodelers eventually have to call in a professional to not only complete the work, but fix that damage that the homeowner caused. And truthfully, it can be difficult at times to find someone to come to the rescue to repair the botched job. Stick to painting, cabinet staining, re-facing and clean up. A poor substandard job will show like a flashing beacon and no one will be willing to pay top dollar for that. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
This year the more popular home renovations tend to be smaller in scale – where function trumps flash. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010 cost vs. value report, the smaller tweaks and midrange interior and exterior projects are yielding the biggest bang for the buck. In other words the more moderate home improvement projects prove to be the most cost effective. So if you’re thinking of selling your home now or in the near future, consider these top 5 home remodeling projects to help turn your current house into someone else’s home. 1. CURB APPEAL First impressions are everything and you don’t have to be a real estate agent to know that. If your house is unappealing from the outside those potential buyers may never make it through the front door. A great first impression could add a good 10% to the value of your home. Define a clear pathway. Upgrade your front door. Update old windows with energy efficient products. Replace your siding, as it tends to be the least costly upgrade. Add a porch or deck. (any extension to the outdoors) Add Architectural Details such as trims, shutters and moldings. Add a new fence, trellis or gate. Landscaping. Roofing – replace or repair shingles if damaged. Exterior Lighting. Fresh Paint. 2. MINOR or MAJOR KITCHEN REMODEL Just to give you an idea how important kitchens are to a home’s value – Here in the US we spend almost $200 billion a year on home renovation projects and $15 billion of that are spent on kitchen renovations. If your kitchen’s layout works perfectly well, just making some simple updates will appeal to the perfect buyer. Either way when you go to sell your house – keep in mind that you’re essentially selling your kitchen and the emotions attached! Upgrade the appliances to stainless, as it has become the new standard finish in kitchen appliances. Countertops and Sinks. Consider Quartz surfaces, which are available in a multitude of colors, and finishes for its wonderful properties. They are highly durable, non porous and easily maintained. Kitchen sinks are available in all shapes and sizes to compliment and fit within your kitchen – from under mount, top mount and integral seamless sinks. Cabinets and Hardware: repaint, re-stain or reface all door and drawer fronts if the layout still works – otherwise plan for new and improved cabinetry. Replace and update old flooring with vinyl, ceramic, hardwood, concrete or stone. 3. MINOR BATH REMODEL Just simple upgrading of sinks faucets and fixtures will add value, style and sophistication. If your master bath has one sink only and you have a 6’long space, add two new under mount sinks. New countertops and cabinetry really set the stage for the space and are critical elements in creating a beautiful spa like environment. Consider certain marbles, soapstone, bluestone or limestone to create a sense of luxury. Furniture-like cabinetry in deep warm woods evokes richness. Flooring such as ceramic, stone, concrete and woods. Frameless glass shower enclosures undoubtedly add to a spa-like atmosphere. 4. CONVERTING UNFINISHED ATTICS INTO BEDROOMS Increasing the amount of livable space is still very important to homeowners and potential buyers - and repurposing existing space is the most cost effective way to achieve that. It’s much more cost effective than adding on, as well as being the green thing to do. If you have the attic space you could develop a 15’ x15’ bedroom c/w a 5x7 bath and shower. Or utilize that finished attic space as a home office/guest suite. Allocate this new square footage to appeal to you as well as the buyer. 5. DEVELOPING BASEMENTS INTO AN ADDED LIVING SPACE. Developing the basement into a finished and livable entertainment space. Create an added bedroom and bath, office, laundry or game room. Provide ample built-in storage, playroom and finished bedroom. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
I wanted to let you know about an upcoming FREE event with my friend Alice T. Chan, a professional home stager and home selling strategist who specializes in helping her clients get their properties sold using innovative and creative marketing strategies. Starting on Monday, June 28, Alice will be hosting an amazing Telesummit – a series of calls – with a guest list that reads like the "Who's Who" of creative real estate marketing today. And I’m so honored to be among this distinguished panel of experts. Here's the great news: you can participate in all of the LIVE events absolutely FREE. There is absolutely no obligation to get in on this awesome information and start making the home selling breakthroughs you crave. The information she and her panel of experts offer is designed to move toward achieving results. On Tuesday June 29th, I’ll be sharing: Which improvements add the most value to your home when renovating. Which are the best home renovations to tackle this year in light of the current market trends. Which major home renovation projects offer the best ROI. 3 Design strategies that will set your home apart from the rest. Which “Must Have” trends will make buyers fall in love at first sight. And SO MUCH MORE! So please join us in this incredible event. Each day, Alice will host a different set of guest speakers, to provide you with critical information about how to get your houses SOLD now or in the future. You won’t want to miss out on this valuable resource! Click here to get more information: http://ow.ly/1Vs6l I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Bamboo is a tremendously versatile, highly sustainable and renewable resource – and the perfect alternative to hardwoods. It can be harvested every 3 to 5 years compared to 10 to 25 years for most other soft and hard woods – and never needs replanting as it continues to grow from the same root system. It’s innate characteristics and strength rivals maple and oak and due to its water resistant properties won’t shrink or swell like most hardwoods. This unique species of grass can be implemented into any home renovation project from cabinetry to flooring and everything in between Here are some perfect bamboo applications for your next home remodeling project. Exterior Decking and Deck Tile Interior Flooring Carpets and Rugs Outdoor Fencing and Garden Edging Gazebos Interior/Exterior Doors Cabinetry Shelving Furniture Wall paneling Wallpapers and wall tiles Bedroom headboards Butcher Block Kitchenware Home accessories Window coverings Screens/Room dividers Light fixtures I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Summer is just around the corner and everyone is anxious to spend some serious time outside. Here in Southern California warm summer weather tends to last a good 7 months or so – substantially longer than many other parts of the country – so outdoor living is a way of life around here. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the 7 Tips To Consider When Designing Your Ultimate Outdoor Escape. And since I’m now in the midst of planning a charming outdoor living space for my client that will compliment the new interior space, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with some added details to help you transform your yard into a beautiful outdoor paradise this summer. Designate Zones That Reflects Your Family’s Lifestyle. Know the activities that you want your outdoor space to have. Playing: Sports Court, grassy area or swing set. Lounging: Pool and/or spa, chairs and chaises or built-ins. Cooking: Outdoor kitchen or simple barbeque area. Entertaining/Dining; Dining area, fireplace or firepit. Elevated deck or patio. Outdoor Kitchen Details. If at all possible and layout allows, plan your outdoor cooking areas as close to your indoor kitchen as possible. A shorter distance of travel transporting food back and forth will make outdoor entertaining easier. Connect your grill to a permanent fuel line and avoid those propane tanks all together. If budget and space allows, keep the indoor/outdoor traffic to a minimum and install a sink, refrigerator and even dishwasher, and extra space to store your outdoor tableware. Built-Ins. If space is at a premium build in your seating. Nestle a banquette-like sofa into your deck or patio, and build them out of the same decking material to give them a more architectural and integral appearance. Provide storage below for seat cushions and pillows. Don’t Forget the Shade. For protection from the mid-day sun and those long hot days – add a trellis or pergola overhead. Umbrellas and awnings will also do the trick and shade you and your guests as well. Wrap vines or bougainvillea up the trellis or pergola for some additional shade cover and color as well. Extend The Summer. If you feel that summer is just flying by, extend the season by designing a permanent outdoor fireplace, firepit and patio heaters to keep you warm during the cooler autumn temperatures. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
The kitchen remains the most popular home renovation project. On average a kitchen remodel will yield a return on investment of 75 to 100 %. So as you plan, begin by generating a design concept, one that fits the new or existing space and your family’s personality. Typically, most kitchen plans tend to be categorized into 5 basic layouts with a lot of creativity in between. 1. Galley Kitchen. This kitchen layout is typically designed in homes where space is at a premium. It’s an efficient use of space and consists of two opposing walls with a floor area of approximately 3 ft. between countertops. A great way to maximize the space would be to open up one wall to the neighboring dining room or family room with a pony wall (stub wall) and introduce a cantilevered countertop with barstools on the other side. 2. L-Shaped Kitchen The L-shaped kitchen is probably the most popular of kitchen designs for many reasons. This particular layout utilizes two adjacent walls and is best suited for the classic kitchen triangle. This kitchen design offers great flexibility when it comes to locating your workstations, and as a result makes prepping, cooking, and clean up a lot easier. Make sure to provide ample counter space between each appliance for work surfaces. 3. U-Shaped Kitchen The U-shaped kitchen is the most efficient layout. This plan utilizes three walls and provides a great workflow by keeping within the classic kitchen work triangle. In other words, placing one major appliance per side allows the cook to move and work effortlessly between the sink, stove, and refrigerator. This configuration also allows you designate one side of the U as the eat-in bar area with bar stools on the opposite side, or in the best-case scenario, if space allows, perhaps you can introduce an island within the overall kitchen space. 4. G-Shaped Kitchen The G–shaped kitchen plan is a similar to the U–shaped kitchen layout, with an additional peninsula or fourth wall of cabinetry. You need a larger space to accommodate this type of kitchen design. It ultimately provides more space for food preparation, additional state of the art appliances, and dining. It’s ideal for multiple cooks, but would function best by incorporating a second work triangle. This is easily achieved by simply adding a second sink (in the peninsula perhaps), and both cooks use the other appliances. 5. Island Kitchen Islands work best in L-shaped or U–shaped kitchens that are typically open to another area. If you have the luxury of space, an island would be a welcome addition to any kitchen. This free-floating piece of furniture allows you to socialize with your guest while you’re cooking without feeling ostracized. An ideal island size ranges from 36”+ wide by 72 to 96”+ long. Allow for at least 42” from the edge of the counter to any adjacent work surface, and preferably another 42” for aisles and traffic. Islands can be designed at counter height (36”), table height (29”), or a combination of both. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Today is Earth Day, and whether you’re ready to save the planet, or simply practice more eco-friendly habits it’s easier than ever to implement green and sustainable products into your home renovation projects. Here is just a small list of some great resources for you to research before you get started on your kitchen or bath remodel. Educate yourself on all the available materials out there, as they will provide you with a greener home and a much healthier lifestyle. Counter Tops Bamboo is considered a very sustainable material since it reaches maturity within five years, and regenerates from its original root system – never needing replanting. www.plyboo.com. Wood is a fabulous material for butcher-block counter tops and flooring. When these woods are locally grown, sustainable or FSC certified, they will rate quite highly. www.craftart.com. Concrete countertops are increasingly popular in contemporary settings, and don’t off-gas. They are considered greenest when locally fabricated and mixed with cement alternatives and recycled aggregates. www.vitrastone.com. Quartz surfaces like my favorite CaesarStone, is available in a plethora of gorgeous finishes and colors – is easily maintained, and has an endless life cycle. www.caesarstone.com. They also manufacture a stunning recycled quartz collection. Flooring Hardwoods and Bamboos are a favorite choice for beautiful flooring solutions. If the wood if FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council), or reclaimed then that material is considered an environmentally responsible product. www.ecotimber.com, www.plyboo.com. Marmoleum or Linoleum tile is constructed of Linseed oil, jute, limestone and other components that collectively provide for an incredibly strong and durable product. www.themarmoleumstore.com. Cork is not only sustainable and renewable (like bamboo), but is extremely soft and comfortable under foot. www.novaflooring.com. Wool Carpeting is naturally stain resistant and highly durable without containing any chemical additives – just the natural oils in the sheep’s wool. With regular maintenance it can last up to 50 years and is biodegradable once it’s discarded. www.ecobydesign.com. Cabinetry Cabinetry can easily be refaced or repainted with low voc or zero voc paints – which is the greener alternative. www.benjaminmoore.com. If however they no longer fit into your renovation plans then consider re-using them somewhere else or donate them to your local Habitat For Humanity Re-Store. www.habitat.org/env/restore.aspx. FSC and sustainable woods that is formaldehyde free – and finished with a low voc sealant – is a green alternative to recycling your old cabinets. An interesting alternative to wood is a veneered wheat board composite. The straw fibers are combined with a formaldehyde free resin and then painted with low or zero voc paint. Solid core passage doors from www.masonite.com are also constructed of wheat straw and FSC-certified woods, is formaldehyde free and meets LEED guidelines. Finally for exquisitely designed and eco-chic furniture www.kingsroadhome.com creates beautiful environmentally sustainable pieces. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
If you’re ready to shake of those winter cobwebs, and tackle a home renovation project this spring – large or small – then you’ll need to do your homework, compile your wish and needs list and have a comprehensive plan, in order to gather various bids from at least three different contractors. It’s important to get these written bids as detailed as possible, documenting the overall scope of your project along with each detail and all proposed materials. Now depending on the scope of your particular home renovation project there are various types of bids relative to the size of your job. Typically there are three types of bids you could negotiate with your potential contractor. 1. The Fixed Cost Bid The contractor provides a solid bid based on your submitted documentation. This seems to be the ideal situation as it sets a complete price for the overall project and you know exactly where you stand up front. Is best when: You have comprehensive plans and documents prepared. The scope of your project is very clearly defined. 2. The Cost Plus Bid The contractor charges you for his labor, materials, and equipment costs, plus his standard profit and overhead mark up. This option works well for some, but the downside is you really have no concrete idea of how much the project will cost before you start. Is best when: You’re not yet committed to firm plans, and you’re still unsure of the overall scope of your project. You’re anxious to begin construction before your plans are nailed down. 3. Time + Materials Bid The independent contractor is paid his hourly rate plus the cost of materials. This isn’t the type of arrangement you want for a large scaled projects, as it would prove way too costly! Is best when: It’s a smaller job, perhaps a repair or installation, where only one tradesperson in required. Which one suits your project best? I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
If you want to start your renovation off on the right foot and set the tone for the next several months or more, then consider a few of these sure-fire ways to win over your design team – and make your renovation experience a great one. 1. Be Prepared Do your homework. Know the scope of your renovation project, large or small. Show up prepared for meetings so you don’t waste valuable time; we all know that time = money. Have an agenda to follow for each design meeting, site meeting, or shopping day, and check off each item as you accomplish it. 2. Be Focused Keep yourself focused during meetings and stay on the issues at hand. Move the meeting along at a steady pace without revisiting the same issue more than twice. Go through the agenda and check off each item. Turn your cell phone to vibrate during meetings, and if at all possible, don’t answer it! 3. Be Decisive Do your best to put the appropriate amount of time into the decision-making process. The more research you do in advance, the more confident you’ll feel about the choices you make. Don’t second-guess yourself. Confidence is the key. If you’ve taken the time to assess your needs at the start, stick with them. Trust the guidance that your architect or designer provides you with. After all, you hired them for their expertise. 4. Be Diligent Take the best notes possible at each meeting and document the final decision made, or it will get lost in translation. When you get home from a meeting, email everyone who attended that particular meeting and summarize what was discussed avoiding any confusion later. 5. Be Resilient When unanticipated situations arise and unexpected site conditions dictate a slight deviation from the original plan, detail, or concept, just go with it! When it comes to renovations and construction, unforeseen problems will arise. Be flexible! Make certain you let the design professionals, contractors, and sub trades do their jobs. Don’t micro-manage! 6. Be Punctual If for any reason you’re running late or need to reschedule a meeting, give everyone ample notice when possible. Keep in mind that your job isn’t the only project your design professional or contractor is working on. Extend them the same courtesy. 7. Be Courteous Make sure you inform your design team of all change orders along the way. If you and your contractor make any changes without your designer or architect present, email them to keep them informed. Keeping everyone on the same page will save on future frustration without insulting anyone. 8. Be Complimentary If at any time you’re over the moon thrilled with something, don’t be shy—let the people know! Share your feelings be generous with compliments. Your designer or architect and contractor will feel fantastic knowing that they’re pleasing you, and they ultimately will work that much harder to keep you happy. 9. Be a Host Show your appreciation to your design dream team with a little housewarming get together for them. Invite a few close friends to introduce them to your team and show off your home and their work. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
Wow! It’s the beginning of March already and spring is just around the corner. I can only imagine how eager you Easterners must be to leave those snow days behind. Aren’t you ready to shake off those cobwebs, and grab on tightly to the first signs of spring? Spring is a time for renewal, a time for recharging, and time to start planning your summer home renovation project. Whether it’s that gourmet kitchen and family room you’ve been dreaming about, the outdated master bathroom you’ve been putting off, or the new bedroom addition you desperately need, spring is for planning and summer is for building. Walk around your house with paper in hand and start working on a list of improvements your home needs and some others you want. Factor in a budget for each and decide if you’ll need a general contractor to oversee your project or do you plan on taking on the role of a general contractor yourself? Many DIY contractors feel they will save a considerable amount of cash by overseeing the entire project themselves. Truth be told, if this is your maiden voyage, your lack of experience and any errors you make along the way could realistically only save you 10% to 15% of your overall construction costs. If your job is small and only requires the organization of two or three different sub trades then it may pay to take on the job. Providing you have a solid relationship with a few of these specialists then this may be the best type of DIY contracting for you. So you have to ask yourself: Do I have what it takes to be my own general contractor? And more importantly, is it worth it? I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.
PLAN AHEAD Avoid the guesswork down the road. Use your time wisely, don’t panic or race against the clock. Educate yourself- be methodical, truthful. Assess your needs and evaluate the overall scope of your project – what do you need, what do you want? Zero in on your wish list and need list. Figuring it out as you go = costly mistakes later. Determine your goal and nail down the scope of your project. Ask yourself a litany of questions. Gather your ideas – Educate yourself on materials, finishes and appliances available – source styles and KEEP WITHIN YOUR EXITING FOOTPRINT Reconfigure or repurpose existing space unless you’re just busting at the seams, then by all means add on. Borrow space from neighboring rooms, closets, hallways. Try to work around load bearing walls-don’t remove them Consider a bump out or cantilevered window bench in the kitchen, thereby avoiding the need of a full foundation In kitchens and baths if your original footprint continues to meet your family’s needs, then keep all plumbing and electrical in the same location. Supplement electrical rather than move it by adding outlets along the backsplash and sides of the island. If your kitchen’s work triangle functions well then keep the original locations of the appliances, fixtures and utilities. Moving plumbing can double the cost. STICK WITH THE STANDARDS When shopping and specifying doors and windows, stick with standard sizes. Stay away from custom. There are an endless selection of standardized products that could you could save double. Select standard cabinet door styles and finishes without getting too fancy. Don’t include any bells and whistles in the interiors of cabinets if you don’t need to. (FYI drawers are costlier than doors so if it works, use fewer drawer fronts). Kitchen appliances: There are more cost effective stainless steel appliances available now, competing with the higher end competitors – or you can always consider some sleek black and white appliances. Bathroom fixtures: Choose white or almond. They’re typically less costly and look fresh and cleaner longer. Faucets and fittings: The most reasonably priced faucets are shiny chrome. A high- end chrome faucet costs much less than a satin nickel version. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc
Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer home renovation project. Take the next several months to analyze, research and evaluate your current home to find out what you really want and need. This will eliminate costly mistakes and wasted time down the road. Whether it’s that gourmet kitchen you’ve been dreaming about, the outdated master bathroom you’ve been putting off, or the new bedroom addition you desperately need, winter is for planning and spring is for building. Following this five-step approach will take the stress and anxiety out of the home renovation process, at the same time saving you valuable time and money. Dream It! Assess Your Situation: Taking a realistic look at your current situation will make all the difference between a good home renovation project and a great one! What problems need to be solved? Walk through your home room by room and take great notes along the way. Inspiration File: Educate yourself on the materials, finishes and appliances that are available to you. Check out the design magazines and the plethora of home design shows to gather ideas that inspire you in some way. You’ll see a pattern beginning to emerge. Wish List: Creating your wish list will influence the overall concept and design that you ultimately want your home to reflect. Gathering all of this information will help you determine the overall scope of your project. Plan It! Budget and Financing: If you plan on staying in your home for ten years or more, then budget what you can to create the home of your dreams. Be realistic, as your lenders will let you know exactly how much you’re qualified to borrow. Professionals: Hiring the right design professionals will definitely save you valuable time and money, and eliminate any planning mistakes down the road. Pre-planning is undoubtedly the biggest money saver! The Contract: Once you’ve committed to a licensed contractor review the bid and contract line by line and make sure that the scope of your project is documented throughout. If you’re unclear on a item, ask for clarification. Design It! Floor Plan: Designing the floor plan is where you begin to see your dream take shape. Try to visualize this space three dimensionally. Details: Whatever your style, focusing on the details will set your space apart from the rest and will provide you with a true reflection of your personality. Shopping: Selecting the perfect materials, finishes, appliances and fixtures is what will infuse the detail and character into your project. Take your plans, samples and photos with you on every single shopping trip. You never know what you’ll find. Do It! Demolition: This is chaos at its best. If you want to release some deep seeded aggression now’s the time to grab a hammer and crow bar and help the demo crew. I highly recommend it! Construction: The most exciting phase of the renovation process. This is where you begin to see all the pieces of the puzzle come together. Attending weekly site meetings and following an agenda will keep your project running smoothly. Coping with Construction: Be realistic and plan for delays. It will reduce the level of stress and anxiety you could potentially feel. Be flexible. Live It! Punch List: Do a walk through with your contractor and list all the outstanding minor repairs and completions that still need to be done before your project is one hundred percent complete. Clean Up: Even if your stipulated a cleanup clause in your contract, hire your own cleaning crew to come in just before you move back in. Just remember though – it will take weeks for the dust to settle. Moving Back In: It’s all behind you and you’ve made it through the renovation process relatively unscathed. Now roll up your sleeves and put your personal signature on everything. Invite some family and friends over for that dinner party you’ve wanted to host – and start living the dream! I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc
Whether you’re planning a home renovation project this year, or just redecorating your family room, going green has never been so simple. Product manufacturers are making it easier than ever for us to incorporate eco friendly materials, finishes and furnishings into our homes. Now is the time to learn how to implement these green concepts and products into YOUR next project. Transforming your home into a more healthful and energy efficient one doesn’t have to happen all at once. Start with one project at a time! Do some research, and educate yourself on all the exciting recycled and sustainable products that are out there on the market? It’s quite impressive. Here Are 6 Great Ideas To Help Get You Started! Repurpose Existing Space. Instead of adding on to your home consider are planning existing spaces within the original footprint. Moving walls and borrowing space from neighboring rooms could create a more functional and efficient space for your family and provide you with exactly what you need—without adding any square footage. Architectural Salvage. What a great place to wander for inspiration. Character abounds in your local salvage yards. They typically specialize in recycled building materials and architectural details from all across the country. You can find fabulous doors, windows, cabinetry, lighting fixtures and scads of architectural details and ornaments all at reduced costs. Use your imagination here and get creative. It’s all in the details! Flooring. There’s nothing like hardwood! For generations it’s been one of the more popular choices in flooring. There are many beautiful hardwoods out on the market today that are FSC certified. The Forest Stewardship Council encourages environmentally responsible forestry practices. Check out www.ecotimber.com. It’s a great source for reclaimed hardwoods, engineered hardwoods and the most sustainable material of them all – bamboo flooring. Paint. There are several paint manufacturers who have developed low-VOC and zero-VOC paints for the green consumer. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, which are toxic gasses that are emitted into the air while the paint is drying and even for a while after. A great new product is Benjamin Moore’s “Natura” paint. It’s zero-VOC, completely odorless and is available in their full range of exquisite colors and finishes. So whether you’re painting one room, or your entire house, now’s the perfect time to use a low or zero- VOC paint product. No more excuses! www.benjaminmoore.com/natura. Cost is approx. $55/gallon compared to $40-50/gallon for traditional paint. Window Treatments. When it’s time to replace your window coverings look for energy efficient products. They provide great benefits by preventing heat loss in the winter, diffusing the heat of the sun in the summer, and saving money on your pocketbook all year round. www.hunterdouglas.com has a beautiful window shade called “Duette Architella” where the honeycombed air pockets trap the hot and cold air so your home stays comfortable all year long. Appliances. As your appliances need to be replaced purchase Energy Star appliances. The blue and white Energy Star label translates into an energy savings of up to 50% compared with traditional products. Most major manufacturers are part of this program, so go to www.energystar.gov and look through the 18,000 products available and choose the ones that best suit you. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc