Renovating? Which Room Do You Renovate First?

Renovating? Which Room Do You Renovate First?

You just purchased a new home knowing that you will want to renovate it over time. Or perhaps you’ve been living in a home for a while and now you’re ready to renovate. Since you were going to be living in the home while you renovate you have decided that you were going to take the one room at a time approach. This will allow you to proceed through the renovation and still maintain somewhat of a normal daily routine in your home. So how do you know where to begin? Does it matter where you begin?

Renovating? Which Room Do You Renovate First?

Well, there are several ways that you can approach this, and the answer depends on your particular home. Most people are anxious to start with the renovation and perhaps explore some basic costs of what their projects might be. They look at doing the kitchen and the bathroom which are the most complicated and costly rooms to renovate. These are the rooms that need all of the work. Therefore here is where the bulk of expenses will be.

So after looking at this most people decide if they’re going to take some of those lesser expensive rooms and start there perhaps a living room, dining room, children’s bedrooms even the master bedroom. This sounds like a good plan and in some cases might be a good plan because these rooms are less costly to renovate and it also allows them to ease into the renovation process.

However, when this homeowner finally gets to the point where they’re ready to renovate the kitchen or bathroom, they are now surprised to hear that in order to do that luxurious master bathroom renovation upstairs that the ceilings and perhaps some of the walls in that living room or dining room directly below might have to be opened up in order to run pipes electrical etc. Or to do that kitchen renovation you also might have to open up ceilings and walls in adjacent rooms to run venting electrical or electrical, etc. for the completion of this room.

This could be problematic if all of the surrounding rooms have already been renovated to perfection.

The last thing you want to do is start backtracking pulling down that expensive wallpaper or opening up walls in rooms that have already been completely renovated. So in most cases, it is more strategic to start your renovation in those more complicated rooms, the kitchen or the bathroom. Specifically the second-floor bathroom.

There’s more to consider.

There’s more to consider.

So, after years of renovating and designing kitchen and bathroom projects for clients. My general advice would be if there are any bathrooms on the second floor that need to be renovated, this is best done first. Followed by any bathrooms or kitchen that might be located on the first floor. In some instances, it won’t matter especially if you’re not changing the floor plan much or perhaps just giving the room a face-lift but if you are relocating piping and electrical and completely renovating to a new floor plan, It’s best to complete these areas first. Then once these areas are complete, the messiest most invasive projects are complete and now you can proceed to the easier less expensive projects without backtracking and on doing any of your work. This isn’t always possible.

So, if the kitchen and bathroom are not done first just know that when these areas are completed later, you might have to do a little backtracking in the surrounding rooms. Either way, thorough planning will get you to your goals the most efficiently with regards to time and cost.

Until Next Time,


From The Blog

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

Mistakes happen, especially when you are trying something new in an area that you are not particularly experienced in. I remember when my son was about 10, I thought that I could give him a buzzed haircut, it looked easy enough, I gathered my supplies, turned on the buzz clippers which I had never used before and didn’t put on the small plastic guard which determined how short the hair would be buzzed. So right down the side of his head was a bare stripe with no hair at all. No easy fix to this error, but luckily my son, having a creative gene, just went with it.

This is sometimes what it is like when homeowners tackle their design projects.

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

It happens.

Many years ago I had a client call me with a design emergency. She was convinced that she made a huge error in selecting the brand new wall to wall carpeting which was just installed in her home.

I arranged a site meeting with her to see just how bad the situation was, prepared with some initial thoughts and ideas.

Low and behold this was, in fact, a very severe design error, room after room of the bright green wall to wall carpeting overpowering everything else in the home. The homeowner turned to me and said, “the samples were very small and I just chose the prettiest one”. It was heartbreaking. Just for the record, this was, in fact, the worst way to choose carpeting. So many other factors must be considered when considering the selection of carpeting which will cover such a large area of the home. Everything must work well together. What else is going in the room? What is the color scheme, does the room have a focal point?

The plan

The plan.

So I came up with numerous ideas for her to camouflage this carpeting and re-direct the eye elsewhere. She also asked me about other selections that might have worked better. I showed her some options. In the end, this homeowner decided to replace all of the brand new carpeting for one of the options that I recommended to her. A very expensive option but this was the right choice. This client was thrilled with the results and hired me to complete the rest of the home.

But what do you do when you can’t backtrack and redo a very expensive design error?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Assess whether or not the selection will work with everything else in the space. Don’t judge the element by itself.
  • Camouflage the design mistake, draw the eye away from the design element.
  • Make design selections that complement the design error so that it doesn’t stand out.
  • Or of course, correct the design error. In the case of carpeting, that would involve new carpeting. But if the design error is carpentry related, perhaps something can be added to the design element to make it look right.
  • Don’t panic, call an interior designer to advise you on the best way to proceed based on what you have to work with.

From The Blog

Designing Your Home To Reflect YOUR Personality

Designing Your Home To Reflect YOUR Personality

Your home, it’s the place where your life happens.

The good times, the bad times, the family gatherings, quiet times, celebrations with family and friends. Rest, relaxation, and sometimes healing.

This is where it all happens.

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Renew. Rejuvenate. Restore.

Your home can be a place that rejuvenates you and restores your energy, welcomes you with open arms at the end of a long day or a place that drains you and causes you anxiety.

It’s natural for homeowners to feel some anxiety when tackling the design of a home whether it be a new home or renovation. There are hundreds of design options and materials to choose from. Design ideas are everywhere and the average person has no idea what to include in their new space. We are made to feel like if our home doesn’t look like the latest design trend, that somehow we have missed the mark.

The bottom line is that it is your space and you should be reflected in it! Your home should reflect your personality.

What does this mean? It means that your home should have and contain things that you like whether that be color selections material selections, patterns, items that you’ve collected over the years or new items that you just love.

In your home, there should always be a place for something that you love (like a unique furniture piece), a decorative detail that you have always wanted (like a modern piece of art that you love, or even a cherished heirloom).

These are the things that give our home personality, and great design can only be achieved by using the right combination of these things woven thoughtfully into a great design plan.

Add rich color.

Get Inspired.

Don’t settle for generic design.

Get inspired by the latest trends.

Incorporate some of those design elements and trends if you really love them and they work for your home.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Often people are afraid to do something a little bit different, like adding a personal spin to the design of your space.

Experiment with elements that you know you will love and will have longevity.

We have so much inspiration around us. It can be tricky you don’t know which ideas to use, what ideas work well together. You have so many ideas! How do you be sure that you will really like all of this when it is all put together?

Working with a designer is a great way to achieve the right balance between creating an updated space and a space that truly reflects your personality, lifestyle, and honors the architecture of your home.

The average homeowner can identify things that they like or would love to include in their space, but it takes experience and a thorough knowledge of design principles like scale, balance, composition, space planning and material knowledge to pull all of this together combined with elements that suit your personality.

A good designer will ask the right questions and listen to your thoughts and ideas can help you to be sure that your personality is reflected in your newly designed space.

It won’t take long for an experienced designer to be able to key in on some elements that can be brought into your space that truly makes the space yours.

A beautiful design is not a great design if it doesn’t feel good to the person that lives in the space.

Until Next Time,


From The Blog

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

The days are getting shorter, the kids have gone back to school, and there is a slight chill in the evening air. All signs of early Fall. Soon the landscape will be painted with broad strokes of Autumn color and before you know it we will start spending more time indoors as fall ushers in the cooler winter air.

This is a great time to start to cozy up your home. Here are a few tips to make your home a little more warm and welcoming:

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Add a mix of textures.

Change out the throw pillows by adding tactile soft textured pillows to your sofa or bed.


Change out the throw pillows by adding tactile soft textured pillows to your sofa or bed.

Change out or layer area rugs. By adding area rugs you are able to soften up the look of your rooms. This also provides an additional layer of warmth on those cold evenings. Choose textured rich colored rugs to define and warm up the space.

Change out your bedding. Add flannel or fleece sheets for extra warmth. Add a big fluffy down (or down alternative) comforter. This is a great time to upgrade or replace your bed pillows.

Add a few cozy throw blankets to the living room or any area in your home where you might use them.

Re-arrange the furniture or plan to makeover the living room with a new design. This is a great time to makeover the living space. The winter will bring holiday entertaining and you will most likely be spending more time indoors, so you will be sure to enjoy your new space.

Add rich color.

It’s all about color.

Add rich color. Rich vibrant color can surely warm up your home for the fall and winter season. A punch of color in fabric or accessories can add a cozy warm feel to your space and can help you transition your decor come holiday decorating time.

Change out accessories. Move your existing home accessories around to freshen up your space. Add a few accesses that tie in any added color that you bring in with fabrics and area rugs.

Switch out your window treatments. Transition into the cooler weather with heavier window treatments.

Add scented candles for a little added ambiance.

Start thinking about your holiday decor (I have certainly started planning my own holiday decor as well as the holiday decor of some of my clients). The holidays will be here before you know it. Start thinking about your holiday decor now so you can have an idea of what you would like to do when the time arrives.

Until Next Time,


From The Blog

You Are Ready To Renovate. Who Should You Hire First? Contractor Or Designer?

You Are Ready To Renovate.

Who Should You Hire First? Contractor Or Designer?

Which comes first? We hear these questions a lot but often too late. Renovating can be a confusing process. Homeowners are often confused as to where to start. When homeowners are ready to begin a project, they often start with hiring contractors to physically implement the project, then schedule this contractor to begin work. You might tell them that you want a new kitchen or a new bathroom, expecting that your contractor can guide you from there, but you soon realize that a vital step in the process has been skipped, the design. Your contractors are now looking at you for detailed information on what exactly you want them to build. The design is the overall plan and specific details of the project.

You Are Ready To Renovate. Who Should You Hire First? Contractor Or Designer? Which comes first?

To avoid confusion.

All of the specific design decisions and material selections must be made before the project even begins.

Many homeowners call us after breaking ground on a project, or with a start date already scheduled, they are distressed because they realize that they need a design fast because they skipped this very crucial step in the process.

Unfortunately, as a busy design and build firm we can’t always accommodate the scheduling needs of a project like this. If we can assist, we can certainly help to steer them in the right direction, but often it is too late as many important design decisions have been made, often by default.

These clients often miss out on some of the biggest benefits of hiring an interior designer, the designer’s resources, vendor connections, their team of highly skilled contractors, and the ability to have a detailed interior design plan prepared before construction begins. Making changes in the planning stage is much easier and less expensive than changes during construction.

Watch this great video of a design walk-through with Gia.

Always hire the designer first.

Always hire the designer first.

The truth is, someone has to design this space, it will either be an experienced designer, you spending endless hours googling your way through a minefield of information that usually leads to expensive errors and design flaws, or a multitude of contractors that are not necessarily skilled at design giving random advice just to keep the project moving. Let your contractors do what they do best and leave the designing to the experts.

Hire a designer in the very beginning so you reap the full benefits of their experience and expertise.

Work with your designer until you have a fully developed plan. This will take some time. It is the designer job to discuss with you the design options that are best for your lifestyle, tastes, needs, and goals for your project.

Your designer will then come up with a complete plan for your space.

This will help you visualize the project in its entirety, develop a project quote, make any revisions if needed. Now that you know what you are building, and this will also save an enormous amount of time as all of this preparation has been done before the start of construction. Once construction does start, there should be minimal reasons to pause for decisions or due to incomplete details.

When you hire a designer first, you also now have access to a team of handpicked contractors that will work as a team with the designer’s oversight to be sure every detail is implemented to the design specifications.

Even if you still would like to attempt managing the build of your project on your own, contractors should only be hired once you have a fully developed design plan. This will always save you time, money, and confusion.

So when you know you are ready to renovate, your first phone call should be to a designer who is skilled in your type of project. Your designer will guide you through the process from there.

Until next time,


From The Blog

Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

If you’ve never hired an interior designer for a design project, you might not know what to expect. How does the process work? Will your thoughts, ideas and tastes be considered? Will the designer just do what THEY like? Do You have to know what style or design elements that you would like so you can tell the designer? These are all common questions that a first time client might have.
Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

There is a difference.

First, there is a difference between someone who is good at interior design and someone who has experience working in the business of interior design. A designer who has been in the business of interior design for any length of time will be used to working directly with clients. Successful interior designers know how to listen to their client’s thoughts, ideas, and problems, and then use their skills to turn their client’s design problem areas into a transformed space which the client loves but also sees themselves living. A professional designer should be creating a space that YOU love.

Trust the experience

Trust the Experience.

Most clients that come to us do not know exactly what they would like to do. For instance, you might know that you would like to do a bathroom renovation, you might have a few ideas of design elements that you’ve seen and like, but you have no idea how to pull it all together. Or if any of these ideas would really work or look good in your space. Some clients have no idea about really what they would like to see in there space or they can’t really articulate how they want the finished space to look and function.

An experienced interior designer has processes in place that walk you through the design and decision making process easily. Asking questions and learning about your tastes and lifestyle help us to design spaces that are right for each individual client. Discussing, your goals for the space and offering guidance throughout the process. This is much different than what is depicted on tv design shows. You will know exactly what is happening and will have final approval on all design elements before they are implemented in your home.

Most of our clients seek us out because they valve our expertise in design and in the design process. They do not want to spend their time and money guessing their way through a complicated design or renovation project, only to be less than pleased with the results. Involving a design professional will actually ensure that the end product will be something that you love.

Until next time,


From The Blog

Tips For Bringing A Coastal Feel To Your Decor

Tips For Bringing A Coastal Feel To Your Decor

All of the elements that we as designers use to create a relaxed, coastal feel in a beautiful beachfront home can be used in any home.
You don’t need to live by the sea to create a coastal-inspired space.

Coastal Color Scheme

When designing a coastal property we develop our color scheme from nature, using only colors that you would see when looking out your beachfront home. Soft water colored hues reflective of the beach environment work best. As designers we do this to complement that incredible view, treating the view as if it were fine artwork.

You can bring these nature-inspired colors into your non-beach front home. Lots of whites, blues, greens, sandy tones can be used in various tones to create that relaxing tone of a coastal property. A classic navy blue and white color scheme is an easy way to create an instant coastal feel in your home.


Bring in Natural elements.

Bring in Natural elements.

Cotton fabrics, weathered wood, sisal, and seagrass carpets. Mixing in a few of these natural elements will help your space to have that coastal feel.

Let the light in
Design window treatments that let the light shine into the space. Coastal properties have an element of light that is hard to duplicate. But keeping your space filled with whatever natural light you have will give your space the look and feel of an inviting beachfront property.

Use nautical elements sparingly
Coastal homes that are well designed don’t necessarily scream with a nautical theme. Don’t feel as though you need to add nautical elements throughout the space, a little goes a long way. I few nautical images grouped on a wall

Simple lines
Use simple casual furniture with classic clean lines. Solid colors work better than busy patterned fabrics for larger furniture pieces. Classic and tailored pieces look best in this environment

Display a well-edited collection from your last beach vacation. A piece of coral on the coffee table, a bowl filled with a few treasured seashells, or a collection of sea glass is enough to create a coastal feel and remind you of your time need the beach. Use these items sparingly and they will give you home the look of a classic seaside home.

Until next time,


From The Blog

Designing your home to support fitness and wellness

The interior design of your home can affect many aspects of our daily lives, especially in the area of health and wellness. With all the planning that goes into a well-designed interior, a conscience effort can certainly in designing a home that supports a healthy lifestyle. Here area few ways to set yourself up for success in the area of designing for a healthy lifestyle:
The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Set yourself up for success by designing your kitchen so that you can easily prepare healthy meals.

  • Add plenty of countertop area for prepping fresh food like those fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Include appliances like a steam oven, or a refrigerator with lots of space for all those freshly prepped meals.
  • A large deep sink and a faucet with a sprayer make washing those fresh vegetables easier.
  • Be sure that your range hood is properly venting the space.
  • I kitchen that feels good to be in will encourage you to cook those healthy meals instead of a quick call for take-out meals.

Fitness Area

Include a fitness area in your home. A complete designated home gym space would definitely encourage you to stick to your work out goals, but squeezing that home gym into a dark, cramped, damp, and unfinished basement area will not encourage you to spend time in the space. Create a pleasant area for those workouts. If you don’t have a designated room to create a fitness area, carve out small spaces in areas where you spend most of your time. I always keep my yoga mat under a small area rug at the foot of my bed. When it is time for yoga, I just pull back the area rug and I am ready to melt away the day’s stress. Put your equipment when you can access it easily and where you will really use it.

Fitness Area
Fitness Area


The floors of your home harbor can harbor numerous germs and toxins.

  • Older carpets and flooring can house decades-old dirt, grime, and toxins. Install new easy to clean flooring to promote a healthy environment. Greener options are now available for flooring, using fewer chemicals than in previous decades.
  • Remove those shoes. Creating a mudroom or entry area in your home can encourage your family to remove shoes and coats when they enter the space. This keeps germs, dirt, and toxins from being spread throughout your home
  • Use area rugs over wood floors or tile. When these area rugs get dirty they can easily be sent out for cleaning or replaced when necessary. Wall to wall carpet usually stays in place for decades.


Create areas in your home that are conducive to rest, relaxation, and your overall wellbeing.

  • Keep clutter to a minimum, clutter creates anxiety and restlessness. A well-organized space will be a great step to overall wellness
  • Comfortable seating. We have all heard that extended sitting is bad for our health. We know we must move our bodies as much as possible for our overall health. When you are seated be sure you have comfortable seating and maybe a properly sized ottoman to take the pressure off your back when you are seated. Sitting in uncomfortable chairs in your living room, kitchen or home office area can certainly aggravate back and neck issues. These issues can certainly hinder your fitness goals and overall wellbeing.
  • Design your bedroom sooner rather than later. Many people design their living spaces first and leave their bedroom spaces for last, figuring that they are the only people that see these spaces. Create a bedroom retreat that welcomes and comforts you at the end of a long day. Use colors, fabrics, and materials that you love. Add layers of comfort including lighting, furnishings, pillows, blankets, and sheets and a great mattress. All of these elements will work together to create a relaxing environment. A restful bedroom space will do wonders for your overall health and so will a great nights sleep.

Until next time,


Designing Children’s Rooms

Girl disguised reading a book to her doll
As I watch my daughter with her young children I remember how crucial it is to design a space that functions well for small children.  As you think about the space you envision for your children here are a few things you should consider: Can they easily move around their room or are there obstacles in their way? Can they access their toys without assistance and safely?  Do they have a space to cuddle up and read, are their books easy to reach? Do they have creative space
Design for Durability

Design for Durability

You want to think about all of the activities that will go on in this space and how it will impact the room.

  • Be sure to choose finishes that wear well, washable paint finishes (what child doesn’t try to color or write on their walls or have a play date where that friend that can’t help themselves?) you want your Magic Eraser to ease the ink, not your paint!
  • Durable flooring and scratch or stain-resistant, will a hardwood floor be ruined if a box is dragged across? Should you add an area rug for warmth?
  • For curtains and blankets be sure to choose washable fabrics, this will save you when that fruit juice sippy cup ends up in their bedroom unexpectedly.
  • Create a floor plan that allows for flexibility and space to play, make sure you have the furniture aligned in a way that minimizes the need for your child to move it around.
Design for growth

Design for growth

We may all wish they would stay little just a bit longer, knowing that they will grow and their needs will change be sure to choose furniture pieces that will stand the test of time. A convertible bed that can be used as the child grows, a dresser that can be used for a changing table. Keep these pieces from looking too juvenile so they can grow with the child.

  • Remember bedding will be replaced more often, so this is an area that can be trendy or this is where we can use a superhero or the jungle animals that your child currently loves. As your child’s interest change, bedding is an easy thing to switch providing a quick face lift.
  • As you think of window treatments think long term, since these fabrics and colors may stay longer than then bedding look to geometric patterns or solids. These types of prints mix well with others and tend to be easy to rework into changing designs.
Design for storage

Design for storage

Is there enough space for legos, dinos, books, and shoes? As your little princess grows to a preteen her dollhouse will turn into a dresser if you don’t have enough storage for her clothes. As your son grows so will his trucks, you want to be sure you have the flexibility with your storage to accommodate these changes.
  • Customize closets to utilize every square inch of space- add shelves and use clear bins
  • Provide easy access storage for toys that are played with often, adding baskets or decorative boxes that hide these toys in the open will allow the space to look clean and be easily picked up.

Most importantly remember this space is where your child will test their boundaries and play out their dreams, you want them to have fun in this space as much as they can.

If your child is old enough to assist make sure you ask for their input in the design, they may have a creative idea that will be the perfect touch on the space that is truly their own.

Until next time,


Video Tour Of One Of My Completed Projects

Usually, the last day of a design and renovation project is when we take our final photos of the completed space. After my team and I put the final touches on the project we then stage everything for the finished project photos.

Once my incredible photographer arrives we quickly get to work on evaluating the space and discuss the shots that we are looking for. Then we spend hours setting up each shot, moving accessories, and composing each shot so I can share the final photos on my website and in all of my marketing materials. My homeowners really enjoy having these professional shots of their finished space as well and often my client’s set up an open house or an impromptu gathering the following day so they can share their new space with family and friends.

Recently, while preparing yet another project for photography day, I had a few extra minutes so I handed my phone to one of the carpenter crew members for a quick video tour of the finished space.

We dropped in a few before photos so we could show you this transformation!

I Hope you enjoy the tour!

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