How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 1- The On-Site Consultation

How To Work With An Interior Designer

Part 1: The On-Site Consultation

 

This on-site consultation is the first step in the design process and this is where we start every project. This appointment takes about an hour or so and has a high value to the planning of any design and renovation project. Like most highly experienced interior designers, we have a fee for this first appointment.

You might have seen offers of “free design”, usually this is an offer made by a retail company who has an interest in selling you a product, and that free design is not necessarily being done by an experienced interior designer but perhaps a sales professional, and is not necessarily “free” in the end. Keep in mind, the level of design skill needed for a renovation will come at a cost.

This cost could save you thousands of dollars in the end by avoiding expensive mistakes throughout the renovation process.

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 1- The On-Site Consultation

So what happens during this first appointment?

First, I walk through the home with the client, then I will discuss the client’s concerns about space, listen to their thoughts, ideas, and goals, addressing any problem areas that the client wants to discuss. During this appointment, we answer specific design questions, make general suggestions, and offer ideas as to the best way a client can reach their goals. A site visit also allows the client to get a general frame of reference for the cost of the projects that they are thinking about so they can prioritize their needs and determine the best use of their funds and the overall project scope.

Add rich color.

During the Site Visit

CLICK and scroll through some BEFORE and AFTER Photos!

For the client that wants our full-service design and build/implementation, we will discuss design fees and review the next step in the process, which would be creating a conceptual design.

For the homeowner who wants to do the project themselves (DIY), this consultation can be very valuable, providing information that will help steer them in the right direction and help them to avoid common pitfalls.

During our site visit, you will walk away with ideas and insights that took me 20 years of experience to develop. From the moment I enter your home, I look for ways to help my clients avoid many of the common and costly mistakes that homeowners make when undertaking an Interior Design or Renovation project.​

Until Next Time,

Gia

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I’m Dreaming Of A White Kitchen

I'm Dreaming Of A White Kitchen

The holidays are upon us and soon we will be preparing for a season of entertaining as we welcome our family and friends into our homes. A season for baking, cooking, decorating as well as entertaining, no other room in the home is called upon to meet the needs of the holiday season as much as the kitchen.

For one of my recent clients, their dreams of a light bright fully functioning kitchen space where they can gather with family and friends this holiday season have come true when we recently designed and completely renovated their kitchen.

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Mix it up.

Like many clients, these clients called me when they started considering a new design for their kitchen. Their older appliances started to fail which made sizing and matching difficult, so considering their desire for a fully functioning space with an improved layout and upgraded appliances, this was indeed a great time to design and renovate the entire space.

Upon my first visit with these lovely clients, I knew that I could make major improvements in the layout and function of their kitchen as well as the look and feel of the space. So we discussed their needs and desires and I went to work designing their new kitchen.

One of the biggest changes in the design of the space was the location of the refrigerator and range. The new Thermador range is now a focal point in the new kitchen, with plenty of workspace and storage on either side. The new integrated refrigerator melds in perfectly in its new location. Our expanded sized new island houses a speed oven, plenty of storage, seating and an enormous amount of uninterrupted counter space.

Add rich color.

Recycle what you have.

CLICK and scroll through some BEFORE and AFTER Photos!

We eliminated the soffits using cabinetry that now goes right to the ceiling and is fully customized to our client’s storage needs.
Our beautiful granite countertops inspired the soft dreamlike color scheme using whites, grey and soft cool greens. Even our porcelain tile floor met with the approval of our homeowner’s dog Molly, who soon became a vital member of our construction crew with her stash of tools.

The homeowner’s original table and chairs were reupholstered with fabric that coordinates with the new custom window treatments in the new design. The warm wood tones echoed the wood tones from the adjacent rooms, joining this newly designed space seamlessly to the rest of the home’s warm wood flooring. The result is a soft dreamy white kitchen that I know my clients will enjoy for many years to come.​

Until Next Time,

Gia

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Featured Project- Half Bath

Featured Project- Half Bath

The half bath is often a room that is overlooked . Especially when it comes to thoughts of design and renovation. That small first floor half bath doesn’t allow you to create a beautifully layered feel that we can create in a larger bath, with more space. Or does it?

I believe that a half bath is a great opportunity to create a little oasis in your home. This is a place that you can use unique and specialty finishes that you might not want to use in a bathroom that gets heavy use, like the master bath. Textured wallpaper, gleaming fixtures, specialty lighting. These are a few elements that I might use to design something unique that blends well with the rest of the home, but also gives my client a feeling of walking into a luxurious highly customized space.

After A Successful Kitchen Renovation

No more boring half bath!

On one of my latest projects, my clients were working with me on the planning of a large kitchen design and renovation project when they decided to include their small half bath into the renovation as well. I designed a bathroom that complemented the new design that we were doing in the adjacent kitchen. No boring half bath for this home. My homeowners loved the original drawings and design for this space, so we proceeded with creating something that I know will bring joy to my clients for many years to come.

Featured Project- Half Bath - "after"

and “After”

The “after” photo shows our finished project which includes porcelain tile flooring, a custom vanity, vessel sink, wall-mounted faucet, and beautiful granite countertops. Chrome lighting fixtures with porcelain shades and a recessed accent light which directly aims at the center of the sink. Shades of gray give this bathroom a cool contemporary edge which was perfect for my client’s style, but still blended well with the traditional architecture of this beautiful home!

Until Next Time,

Gia

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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!

Featured Project-Voted Most Popular!!

Designs By Gia Interior DesignThis space saving, classic kitchen, that we completed 2 years ago, is loaded with traditional charm. It has recently captured the attention of Houzz viewers making it the 6th most popular kitchen on Houzz in 2019.  This kitchen has now been published four times, twice as a featured project on Houzz, and it has also been featured on Bob Vila.com as part of a recent article, and again yesterday as a featured article. Since this kitchen seems to be a viewer favorite right now, so I thought I might take you behind the scenes a bit to tell you a little more about this project and the design of this kitchen.

This kitchen lives in a beautiful classic 1800’s home.Designs By Gia Interior Design. The current owners, my clients, were not in love with the 1980s remodel that was done by the previous owners of this home as it stripped the kitchen of any of its traditional architecture. It really didn’t blend well with the rest of this beautiful home. So after working with them on numerous other projects throughout the home, these long-time clients turned to me to design and build their new kitchen space.

I created a design plan creating a beautiful large kitchen, expanding the space into the adjacent rooms and opening up to the backyard. My clients loved this design plan, but other projects took precedence, so after a few additional years, my clients were now ready to proceed with the kitchen project. Their overall goals for the property did change since we first looked at this project, and my clients decided that they did not want to enlarge or expand the small kitchen by opening it up to the adjacent rooms, as this would mean losing an adjacent study and bathroom. So, I went back to the drawing board to create a kitchen in the existing kitchen space that fulfilled their new goals and created a beautiful functional space within the existing kitchen area.

Designs By Gia Interior DesignThis kitchen design consisted of additional storage and cabinetry, additional countertop space, and a small space to sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We added new cabinetry, which now extends to the ceiling removing the old soffits. We worked around 3 existing doorways which were to remain in place, old radiator piping which remained, and we replaced the 2 existing windows with larger windows which were more proportioned to the space and took full advantage of the natural light. Careful planning allowed for additional cabinetry adjacent to the peninsula, which added more storage. A metal pegboard in cobalt blue created a small pot rack on the side of the refrigerator panel, creating more storage.

This new design, like my former design, honored this home’s traditional architecture but added light, and a fresh feel to the space using updated colors and material selections. A custom mix of glass tile created the backsplash, white quartz with the look of classic marble, created a classic but user-friendly countertop. A white porcelain farmer’s sink is a focal point in this kitchen, custom window treatments, maple flooring, and gleaming hardware added to the milky white cabinetry allowed this kitchen to now blend with the classic architecture in the rest of the home. New stainless steel appliances were also added, and really update the way this kitchen looks and functions.

The adjacent pantry area was also renovated, just off the main kitchen, we removed old dark pine cabinetry, added a doorway to the adjacent dining room which created a better traffic flow through the home. We designed and installed beautiful custom navy blue cabinetry with lots of storage and counter top space, which the owner uses for entertaining.

Designs By Gia Interior DesignDesigns By Gia Interior DesignDesigns By Gia Interior Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My clients are now loving this newly renovated kitchen space. This new kitchen contains many of the elements of a much larger kitchen and melds beautifully with the rest of the house which we have also designed renovated over the last few years.  Finally, my client’s get to enjoy their new kitchen space as much as they enjoy the rest of this beautiful home.

Gia

 

So, You’ve Purchased A Fixer-Upper, Now What?

Designs by Gia Interior DesignYou’ve spent the last few months searching for a new home. You’ve re-calibrated your wish list several times before finally deciding that in order to get into the neighborhood that you like and stay within your budget, you had better consider a fixer-upper. It looks easy enough, so how hard could it be? Besides, it looks like fun. You know that you would like to add or change some of the features in your new home, so how hard could it be?  Well, if you are a first-time homeowner or a first-time renovator, stay tuned, this article is for you!

Fixing up an old or run down home has been a way of life for me and my family for as long as I could remember because I grew up with my parents being fixer-upper renovators.  As a child coming home from school and walking through the front door, I was sure of one thing, somewhere in my path, there would be wet paint or freshly poured cement with piles of stone ready for stacking, electrical wires hanging from the ceiling, and of course, the furniture would always be in a different place. The perfect environment for this designer in the making.

Years later, I took it to a whole different level.  As my children grew up amidst a full-scale major renovation in what was their childhood home, a 200-year-old historical beauty, and a thriving Interior Design and Renovation business operating at full force by their mother, whose first office was in that home. Now that they are adults, I wonder if this must somehow be in the genes as I see my 3-year-old grandson building “staging” as he climbs carefully with his hammer in hand and my 1 1/2-year-old granddaughter standing in her pink tool belt, smiling as I teach her how to retract her tape measure as they help with the next family project. Future renovators in the making, for sure.  Needless to say, after 20 years of renovating clients houses and many more years of living in numerous fixer-upper projects, I do have some advice for anyone who has found themselves head over heels for their vision of what this is going to be like.

1 – Be patient and Listen to the house
I know you want to get into the exciting stuff right away. The kitchen, the bathrooms, taking down walls. But allow yourself a little time to access the property close up. Take your time, go through the details of the house slowly. Allow the house to show you what needs your attention first. Believe me, it will! Sometimes new renovators go right at it tearing into everything on their wish list, only to find, a few days or weeks into the project, that house had other more pressing issues that really should be addressed first. Usually, these are the less exciting projects, like the roof, the furnace, electrical, or plumbing issues. And my personal favorite from past experience in 2 of my own homes, water well or main water line issues. Many issues can be brewing that you are unaware of even when you’ve had a thorough home inspection. So be prepared with your budget to address some of these issues, should they come up sooner than anticipated in your renovation project.

2 – Really access your goals for the house.
Are you hoping to be living in the home for a while? Or are you going to be fixing it up and selling in a few years? Both of these scenarios should be approached very differently with regards to how to approach your plan, renovation, and budget. Be clear on your goals before you start. This will keep you from over-investing in design elements that only you think are great and might hinder the sale of your home if that is your intention. If you are here to stay, then you can create a plan of action based on your goal for you and your family.

3 – Have a detailed plan.
After accessing the house thoroughly addressing any immediate issues, now it’s time to develop a detailed plan. This is a great time to involve a design professional who knows the ins and outs of transforming your home with a renovation. An experienced designer will be able to review your plan and assist with creating a phased plan of action. This is important because you don’t want to find out later when you finally get to do your bathroom renovation, that the adjacent rooms, which you renovated first, will now be affected in order to run plumbing and electrical for your new bathroom project. You certainly don’t want to spend time and money backtracking because you didn’t do things in a logical order.

4 – Life during a renovation.
If you have the opportunity to do some or all of the work on your fixer-upper before you move in, then great. Plan those projects strategically. It’s much easier to address any floor work before you have a house full of furniture unless this doesn’t make sense for your timeline or project goals. If you are going to be living in your home and fixing it up as you go, really think about ways that you can make our life easier by progressing through the house and thinking out the logistics. This is something that I review with every client before a renovation. Even in the best of circumstances, your projects will cause some stress and logistical issues when your lifestyle is disrupted with a renovation.

5 – Don’t try to be your own contractor
Don’t try to be your own contractor unless you have the additional time and money needed to correct expensive errors that you might make by learning as you go. Pick and choose the projects that you know you can compete and that are within your skill set, if you want the hands-on experience. Remember that a poorly done renovation can cost just as much money as a professional renovation, usually takes much more time, and can actually decrease the value of your home if it doesn’t look great in the end. Hiring the pros will ensure you get the desired results without all the stress, guesswork, and endless hours trying to figure it all out.

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