The Importance Of Having A Realistic Budget For Your Design and Renovation Project

As an interior designer and renovation specialist, I love working with all of our clients, whether that be our full-service clients, our consulting clients, or our social media followers and email list subscribers for whom we provide free resources like our information-packed blog articles. I love helping all of our clients by providing services that meet all of their design needs.

When I first meet with a client they may or may not have a budget for the project that they are desiring, or be willing to share their thoughts about the budget. If they do have a budget, that budget may or may not be realistic for the project that they are thinking about completing and the desired scope of work. Homeowners may look into the cost of cabinetry, fixtures, and counter-tops and then make a guess as to what the overall project might cost. This is a very inaccurate way to determine what the cost of your project might actually be.

When looking at what is actually involved in doing your project the cost of professional services is not usually talked about much on television design shows or in publications, but it’s a big cost when it comes to your project. Professional services include everyone from the designer or architect, structural engineer, contractors, plumbers, electricians, installers, and painters. Additional costs may include all building permits and delivery on all products. So much is involved in putting a project together and there is a cost to that above and beyond products and materials purchase cost.

So in the beginning stages of a project,  I try to discuss budget early on to be sure that my client’s budget and scope of the project are in alignment. If the client is prepared with an idea of their budget for the project that they’re looking at doing, this gives us the ability to know this early on and to prepare design elements or suggest a scope of work that’s more reasonable for their particular goals and budget. Or to determine the costs of the projects that they desire and then schedule the project when they are thoroughly prepared for the cost. This helps the homeowner be more prepared later when estimated costs and quotes for projects are higher than with the customer thought they might be.

Couple managing the debtThis is very successful when being lead through this process with a professional. Sometimes when homeowners attempt to go through this process on their own they quickly wind up in trouble by underestimating expenses or even starting a project before totally figuring everything out with regards to design, professional services, and labor cost. Another issue might be not having planned any contingency funds available for unexpected construction issues, or for things that you might want to add to the project scope. The end result is always spending more money than planned and putting the client over budget.

Preparation and planning is the key here. Just because you think a kitchen might cost $20,000 doesn’t mean that this is realistic considering the desired scope of work, the condition of your existing home and it’s systems, the desire to take down several walls to expand the space, and the professional services needed to accomplish to your finished project. The biggest way to control the cost of your project is to prepare the scope of work that you can afford after accurately investigating costs.

Until next time,
Gia

11 Ways To Create Spaces That Spark Joy

One of the questions that I ask when designing a space, after reviewing my client’s list of wants and needs for their new space, is “how do you want this new space to feel?” The answers vary between peaceful, restful, a place that the whole family can gather, and an exciting space to entertain. What most people want is a home that brings them joy.  A space that is intentionally designed to make its homeowner feel joyful. This requires getting to know our client’s likes, dislikes, and lifestyles so that we can personalize their spaces to bring them a feeling of joy when they spend time in these spaces.

Here are some general ideas that will help you create a joyful environment in your home.

1. Bring Some Color into Your Space
First, color has an enormous emotional impact on individuals. Using colors that you love can be a great way to make your space feel joyful. Even using small splashes of color can have a dramatic impact on the “feel” of the space. Using a color that you love will make an even greater impact on the way you feel when you enter this space.

2. Make sure your space plan works
The way that your space is planned will have an impact on the way you feel when you are in your room. If you stub your toe every time you try to maneuver around that over-sized coffee table, you might want to take another look at the furniture and traffic patterns in this room and create a space plan that works. Most people underestimate the amount of space needed for function.

3. Choose Textures That You Love
Textures have a huge role in making spaces feel cozy and comforting. Use items and finishes that use textures that you love. Whether it’s a velvet pillow or a sleek glass sculpture, if you love it, seeing these items when you enter a space will create a feeling of joy and comfort.

4. Get Your Space as Organized as Possible
Organize your space. This starts with eliminating anything in the space that you do not need. Then creating an intentional place for all of the necessary items included in your room. Getting organized creates a great sense of peace, allowing you to feel like you are in control of your environment.

5. Choose Lighting that Brightens Your Mood
Lighting can influence your mood and can make us feel either inspired and joyful, or sad and lethargic. The right lighting for the use of space is what is important. Dim lighting in the bedroom can be relaxing, but dim lighting in the kitchen or family space can be uninspiring.

6. Less can be more
Crowding a room with furniture that you do not necessarily love doesn’t create a great feeling in your space. If you really don’t love that end table, remove it and make room for something that you really love. This might take some time but start with pieces that you know you could do without for a while. This will allow your mind to imagine the possibilities instead of focusing on that table that you don’t like.

7. Create a Technology-Free Zone
We love our technology as it’s now helping us manage almost every area of our lives. But it’s important to allow our minds to re-charge and retreat from information overload and overwhelm. If we are intentional about creating a technology free area in our homes this will allow us to experience joy, as we retreat from the compulsion to jump into action every time we hear a notification on our phones or computers.

8. Have Only Items You Love
Surround yourself with items that you love. For everyone this is different. What items in your home are important to you? Are there items that you love that remind you of people that you love or happy times? Are there items in your home that bring back bad memories or bring up negative feelings? Keep what you love, and use it so you will see it daily. Get rid of anything with negative memories, or share it with someone who might look at it differently.

9. Find Art that Inspires You
Art plays a large role in the way a room feels. Artwork should be a very personal choice. A piece of fine art purchased on your last trip to Europe or last weekend’s flea market find, it doesn’t matter, if you love it, use it, it will create a great emotional impact on you as you enjoy your space. My grandson’s first finger painting makes me smile every time I see his framed artwork on my kitchen wall. The artwork is a great way to pull color into a room.

10. Harness the Emotional Impact of Your Favorite Scents
Introduce your favorite scents into your home. All of our senses absorb information that helps us experience a feeling of joy. Seek out a scent or two that fills you with a feeling of bliss. This is a small thing that will help to create a joyful atmosphere.

11. Use Greenery to Liven Up Your Space
Live greenery used in your home creates a life-giving effect. A small arrangement of fresh flowers or a live plant, My arrangement of fresh lilacs is currently bringing me lots of joy and the scent is heavenly.

Just a few small changes in your home or space can bring you lasting joy. We are will benefit if our spaces and homes fill us with joy. Try implementing a few of these steps to create a joyful feeling indoor home.

For more advice and design inspiration, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list!

Happy Decorating!
Gia

Selecting Appliances For Your Renovation

Choosing appliances for your renovation.Designs by Gia Interior Design. Web Site Design by inConcert Web Solutions.

One of the issues that often gets a renovation started, is when older appliances start to fade or stop working completely. At that point it’s a good time to consider the entire kitchen and whether or not it’s time for a full renovation, before trying to just replace that old appliance.

Older appliances that are built into an existing kitchen are sometimes hard to replace with appliances of the same dimensions, years or decades later. So replacing an appliance might not be as easy as just replacing a refrigerator or a built-in oven into an existing spot in your current cabinetry. So before purchasing a new appliance, check those measurements, trying to retrofit a new appliance but making changes to existing cabinetry often is costly and usually never looks quite right. Also, if the flooring was installed in front of and not under your dishwasher, removing that dishwasher might require opening up that flooring.

If you decide that you are going to take a look at doing a full-scale renovation of your kitchen, then looking at the age of the remaining appliances. That brand new freestanding refrigerator might be able to be incorporated into the new kitchen design, but I would hesitate to re-install a 20-year-old wall oven with its older dimensions, into a new custom sized cabinet, only for that appliance to reach its lifespan a few years after the renovation. If you are ready to do a full renovation with new appliances, the selection of those appliances is done very early in the kitchen design process as appliance selections dictate the placement of the appliances in the new layout.  There are so many options to choose from when it comes to new appliances for your kitchen.

For cooking, there’s gas, electric, and induction, the selection of what system to go with should be done first and will be determined by many factors.

Designs by Gia Interior Design. Web Site Design by inConcert Web Solutions. Do you currently have natural gas or propane in your home? Or are you willing to bring in propane if you really desire a gas range Induction is a newer magnetic technology and performs a lot like gas in that it gives instant heat, this technology might be worth exploring if you like the control of a gas range. We use it often for projects and I enjoy using it in my own home.

Wall ovens, steam or speed ovens, convection ovens, warming drawers, grills, griddles… these are just a few cooking elements that could be purchased as separate units or could be features included in a range.  Also, the size of the range should be determined early on in the design process as it dictates the cabinetry layout and the ventilation needed for the range hood as requirements are determined by the range.

There are so many options for refrigeration as well, There is a French door refrigerator with refrigeration on top and a freezer on the bottom, allowing these units to be placed wherever needed in the kitchen. A traditional side-by-side refrigeration and freezer. Also, these elements can be purchased in separate columns freezer and refrigeration and added wherever desired in the layout. There are also drawers that can be integrated for refrigeration and freezer. The size of the space and the configuration of the space will help you determine what appliances look proportioned to your space. Determine what features you are looking for, then depending on the size and layout of the space, keep your mind open to some items that might make better sense for your kitchen design based on suggestions from your kitchen designer.

Appliance styles range from a very industrial commercial look to a super-contemporary sleek look, to a retro looking appliance with today’s modern features. Stainless steel is still the most popular finish in today’s kitchen, experts predict that this will continue.  But we are seeing some stainless finished with a brushed look or a tinted look, as fingerprints are a little less visible on these newer stainless finishes.

We are also seeing some manufacturers introduce colored appliances, which visuallyDesigns by Gia Interior Design. Web Site Design by inConcert Web Solutions. is a nice change from all the stainless, but is very taste specific.  Its impossible to predict what we are actually going to be seeing in appliance 10 years from now, so I advise clients to go with the look that they really love, unless they are getting ready to sell their home, in which case you might want to update a little more generically when it comes to appliance choices.  Choosing your appliance is one of the many steps involved in completing a kitchen design and renovation. Be sure to involve a design professional from the beginning of the process to ensure that you are creating a kitchen space that you will enjoy for many years to come.

Adding luxury to any bathroom

Designs By Gia Interior Designs. Award Winning Interior Designer. Web Design by inConcert Web Solutions.If you’ve ever imagined a luxurious master bathroom in your home, you might enjoy this classic master bathroom that we recently designed for one of our lovely clients.  This bathroom was part of a large design project involving a kitchen, butlers pantry, mud room, several bathrooms, and of course this beautiful master bathroom. This long narrow space designated for the new master bathroom created several design challenges, but it also allowed us to use the length to create a dramatic focal point in the back of the bathroom featuring a freestanding tub with classic lines.

We designed a custom shower with dreamy white tile, seating, rain head, and a custom glass enclosure.  We also included 2 separate vanity areas which we topped with beautiful gray and white stone. The homeowner’s beautiful chandelier was the starting point for this elegant bathroom.  The black and white color scheme really gives this bathroom a timeless feeling, with the drama of an old classic black and white movie.

There are many ways that you can add luxurious, classic touches to any bathroom.  If you are ready to undertake a renovation or new build project, it’s best to work with a design professional as the bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms to plan and design, issues involving space planning, safety, and comfort as well as aesthetics must be addressed when designing any bathroom.  There are a few easy ways that you can add a bit of luxury to your existing bathroom if you are not quite ready for a renovation.

Designs By Gia Interior Designs. Award Winning Interior Designer. Web Design by inConcert Web Solutions.

1 – Add Artwork

Black and white artwork can look great in a bathroom. With a few complimentary pieces of inexpensive art, you can create a classic or modern look in your existing bathroom. Expensive art should be placed strategically to avoid moisture damage.

2 – Add Plush Cotton Towels

Plush towels create a filing of luxury. Choose solid black and white and mix stacks of towels together. This gives a clean look without adding more patterns to the room.

3 – Add Unexpected Storage to the Vanity

Use a mirrored or glass tray or collection of small vases to store makeup and organize other small items. This looks better than plastic make-up organizers.

4 – Storage

Store larger necessary items in baskets, vases or cabinets. If an item is going to be visible and necessary, be sure it looks nice and is stored in a way that complements the space.

5 – Add Candles and Fresh Flowers

These small touches can bring a touch of luxury to any space especially the bathroom.

The Perfect Paint Color

Designs By Gia Interior DesignNot a day goes by without receiving an email from someone who’s seen photos of my work, inquiring about a specific paint color used on one of my completed projects. Although I am flattered at their interest, I know for sure that seeing a paint color in another space, on a computer screen, or in print, and then trying it in your space is in fact, the worst way to choose a paint color.

Could you get “ok” results? You could get lucky. But I’m sure most times, people are surprised at how the color looks when it goes up.

Why is this? There are a number of reasons.

First, when you see a paint color in a magazine or on a computer screen, it looks different than the color looks in person.  Also, in a photo, it’s very hard to see what the color actually looks like because of the angle that the photo is taken, and the lighting used for the photos.  Also, no real strategy is being used when selecting a random paint color. The reason you are drawn to the paint color that you are seeing in a professionally designed finished space is that the paint color you are seeing is being used in context with numerous other elements in the room in a purposeful way.

Most people believe that choosing paint colors is something they should be able to do easily. This process certainly looks easy, but in reality, this process involves a lot more than just trying to find a color that you like.

As designers, we look at natural lighting, the direction a room might be facing, how large the room is, undertones, color intensity, and numerous other things that are going in in the room and adjacent spaces, before deciding on a paint color.  Other colors that you are using in the room might slightly alter the way a paint color looks. Knowing how to compensate for this is important. 

The real magic happens when color is chosen carefully as part of a plan, marrying colors, undertones, and intensity throughout the space.  Designers can often do this quickly because they have many years of experience and an eye trained to see the slightest intricacies of color. Just like anything else that looks easy at first glance choosing the perfect paint color is a lot more complicated than it looks.

So next time you find yourself with 6 different paint test spots on the wall and you are ready to head back to the paint store for more samples, or trying to figure out what color your friend painted her walls, call in the help of a designer who can help you select the perfect paint colors for your project.

 

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

 

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