How To Survive A Kitchen Renovation

How to Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Everyone has heard the Horror stories from homeowners that have undertaken a kitchen renovation. This is especially true of homeowners that hire a contractor to renovate with no concrete design plan but especially from homeowners that decide to tackle renovations on their own unaware of what they do not know about the process. In the case of the homeowner going on their own, the time that the project is actually under construction is usually double perhaps triple the duration of a professionally designed, planned, and implemented project. 

However, with any type of renovation, there is the inconvenience of being without a kitchen for the duration of the project and the inconvenience of having craftsmen in your home on a daily basis until the project is complete.

When I am working with a client to prepare them for their kitchen renovation there is a series of steps that I take them through to prepare for the entire project. There are also a series of recommendations and preparation tips that I provide clients on how to prepare for the length of time that they will be without a kitchen. When I am working with a client, I keep them informed as to the best time to execute some of the recommendations based on our project start date. This helps the client to know exactly what steps they can take to be better prepared for the first day of their project, “Demo Day” and how we can help them with this process of getting prepared.

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Here are a few of these recommendations:

PREPARE A TEMPORARY KITCHEN AREA

Make preparations for a temporary cooking area or meal preparation area. Although many clients frequent a variety of takeout options, it really is necessary to prepare for preparing simple meals while awaiting the completion of that dream kitchen. This might involve a simple table out of the construction area for a microwave, coffee maker, and an electric skillet. Or perhaps making preparations to temporarily hook up your old range and refrigerator. A small dorm refrigerator can work well in a temporary kitchen area also.

PACK, PURGE, & LABEL

Pack all of the items in your current kitchen. This involves some sorting and purging so I always recommend clients give themselves plenty of time for this. Select a few items that need to be included in your temporary kitchen space, dishes, utensils, a few pieces of cookware, a crock-pot, glasses, and coffee cups. The rest of the items, if they are going to be coming into your new kitchen, should be packed, labeled, and removed from the construction area. Marking these boxes will help you to locate items should you need them before the unpacking begins. Part of this process is purging any unwanted items before packing that way you know that everything that you are packing is coming back into your new kitchen. Many people enjoy updating some of their kitchen items after they renovate their kitchen so think about this before you pack everything.

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DECIDE ON OLD APPLIANCES

If new appliances are part of your new kitchen renovation, many times older appliances are disposed of or donated. We usually remove existing appliances during the demolition of the kitchen and dispose of them but if you are looking to donate your old appliances or give them to a friend or relative, arrange for them to be picked up so they will be out of your way during construction if you are not using them for your temporary kitchen area. Also, remember to remove any dishes or items from inside these appliances before demo day.

EXPECT SOME DUST

When starting construction on a new renovation project, my contractors will do their best to contain the construction area and block off adjacent areas, however, even with the best situation, there will be some dust in your home during a major renovation. Be sure that if you are renovating on your own that you take steps to control and contain the construction areas and that work areas are left as neat and orderly as possible at the end of the day.

COMMUNICATE YOUR QUESTIONS

I find that communication with my clients is important before,  during, and throughout the process of a kitchen renovation. This helps my clients know what to expect during the duration of the project. What time will construction begin in the morning? What time will the construction end for the day? How will inspections building inspections work? If you are doing your own project or working with other contractors don’t be afraid to ask questions. Although construction is not an exact science and sometimes unexpected circumstances come up, you should feel comfortable asking questions and communicating with your contractors throughout the process. If you are hiring a company like mine to design and oversee every aspect of the project be sure that you are comfortable with the communication that you are receiving regarding your project, before, during and throughout the process

Until Next Time,

Gia

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Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Truly great design is not just visually impactful. Yes, it must be visually appealing, but It must also be functional and appeal to the other senses. I believe that a truly great design must impact all of our senses.

The sense of touch can be impacted while wrapping yourself in a soft fluffy throw blanket in your living room. The sense of Fragrance is one of the final details that can complete the feel of a room and bring a sense of comfort to your home.

Recently my adult son walked into my home and commented on how the house smelled like he remembered his childhood home smelling. This is a different home than where we lived when he was a child, but the scented candle that I was burning in the living room was a familiar scent that I commonly used in that previous home. For him, it was the scent of home. The sense of smell can be very strong and it really is amazing how a familiar fragrance can bring up memories of space and give you a feeling of comfort.

I certainly believe that scents can be used in the design of a space to touch all of the senses. A few years ago while designing an oceanfront designer show house (click to read the blog), I enhanced the coastal ambiance of that coastal design that I created in that home with coastal scented candles. The scent was a mix of salty water air and fresh cotton which complemented the design for that space. This certainly enhanced the experience for those touring the newly designed home.
At last year’s local holiday house home tour, I decorated a beautiful home for the holidays (click to read the blog) that many people came to tour and enjoy the decorations, it was no coincidence that the home was filled with the scents of pine and gingerbread. I used scents to complement the decor once again. I placed the scent of pine in the main living room and gingerbread in the home’s kitchen, which was decorated with an assortment of Christmas confections.
This is an example of how, as a designer, I use scents to enhance the experience of a space.
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1. Choose a single fragrance that you love.

The fragrance that you choose for your home is a very personal choice.  You might have to experiment to find that fragrance. But when you do then you know you have a place to start. This main fragrance might be the fragrance that you use in your living room or the main spaces of your home.

2. Fragrances can come in many forms.

Scented candles in all varieties, including soy, beeswax, and coconut oil-based candles. You could also use diffusers that disperse essential oils in a mist, these work great, just remember to size the diffuser properly to the size of the space that you will be using it in. The diffuser should tell you the size of the room that it should cover. Reed diffusers, scented room sprays, even fresh mixtures of assorted fruits and spices can be used to scent a room. A pot of water simmering on the stove with a mixture of fresh fruits spices or essential oils can be very fragrant. Experiment to see which form of fragrance you prefer or layer them to experience the same scent in different forms.

3. Don’t mix different scents in the same room.

This can be done, but it can be tricky and it takes some practice. Think of a bouquet of beautifully arranged fresh flowers. The mix of complementary fragrances can be fabulous. But when working with scented candles or scented oils the fragrance can be much more concentrated or it might already be mixed with several other scents so this takes some experimentation.

4. Use different but complementary scents throughout your home.

If you a using a scented candle in your living room, the diffuser in the kitchen can be using a different scent, just make sure it’s appealing when walking from one room into the other.

At the end of a long day when the world seems crazy, adding a little detail like fragrance might not seem important but it does help you to feel good about being in your home. It’s so nice to walk into a space that’s been well thought out for you and your lifestyle, adding the touch of a scent that you love will bring you comfort whenever you walk into your home.

Until next time,

Gia

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How Covid19 Will Change The Design Of Our Homes

How Covid19 Will Begin to Change the Design of our Home Interiors

In the past few months, as we have watched the world change in many ways, we will also begin to see changes and evolutions in many industries. Those of us in the design industry has been busy preparing for and anticipating some of the many ways that Covid19 will eventually change the interiors of our homes. Why? Because the needs of homeowners have changed.

Many homeowners can already see how their home needs to be functioning differently than they were a few months ago. As an industry professional, our job is to stay ahead and anticipate not only design trends but the design needs of our clients as far as function. Think about it, what are you requiring from your home now that you weren’t two months ago? Well, most of us are requiring many new things from our homes and are seeing the limitations of our current home design.

Here are just a few that many of us in the design industry are anticipating and are ready to design as we see homeowners asking for these new features.

1. Workspace

Working from home has become a necessity right now but those of us in the design industry are anticipating that there might be many people that either continue to work from home, actually really enjoy working from home and will continue, and many new people starting businesses that do not require a brick and mortar location will be operating from home might be seen in the few next few months.

This is interesting because in the last decade, for those of us who have been around awhile, we’ve seen the designated home office disappear over previous years.  We’ve seen the development of technology which keeps us from being tied down to a desk being able to work from the kitchen or living room area for the little bit of time that you have to work from home. But now the appearance of the designated separate home office will be making a comeback. Those beautiful open floorplans don’t really function as well if you’re having a zoom meeting and your family is running through the background. So, Industry professionals agree we will definitely be seeing a return of the separate home office.

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2. Pantry Storage Space

This is something that’s been on everybody’s dream list when we design a new kitchen, but we anticipate the need for pantry storage to be a much more important requirement moving forward. Lessening those trips to the grocery store and stocking up on necessities or cleaning supplies might actually become the new normal when it comes to kitchen design. Designers will start to work even harder to carve out that additional storage space moving forward with in the area of kitchen design.

3. The Material Selection

The focus of cleanliness, hygiene, and additional worries about sanitizing surfaces makes us think that we might see some of the products that we use in our homes changing. Porous surfaces like marble which is quite popular right now might be taking a backseat to man-made products like quartz for countertops. Quartz has been gaining popularity for several years because of its durability and now designers, including myself, are convinced that this will steer homeowners towards quartz for their countertops when making decisions for their kitchens and bathrooms.

4. Touch-less

Faucets that are motion activated or touch-less might be the new norm in kitchen design. Many years ago I remember installing one of the very first touch-less faucets in one of my kitchen design projects. The technology was so new at the time the plumbing supply house was actually calling me to see how it worked and ask questions about it once it was installed. Since then, many companies have come out with this feature offering a variety of touch-less functions. It’s always been a nice little added function for some clients. But I anticipate that the touchless faucet is going to become an important necessity in kitchen and bathroom design and that we will be installing and incorporating a lot more of these features in kitchen and bathroom designs.

5. Outdoor Living & Dining

Already we are seeing that the uses of outdoor furniture are skyrocketing. Although, I believe, many people are ready to get back to their favorite restaurant and will be doing so shortly, outdoor living, dining, and entertaining at home is on the increase. I believe we are going to see an increase in building outdoor kitchens to defects these changes.

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6. The Entryway

Here in New England we always see a strong need for mudroom or entry space for coats, boots, and outwear, a transitional space from the outdoors. I think that entryway storage will become an important change in every home and we shed our shoes and outerwear, receive more online deliveries, and change our patterns to keep the germs of the outside world outside.

7. More Design and Renovation Projects

As in any other world event, it’s hard to know exactly how industries are going to be affected long term. What we are seeing already is an overall increase in the desire to improve our homes with interior design and renovation projects. Clients might not be taking that vacation this year but are ready to put their efforts into improving their lifestyle at home. Some future clients might take some time to re-coup but now have first-hand knowledge of the limitations of their home’s design. This is predicted to fuel the industry as homeowners start to take action on improving the design of their homes.

Until next time,

Gia

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How To Style Your Room With Accessories

How to Style your Room with Accessories

Perhaps you are at the end of a successful major renovation project. You might have had professional help from a design and build firm like mine so you were successful in the process. You didn’t have to spend your days navigating through the endless options of finishes and design details needed for a successful renovation.  You didn’t have to worry about and second guess every design decision. Yet in the end, your design plan reflected the look and feel of what you wanted to have in your new space.

You might have even had your designer prepare a furniture plan making furniture and art selections and design custom window treatments. If this is the case, then definitely consider having your designer finish the space by adding decorative accessories. This allows the designer to provide you with the most cohesive finished space. All decorative elements are chosen strategically by a designer to complement the overall look of your room, reflect YOUR style, and play off all of the other design elements in your well designed and renovated space.

Maybe you renovated your space on your own or would just like to change up the look of your existing space by styling your space with new accessories.

Accessories might be the last thing added to your space but this is an important layer in the design process. This final layer can make or break the look of a space and should be well thought out and should express the homeowner’s personality. Just like how adding jewelry can make or break a fashion look, adding decorative objects and accessories are the jewelry of any room.

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Here are a few tips for adding decorative accessories to your space:

One

Be conscious of scale. The size and bulk of decorative objects should look proportioned to the area where they are placed. Too many small items grouped together can start to look cluttered. A single larger item might work best, whether it’s on the coffee table, mantle, end table, or kitchen countertop, the same principles apply.

Two

Chose items that have similar finishes, colors, and textures. These can be grouped together easily since they have similar elements.

Three

Choose items that have meaning or sentimental value to you and your household. A stack of books of your favorite hobby or a collection of items that you have collected from your last vacation can add a level of personality to your space. Choose pieces that you like to look at and that gives you joy. I have many clients that have meaningful items that they have collected over a period of time. I always try to weave these cherished items into a finished space when I am accessorizing a space. Some of these collections can be a great source of inspiration for your space.

Four

Choose colors that complement your color scheme of the room. Everything doesn’t have to be an exact match to the decor of your room, but it should definitely complement the existing colors and have an element of the rooms color scheme represented in the decor items.

Five

Placement is everything. Mixing like items together works great, but the placement of each item is key. Vary the heights of items as you place them in a grouping.  Each area should be treated as a composition. Take a photo of the grouping that you have created and look at it, this will help you see it as an individual composition. Then look at the room as a whole to see how it complements the overall decor.

Until Next Time,

Gia

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Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Like most of us, you might be finding yourself spending a lot more time at home for a while. We are now working, teaching, homeschooling, exercising, and cooking all of our meals at home. 

As we settle into this new norm we might be noticing that certain areas of our homes might not be functioning as well as you might like. That dated kitchen that you have been thinking about renovating is now also revealing all of the design and functionality flaws now that you are giving it so much daily use. You are also probably wishing that you had renovated it last year when you started discussing it.

That family room, the one that you have been thinking about opening up to your kitchen space to give you more flow and function in your home, you are now wishing that you had done this project before your home turned into the center of all daily activities. You are now discovering where your home lacks in function in a whole new way and your home is now a bigger priority than it might have been a few months ago. 

So, how do you proceed with thinking or planning a renovation in the midst of the unknown world situation?

Planning is more important now than ever when renovating. Even under normal conditions, a good renovation takes a few months of thorough planning.

  • Start the process now when your ideas are fresh on your mind.
  • Make notes now while you are home about your thoughts regarding your current space and what you would like to improve. Are you noticing that you are in need of panty space? Or you preparing to re-configure the entry are along with that kitchen renovation.
  • Do you want to include a designated home office space?
     

Involve a Professional early in the process. Even under normal circumstances designing and planning a renovation can take several months. Most of the design and planning processes can be done virtually. A virtual site visit or video tour can get the process started. Then the creation: a design plan for your space is done offsite along with the necessary client meetings. Involving a Professional to design and manage your project is now more important than ever. I can guide you through the ever-changing landscape of the interior design and construction industry.

Look to the future. Plan for a new normal but don’t give up on your dreams! Stay busy moving your dreams forward!

Until next time,

Gia

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How To Find Inspiration For Your Next Interior Design Project

How To Find Inspiration For Your Next Interior Design Project

There are so many places that you can find inspiration for your next interior design project.

When looking at a new space there are so many options that can be taken when designing a space. All of which can provide a dramatic transformation.

How do professional designers find inspiration for those beautiful rooms that you see and would love to have in your home?

Interior Design.

As an interior designer, I can say that I get my inspiration from conversations with my clients. By listening to my client’s wants and needs and by taking the time to understand the way that they want their room to feel when it has been completed. Even when a client doesn’t have any idea what they want, which is quite common, I listen for clues in our conversation or clues in how I see their current space functioning or not functioning, items, collections, or artwork that they currently own that they might love. Combining information about my clients, their lifestyle, wants/needs and my skill as a designer combine to create spaces that my clients love.

There are so many ways that professional designers find design inspiration. Here are a few ideas on where you can find inspiration for your space:

It’s all about YOU.

Art: A beautiful painting either passed down from a family member or purchased on your last vacation can be a great source of color inspiration for any space in your home. If you love a piece of artwork consider using it as color inspiration.

Personal Items or collections: Do you own an item or collection of items that you love? A collection can be a great source of inspiration for the design of your space. A collection of books, white-ware, glass or china can be a great source of inspiration for a room’s decor. My own home decor is designed around a collection of blue and white transferware. You will also see glimpses of this collection in a recent desire shophouse space that I designed. The important thing is that if you already own something that you love, considering in in your newly designed space.

Travel: Even a quick getaway can provide you with endless inspiration for our home. Be aware of your surroundings as you travel. Even that beautifully lacquered espresso cup at your favorite restaurant could be a source of design inspiration. A color combination on the side of a building, even the architectural detail of a building. I notice all of these details as I travel and I love to absorb them into my creative memory-bank. It might be years later, but when just the right project or circumstance presents itself, I will remember a detail of a molding or a doorway that I have seen while traveling, and draw from that memory to incorporate into the detail of a project.

Fashion: Fashion is a great source of design inspiration. Look at the way fashion designers mix patterns and textures in a piece of clothing or an entire outfit or collection. Study the contrasts of colors and placement of each color. Use this inspiration for your home. A certain mix or finishes or textures can certainly be used in a home design project to create interest.

I hope you start to look for inspiration for your home everywhere!

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

I often run into a local Home Goods or Home Sense store in whatever town I might be working in at the time. I might be looking for a few odds and...

read more

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