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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Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

As we see the last colorful leaves of fall hit the ground and the temperatures dropping along with them, we know that the holiday baking will soon begin. Whether or not you have recently renovated your kitchen or you have not quite gotten around to committing to a newly designed and renovated kitchen, holiday baking and cooking will be a lot easier with a well-organized kitchen space. Here are a few tips for preparing your current kitchen for the holiday baking season:
Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Start your holiday off right, aware and organized.

Deep clean your kitchen
Your kitchen will soon be covered with flour and filled with the scents that come along with holiday baking. However, if you give your kitchen a thorough deep cleaning before the holiday baking marathon begins, this will make for a quicker cleaning up after baking or cooking and will certainly make entertaining prep time a little shorter.

Make your holiday baking list
Make a list of all of the recipes and goodies that you will be baking. Compile a list of now perishable ingredients list and stock the kitchen now to avoid all those last-minute dashed to the grocery store. This is also a great time to organize your holiday recipes, over the last few years I have been photographing my old recipe cards and organizing them in digital folders for easy access. I use Evernote, but you could also use other cloud storage so you can retrieve them from any device and share them with family members easily.

Sort through your pantry or cabinets
Remove everything and wipe out the pantry, then sort and re-stock everything. Discard any expired items and make a list of any items needed. Those opened boxes of baking soda and baking powder should be replaced before you start baking. Be sure your sugar, flour and brown sugar are fresh by restocking these items if needed.

Dive in.

Organize your bakeware
While you are cleaning things out, organize all your bakeware. Figure out what pieces you will be using and be sure they are easily accessible. You might want to update your cookie sheets or add a few more to your collection to speed up the baking process. Find that special tart pan now before you are in a hurry to start baking.

Organize and refresh your spices
Whether your spices are stored in a cabinet, pantry, or drawer, it’s likely this area needs some attention. Discard any spices that are not fresh and update with what is needed for the season. You don’t want to run short on ginger while baking those gingerbread cookies.

Clean off your kitchen countertops
This is a great time to clean off those kitchen countertops eliminating any unnecessary items (holiday decor is considered a necessary item) and give yourself some space for baking. If you keep your mixer stored, this might be a great time to keep it out on the countertops where it might be getting a lot of use.

Clean out your refrigerator
Give yourself the added storage space that you might need for your holiday baking supplies and for extra food storage, give your refrigerator a quick cleanout. This is also a great time to stock up on food storage containers for those baked goods and any holiday leftovers.

Check your appliances
Be sure that all of your appliances are in working order, arrange for any necessary repairs. Don’t wait until for the last minute to call for appliance service, this is a busy time of year for servicing.

As you are going through the holiday baking season, make some notes of how you can set things up differently making things easier for next year. Knowing the limitations of your current kitchen can be helpful when preparing for next year or for when you decide to redesign and renovate your kitchen space.

Happy Baking!

​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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How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Today homeowners have access to so many different design elements, from design television shows, design apps, and internet access to design resources all over the world. Homeowners often start out their design and renovation projects very confident that they can design their space themselves since the have so many design and shopping resources.

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Shopping, Shopping and more Shopping!

Homeowners immediately start their project by shopping, shopping, and more shopping sometimes purchasing items randomly that may or may not work for their home, but in many cases the endless options and even the most resourceful homeowners end up falling into a rabbit hole of design shopping, endlessly scrolling and changing directions based on products and resources they are finding on their random shopping searches. Then upon reaching a state of complete overwhelm homeowners either pause their project before it begins, continue to randomly search products sometimes for years or confidently make random purchases and find a way to make all of these items work in their space never really realizing how great a well designed could really have been.

With endless quick and easy design solutions available it is easy to see how homeowners are lead to believe that this is the best way to design a space and get professional results.

Have a well thought out plan.

Have a well thought out plan.

However, professional design is not that quick and easy, it involves thorough planning, and much more thought than shopping. A professional designer uses their experience to develop a well thought out plan, many hours of planning are done before the shopping phase.

Once a professional design plan is created, a designer knows exactly what items are needed, the look or feel of the space and where to quickly and easily source these items. Sourcing is done from a combination of readily available resources but also ”trade only ” resources knowing which manufacture has the best products for the particular design plan.

Even if you are not working with a designer having a well thought out plan before any searching or shopping is the best way to avoid design decision overwhelm and stay on task looking only at items needed for your project

Until next time,

Gia

 

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Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider

Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider.

Out with the old. In with the new?

Living in the Northeast I am privileged to be able to experience living amongst some of the most beautiful older style homes in the United States. From beautiful antique colonial homes, stately Greek Revival beauties with their magnificent woodwork and elaborate winding staircases to the 1920’s era English tutor homes, there is nothing like the architecture of an older home. However, renovating one of these stately homes can present numerous challenges. Whoever is renovating an older home must understand the unique challenges that are involved with this type of renovation.

Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider

1. Design your renovated space skillfully and carefully.

A newly renovated area should be designed so it seamlessly flows with the architecture of your home. For instance, a kitchen or bathroom renovation can certainly have all of the modern conveniences and features of a newly designed and renovated space but certain architectural elements should tie it into the rest of the house, so it doesn’t look out of place in the home.

Update plumbing and hire for craftsmanship

2. Plan on updating all of your systems: plumbing, electrical, and heating.

Often the systems in an older home have only been partially updated if at all. When renovating to create a new kitchen or bathroom allow the extra time and cost of updating or replacing these systems. This is often required during an extensive renovation by the local building codes. This is always the best to do all of this work since walls will be opened up for easier access to wiring and plumbing. Also, your new design will most likely have some floor plan changes which will require moving electrical and plumbing anyway.

3. Older craftsmanship can be expensive to replicate.

One of the biggest benefits of living in an older home is the incredible old molding and woodwork that is sometimes still intact. Often novice renovators strip out the beautiful craftsmanship contained in these older homes, sometimes regretting it later. The best renovations happen when the original architecture of the home is honored when creating a new design for the space. That beautiful crown molding in your older home might have been made differently than what is easily available today. It certainly can be replicated by skilled craftsman, but it might take a little more time and money to fabricate matching moldings or trim.

4. Hire a pro for any wall work.

Many of the older homes have walls that were done with the old lathe and plaster method. Narrow strips of rough thin wood were stacked up and down the walls and then a plaster mixture (sometimes made with horses hair for reinforcement ) was applied, plaster oozed between the strips to which helped hold the plaster to the wall. So when repairing old plaster walls, it’s never as simple as a quick patch like you would do on a sheetrock wall. Locate someone who knows how to properly repair horsehair plastery. Many times the plaster is in such disrepair or will start crumbling when you do try and make a repair that competitive skimming or removal of the plaster must be done. Wall work in these older homes is best left to professionals as DIY repairs often make the issues worse, so when a professional finally is brought in to correct the issue, it is an even bigger job.

5. Assess the flooring.

The flooring in an older home can either be your biggest asset or your biggest disappointment. Sometimes one of the most exciting moments in renovating an older home might be the discovery of beautiful wood floors conceals and protected by wall to wall carpet. In which case with the proper sanding and finishing, you end up with the most beautiful hardwood floor, sometimes even more beautiful than the newer hardwood floors available today. I was lucky with this in my own home, a 1920 era Tudor, under the old carpet revealed the most beautiful white oak flooring, an older species of white oak flooring with unique coloration. Once several hundred carpet tacks were removed and proper sanding and finishing were completed by my crew, I now have gleaming hardwood flooring that is very unique throughout this home. This was not the case throughout my former home, a colonial home from the 1700s. Each room’s floors had to be accessed carefully. Sometimes old carpet, tile, or vinyl flooring was installed in these homes over existing wood flooring, but floors might have been glued or mortared directly to the wood flooring in some cases making it unsalvageable. As a pro who has designed and renovated numerous older homes, I will say that you have to assess some older floors as to whether or not they are worth salvaging. Of course, we want to save them all, but there are some instances when you have to be able to predict the best possible outcome for that individual floor to see whether the results will be worth the time and cost.

Renovating an older home involves a deeper level of commitment and skill because of all of the unique challenges that come along with it. When an older home is designed and renovated properly with professionals that regularly renovate older homes, the results can be magnificent.

Until Next Time,

Gia

Have floor access and hire a pro!

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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

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

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