Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Are you thinking about redesigning and renovating a vacation home? Well, summertime is here and many people look forward to spending the season visiting their vacation home. Whether that be a lakeside cabin, an oceanfront home, or mountain retreat, a vacation home can be a place that greets you with all the comforts of home in a location that you love, where you can relax and spend time with family.  Or it can become a place that provides you with a burden of unfinished projects, maintenance issues and endless wish lists. 

A vacation home could be a property that’s been handed down for generations. If that’s the case, trying to design the space for modern living but keep the charm and history of this cherished property should be considered in the new design. Many times these properties have evolved over time with numerous additions or temporary design elements, a professional designer will be able to create a cohesive look knowing what to keep and what to change in the new design. 

Unlike renovating a main residence, with a vacation home, you have the freedom to plan the timing so that your vacation home is ready for you during the season that you want to use it. This involves careful planning. Timing is everything! For instance, if you’re planning on renovating a beach home it would be great if those renovations could be done in the winter. However, if the home is not a four-season home this could be problematic especially since proper temperatures are needed in order to work in the home or on his plumbing systems.

This is the case of one of our current projects located on the Northern coast of Massachusetts. Some vacation home properties require certain specific zoning requirements, conservation boards, or specialized code requirements, especially some waterfront locations, so extra planning time is needed to get specific approvals or permits.

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For this reason, it’s always best to involve a professional when renovating these types of properties as a professional can best advise you based on your set of circumstances and needs as to the best time of year to renovate your property.

Resources and Implementation

A professional also can bring in a team of tradespeople, as sometimes your vacation home is located outside of an area where you normally live. This can also be problematic as far as overseeing your renovation and finding local reliable tradespeople. Hiring a team that can take the project from design right through to completion overseeing all of the details will provide you with the best results, a professionally finished look, and planned with the most optimized timeline for the scope of your type of project. Transportation and deliveries to a vacation property could also have some challenges, these are things that pros deal with on a daily basis and will anticipate before they cause problems with your project.

Design

There are many things to consider as far as the design of a vacation property as your needs for the space might be very different from a home that is being used year-round. This might be a place where numerous family members gather or share the property, you might need to provide additional sleeping quarters for the family. You might entertain a lot more at this property so in some cases your kitchen might work harder in this home.

It is always best to start out with a thorough discussion as to a client’s needs for any property that we design and renovate. However, when beginning a vacation home project we discuss even further the unique needs with the homeowner while using this property and how we can design the space to meet those needs. 

When designing a vacation home (from a design perspective), I love to consider the outdoor environment’s influence on the design of the interior spaces. For instance, a color scheme of a beachfront property might be very different than that of a mountain cabin, and for good reason. I am a firm believer that the view of a property should influence, not compete, with the view. This is especially true for properties with prominent views.

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I love working with clients on vacation homes! It’s especially exciting when we have already designed another property for the client and now we can explore additional design projects with this client or a family that we have enjoyed working with during their previous project. 

I’ll be anxious to show you the final results of our current vacation home project! 

Remember that the design of any home can give you all the comforts of a vacation! Especially if it’s designed to do so! 

Until next time,

Gia

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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

From The Blog

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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

From The Blog

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Transitioning Your Home to be a Multi-Functional Space

Transitioning Your Home to be a Multi-Functional Space

With a world that seems to be spinning out of control, we are realizing that if everything else gets taken away, family, faith, friends, health, and our home are most important.

Our homes are now more than ever a refuge from the world.

Our homes also need to function for our lifestyle, something that normally takes some time and experimentation for a homeowner to figure out.

However, in the past few weeks, our homes are now having to function as homeschooling areas, remote working areas for perhaps several different people, home gyms or workout areas, and added storage might be needed in the kitchen. Overnight our homes are being taxed with the new demands without the needed time to prepare. This is adding unneeded stress to an already stressful time.

Here are some tips to help transition your homes to a new multi-functional space:

1.

Take one day to just re-group and contain things. I know this is hard, but take some time just to temporarily organize and get your home feeling more settled. Store the kid’s backpacks and items that you might not need the next few weeks, this will eliminate some of the chaos. Go through each room and eliminate anything that doesn’t need to be out. Put things away and make some room to be able to function better for the next few weeks. Eliminate any unneeded piles of mail, outerwear or items that can take up valuable space.

2.

Designate some areas in your home for work, choose areas that can be closed off easily from noise, well lit (this is important when you are conference calling or meeting with clients virtually; like I often do in my own business), and with a good wifi signal. An extra bedroom or dining room area might work well for this right now.

3.

Work together as a family to schedule your time in designated areas if needed. If you have one space and you must share it with a spouse for work at home-schooling, discuss your needs and create a schedule of blocked time to share the space so that everyone can get there work done. Communicate this to each other and come up with a plan.

4.

Keep an open mind! Last week I took delivery of my new Peloton bike, something I’ve been thinking about purchasing for several years as I hoped to create a home gym in my extra bedroom. Now that all gyms have closed and my regular spin classes will not be happening, I knew I wanted to do this immediately. Because of timing, I set up this temporary home gym in my downstairs study knowing that I can relocate everything upstairs once things settle down and I can remove furniture, paint, etc. However, I realized that I actually love working out in this sunny study, so I definitely will be planning my home gym project and considering using this sunny space instead of my original plan.

Now that you are spending a lot of time in your home, take a moment and make some notes about things that you have noticed about your living/working indoor space during this experience. This can be a great time to make note of changes that you would like to make in the near future.

Until next time,

Gia

 

From The Blog

Pillow Talk

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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...

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How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

Every homeowner seems to have a list of projects that they would love to do in their home. 

Many of these projects involve organization, small design changes, furnishing purchases, window treatments, or a full-scale interior design and renovation project. One thing seems to read true with all homeowners: The “Project List” seems to build and build over time. Over the years these thoughts and ideas about what we would like to do in our home tend to pile up. We become overwhelmed, which project should we do first?

How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

All the ideas… organized.

There are so many ideas that you have been thinking about. Every time you open a closet or a drawer, you may think about needing to sort and organize these spaces. When you cook a meal, you might think about improving your kitchen’s work-ability and storage. Maybe when you are entertaining you think about the lack of comfortable seating space in your living room. Or when will you ever be able to create that warm, luxurious master bedroom or bathroom space with a custom tiled shower?

Steps to help you to take action on your interior design goals:
4. Choose one project from your list and write down a few action steps toward that one project.

The questions.

Some common questions you might have are: Does it make sense to do these projects in our home? Can these projects actually be done in our home and how much would it cost? Where should you start? Do you need professional help with this project? So many of these questions are really important but so many are homeowners struggle to find answers especially when the list of projects seems to keep building, sometimes for several years.

Steps to help you to take action on your interior design goals:

1. The first step to take action on your goals is to make an actual list.

So many times we mentally drain ourselves by keeping all of the thoughts and ideas for our homes in our head. Try to spend a few minutes and make a list of all of the interior design ideas and improvements that you would like to make in your home. In this first step, your goal is to just get all of your ideas out of your head and on an actual list. You will be able to think more about each project later.

2. What projects on your list would you like to take action on this year?

Review your list and choose a project that you would like to tackle this year. This could be one project or a few. This step will help you prioritize your list and to get into action on some of your projects.

3. Look at the items that you selected step 2. Do any of these items affect each other?

For instance, if one of the items on your list is to organize your kitchen drawers or replace the flooring in your kitchen, and you have a kitchen renovation on your main list, it might be best to hold off on the flooring until you renovate, but organizing your kitchen drawers could certainly be done without affecting a renovation down the road.

Or perhaps you would like to add window treatments to your living room, if you are planning to replace furnishings or professionally design this space later, maybe pre-made inexpensive window treatments are a good solution temporarily, then when the living room is being designed, that is the time for custom window treatments to coordinate with the new space. (If you do not know how any of these projects affect each other or if this step stops you in your tracks, this might be a good time to get input from an interior designer as a plan of action could be discussed helping youth phase your projects in a way that makes sense and keeps you from backtracking and re-doing things.)

4. Choose one project from your list and write down a few action steps toward that one project.

If your one project is to organize your hall closet, your action steps might be:

  • Empty the closet completely and clean
  • Purge unnecessary items
  • Decide exactly what you need to store in this space
  • Measure closet
  • Add shelving if needed
  • Paint closet
  • Add customization and storage items, purchase hooks, hangers, bins, etc., that fit the space (notice that purchasing these items is the last step, not the first, this allows you to purchase only items that you know fit the space and will be used to store specific things.)

5. Meet with a designer.

If you have larger projects that involve large purchases or renovation on your list for the upcoming year, your first step would be meeting with a designer to clarify goals, discuss design ideas and explore costs. This step early on will help you to schedule your project for this year or to plan for it in the upcoming years.

These 5 steps will certainly help you to get into action on your home projects. Even accomplishing a small project will help you to feel good about your home and about making progress on your Interior Design goals.

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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