As an interior designer I not only work to understand buildings, finishes, and furnishings but I am also curious about the nuances of human behavior and emotions. I would define interior design as designing spaces for people to use rather than for the interior spaces themselves. Interiors are not stand alone objects to simply exist. They are meant to be experienced, interacted with, loved, and enjoyed. On a fundamental level, we have all experienced the same interior type, the HOME. However what makes up that home type will be completely different for everyone, as every person on this planet has a home base in which they locate themselves every day. But what exactly makes it feel like a home?
A developmental psychology paper published in 1943 by Abraham Maslow, presented an idea that all humans have needs categorized in five different levels and that there’s a distinct hierarchy to them. His belief was that as humans go about their lives, they transcend the five tiered pyramid as they achieve each level. He outlined those levels as physiological at the base, then safety, love and belonging, esteem, and finishing with self-actualization at the top. But how does that relate to the feeling of home? At the rudimentary level, the concept of a home can be simply be defined as a semi permanent structure to protect the occupant from the elements and danger. A structure could be defined as a traditional house, apartment, or condo. The non traditional can include a boat, tiny house, tent, RV, or any other manufactured structure the occupant designs for elemental protection and shelter. This is the foundation level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
At the next more complex level, home can be defined as a specific place where someone lives and all of the stuff that’s inside it; the furniture, the decor, and the accumulated personal items such as clothes or books. Maybe there’s a pet or two, maybe the person lives with other people or has a family, maybe they work from home so it also acts as a place of employment. This covers the middle section of Maslow’s pyramid. Covering needs such as love, belonging, esteem, cognitive needs and aesthetic desires, the home becomes richly layered with decor, trip souvenirs, sentimental tokens from loved ones, books, plants, coordinated furniture, and personalized touches such as colorful paint or pattern wallpaper. Large rooms for entertaining family and friends become a priority, comfortable guest rooms and pretty front hall powder rooms are desired. Home offices are needed to focus on work, and the latest aesthetic trends in decor are introduced. These are all beautiful ideas and items, however what happens when the home interior moves beyond the tangible?
At the top of Maslow’s pyramid is transcendence and self actualization. Prioritization of accumulating items and creating a coordinated interior changes as the occupants shift their beliefs to the intangible. Dreams of simple stress-free living, minimalist lifestyles, scaling back decor, reducing one’s carbon footprint and going off grid blossom at this top tier. It can even be as basic as downsizing the size of the home as one prepares to age in place by moving out of their larger empty nest. People at this level know their style, whether its colorful and quirky or monochromatic modern to coastal grandma and are striving for a home that’s calm, tranquil and nourishes the soul.
The application of Maslow’s needs hierarchy theory to interiors and the concept of home creates questions to ask yourself next time you are shopping for new home decor or pondering a renovation project. When gathering items for your home, pause a moment and ask yourself what is it providing for you physically, socially, emotionally, or financially. Will it serve your best interest long term or simply meet an immediate feeling or need? Do you need it or do you just want it? But, most importantly…contemplate about why and maybe work on that deeper issue instead.
Thanks for reading, please join me again next time. Check out my new “All Things Interior Design” podcast, available on all podcast platforms, as I delve into my blog archives.
I’ve started and stopped this blog several times over the last year trying to summarize the COVID experience, now I’m determined to finish it. The year 2020 was a wild one for sure, but now in the spring of 2021 we seem to be hopefully in the process of a metamorphosis. During this time we’ve been bombarded with COVID-19 news daily, flooded with new illness numbers and statistics. The uncertainty of what was to come and the strong desire for life to return to normal now wafts through the air. The phrase “we’re all in this together” was being used constantly, yet many of us felt all alone, as the weight and severity of our individual situations sat heavily on each of our shoulders, seeming at times impossible to carry any longer…but we kept going. In the beginning of the quarantine lock down, we cut our own hair, made our own masks and grew our own food. To boost morale, we sang together on balconies and played musical instruments across rooftops. While humankind hunkered down indoors, the outside world prospered and healed. Wildlife ventured down main streets in metropolitan areas and blue skies were seen for the first time in a generation in the world’s most polluted cities.
Whether it was work life being disrupted, loss of jobs, businesses being forced to close, unemployment claims, home schooling, zoom calls, remote learning, curb side pickups, and food delivery, we all learned a new way to keep going. If you were holding a video call and the cat jumped on the table, you kept going all the while monitoring your child’s next zoom class starting time and when your groceries were getting delivered. Grabbing a mask on the way out the door with your keys and cell phone is now standard procedure. We wash our hands like surgeons and we socially distance ourselves. We now have working from home as the norm, curbside pickups are available for every retailer and restaurants now all deliver. Waiting in your car for appointments is the new procedure, you get a text when its your turn no matter whether its to the doctor or the barber. We should be proud of ourselves, we kept going, we figured it out, we made it through and we’ve changed for the better, almost like a metamorphosis.
With the help of politicians and scientists coming together vaccine distribution programs have been developed, neighbors are helping neighbors find appointment slots, towns are rallying to support local businesses to fully open back up. We are in the process of becoming something different, something better.
“Sometimes during the harshest conditions, the most beautiful transformations can occur, an evolution out of necessity.”
Think of what a caterpillar has to go through to get its wings to become a butterfly. It has to completely isolate in a cocoon, much like COVID quarantine, then after a lengthy transformation process it has changed into a beautiful creature with wings of freedom. Hopefully, with the vaccines development, we now have our wings of freedom. Even if we’re not fully ready to fly yet, we have developed new methods to cope, to change, to evolve, to continue with life in a new way. We’ve reinvented ourselves, learned new skills and hobbies, developed new ways to work and operate. We’ve shared scientific knowledge and pooled resources to others. We’ve grown wings without even knowing it, we’re butterflies now and we’re beautiful!
Thanks for reading, please join me again next time. Check out my new “All Things Interior Design” podcast, available on all podcast platforms.
The summer is over and schools are back in session. The temperature is dropping and the trees are beginning to change colors and shed their leaves. Trees do this to conserve energy. As we move into autumn, its time to follow the trees preservation method and conserve our own energy by shedding our own leaves. For this blog post, I write once again on the topic of minimalism in its effects on every day life. Specifically, how to reduce items and naturally influence the knack for being tidy, thus conserving your energy for the truly important things in life.
If you’re constantly frustrated with the mess in your house, the stress that wanting to tidy up all the time causes you, or maybe overwhelmed with needing to sort and purge, then lets figure out some ways to help you shed and conserve all of that stressful energy. I’m by no means a trending lifestyle guru, I’m just in a routine that I find beneficial, inspired by the ideals of minimalism philosophies. With these practices I don’t have a lot of the clutter items that often bog down many people.
Things I don’t have:
Piles of junk mail
Unused items such as clothes, shoes, kitchen tools, or linens
Items in storage I might need one day
A junk drawer (inconceivable, I know!)
Broken or ripped anything
Useless or meaningless knickknacks
I simply don’t have them. They’ve either been processed and tossed out or donated. I have six methods of staying organized and tidy that I’ve adopted over the years that I can attribute to minimalism and find to be very beneficial. Its just like learning any new skill for your job, you must retrain yourself into a new behavior. First, its very new but then after a while its routine and simply your modus operandi. My six methods can all tie into each other and are as follows:
Do it now
How many times do you toss something aside and say to yourself that you’ll put it away later? Do it now while you remember. It can also relate to chores, errands, just things to do in general. Do them now, while they’re on your mind.
Touch it once
This one particularly works for junk mail and paperwork. Don’t just bring it in and toss it on the counter, but rather sort it, file it, rip it and recycle it immediately. Three letters in the mail is easy, an accrued stack of 50 pieces tall is overwhelming. Bring in the mail and sort it immediately.
Reset the scene
This one pertains to rooms. When you’re finished with an activity, make the room ready for the next time use. For example, never leave dirty dishes in the kitchen at the end of the night, don’t leave out toiletries on the bathroom counter in the morning, or leave work on a Friday with a messy desk. When finished with something, clear it up and leave the area ready for next time.
Once a season
This one is good for clothes, coats, shoes, holiday decorations, and linens. In the transition time between seasons, sort through previous used items and prepare for the new season coming by donating and tossing items that no longer work for you.
This one is in regard to all of the unused items you have stored away in your closets, attic, garage, and basement. It’s all the extra unused stuff that you’ve been given, inherited, or simply accumulated over the years. You need to be realistic on ever using these items. Sentiment and memories still exist without the items. Can the items better serve someone else? If so, then sell or donate them. If they’re unusable or worthless, ask yourself why you have them.
One in, One out
This one relates to shopping. If you buy new shoes, toss out their predecessor pair. Did you buy new towels, don’t leave the old ones in the cupboard, donate them to animal shelters. Some people keep old towels in case of an emergency water leak. If you’ve ever had a leak, you know you move fast and won’t be thinking, “Oh, grab the old blue towels not the new ones” You grab whatever’s first visible to stop the flood. Simply toss out the old used up items once you buy new ones. This stops the accumulation of useless stuff at the source.
Lastly, many people may comment that their spouse or children wouldn’t go along with these efforts. If that’s the case then just focus on your items for which you’re responsible. You’ll feel better and then, hopefully seeing your success, they’ll feel inspired to join you.
Its OK, step by step, you’ll get there. Set small goals so not to create chaos, many people burn out by overdoing the attempt. Slowly, room by room it will happen.
Set yourself free and shed your leaves.
Thanks for reading, please join me again next time.
I love minimalism, I believe the lifestyle philosophy is hugely beneficial for both mental clarity and lifestyle simplification. Its a reoccurring theme in my blogs. Last year I wrote about minimalism in a two part series Minimalism & Living Simply; Part 1 and Minimalism & Interiors; Part 2. The topic is also mentioned in many of my other posts including those about purging and downsizing, check out my blog archive for more. In this blog, let me get back to basics, both in regards to minimalism in interior design and in a broader sense of life itself.
People have a preconceived notion about what a minimalist interior looks like. Words used often have a negative connotation like barren and stark. Case in point, the photo below:
Its a simple room with only the most basic furnishings. Most likely this photo was staged this way to make an obvious point. In reality, minimalist style doesn’t have to be so…well, minimal. For me, I would furnish a room with all the necessary items and then stop when something has no purpose other than being idle decor. Simple window shades, for example in the photo above, would not detract from the minimalist aesthetic. Its all in the way that its done. In reality, these windows would need covering for both weather and privacy.
For a minimalist decor approach, if it serves no purpose or meaning then it should not go into your home. Its visual clutter, fills up a space, and eventually just needs dusting. Visual clutter and chores create stress and prevent relaxation. Minimalism goes beyond the aesthetic but rather its about life simplification. So that minimal interior isn’t barren and stark, rather it should really be considered simplified and calming.
The purpose of minimalism is to return to the basics and focus on what’s important in life. Simplification for the sake of getting more enjoyment from the space and being mindful of the actual activity. Some people would say “oh, but its not cozy!” I’m all for a cozy space, bring on the Hygge factor. The very definition of Hygge is cozy, its a Danish philosophy focusing on the people and activity but not all of the superfluous stuff. And you know what else does that… minimalism.
In another post I can easily write about an aesthetically pleasing cozy atmosphere that’s filled to the hilt with stuff. But to defend my point, all of that stuff had still better serve a purpose. To all of those people who say “I can’t get rid of my things!”, I’m not asking you to, but just ask yourself this: is your life calm? Are you relaxed or stressed? Do you have a list of chores and always find yourself searching for something or having to tidy up the house? Maybe you’re not ready to be a minimalist yet, but would it help to start being a “reductionist”?
Join me next time for another thought provoking design topic that hopefully helps bring you insight for your home, business, and life in general.
After a long hiatus, my blog has returned. Let’s jump right into the deep end…
If you take a look around any home store right now they are bursting with decor and accessories. Quite rightly so, the holidays are the quintessential time to decorate the home with accessories. Pretty as all of those glittery baubles are, they are majorly lacking in one area: purpose and meaning. Let me explain…
This time last year I wrote about holiday decorations and included a cute poem depicting the sentiment of decorations. If you missed it, here’s the link: Twinkle & Sparkle. Now, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge that my home too is decorated with beautiful and curated store-bought decorations. I’ll even confess that I have a color coordinated Christmas tree that I put up with military tactical precision, calculating the distance between the same colors so as not saturate any area but rather evenly disperse the ornaments. (Seriously, I’m a real treat to decorate a Christmas tree with, its serious business. Occupational hazard, my apologies!)
But, with that precision, in the adjacent branches should be the ornaments that over time your family has created by gluing together popsicle sticks, knitting and crocheting bits of yarn, painting doilies, and drawing on tissue paper with markers. Children’s art and family heirlooms are so precious and the most meaningful decorations you’ll ever have. In my mind at least, therefor the most beautiful, deserving the front row center spots on the tree. Your tree will be forever the more humbly beautiful with them.
Another offender in the decor category besides pretty but meaningless holiday decor are the pointless accessories that stores sell to decorate your mantel, bookcase shelves, and coffee tables. You know the type of things I’m talking about, its the abstract armillary globe with the arrow sticking out for your mantel shelf or the droid looking horse head bookends for your bookcase. I think the worst one of all has to be the innocently placed, beautifully carved bowl on the coffee table but then is ruined with these five to seven “balls” sitting inside it. They’re usually made of wicker or painted resin and they do absolutely nothing. They sit in the bowl and just act as decor. Really? We as a society have come to this, we can’t leave the bowl empty to stand alone and just be? We have to fill it, don’t we? We’re uncomfortable unless there is something in the bowl. I issue a challenge to all of you with a bowl with these fake balls in them, for the New Year…toss out the balls.
What’s my point with this rambling rant? When decorating your home with accessories, think about their meaning and purpose. Are they a real item with history or are they simply shelf filler? Beautiful things are nice, but they should more importantly also hold a functional purpose or meaning to your heart. A decorative bowl can just be a bowl, in all its glory, and sit empty. Really, it will be OK, I promise you!
Have a great holiday season everyone, I’ll be back next year with fresh ideas and more satirical humor.
I’ve lived in 200 sf and I’ve lived in over 3,000 sf. Both of these sizes provided everything I needed…at the time. That’s the key, living in a space that provides you what you need at the time. It’s simple and basic, but many people don’t do it. Their house is either bursting at the seams with people and stuff or they are rolling around like marbles with empty rooms they no longer use.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to choose the house among several, realize the home isn’t just the style or location but also fit. Knowing and really thinking about the stage of life you’re in currently and probably the next 5-10 years will allow you to choose correctly. Budget is a separate issue altogether; what you should buy and what you can afford to buy can often be two very different numbers, therefore housing options.
When people live in a space for a few years the phrase “I need more space” often starts creeping in. It’s not that you need more space, you just need less stuff or better organization. (Check out my previous archived blogs under the minimalism category)
Houses now have man caves, living rooms, family rooms, play rooms, teen hangout rooms, bunk rooms, craft rooms, finished attics, rec rooms and finished basements. That’s a separate type of room that 50 years ago used to be all the same room. Let that sink in for a minute…all the same room. Whoa, right?
Once settled in the +3,000 sf house, people feel like they’re always picking up, tidying, cleaning, and honestly- constantly walking around stuff. Kitchens now have two islands and built in banquettes, breakfast bars that seat 6-8 plus a dining room to host 8-10 people. That’s a lot of places to sit and eat a piece of toast with your morning coffee. Also a lot of counters to clean and furniture to walk around.
Have you ever cooked in a really small kitchen? It’s fun! You’re at the stove, turn around you’re at the sink. Need a knife? It’s in the drawer right next to you. Need something from the fridge? It’s beside you an arm’s reach away. While you’re stirring the pot, the spice rack and spoon rest are most likely beside you already.
So what’s my point? Just because your mortgage says you can afford the +2500 sf house doesn’t mean you should. Think about that cute craftsman you saw or that 2 bedroom town home, would they really work better? What would the added income, that you would save every month from your mortgage, do for you? Can it pay off a car loan, old student loans, zero your credit card, then bulk up your neglected retirement accounts or maybe start a nice juicy college fund for your kids? Just think about it…
Join me next time when I discuss decor and accessories with a purpose and meaning. Thanks for reading, have a great day!
As I write this month’s blog, it’s cloudy and snowing. A perfect setting to discuss spreading daylight through the home. Do you have a dark room or hallway and wonder how to get more light? Many people have their lights on during the day when there’s no need. With proper delivery of sunlight, lights would only be used in the dark, completely logical right?
A dark and dreary interior doesn’t have to be with using purposeful historic features that carry daylight through a building while also bringing architectural interest and connectivity. One method is transom windows. These windows occur above doors and help spread daylight through to the next room. Sidelights are another method, often used on front doors. Any pet owner will recognize the immediate benefit of having a sidelight next to their doors; to alert them their furry friend wants to come in. Another method for delivering daylight throughout about space and is becoming more common is the interior window. Simply put, it is a window that is placed on an interior wall between rooms. Often used in a long horizontal orientation to ease sight lines to entrances, niche corners, or landmarks within a space such as a reception desk. When an interior window is placed in a wall that is adjacent to an exterior window, the daylight is pulled into that next room. If privacy is an issue, have the window sill placed higher up from the floor.
Beyond spreading daylight throughout the space, it’s also about connecting to the next space. Transoms, sidelights, and interior windows help pull you through to the next room. But it’s not just windows that can do this, decorative french doors on pantries, laundries, playrooms, basements, dens and even dressing rooms help connect you, draw you through to the view beyond, and expand the feeling of space.
Whether it’s with a window, a glazed door, or even a mirror, spread the daylight around, appreciate the view, and expand your perspective! Make a physical connection and engage with what is right next to you, whether it’s a room, your garden, or your neighborhood. It’s all about connectivity!
First, I need to apologize for missing last month’s blog “Stained Glass, Tales of Color” that was supposed to be published. You see, a week before Christmas, when my blog would have come out, I suffered a technological apocalypse. My laptop experienced a quick and spontaneous demise. It turned on once briefly giving me a glimmer of hope but alas it was just enough to quickly harvest files onto a jump drive and then it glowed no more. When I logged onto my blog to complete it for the month on another laptop, I realized it was completely unsaved and was truly lost. I will address the topic again at a later date as it’s already written in my mind, but right now with the help of a new laptop, it’s time for the next scheduled topic of resolutions and decor dreams.
As the hurried pace of the holidays slows and the decorations come down, the focus shifts to the new year before us. Many people set resolutions; goals or dreams for themselves for the upcoming year. Most designers have a secret list of project types they would love to do in their professional lifetime. As a designer, I’ve taken that approach and created a bucket list of projects I aspire to be involved with at some point, may it be this year or in the future.
As an introduction on why these items are on my list, I like places that drip with ambiance. To make a place memorable and enjoyable, they have to exude character and have a good vibe. A restaurant for example, has to have a combination of good food and service, plus great atmosphere to bring repeat clients. If you have one of these food or drink venue related projects, call me today! I would clear my schedule for you…
English Pub/Old World Tavern
Now, here are some pretty pictures, let’s all dream together.
My design resolutions aren’t all food related. If you have one of these commercial or residential projects I will still excitedly clear my schedule for you…
Mid Century Modern House
Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog! Set your 2018 goals high and make them happen. Whether you want to renovate, redecorate, or just rejuvenate, contact my studio, I’d be happy to help you.
Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ
Studio Owner & Interior Designer
Daricilar Design Studio – Medway, MA
Join next time: “Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.”
When it comes to creating a cohesive and knock out space that’s on budget, interior designers have several tricks up their sleeve. From creative material use, budget friendly sourcing, and spatial analysis, a quality designer can blast a bland or chaotic space into the aesthetic stratosphere. This month I’ve curated a list of five situations that often arise in conversations regarding designer tips and tricks.
1.How do you create the biggest bang for you buck with a back splash?
In my September blog post DIY Kitchen Renovation, I eluded to a budget trick regarding the back splash area in a kitchen to make the most drama. Match the tile color identically and paint the remaining above portion of the wall, carrying it to the ceiling. It creates a knockout look for a budget price, particularly if you’ve chosen a bold color of tile. Look for cues from trim and flanking cabinets to decide where to stop extending the accent paint color, keeping it focused above the sink or stove.
The example below shows a pairing of red glass mosaic tile and a swatch of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2018, Caliente.
2.Is there a budget option to granite or quartz?
Solid surface counters do not get enough attention due to their bigger and more expensive siblings granite and quartz. Its a viable upgrade from laminate counters by far without breaking the bank. The colors are similar to granite and quartz and the material mimics the granular aggregate of natural stone. I recommend selecting matte finish rather than high gloss to hide the scratches on solid surface, however, review solid surface specifications like you would prior to any purchase. Common brands are Meganite, Corian, Staron, and Wilsonart, Its a sensible option for smaller budgets.
3.How do you choose the correct size faucet?
Many people don’t consider the ergonomics behind a faucet, however you will once you do dishes in that sink for the first time. Taller people with longer arms don’t need a faucet that reaches into the sink as far as smaller stature people do. However, shorter people will suffer from backache because of having to reach forward past the middle of the sink. To select a faucet correctly, measure how far forward the head will need to reach to your palms with your elbows resting on the front edge of the sink counter. This will affect your back when washing both hands and dishes. Also, if you wash large pots and pans look at the height of the faucet.
4.How do you lay out a gallery wall correctly?
This one is tricky for me, as I am such a big stickler for symmetry and uniform margins when laying out anything from a floor plan, design board, or artwork. The key to a good gallery wall layout, that’s currently on trend, is balance and spread. It should appear as one large ensemble. Nothing should overhang the area where its centered, no object should overpower the eye’s attention, and objects should be closer together than farther apart. I recommend laying it out on the floor and start with the center objects first.
In the example below, many of the frames are too small for the spacing and the eye is drawn to the meaningless ampersand sign. The mirrors reflect nothing to the viewer. With careful rearranging, the frames can be laid out in a rectangular grid, the mirrors moved to a useful location, while the “and” sign is removed.
5.Where do you find old architectural relics?
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where antique malls and fairs occur, definitely check those out, however, one of the best places to source architectural pieces is Habitat For Humanity Restore. New and used Items are donated and then categorized into building sections, like doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, and lighting for example. These stores sell the items to the public and the profits go towards Habitat For Humanity. Check here for store locations.
Whether you’re updating a back splash or counter, changing out your faucets, or adding the finishing touches of decor with art and accessories, creating a harmonious and cohesive look is key to creating the vibe you desire. Interior designers can be a great asset while you procure items for your space. Contact my studio, I’d be happy to help.
Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ
Studio Owner & Interior Designer
Daricilar Design Studio – Medway, MA
Join in December: “Stained Glass, Tales of Color.“
I applaud you! Taking on a kitchen renovation is like ripping at the soul of your home. Its the lifeblood that keeps your household working. Even though you aren’t doing a full blown remodel, a simpler renovation can still grind on your nerves. (To quickly distinguish the terms: a renovation is aesthetic changes like cabinetry, flooring and lighting where as a remodel also includes opening up walls and tearing into plumbing and electrical.)
You’re ready to start a DIY kitchen renovation. Now, contact a designer. Better yet, contact me. I would love to help you! Even if its simply to review your floor plan or help you brainstorm ideas and get organized. Across the miles, via email and FaceTime, I can help you save some headaches. If not me and my studio, then find a designer in a kitchen showroom, your local big box home store, at the very least ask your neighbor who just finished theirs. Don’t jump in head first alone, without a plan, a schedule, and a project outline.
So, you’re going rogue and being truly DIY, on your own. I will still help you. I’ve generated a list in the most practical order, however if your project doesn’t include one of these steps, then move onto the next one.
1. Fix ALL Repairs First.
As you plan the path of your renovation, fix the broken items. A leaky faucet, broken window, rattling exhaust hood, even bad wiring. Fixing the repairs is a must before installing new finishes. If you don’t, then down the road when the neglect has exacerbated the problem, you’ll end up tearing out your new kitchen items to fix the old problems, and you’ll kick yourself. Fix them now when its cheaper and easier.
2. Keep Appliance Locations The Same.
Many factors raise the cost of kitchen remodels and renovations with one of the biggest being the relocating of the sink, stove, or refrigerator. If your kitchen was haphazardly put together like it fell from Kansas into Oz in a bygone era, then appliance locations should be reworked to create a layout that’s current with today’s lifestyle and more importantly, building codes. Dedicated and grounded circuits need to be created. If plumbing needs to get reworked, gas lines moved, or electrical panel work is needed, its no longer a DIY job. Unless you or a loved one is a licensed contractor, leave your appliance locations alone. This is not a Do It Yourself part of the project! Hire a professional for this step.
Also, if installing professional grade appliances, these are very heavy units and the floor and support below need to be checked and if necessary reinforced. Again, hire a licensed contractor for this portion.
3. Keep Functional Appliances.
It is very tempting to want to upgrade the appliances, however, if they’re functioning then keep them. If you want to switch from white to black or stainless steel to make them all match and unify the aesthetic of the kitchen, work the numbers out on paper first. If you know that your stove is on the fritz, you should replace it. But wanting to get a new refrigerator simply because its the wrong color will wreck your budget. Creative solutions can be found online for recovering appliance fronts. Work with the color of the newest, most expensive appliance and adjust the others to that one.
4. BE The Labor.
Depending on what part of the country you live, the labor portion of a renovation estimate can run 25-40% of the costs. The DIY method is a no brainer for a job you know you can do, from demolition, re-sanding, painting, and installing new cabinets can all be done by willing and careful homeowners.
Have an expert friend or family help you, watch your how-to videos, and read manufacture’s instructions. Also think about attending workshops available in your area’s home stores and check out books at your local library and bookstore.
Become a task master. This is where your project schedule will come in handy. If you break down the renovation into smaller tasks, you won’t get burnt out nearly as fast. Its when multiple tasks get started all at once, that homeowners quickly get stressed and their project becomes overwhelming.
5. Replace, Refinish, Or Remove The Cabinets.
You’ve created your plan, outlined the project into tasks, and chosen the new direction. You’ve done the repairs, confirmed the appliance locations, now its time to get to the aesthetics. If your cabinets are in good structural shape, keep them. New cabinets are expensive. You can either get them resurfaced, repainted, new doors installed, or keep the upper cabinets open. Give the insides a good scrub and vacuum. Install drawer organizers, slide out racks, and under cabinet lighting if desired.
6. Paint the Walls & Cabinets.
Paint is the cheapest way to redo a room. Layout your color palette and assign locations. Research the proper prep work for the surface you want to paint. Below is a photo of similar profile cabinet doors. Notice the difference a coat of paint and a new counter top can do. Even without a new counter top, the cabinets go from a warm Tuscan vibe to a modern farmhouse feel.
Choose an exciting paint color for the walls and give your painted furniture a touch up. Make sure to check out my next month’s blog regarding color and how to choose the correct one.
7. Redo The Floors.
Depending on what kind of flooring you choose determines how much is DIY and whether you’ll need professional installation. If you do choose to do this step yourself, be sure to prepare the underneath properly prior to installation. Also, where specifically on the floor your first piece is placed will determine the look of the final outcome. (Traditionally, planks start at the perimeter and tile products start in the center.) Always read the manufacture’s recommendations thoroughly.
8. Select New Counters & Back Splash.
Beyond the ubiquitous glass mosaic or white subway tile options, there are many choices regarding back splashes. How about brick veneer or tin? In a future blog coming up, I’ll address how to get a knock out look for your back splash for a budget price. Stay tuned.
If you can’t afford the cost of granite or quartz counter and want to upgrade from laminate there is another option: solid surface. Solid surface is a viable budget conscious option, commonly used on counters. Second to quartz and granite lines, it provides a similar look and feel of stone without the hefty price. Don’t know whether to choose gloss or matte finish in the solid surface? Contact me, I can tell you the pros and cons of both finishes.
9. Replace Hardware, Lights, & Faucets.
I consider this the jewelry portion of the renovation outfit. These are the items that add sparkle and character to what otherwise is simply a functional space. If you can only afford one change other than paint, make it this one. As with any work related to water or electricity, shut them off at the main first. Contact me for more information regarding how to choose the best faucet for your sink, the correct lighting for your needs, and to coordinate the cabinet hardware with the rest of your home.
10. Update The Decor, Bar Stools, & Window Coverings.
A finishing touch to all of your hard work is the soft surfaces. With the decor, bar stools, and window coverings I would also add dish towels, oven mitts, place mats and rugs. These items are the “clothes” of your kitchen. They’re also an economical aesthetic option to change compared to replacing cabinet fronts or flooring.
Now, let’s generate some ideas with the following photos. Who doesn’t like looking at kitchen photos, am I right? I’ve included a variety of styles to cover all tastes.
One more bit of advice, before taking down your kitchen for the renovation; set up a temporary one in another room to preserve your sanity. An electric tea kettle, a crock pot, a hot plate, and a toaster oven can fix numerous meals. Create a dish-washing station in the laundry or bathroom and fire up the grill outside. During renovation you need a dust free counter to pour your morning coffee and in the evening to prepare your dinner. Preparation of a temporary kitchen is an absolute must!
God speed and contact me for questions. I can help you through it.