Interior Designer Elkhart Goshen Indiana
If there is one thing I see consistently over the years, is that bad things happen to good people on a good team with good intentions when they begin a new construction project without a being able to communicate exactly what they want and need to contractors and trades.
Most people know what they like when they see it but are unable to accurately communicate exactly what it takes to get there without a well thought out plan. Believe me, it takes more than a wish and a dream to complete a design project successfully - it takes savvy design smarts & action! So take a breath, say a prayer and then take these five action steps to clarify your vision and maintain control of your project before hiring a General Contractor or Architect....
Step 1: Have a solid, detailed, unified plan!!!! The more details you have in your plan, the better for YOU! I'm talking about plans on how to use the space, as well as overall style and design direction and paint selections. You'll have less misunderstandings, less surprises, less stress and save money throughout your project. Please don't misunderstand me - I'm not talking about handing a few magazine photos to your builder and saying, 'build me this'. Why? because that is not a plan, it's an inspiration photo (hand them to me instead). if you want an 'apples to apples' quote for your project, you'll need to be able to accurately communicate specifics about those 'apples' to your builder. When you hand him a pretty magazine pictures he may not be able to tell if you want gala apples or honey crisp. And as any apple lover knows, there is a difference. Same with all the design details and decisions that need to be made for your project before the deal is signed and the backhoe arrives. There are hundreds if not thousands of design decisions that need to be made. And....they all build off of and affect each other. If you do not have a plan that communicates what you want and how you want it, the chances are that your contractor will create his own low ball plan that will 'seal' the deal quickly but leave you stuck with 'apples' that fit into his 'allowances' package (I can hear the wailing, moaning and the emptying of your wallet now!)
Step 2: Break the plans down room by room and actually layout the furniture and the cabinets to make sure it uses the space efficiently as well as meets your lifestyle needs and hospitality goals. Do you want to settle on place holders and 'good enough' or design with intention to achieve a purpose driven home the first time so you can start bringing people together to make those memories? Details matter and so does the big picture. So, let's get them to work together for your benefit. If a client wants to be involved in this phase of the design but doesn't want to create the drawings themselves, I allow them to preview and select from my own library of drawings or I often refer them to affordable online resources for home plans and construction drawings that can quickly and easily be altered to fit their ideal. Then, after they receive these drawings, we sit down together to make lifestyle changes so their home supports them and fits them like a custom made clothing.
One of the most common DIY design mistakes I see is where the electrical and HVAC systems will impact where you can place your furniture so take a proactive stance here and give educated, practical design direction instead of incurring expensive design do overs.
Step 3: Do not overdesign, overbuild or overspend in relation to the land or surrounding property values. You don't want to have the best house in a neighborhood that limits your home's value and worth and you don't want to overdesign a home that might sit on the market for months holding you hostage.
Step 4: Focus on Timeless instead of trendy! I know that you think that you're going to live in that new space forever but statistics show that forever homes are sold about every eight years just like other homes (I wonder if it is because they didn't hire an interior designer to help them plan & personalize their renovation or new build design?). This means that your expensive dream home of today may look like the dated fixer upper of tomorrow! Know how to prioritize and how to use those elements you love while still building a dream home. This is especially relevant when selecting color. Color is complicated and will either make or break your project and there are so many options available and they don't all play well together.
Another frequent DIY design mistake I see is selecting trendy paint colors instead of colors that serve a purpose and are pleasing. I field many calls from clients who can't understand why their rooms look dingy and depressing after they've painted the most popular shade of gray. Gray is difficult to pull off well in Northern Indiana. In addition, trendy colors soon date your space. So....do you want your space to look trendy or timeless? (There is no right or wrong answer here, just a great question to help you design with intention.)
During this project, I remember testing almost 20 different shades of robins egg blue before discovering the perfect paint color for her custom cabinets. I also remember spending hours selecting the perfect shade of 'butter' for her walls in the main living area and then sitting on scaffolding for hours examining how the light affected the swatches during the 'witching' hours to make sure that color didn't turn dingy and dirty. (The life of an interior designer is so glamorous darling - lol)!!
Step 5: Don't let a builder, in-house "design consultant" or next door neighbor drive your style or influence your decisions! I've found over and over again that most people don't know or understand their unique style so they are led all over the place and then eventually feel pressured to 'buy what's in front of them.' How sad! I have heard so many stories of design disasters as a result of this (which is actually a large part of my business). So, please don't let this happen to you! You have a style as unique and tasteful as you are and my specialty is listening to my clients and then helping them interpret and define their style in a way that tells their story beautifully!
Successful design includes many variables (details) that all need to work together in a beautiful, cohesive way that tells your beautiful story (the big picture), which is why one decision affects all the others. These variables all affect which finishes will work in your space. Finishes, such as granite, wood, marble, tile (etc...etc...) are a combination of color, pattern and texture and therefore play a valuable role in the developing the overall feel of a space.
Are you getting ready to begin a new construction or design project and need help making smart design decisions? I can help you as much or as little as you need. We all have a little fixer upper in us - but few of us have the years of experience or free time needed to research and pull it all together without making costly DIY design mistakes. That's why I"m here to help you get it right.
I do design differently! I offer a complimentary 15 minute design discovery phone call where I'll listen to your wants and needs and share with you what I've learned as an award winning interior designer over the past 20 years to help you avoid typical design mistakes. Then, if it will serve you, I'll put together a free estimate.
Let's get the process started in the right direction by contacting me today.
Until next time...many blessings (Numbers 6: 24-26),
Have you benefited from this 'makeover' story? There are no easy answers for problem projects, only lost opportunities for prevention.
Do you need help with design discovery, design development or design planning?
If you are dreaming of a new home or renovated space within the next year, contact me today. Otherwise, join over 300 other design enthusiasts by signing up for my 'homiletics for the home' interior design club below & you'll receive mostly monthly emails filled with inspiring ideas, encouraging stories, worksheets and real life interior design stories - then make the world more beautiful by sharing this post with your tribe! Thank you!
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About this blog...
I began writing this blog in May 2016 after discovering that my mother always wanted to be a writer. She had Alzheimer's disease and never realized her dream. Sometimes in our deepest grief we are motivated to encourage others to fearlessly be themselves so that their gifts and stories are shared. I mean, how else can we change the world?. So I began to record the things that reflect who I am and what is important to me, because one day my memories too, may be gone and what would that mean to the people God gave me to care for and the good works He gave me to do? So, here is where I share the important stuff so that you can learn real design, not decorator tricks, but fundamental and salient concepts to apply so that you can create your own exemplary home and so that my family and I can remember the life we lived and created here in our home, our sacred place. Because my work is important, this is also where I share my favorite design projects and how good design enhanced their lives as well. I hope you're inspired and encouraged as I share my memories, my work, my mission & my life. Hugs & blessings, (Numbers 6: 24-26)