What your designer is dying to know before your renovation . . .
We use the word ‘intuitive’ in our firm description very deliberately. I believe there is an instinct in what we do as designers; in knowing exactly what a space, a client, a custom piece needs. That said, we aren’t mind-readers. Here are a few things you should definitely share with your designer to ensure a successful renovation.
If you are planning to renovate in phases, it is very important to share that information. Your designer can help you establish a master plan and recommend the order to undertake the changes. Once, after gut renovating three floors of a house in Playter Estates, my clients told me they would also like to do their 2nd floor guest bathroom. It had a unique layout with a sink in an anteroom that led to a full bathroom beyond. Because we had just finished renovating the room below, we were stuck with the existing drain locations. While I am very happy with how the space turned out, if I had known about this room ahead of time, we would have relocated the toilet stack while we were working on the floor below.
Your plans for the future are also important to discuss. If you only intend to be in the house for a few years, resale value will play a vital role in decision-making. For this home in the Beaches, we knew from the outset that our clients intended to move on within five years. With that in mind, we stuck to a clean and minimal design, avoiding anything too personalized or trendy, and kept a careful eye on the budget. Our changes were so effective that the clients were able to move up the real estate ladder more quickly than expected and sold within the year - for $335,000 more than they had paid.
At our initial consults, potential clients are always apologising for the state of their homes, “Don’t mind the toys.” “Sorry, we can’t fit anymore in that closet. I’ll just hang your coat here.” But we really don’t mind. A clear idea of how you are living informs the design process. Don’t try to gloss over the issues you need resolved in your home. For this family of four in Summerhill, the parents wanted an elevated space, but they were also very realistic about their desperate need for more toy storage. Because we knew this, we incorporated an upholstered bench and wall-to-wall custom bookshelves to provide ample hiding spaces to keep things tidy.
I will never understand when a potential client will not disclose their budget. I think there is a fear that we will set out to spend all of it – and then some! (I always picture this nefarious designer twirling the ends of her mustache and laughing “mwahahahaha.”) Budgets are a reality and we are here to help. This project in Lawrence Park hit snag after snag as we uncovered the inherited issues of a previous renovation. Our budget was stretched thin, so rather than use a pricy wallcovering in the powder room, we swapped it out for a chic metallic paint. Nobody would know that wasn’t the original design.