What Are The Components of Contemporary Design?

Have you ever looked at a photo of a room, knew it was contemporary, but not been able to put your finger on what makes it so? Below are some of the rules of thumb of contemporary design.
1) Contemporary design has a horizontal feel. Furniture is low backed; even barstools won’t show over the counter top. It has clean lines including the foam in the furniture which is hard to maintain those straight lines. This can make it uncomfortable to sit on but furniture manufacturers are making an effort to improve it.
2) Casegoods, including book cases and shelving are built-in, not pieces of furniture.
3) Flooring is usually hardwood with area rug accents.
4) Windows have only blinds or a simple drape, any valances or top treatments or non existent.
5) Simplicity is key, there are few accessories and they may have a sculptural shape.
6) Colors are neutral, although some interiors will have colored accents or art. Interest is created with texture.
As designers we have access to a wealth of contemporary furniture sources.

For more info. call Gina at 719-593-7771

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Painting Your Home

Nothing changes the mood of your home more drastically than paint. It’s the combination of colors that set your house apart, whether you’re going for drama or zen color is the key. Anyone who had ever chosen their own paint knows it isn’t always easy. The color on the paper isn’t always the actual paint color when it is on the wall.

The most difficult colors to choose are blues and neutrals. Blue if used incorrectly can look like a baby boy’s room. All neutrals have tints of yellow, beige, green or other colors that aren’t always noticeable until it is too late. An hour or two of a professional’s time can prevent problems and save time and money.

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Imprinted Shades for Businesses

A good solution for office windows are screen shades.  The screen type roller shades are now available imprinted with your logo or other advertising information.

If your office or retail space needs blinds why not take advantage of those surfaces to let the public know who you are?  Screen shades reduce glare while still allowing you to see the view. They are low maintenance and come in a variety of colors. The amount of light that comes in depends on the weave that you choose.

Call for more information in Colorado Springs at 719-593-7771

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How Do Interior Designers Charge?

There are four ways in which interior designers generally charge for their services.

The first is a flat fee. It is becoming more common for interior designers to charge a flat fee covering the cost of the entire jobs design time but I think this approach is dangerous for both the client and the designer.  If it is a ballpark figure to give you an idea of the cost that’s fine, but a fixed fee would have to be quoted extremely high to cover what COULD potentially happen– and that is not really fair to the client. On the other hand; if the fee is too low the designer ends up working for nothing– and that isn’t right either.  There are just too many variables to lock into a fixed rate.  If I put together a design and you love it at first sight, it will take far fewer hours than if we have multiple iterations. Most projects turn out to be larger than predicted and the scope of work almost always expands.

The second method is an hourly fee for design time.  Designer’s hourly fees have a broad range. In the Colorado Springs area I know of designers who charge anywhere from $50.00 an hour to $130.00, however these prices are much lower than in a larger city such as Denver. Some of the qualities to look for in these prices are the designer’s experience, whether they are an ASID accredited professional, and their rapport with you.

Another way of billing is straight retail. There will be no design fee but you will buy all goods from the designer for full retail cost. I heard the story of clients who bought a sofa they liked and the designer made them take it back and buy one through her!  It was in the contract, if she would have been paid for her services it would not have been an issue.

The last is some combination of an hourly fee and a discount on purchases; this is probably the most common today.  I favor this because the client can choose to buy through the designer or anywhere else they’d like.  The designer is being paid for their expertise and everyone is happy.

There is a perception that designers will rip you off. Not true. I know many designers and 95% of them are doing their best to provide you with the great service and the best finished product possible. They work many hours more than they charge on your project and they care that you are happy at the end of the job. Designers don’t get the same discounts as big box stores do and may not be able to offer you as low a price but they will stand behind products they sell and be there to take care of problems.  Designers also have access to products not otherwise available to you, if you are looking for something unique they can find it for you.

If you make the decision to do your project on your own and make one mistake; such as buying the wrong size piece of furniture, in all probability you could have saved money by hiring the designer in the first place. Designers provide you with experience, resources and subcontractors you can count on to do good work; they can change your home from good to great.

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Step 6. Finishing Up, Cobbler’s kid finally get her shoes

It is soooo beautiful, the granite is amazing, everything is sparkling under the new lights, the hardware is perfect, the sink light is a little jewel (my bit of whimsy).  I t is warmer in the house with the new windows and door, everything is much lighter and larger.

I love it!!

Five and a half weeks of not cooking, it might be a record as far as remodels go.  It went very quickly and yes, it was worth it.   Before and after photos to follow….

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Step Five – The Cobbler’s work for their shoes

Work in progress. If you think that this would be a terrific time to go on vacation, think again. You need to be there to answer questions about how you want things to function and look.  I cringe to think how differently from my vision things would be if I wasn’t here.  The electrician wanted to know where I wanted the lights placed, to confer with me when where I wanted my nice backsplash tile to go interfered with code requirements.   Some cabinets were installed in the wrong place but we were able to straighten it all out– because I was there.  The workmanship might be just fine but not at all the way you imagined.   Everyone working here is doing a great job but there isn’t necessarily a steady stream of progress, some days no one comes…

Frustration, impatience, tension between people.

Glimmers of light, progress, new pieces emerge.  It seems so close but yet so far to a finished product.

It has now been three and a half weeks since I have been able to cook.  My dogs are no longer any good for guarding; they think it’s okay for anyone to come in our house.

There is a layer of construction dust throughout the entire house.  I am not as friendly as I use to be.

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Cobbler’s Kids 4. Planning how you will live through it

Living through it…

I am currently in this phase.  Once I established the scope of the work that needed to be done, I had to decide what part of the labor, if any, Jon and I would do ourselves. I opted to scrape the popcorn texture off my family room ceiling myself. I am extending the footprint of the kitchen that direction and wanted the ceiling to look the same in both rooms as they will appear more as one room now.   Jon removed the old cabinets and is hauling them off. I will remove the old wallpaper and paint the walls.

I started packing up boxes of kitchen stuff early on. The items we rarely use were easy to get out of the way.  Our dining room is now a warehouse of packed boxes.  Our living room now holds the family room furniture as well as the living room stuff.  The refrig is now the focal point in our entry and the family room is completely covered in plastic.   Our microwave is perched on old cabinets in the upstairs hallway and the bathroom counter is the coffee station/dish-washing area.   I called friends ahead of time and let them know I needed them to invite me over for dinner, they have been great and the invitations have been rolling in.  I cooked and froze dinners that I could microwave and my neighbors said I could use their range anytime.

Make sure you stock up on alcoholic beverages, you’re going to need them!

When I get my new kitchen all my friends will be invited for a spectacular meal to repay their kindness.

Cooking of any kind is a challenge. We have been without a range for a week now.  To make a cup of coffee we need to find the cup and coffee, go downstairs to get the creamer out of the frig,  go upstairs to the bathroom to heat the water.   I’m keeping a knife and spoon in the frig. so I can find them to butter bread, etc.

I estimated that I wouldn’t be able to cook for three weeks; everyone thinks I am very optimistic; some people go a full two months without appliances.  No kidding.

I am the one coordinating the subcontractors coming in.  As soon as I was done scraping the ceiling the electrician came in to install recessed can lighting.   Schedule workers as far ahead of time as you can, so you can get them when you need them.  This will not solve the schedule problem but it will help.  There are always subs who don’t come when they said they would for a variety of reasons: they’re not through with the last job, they’re sick, car broke down, bad hair day…  and these are the good subs– not the ones who don’t show up because of drugs or alcohol.   Some excuses are legitimate, some not, but while you are kitchen-less it’s hard to understand.

Know ahead of time this will happen and open that first bottle of wine.

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Cobbler’s Kid – Step 3

There will be more selections to make than you ever thought possible. Flooring, baseboards, the inside and outside of the cabinets, type of countertop, backsplash tile, hardware, faucets, appliances, lighting, colors. This will take many long hours of your time. Your team can help you by gathering samples and bringing them to you, suggesting places for you to check things out, or going with you to sort through choices. It is up to you how much you want to undertake on your own. For my project I visited three shops for the granite counter alone and four for my tile.
Let me give you an example.  As a designer I don’t help with the selection of doors or windows, so when I went trotting down to Home Depot to order my own I was in for the surprise of my life! We had already replaced some of our old windows with Anderson so we were going to continue with that brand. Our current windows are not standard sizes, apparently only our part of town used these windows thirty years ago when the houses were built. There were no windows or doors that would fit into the openings we currently have, but that was only the beginning. Here are some of the questions I was asked:
1) What color do you want the door on the exterior? interior is another color (interior window hardware did not match interior door hardware)
2) What kind of glass do you want? there were four or five types
3) Need to choose your door hardware, there are at least nine choices, available in many colors
4) What type of window? casement, awning, slider etc.
5) Not kidding, what type of screen!
6) Door lock outside?
7) Do you need a threshold?

This little project took three trips to order two windows and one door– and I still somehow ended up with a window that was not what I wanted.  Too late, I’m not sending it back! Then the order came in two weeks later than scheduled and set back progress we could have been making in other areas.

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Cobbler’s Kid Get Shoes (cont.) – Find Your Design Team

You will need a general contractor and an interior designer to have the best design possible.
Why you need a contractor.
1) The contractor will pull your permits
2) He or she will know what you can and can not do structurally and according to code
3) He or she will schedule the workers and use subcontractors who are skillful and reliable.
A note here. Things will never take place according to the schedule, you CAN count on that. Try not to think of it as a time line in which events take place but an order in which they ‘sometimes’ happen.

Why you need a designer
1) A designer looks at the big picture. How are all these pieces that you are choosing going to look together? What style and mood are you trying to create? A contractor will most  likely give you a blank stare when you tell him you want “country french” or “metro” style.

2) Designers look at the small details.
It does matter how much storage space there is and it matters what type of hardware you put on the cabinets, details make the room.

3) A designer can come up with alternatives when what you really wanted is not possible in your budget.

4) Designers come with their own trusted contractors.

5) It is beneficial to you to hire a designer that is not affiliated with the contractor. If the designer is hired by you they will be a watchdog for you if they see work being done that isn’t up to snuff.

With both the contractor and the designer you will have someone to help you figure out the cost of the project and help walk you through it.

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A Kitchen Remodel or A Cobbler’s Kid Get Shoes

Let me give you a little background first. I am a designer who is remodeling her own kitchen as I am writing this. I work out of my home in Colorado Springs. Although I have designed many kitchens for clients I have never redone my own. This is the story of that process and should be a great guide for you if you are considering remodeling your own kitchen.
A kitchen remodel could be used as a test of your emotional and psychological well being. It will test your marriage, it is a challenge of your ability to live in chaos, to live with strangers freely going in and out of your home, to scavenge for food. It is not for the faint hearted.

The first step in the process is to determine what it is you want to accomplish in gutting your kitchen. In my case it was the following:

1) It’s embarrassing me. Occasionally I have clients come to my home for meetings. I think they expect your house to look, well, “designery.” I have actually had one say to me ” you need to do your kitchen.” It’s not that I didn’t KNOW I needed to remodel it but I don’t have the same income level that most my clients have, it just wasn’t in the cards.

2) It is a one-butt kitchen.
Jon and I both like to cook. We USE our kitchen. Most of the rooms in my house are a nice size, but the kitchen is a postage stamp.  Jon doesn’t share well, he likes to be alone when cooking and gets irritated when he has to share the small space. Although the two of us get along perfectly in any other room of our home in the kitchen he seems to loom threateningly over me, we need more room to maneuver.

3) It’s what I call “early ugly” style.
Our house is thirty years old. The oak cabinets and white (yes, I said white) laminate counter tops are dated and no amount of scrubbing makes the kitchen look clean.

4) I deserve it.
It took me a long time to figure out how to expand my space, I had to come to the conclusion that the nook table would have to go and I would have a bar in it’s place, that was the only way to make the room larger without blowing out an exterior wall, I was not willing to go that far.
It is a great help when working with your design team to cut photos of what you like out of magazines or to do some preliminary shopping in order to know what you like and want ahead of time. Make lists of what you absolutely must have, and what you would like if you have the funds to add it in. Everything will cost at least twice as much as you think it will. Try to have a budget number in mind when you meet with your team, they may tell you what you have in mind is not reasonable within your budget but it is good to find this out early in the game. It could be that a total remodel is not for you and a refacing of your existing cabinets with a new counter top will suffice.

Stay tuned…

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