Most of us love a good DIY project every now and then.  I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of planning a project and seeing it through to the end?  And then there’s the added bonus of saving a little money.  But lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of Design-It-Yourself’ers that they’re disappointed in the way their remodels are turning out.  As I listen to their concerns, one common thread stands out loud and clear.  The biggest mistake they’re making is not communicating EXACTLY what they want to the people who are helping them. 

Being over-the-moon excited with your finished design project is what you dream of.  The vision you have in your head is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the dust and drilling is getting on your last nerve.  But unless you get that vision out of your head and onto paper, you might be headed for disappointment.  No one can read your mind, so communication is the key to your project’s success.

Somehow, in the rush of our crazy lives, the small details seem to get lost in the shuffle.  We assume  “they should know that”.  But they don’t.  Everyone working for you has their own idea of how something should be installed.   It might be standard in their industry, but not how you want it to look.

Here are just a few of those little details you need to consider:

 1. The height of your shower head.  Where do you want it?  Be sure to tell your plumber or contractor.

2.  The height of the tile in your shower.  Do you want it to go to the ceiling?  Is there crown molding?

3.  Garbage disposer…Do you want it on the small bowl side or the large?  On the left bowl or the right?  There is no right or wrong answer here, but you need to communicate this with the plumber.  If you think about how you like to work at your sink, and plan accordingly, incorrect installations won’t happen.

4.  Counter top overhang.  Standard is 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″.  Make that clear with your counter top people.  Check it for consistency once it’s installed.  In my own kitchen, the first installation had different overhangs all around the island and had to be re-done.

5.  How high do you want your window treatments hung?  To the ceiling?  To the top of your trim?  Somewhere in between?  You need to decide this before they’re constructed and then communicate this to the installer.

6.  Placement of pendant lights.  Size of the pendants and size of the island usually determine how far apart they should be.  Your installer may have a different opinion than you do, so make it clear ahead of time.  Also, ceiling beams or joists may throw a wrench into the plan.  Keeping an open line of communication with your installers and contractor will make these last minute changes less stressful.

7.  Exact placement of mirrors and vanity lights.  This is determined by ceiling height, backsplash height, size of the lights, etc.  Plan and ahead and then communicate this plan to everyone involved, especially if you can’t be there when they’re installed.

To avoid miscommunication on your design project:

  • Ask a lot questions about the little details so you know what to expect.
  • Understand that, if the details aren’t spelled out in advance, you’ll get calls for last minute decisions.  If you’re not available to answer, something might get installed where you don’t want it.
  • Plan out every detail of your project before construction begins and make sure your contractor and subs are on board.
  • Arrange to have daily or weekly updates on progress.
  • Hire an interior designer to handle these details for you.  A designer will make sure they’re installed according to your vision.

Always remember that how well you communicate your design vision determines how happy you’ll be in the end.  And that’s exactly what everyone wants for you!

If you’re finally ready to begin your own home makeover, contact us today to schedule a Design Success call and get your project started in the right direction .  Info@RandiDestefano.com  


5 Remodeling Fears That Keep Your Dreams on Hold

remodeling fears

Do you ever find yourself dreaming of what life would be like when you finally have that new kitchen or bathroom?   You see visions of the perfect dinner party with everyone laughing and happy in your organized kitchen.   Or maybe you dream of how relaxed you’ll feel when you soak in your new bathtub after a long day at work. 

And then…..the remodeling fears set in, you’re stopped dead in your tracks, and your dreams are placed on hold.

So many of my clients have heard horror stories about remodels gone bad.  Once you hear one bad story, they seem to pop up everywhere.   Has that ever happened to you?   After listening to these stories over and over, I’ve discovered that there are 5 remodeling fears that keep your dreams on hold.   But I know it doesn’t have to be that way.   There’s a way to avoid the nightmare and send you down the path to your dream kitchen or bath.

Fear #1 – Making Costly Mistakes
We’re all afraid of making a mistake, especially when it costs us money. And because of this we often second guess our decisions.  The solution to this is to begin with a plan and stick to the plan.  Do your research on all the products you’ll need in your new space.  Check the dimensions so you know that things will fit.   And consult with an interior designer to guide you through the process and give you professional advice.

Fear #2 – Having it take longer than expected
When you’re interviewing a contractor, be sure to get an approximate finish date that matches your expectations.  One way to avoid construction delays is to have all of your products ordered and stored before your room is demolished.  Then, if items are back ordered, you won’t be left hanging until it arrives.

Fear #3 – That it will cost more than was budgeted
Keeping a budget spreadsheet that you continually update is one way to avoid this fear.  It also lets you see where you can blow it to buy that “gotta have” item.  And where you can save on something that isn’t as important to you.  But things happen, and you need to be prepared for it. So I always recommend having a cushion of 5-10% for those unexpected issues.

Fear #4 – Unexpected surprises behind the walls
This fear always goes hand in hand with remodeling fear #2 and 3, because surprises behind the wall can affect the budget and the construction time. Unfortunately, as much as your designer and contractor plan for the perfect project, without tearing a wall open to peek inside, there’s no way to plan for it.   It’s always a good idea to have a Discovery meeting just before starting. Then the contractor can cut open the soffit to look for venting or other obstacles.

Fear #5 – Hiring the right people
When you do your homework by asking your friends, neighbors, and family for referrals, you’ll be headed in the right direction.  Hiring a contractor, builder, or interior designer should be more than just a cost comparison of fees and mark-ups.  What is the experience they bring to the table?  Be sure that whoever you hire is someone whose personality works with yours.  Since you’ll be working closely with them for an extended period of time you need to like and respect each other.

By following these guidelines, you should be ready to take your dreams off hold, set aside your remodeling fears, and finally have the kitchen or bathroom that you’ve always wanted.