3 Reasons Why You Might Want a Designer's Assist

Let us get 1 thing out of the way right now: You do not have to be rich to work with a designer. In fact, working with the perfect professional can actually help you save money, stress and time, and may stop more than a couple DIY disasters. I am not saying that we could all manage the fabulous Martyn Bullard (since we can’t), however there are lots of fantastic designers who are delighted to work with individuals within an affordable, per-project basis — selecting paint colours, finding the ideal window coverings and so on.

Interior design today is all about creative cooperation. Gone are the times of designers coming in and implementing their aesthetic on everyone at any price — unless you need that, of course. The most gorgeous homes frequently are a direct manifestation of a great client-designer relationship — one which you could have, too.

Charlie Barnett Associates

Why and How to Collaborate With a Designer

1. You have the vision but just can’t seem to pull it all together. Sometimes you know what you want, but you do not understand how to get it. For many homeowners, picking out a nice sofa is not the problem; it’s hoping to pair that sofa with a rug. Maybe you have all of the base pieces set up, however your living area lacks personality or warmth. Maybe you want an integrated breakfast nook but have no idea whom you need to call or how to arrive.

I have had multiple customers tell me how ashamed they are that despite spending hundreds of bucks and trying over and over again they can’t obtain their rooms to appear the way they want. The truth is, not everyone is a style expert; just like I wouldn’t ever try to do operation, not everyone should construct a bookcase.

Design truth: There’s no right or wrong way to look for a home where lifestyle and functional needs are met. There are merely different interpretations of objects and space and how they relate to one another.

Reiko Feng Shui Design

2. You are in the breaking point and require help with a new beginning. Several years ago I needed a late-night powwow with a customer and her husband. Matters had been tense, so I requested the husband to voice his concerns. He said, “I truly don’t mind that we’re working with a designer, but what I do mind is spending a lot of money on more stuff that we’re probably going to end up replacing following year.”

This was a moment of ephiphany. His wife, in her well-meaning attempts to make the home of her dreams, had invested a good deal of money on stuff that didn’t fit the space, eventually boxing up it and buying more stuff. All her husband watched was money flowing out, rather than relaxation coming in.

Often, by the time individuals have called at a designer, they have given it their best shot (many times over), and a person at the house is at the breaking point. Regrettably, not everything that’s been bought should remain. You might want to clean the decks a little to build a better base for the space. If you aren’t eager to part with specific pieces, make sure to let your designer understand up front.

Design truth: It shouldn’t be a designer’s way or the highway. Layout is a collaborative process where a designer honestly tells you what works and what does not to make the space of your dreams.

Emily A. Clark

3. You’re ready to get what you want. Above all, interior design is a service-oriented profession — the customer’s satisfaction is the main aim. These tips may help you have a positive and productive encounter with a designer:Have a general idea of what you want to spend, including designer fees. Remember that it does not all need to happen at once (you can decorate in phases), but be realistic about what you’re willing to devote a whole lot on (a sofa, a new mattress) and what matters are less durable (throw pillows). A designer can help you understand if you are on target or will need to expand your vision. Figure out what you are willing to part with and what absolutely must remain. Consider which things will really work in a refreshed space and do your best to be receptive to ideas. If you have a partner, make sure you’re both on precisely the same page in regards to everything you’re looking for. A designer will help alleviate compromise and illustrate points, but probably won’t be able to solve profound domestic disputes. Respect each other. A designer’s “product” is your ability and expertise he or she brings to every project. The way a space is staged along with the positioning of objects is a concrete manifestation of a designer’s worth. Request your designer about his or her conclusions. You bring precious viewpoints to a project which can make it all come together. A climate of mutual respect can go miles toward a positive relationship.

Coveted Home

Remember, a designer’s chief goal is to transform your space into a awareness of your own likes, wants and requirements. But most designers are only as good as you allow them to be. Honesty, open communication, trust and a willingness to stretch your creativity are the keys to making the most of a client-designer relationship.

More: Use the directory to find a designer near you

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Converted Garage Tackled in Remodel

Dallas homeowners Ken and Sandra Prater started remodeling their 1940s ranch 24 decades back. When we purchased the house, we purchased the approximately half-acre lot. At the moment, I was working for an architectural firm and brought my colleagues over, however they did not see my vision. It had great bones and I understood it,” Sandra says. Together with the support of architect David Dillard of D2 Architecture,the couple began tackling their renovation priorities, starting with surrounding the garage. They converted the space into a family room, then tackled the kitchen. The kitchen was in desperate need of a makeover using its first 1940s linoleum floors and a built-in banquette typically found at a diner.

Following the remodeling changes, Sandra, an interior designer at SHP Interiors, layered within her vintage collections with everything from figurines, plates, prints, furniture and other flea market or property sale treasures.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Ken and Sandra Prater; puppies Molly, Britta and Hank
Location: Dallas
Size: 4,500 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
That is interesting: Once their 3 sons left home, Ken and Sandra awakened the sports court at the backyard and place into a pool, and a hot tub and a fire pit.

Katherine Robertson Photography

In the circular driveway you see the front porch and the extra fireplace and accent windows to what was once the garage entrance. Ken and Sandra first enclosed the garage, then raised the floor to make it flow together with the house, not appear to be a garage conversion. They were then confronted with the challenge of what to do with the garage door beam from the new family room. “We needed to bring in a special pier driller due to our specimen tree in the front yard,” Sandra says.

Katherine Robertson Photography

You’d never understand this space was once a garage. The TV and other media components are neatly hidden in a built-in cabinet to the right of the fireplace. Tall, decorative windows conceal what was when the roof over the garage door. The family room includes a custom made sofa, a classic cabinet and a lot of seats.

Katherine Robertson Photography

Another view of the previous garage space. The sofa and chairs are custom made and most of the other bits are antiques found at estate sales and flea markets like Marburger Farm Antique Show at Round Top, Texas. The majority of the lamps at the house are constructed of found objects that Sandra locates while looking for customers.

Painting: Kyle Ragsdale

Katherine Robertson Photography

A step up from the den is the breakfast area. French doors on the other side of the breakfast table lead right to the backyard, and a frosted door contributes to the utility space using the word usefulness pointing the way.

Katherine Robertson Photography

The remodeled kitchen includes honed granite countertops, a commercial range and tons of cabinets. The breakfast area, laundry room and double French doors resulting in the patio and pool would be to the left. The cabinets were painted from white to a pale-gray color. The island is a classic find, and it functions as a work area, storage, and a gathering place for the family. Industrial-style containers hold serving pieces to its many parties and functions Sandra hosts.

Range: Thermador; kitchen cabinets: Gray Owl, Benjamin Moore; light: Visual Comfort

Katherine Robertson Photography

This space was originally the living space, and the two doors flanking the fireplace were inserted during the garage renovation. Comfortable upholstered seats with nail heads and the fireplace supply an inviting gathering area.

Katherine Robertson Photography

The cathedral ceiling in the master bedroom was recently covered with timber slats, as well as the beams to incorporate the timber detailing. Sandra kept the color palette neutral to make it simple to swap out seasonal mattress linens. A group of framed vintage prints hangs over the mattress.

Katherine Robertson Photography

This little sitting room off the master bedroom generates an inviting retreat with views of the backyard pool and fire pit. The framed botanical prints across the windows are from Marshalls, and most of the other bits are antiques. Sandra recently included a brand new chandelier to finish out the space and says,”That is my refuge, my escape.”

Katherine Robertson Photography

The master bath includes flooring with black accents and hers and his cabinets. Sandra says,”My next project in the works is to redo the master bath. I want to devote a freestanding bathtub that is a bit longer because l’m 6 ft tall.”

An antique dresser holds clothing and exhibits her collection of store perfumes and jewelry. Sandra says,”Everything should have other functions. Never plan on a specific piece for a specific location. Ken says to me,’Things always proceed in this house!'”

Katherine Robertson Photography

This bedroom was at first a nursery for each of the couple’s sons and today is a comfy and inviting guest space.

Katherine Robertson Photography

The guest bathroom comes with a green, botanical color scheme as well as a custom made cabinet, using a gray marble counter tops and stainless steel sink. The Schumacher grass-cloth wallpaper ties in with all the green color scheme, and Sandra added maple colored wood accessories to complement it. The bathroom also includes Sandra’s collection of of majolica plates and botanical prints.

Katherine Robertson Photography

The stairway wall has been covered in framed artwork, which Sandra plans to keep on adding to till it reaches the ceiling. The artwork is thoughtfully selected in neutral colors and paired with black, silver and golden frames. The breezeway resulting in the stairs was originally the dining room. The stairs lead to the second story, which was inserted to the house after a decade or so.

Wall paint: Wool Skein, Sherwin-Williams

Katherine Robertson Photography

Upstairs, this second living area was largely employed by Sandra’s sons when they were growing up for relaxing and doing homework. A group of vintage and found artwork from flea markets hangs on the rear wall. Sandra provides this information to other homeowners,”Hire a designer that captures your personality and not theirs.”

Sofa: Quatrine; coffee table: Wisteria; prints: folk art from Santa Fe, New Mexico; pillows: Pine Cone Hill

Katherine Robertson Photography

Another view of the upstairs living area. Chalkboard 4-by-8-foot sheets cover the walls above the wainscoting. They’ve been there because her sons were young, and several of the scribbles are years old.

Read countless inspiring homes

More:
More Living Space: Fixing a Toilet
Cozy Combination of Antiques and Art
Open and Cozy Family Space

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Contemporary and Colorful in Portland

After nearly two years of living in a 100-year-old, four-story Craftsman at Northeast Portland, J.S. and Robin May have been searching for something new. Their older daughter had left for college, and their younger daughter was not too far behind. Ready to give up the maintenance of their 5,000-square-foot home, the Mays wanted to downsize. “Our previous house had an exorbitant amount of repairs,” says J.S.”We didn’t want another project.”

That’s not to say there was not a substantial quantity of work in getting their new home in John’s Landing off the ground. The Mays first had to remove and recycle a small lease that stood where the present home now stands.

at a Glance
Who lives here: J.S. and Robin May
Location: Portland, Oregon
Constructed: 2005
Size: 2,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Julie Smith

The Mays had the old house dismantled and contributed into the Immunology Center of Portland. In the new house, they used just nontoxic finishes and water-based paint. They also installed photovoltaic (solar) panels on the sloping, southern-facing roof and set into a solar hot water heater. “In the summer, despite air conditioning, our electric bill isn’t greater than $8 per month,” says J.S.

Julie Smith

Whenever the Mays had to eliminate two black walnut trees out of their backyard in order to construct the new house, their contractor, David Hassin of Terrafirma Building, Inc., used the timber to create hardwood flooring for your home. The beautiful black walnut floor now crosses the entire main level.

Dining room desk: Twist

Julie Smith

The few use bold colors freely throughout the home — out of brick red in the entry to vibrant blue-green in the hallway, to a warm, buttery yellow at the living area. The walls also serve as the perfect backdrop for their extensive selection of artwork.

Interior color: Manilla from Devine Color
Artist painting: Ryan Birkland

Julie Smith

The Mays appreciated the services of architect Donna Jean Brown to create their bright and spacious space. The placement and size of this house’s many windows was strategic. “It was very important for us that we receive a good deal of light,” says Robin. Brown also designed Robin’s favorite area of the house: the window-seating location. It offers a luxurious place to unwind; the pillow heats up, which makes it almost impossible to leave.

Lamp and coffee table: Pottery Barn
Seat cushion: Far East Upholstery (503-283-2639)

Julie Smith

The couple’s exuberant personalities shine through their eclectic d├ęcor, and they knew precisely the way to fill the space below the dining area’s 13-foot-high ceilings. “These carved animal heads have hung in every dining room we have ever had,” says J.S. Robin purchased the folk artwork out of Sri Lanka for decades ago.

Julie Smith

The Mays love to entertain, and the spacious plans of this dining area and kitchen make chatting and cooking a breeze. The spacious and classy kitchen features granite countertops, alder wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances.

Cabinetry: Cascade Cabinets

Julie Smith

Brushed aluminum bar stools from Crate and Barrel assist pull together the area’s finishes, which makes a casual-modern statement.

Julie Smith

Unlike the omnipresent, speckled selection, the granite at the May’s kitchen includes a honed surface with subtle shifts in color. This gives it a much softer, more natural aesthetic quality. “We love the look of the granite and we are so thankful we weren’t talked into the normal, shiny materials,” says J.S.

Countertops: Wild West from Intrepid Marble

Julie Smith

Robin was glad she didn’t overlook the offerings at her local home improvement shop for stylish lighting. She found them at Lowe’s and they seemed exactly the same as the ones she saw at a high-end design shop. The amber-colored colors add more warmth into the room.

Julie Smith

Avid readers, the Mays turned into the landing of their next story to a bright library and workplace. An inviting chaise couch (a gift passed on to them from family), and tall bookshelves from Ikea specify the distance as the perfect place to settle in with the latest read.

Interior color: Seafoam from Devine Color

Julie Smith

The welcoming entryway leads to the living area as well as to the upper level.

Julie Smith

The homeowners used every opportunity to allow in more light, even in the master bathroom. “The windows here are shoulder-high, so we’re in a position to have sunlight streaming in without forfeiting privacy,” J.S. says.

Julie Smith

Robin handpicked every shower tile in the moments room at Pratt & Larson, and laid them out for the contractor in the order she wanted. Visiting the tile store every week and awaiting the perfect tiles to come together was an exercise in patience, but the outcome is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind mixture of color and texture.

Julie Smith

The Mays created a welcoming media room at one of the three upstairs bedrooms. The wing seat, designed by Danish designer Hans Wegner, and the color-block rug from Crate and Barrel, are perfect examples of their bold palette choices.

Julie Smith

The couple thoroughly enjoys the views in the master bedroom. Two French doors open up above their lush terrace, and on clear daysthey have an ideal view of Mt. Hood. Robin enjoys plants and flowers and in short order, she has turned the garden into a gardener’s paradise.

Julie Smith

For their next job, they’d like to substitute the patio pavers and switch out a few of the plants from the landscape. Proving that every house, even brand new ones, can always stand to use only a little fixing.

Julie Smith

J.S. and Robin May at home.

More:
Warm and Inviting Bungalow at Portland
A Cheerful Beach House for Each Season
Northwest Home Using a Mountain View

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