Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Small Kitchen Design Update, Old World Plaster Faux Finish, Mission Organization

We have been so lucky this winter on the East End of Long Island. The weather has been so mild, but I can't wait until Spring is here! When the outside temperature hits about 58 degrees, it's Ok to start using paint on the exterior of your home or in my case, barn, where my design studio is located. I have to do the trim and doors.

The Small kitchen design project is coming along. I had a teleconference with my client to review the Lighting Design & Electrical Plan. All of these items need to be discussed and planned ahead of time: location of light switches, overhead lighting, under cabinet lighting, over cabinet lighting (uplights), location of electrical outlets above counter and splashboard height, appliance location, future appliance or media requirements. Although, my client is a master electrician, it's still necessary to review the lighting design and electrical plan. The expertise an interior designer brings to a project is not only aesthetic, but technical as well. Analyzing my clients' needs, goals, life and safety requirements come into factor on every job.

So, if you are re-doing your kitchen yourself, remember- You are the Project Manager. Watch and review multiple times all of the plans and verify that communications are clear and understood....and then do it again in the concept and planning stages. Prepare or have your contractor prepare a written detailed statement of work ( scope of work). Review it with each participant to make sure that it is properly coordinated and all parties involved sign up to their responsibilities. And then ask more questions. Even if you have a contractor, architect, cabin maker or buying from Home Depot, Lowe's, mistakes can be and in fact, often are made. Have measurements double-triple checked, confirm electrical outlets are at proper heights, switches are in designated locations. Ask your contractor if a measurement is wrong and you are short a cabinet or that long awaited pantry is not the 6 foot walk-in, but a 4 foot squeeze-in, who is financially responsible to correct the mistake? Get in in writing. This is not to grill anyone, but to ensure that the project is successful for all parties.

Old World Plaster Faux Finish
Here is a sample of the faux finish I will be using for the bathroom in my Design Studio. I have decided to do an old world Tuscan faux finish in Italian Sienna (left). The room is quite small with 10 ft. ceilings, so, I will be doing my creative best to make it feel more spacious. Instead of taking photos when its finished, I will be adding step by step progress photos to help you with your own project.

Mission Organization

Several of my projects this time of year have to do re-locating existing furnishings (Room Re-Design) and getting organized. For some people, tasks involving alot of clutter, a long list of "To Do's" or relocating heavy furniture, seems daunting, overwhelming and sometimes easy to avoid ( a-a-h....enter procrastination). But then, somehow, little by little, a nagging thought nibbles away at one's quality of life. For example, a client of mine needs to set up a music studio in a spare room, but, through the years, the spare room has been a catch-all for the treadmill that needs a minor repair and a make-shift library of a book collection gone haywire.

That 800 lb gorrilla in the room, we are trying to ignore can use up alot of energy! Instead of having procrastination zap your energy ( an yes....it does!), focus on the goal you want to achieve; write it down and then write out the action steps needed to acheive the goal. So, break the goal into say, 10 action steps ( or whatever you need) and break the 1st step into 10 tasks. This may sound so easy, but applying it to a real, concrete situation or circumstance that is preventing you from enjoying your home or your life, is easier said than done. Last, but not, least, set a timeframe to complete each task. To get started, make a commitment to do at least one thing that will bring you closer to your goal on a daily basis or weekly basis. This will make you feel empowered; fulfiling your own needs becomes a priority and the task will seem less daunting as you make progress. Take the time to plan. You are worth it!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Faux Finishing Design Studio, Designing a Kitchen

Welcome fellow women entrepreneurs, decorators, designers, artists, shoppers and lovers of the home! I am so excited to finally start my own blog. I am a decorator, decorative painter, interior designer, business woman and entrepreneur and occasional fashionista.

I am in the final stages of construction of my design & decorative painting studio located on the North Fork, Long Island Wine Country. Surrounded by farms, vineyards and little villages, it is a very inspirational place. I decided on an old world Tuscan faux finish for the bathroom walls and will post pictures when its done! The final punch list includes lighting, studio sink & countertop, window treatments, bathroom vanity & hardware, rug, and bookcase selection.

Last week, I attended the New York Gift & Home Furnishings show at Jacob Javits center in Manhattan. I did not see many new items in home decor, but, I was able to find a new line and a new product I never tried before- Spring & Summer Handbags and I located a new supplier for fashion jewelery line as I was walking through the streets of Manhattan.

What I did see at the Javits show were many beautiful bedding and linen lines. They were gorgeous, but, also so extraordinarily expense--at wholesale. I had to double-take the price tags a couple of times. Therefore, my search continues to find affordable bedding to add to my suppliers. I love Taylor Linens. The sentimental embroidery shams and pillows are my favorites.

Quality is very important to me, but, so is an affordable price. When I select an item, I have to love the it, whether I carry it in the online store, recommend it for a design client or buy it for myself. I am always looking at a product for its value---something that is practical, functional and feels like a luxury when used or when wearing it. Because the bottom line is not, how much you spend, but, how you feel in it or how you feel when you have the item in your home. That includes how you feel in a room or in your own home--do you feel like, "A-a-h, I've arrived to my sanctuary", or my palace, or my safe-haven, or my nest. If not, you need to re-work that room. And remember, one room at a time, or you will lose sleep over it! It's a pleasant journey we're going for, folks!

Yesterday, I began space planning for a very small kitchen for a client of mine. Planning is very important for -everything--- but, especially small kitchens--space is a premium.

Before you get seduced by the features of a kitchen--granite countertops, six-range gas stove, the latest in ventilation hoods, ceramic tiles or plank flooring--and there is so much out there--you need to think about it's functionality.

Make a list of daily activities in your kitchen for a week and what you put away. What do you do in the kitchen? What do other family members do in the kitchen? Did you have to go to another room to get something? When you have company over, do they get in the way when you are doing the final preparations of the meal? Is your linen drawer stuffed to the max? Can you find your favorite knife, where is the strainer?

We use our kitchens daily and thinking you will cover all that you know by memory alone is a mistake waiting to happen. You will then live with the 'mistake' until you can afford to do another makeover or sell the house.

Also, remember the future re-sale value of your home. Will future prospects tolerate placement of the range at the kitchen window or are they expecting the sink at that location? Where do you keep the broom, vacuum cleaner, paper goods supplies, etc? How big should your pantry be or how efficient in planning to utilize the space by investing in the latest inserts available in the market today?

Well, I have to get back to the drafting table and complete the kitchen cabinets elevation view-Suzy