Archive for September, 2011

September 20, 2011

Should you hire a designer to help build your house?

by rebecca elisabeth design
The better question is, can you afford not to hire a designer? Designers work daily with vendors, contractors, architects and anyone else that works on a home.  Project by project this extensive knowledge is developed and grows, and allows designers to add value to the design/build process by looking at it from the end perspective. Remember, designers are the closest to the actual home owner, in that designers work with the finished shell in the furnishing stage of home building.  Because of this, designers know the possible pitfalls and wrong turns that could come your way as the home is being built.
A few examples of some pitfalls, I’ve personally experienced in San Diego:
  • no place for window treatments to minimize glare from western exposure
  • door swings heading in the wrong direction
  • small closets in a large home
  • doors without screens and no windows in the room
  • lack of privacy in baths from neighbors or passerby
Designers will help guide you through the process by:
  1. managing the decision-making process to minimize stress,
  2. conveying decisions to the builder,
  3. overseeing the building process,
  4. looking out for your best interests and guide you through this stressful time to ensure you get your dream home.

Consider this, creating lists and organize your project will likely take you 10 times longer than an experienced designer. Finding fixtures, fittings, appliances, furnishings, etc will take you 3-4 times as long as a designer who does this regularly. One of the problems is this, you only know of a few places to look for the things you need to specify, different showrooms show different things. You probably only know 3-5 brands.  You only have access to retail sourcing and, and, and.  If you do this yourself, you will be giving up your weekends and week nights, searching 1/4 of what is out there, likely get frustrated and lose sleep in the process. A designer can help mitigate these stresses. So, you need to ask yourself, what is peace of mind worth to you?

If you are on a tight budget you can still work with a designer but may have to work with them in a less convention way, to get the best results for your project. Consider paying a designer to review plans, walk framing, create space plans, suggest brands, schedule meetings to ask for advice, and make choices for your project from the selections you have found.  Please note that fees, for consultation only, are typically more expensive than hiring a designer to design your whole house, expect 1.25 – 2.5x the hourly fee, but trust me, this is well worth getting an expert opinion especially on something that isn’t easily undone.
Please feel free to contact me  Rebecca, of REDinterior.com to talk about your project.
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September 6, 2011

Small Design Changes Make a BIG Difference (before and after fireplace)

by rebecca elisabeth design

Ever thought of making a small design change? I (Rebecca of RED interior) think it’s the small things that can make a dramatic difference. Take this contemporary home, it had a nondescript fireplace surround that couldn’t have been more mundane or predictable. While travertine is a nice stone, it can be found everywhere and therefore has lost its uniqueness, especially in this application. The owners of this custom Solana Beach home approached RED interior and together we identified the items they wanted addressed in the remodel. They wanted

  1. a sleek contemporary fireplace that fit their furnishings and art collection
  2. to maintain their minimalist look but, they realized that they really used the hearth for seating when they had company
  3. the new fireplace to fit the scale of the room (the old one didn’t)
  4. to use the existing structure to incorporate the new fireplace (no exterior construction!)
  5. to make it kid friendly

BEFORE

I took all of these challenges into consideration while designing this low line, asymmetrical fireplace solution. The owner is very into design and we discussed the use of the golden mean. I incorporate it intuitively into my designs, but it was fun to discuss this with these savvy clients. Mr. Client did the research on the firebox and selected the brand he wanted to use, but asked me for input on the size. We were able to enlarge the firebox from the original without modifying the exterior. Together we reviewed 4 design options which I presented in perspective drawings and decided on the one you see. While designing this, I knew we had to go asymmetrical and incorporate more of the wall space than the existing fireplace; part of this was done by visually enlarging the firebox with the addition of a metal surround. This design addresses all of the concerns these owners had. The fireplace is now incorporated into the design of the room rather than being an awkward element. We incorporated eased edges on the quartzite hearth and mantle to make it more suitable for little ones. The fireplace is contemporary, sleek and minimal while providing more than double the seating on the bench hearth than what the original fireplace did.

Perspective Illustration provided by REDinterior for consideration

Working hand in hand with the home owners, I was able to help them with just a few hours of my time to design the surround and select the finishes. After that, the owner wanted to work directly with the contractors to make the vision a reality. This is a great example of how a designer can help any homeowner, whether with one corner of the house or building new from the ground up.

AFTER

Rebecca a Certified Interior Designer, has her design studio, RED interior, in La Jolla at 7527 Girard.

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