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The ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Updating Your Home

On July 28, 2011, in Posts, by Warren Sheets Design

I’ve been in my home for a number of years, should I make some changes? Where do I begin? Should I renovate, or just redecorate? These are questions that I often hear from clients. Figuring out where to start and how much to do often depends on the value of your home.

If you plan to sell, consider your home’s value in its current “out-of- date state” versus. a fully renovated state. Keep in mind that simple redecorating – which does not include construction work – typically brings less appreciable value than a full-scale renovation project. Without question, most homes where there has not been any major work done for twenty years or more are bound to require some sort of renovation. And in nearly all cases, this will include both the kitchen and bathrooms – for the simple reason that interior standards and amenities in these rooms have changed dramatically over the past twenty plus years.

Therefore, first on your list when renovating your home: kitchen and bathrooms. Updating them may be as simple as refinishing or reworking the cabinets, installing new countertops, replacing the appliances, flooring and wall coverings. Or on the other hand, you may simply want to gut everything and start from scratch.

Kootenai Estates on Swan Lake in Big Fork, Monta


Another important way to update your house: smooth coat any textured ceilings or walls. Unattractive popcorn or ‘cottage cheese’ ceilings definitely date your home. Decorative and energy efficient lighting, window and door replacement, flooring, wall coverings, and built-ins for new entertainment systems are also standard ways to make your home up-to-date.

The above tasks often require the services of a general contractor. However, prior to taking your project to a GC, I would advise that you first consult an interior designer, who can help you develop conceptual design documents and drawings for the construction aspects of your project. Taking this extra step in the process will help ensure a more accurate cost estimate for the ‘nuts and bolts’ part of your project as well as help you determine necessary elements and hard costs that relate to the ultimate design of your interior.

Prior to lifting a hammer, each and every aspect of your project (no matter how large or small) should be carefully thought out and designed – in order to keep all of your options fluid, and ultimately allow you to control costs. Starting a remodel without having the conceptual design as well as the development portion of the project (the working drawings) in place can ultimately cost you a whole lot more money and time. Designing a project from A to Z prior to the start of construction, will not only expedite the project, but will also keep dollars in your pocketbook!


Where to Start, When Designing Your Dream Home

On July 21, 2011, in Posts, by Warren Sheets Design

Ever fantasize about your Dream Home? Do you wonder what it would look like, or what “style” it would be? More importantly, where and how would you begin the design and planning process? How would you make your dream home come true?

The other day, I was visiting a friend, and in our conversation it was mentioned that he and his wife were planning to build a new home. This came as a surprise to me, as they had told me more than once, that they had no intentions of building a new home, at least not for a very long time.

Door Knob - Source: S.A. Baxter, New York

I asked them about the style of home they were envisioning, and they seemed somewhat uncertain.  Sound familiar?

Apparently, they hadn’t given it a great deal of thought up to that point.  Not surprisingly, when people have no idea of what they want, the design process becomes much more involved, and can often take much longer. When clients come to us prepared, armed with a collection of their ideas, thoughts and preferences, it simplifies and streamlines the entire process.

Collected ideas are even more valuable if they are presented in an organized format. So whether you plan to build a new home, hope to move from your existing house to a new home, or simply plan to redecorate a couple of rooms in your present home, begin by creating your own personal “design book.”

A book of your ideas and/or “wish list” can be as simple or organized as you want it to be. And if you don’t have the time to organize it now, that’s okay. Putting your ideas into a more orderly format can happen down the road.

As you flip through magazines and see something you might like to have in your home one day, just cut or tear out the photo and add it to your idea book.  Feel free to jot down a few notes beside the photo or article, if you like.

It’s optimum if you can take a bit of time and create sections within the book. For example, I have created sections for each of the different rooms in my dream home – Entry, Great Room, Lounge, Kitchen, Powder Bath, Hobby Room, Master Suite and VIP Guest Bedroom. You, of course, may have others.

But what if you have two or three different styles you like, as I do? I happen to like Traditional Farmhouse for my dream home in the south of France, and Contemporary Regency for my dream penthouse in New York – a juxtaposition of styles using both French Regency and clean-line Contemporary, with simple bright primary colors set against a creamy off-white background, featuring Picasso and Matisse with the whimsy of Magritte thrown in.

Multi-Functional Coffee Table

It’s really very simple. You keep a design book for each of the different style of dream homes you are thinking about. Then, when it comes time to embark on your dream project, you can pull those books off the shelf and see what style(s) you gravitate toward the most. Maybe one or maybe all of them.

Keeping a book of design ideas will make things much easier for you and your designer, whether its now or in the future.  The saying that “A picture paints a thousand words” is solid wisdom. And to that end, many ideas can come together to make a dream home come true.

By the way, I am sending my friends a hundred or more photos this afternoon in order to help them catch up on their own design idea books. Begin your collection today!




On July 15, 2011, in Posts, by Warren Sheets Design
Over the past 10 years, there has been a huge acceleration in home technology. In fact, technology is now a part of everything we do, touch, and see. It controls our appliances, entertainment systems, heating and air conditioning, security systems, lighting, and much more. Whether it is the device itself, a component or a switch panel, we see it. No longer can technology be hidden in the closet or in a three-drawer chest. It is something we live with daily, so we as designers need to embrace it, and then integrate it gracefully into our designs. If you are looking to design the best house for you and your family then visit Aveling Homes they have all the tools you will need to design your dream home.

With this in mind, I would like to share a recent experience:

Not long ago, I was at a friend’s home, and on the north wall (where at one time I had placed a piece of artwork for him), was a television monitor. While sitting in his wonderfully appointed Living Room (now referred to as “The Great Room”), I turned my head to the south wall where I had once placed an oil painting. There was another television screen.  Both monitors were on, and were displaying a montage succession of photographs of family and friends.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As we visited and caught up, my friend occasionally commented on a passing photo, as would I. It made for a delightful afternoon and a wonderful hour of conversation. And it was much more enjoyable and convenient than trying to balance a photo album on your knees, while constantly passing the book back and forth. Indeed, this “Moving Photo Album” was subtle, convenient and fun. I loved it.
A Custom Private Residence in a Posh Gated Community in Boca Raton, Florida

I must admit, however, that the thought of live media as an “art” form in an interior is something that I would have objected to in years past. But, because this photography show was artistically displayed (the monitors were both clad in the same frames that I had originally used for their artwork), it worked. And, perhaps because media and technology is now an inherent part of our lives, it was perfectly okay. The photos were compelling and colorful – representing my friend’s life over many years – and that too was, of course, okay. And since they were not just black monitors that hung on the wall, these new forms of technological “decoration” blended nicely into the room.

Maybe it’s not much different than the modern-day use of recliners, which have recently become acceptable – in particular in Home Theaters. In the early part of the century, interior designers and denizens of high society might have objected to them. But because of a simple mechanism that operates the recliner (invented in 1927), allowing the occupant to relax and enjoy “the show,” this particular chair has now become a commonplace piece of furniture in contemporary American homes.

It has taken many years, but I think that interior designers need to accept that new media and technology – like recliners – are here to stay. With an eye on the future, we need to embrace change, and find creative ways to effectively incorporate new technologies into our interiors. I’m on it!
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