Stopping the Snowball

Controlling the Design and Remodeling Process


esign in Phases

Depending on your wants and needs for the remodel are, it may be possible to design the space in phases. We usually see this done when people are wanting to change the style of more than one room or even an entire home, and there are simple ways to break down where to spend the money and when. The first and foremost, sadly, is going to be the structural stuff - you want to make sure you live in a safe and healthy house.

Sometimes, these kinds of things won’t be found until you get into a remodel, so if that’s the case, just make sure to plan for a contingency budget. Beyond that, the next big ticket items in a home to remodel would be your kitchen, full bathrooms, and flooring throughout.

Once you’ve broken down what rooms you want to work on, think about your budget and think about your priorities- with everything. And then start working out how many of those things can be achieved, realistically, within your budget.

Sit down and talk with a designer or a contractor to get a real idea of what pricing to expect, and then discuss the areas that should be addressed within the context of the new design. Flooring is always one that tends to snowball pretty quickly as the style these days pushes us toward an expansive flooring flowing throughout much of the space.

If you’re tackling flooring like this, sometimes it’s best to focus on putting it down in the first phase so you don’t have to deal with 1) interweaving new flooring with older flooring, 2) matching the color exactly at the time of interweaving, and 3) hoping they still produce/ have stock of the flooring for a later purchase.

Think long term with some of these decisions, and what you can and cannot live with. Naturally, the decisions should start to become more clear the further you research the cost and timing of each design element.


Work With Your Existing Pieces

Most times when we start tackling the design of the remodel, so many new materials get thrown around in the midst. And we often feel this effect of one choice influencing the next and in the midst of all of the possibilities, we can sometimes overlook great pieces that we already have.

Don’t feel like you can’t work with what you already have to make your space feel new and fresh, and don’t be afraid to transform an existing piece with a little elbow grease. Let’s think about it- if your floors are in great condition, then use them and redesign the space off of them; if the cabinets are in great shape, repaint them to work within your design rather than get new ones; if your dining room table needs to be sanded down and restrained to work within your new design, try that out.

Find ways to stop the bleeding. The design is never a one lane road to any certain style; there are several ways to achieve your dream look with new material combinations and different ways to balance everything. Sometimes, this is a good area to have a designer come in and evaluate the existing space, especially if you’re not sure of what you have that can be reworked effectively. Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint/ stain or a little extra embellishment is enough to transform a piece from one style to the next.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the pieces you already have- you picked them for some good reason(s) at one point in time.

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise

Sometimes when it comes to the snowball effect, we see it take place when expensive tastes come to play. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having expensive taste….trust me ;)

But sometimes, we have to learn to be selective with these exquisite taste buds and know where we can mimic the look for cheaper. Using some materials in some areas doesn’t always make the most sense, and you have to learn to balance aesthetic beauty with financial beauty.

Do you need a slab of marble running the entire face of the fireplace, or can you find a clever way to mimic the look with an inexpensive, lookalike material or just on a smaller scale? Sometimes, function trumps form and other times form trumps function, so learning to compromise can come in handy! Knowing when to compromise on material usage is when a conversation with a designer or contractor could come in handy, to help understand why some materials are used in certain areas and not in others.

In all of this, I am not saying to always look for a cheaper option- just pick and choose when to splurge. If you’re an intense cook and care about a strong countertop surface, then splurge and get an engineered stone composite material over a quartz.

Maybe splurge on good appliances and lower the cost of the cabinets. Weigh the options of every material you want to interact with, and decide why it is that you want to interact with it- is it the texture, is it its strength, is it its colorway? Can those be found in other options, for a lower price?  Like I mentioned back in the first tip, think about your priorities and what it is that is important to you within your space and the types of materials you want to interact with.

The end result will still be just as marvelous because you’ve had a hand in the design, so don’t worry- You’re home is supposed to be a reflection of you, so just make sure you are putting you in every decision.

by: Jake Neidlinger, Staff Designer