“Tips Of The Trade” From North Carolina Design Experts

Posted on | August 6, 2015 | No Comments

Once again, several of our design professionals weigh in, sharing some great tips with readers for all areas of the home. With years of experience creating living spaces that speak to who their cleints are and how they live, these experts from North Carolina Design are definitely qualified to offer insightful “Tips Of The Trade” on a variety of subjects.

On many home renovations, homeowners spend the majority of their time and energy on the inside of the house, often forgetting the outside projects. There are many advantages to focusing on outside projects that can be capitalized on during a home renovation. Here are a few suggestions that can help you seize the moment.

Have A Plan: Every homeowner should have a long-term plan for their property. Proper planning will allow you to capture the vision of future expansion (or removals) for your property. It also allows you to plan for any future amenities when you may need to allocate space, money or resources. A plan will become your blueprint for the phasing of your project in the proper order. This will allow you to maximize your enjoyment and use of your property for years to come.

Keep Your Contractor Working: Installing that new fireplace and patio will always be more cost effective when installed as part of a larger project. The contractor has already navigated access to the site, is working with material vendors, and has a steady pool of labor. With proper planning, you can add that outdoor room for less money now as opposed to hiring a new contractor sometime in the future

Lori Hawkins
Hawkins Landscape Architecture, Greensboro

 

When considering building a new home or renovating your existing home, make sure to allow plenty of time for design before beginning the construction process. Proper planning is the key to any successful project. When you consider that building or renovating a home is one of the largest financial commitments most of us make, combined with the fact that your home is your most personal and important space, it simply makes sense to consider those decisions thoughtfully. That takes time, and often some soul searching, to reach that perfect balance of aesthetics and practicality.

Balancing a client’s wish list with their budget is one of the most difficult parts of the job for an architect or an interior designer. Understanding how to evaluate and prioritize the wish list and how to creatively capture the most important design aspects to fit within the budget is a skill that seasoned design professionals bring to a project. Making the most of this skill is a wise move on the part of anyone considering a design project.

Amy Conner Murphy, AIA
ACM Design, Asheville

 

In today’s world with thousands of beautiful kitchens on line and in print that many would like to replicate, it can be hard to remember to keep your kitchen personal. Even when you may be trying to keep a kitchen as neutral or universally appealing for potential re-sale, it’s often the personality that makes it stand out. Here are some things to try: Rather than a cabinet pantry that matches the kitchen, use a family China cabinet or armoire with patina. The interior can be retro fitted for optimal storage. Let the spaces around it breathe.

Consider a glass front cabinet or some open shelves for display, but reduce the contents so the items inside can be appreciated more readily. Rotate favorite items. Heave a sigh and decide to lighten the load! Get rid of rarely used gadgets or dishes and free up a section of wall for art work or photographs instead of another matching cabinet. The open shelves can be cantilevered and open sided to allow the wall color to show and frame the items. Mix textures, materials and colors that please you for a more enjoyable kitchen experience.

Mary Liebhold
The Kitchen Specialist, Durham

 

I’m not a fan of ideas that are generated by the assumption that homeowners are always looking for fast, cheap fixes. My typical client is a busy person who values quality and wants to return to a warm, comfortable and inviting home at the end of the day. I tell them that the #1 décor element that can take ANY space from good to great is the right pair of drapery panels flanking a window. Lined drapes, hung high on the wall and wide on the window, give the biggest bang for your buck, changing the look and feel of a room in an instant. They may not be cheap, but they are a great value that savvy homeowners recognize quickly.

This type of window treatment serves to frame the view outside the window—it’s the same effect as framing a beautiful piece of art. They soften the edges and make the room feel all polished up and beautiful. As a bonus, drapery panels insulate against high and low temperatures (a money saver) and muffle the echo often caused by high ceilings or hardwood floors.

Anne DeCocco
DeCocco Design, Raleigh

 

Does the rug make the room or does the room make the rug? As a designer, I think perhaps both are true and both can fall short if certain criteria are not met. Purchasing an area rug for any space in the house requires attention to several elements: the use and style of the room in which it will lay, the fiber and construction of the rug, and the size.

Your designer or a reputable rug dealer will guide you with information about fiber and backing for your rug selection. It is then essential that the rug fit the room. Unfortunately, some rug dealers may sell a fine rug that is too small for a space rather than a larger, appropriate sized rug that would be more expensive. One of my biggest concerns is directing a client to rug sizes that are large enough to completely contain a seating group. If the room is huge, two rugs may be required. The advantages of large-enough rugs are many, including sound absorption, comfort, the appearance of making the room seem larger, and the cohesiveness given to the furniture pieces.

Minta Bell
Minta Bell Design Group, Chapel Hill

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