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There’s a disease of epidemic proportions that’s taken root in our civilization:
Renovation Constipation [ren-oh-vay-shun /kon-stuh-pay-shun]
- ~ is a condition of near paralysis of the renovation sphincter muscle, causing a state of sluggishness or slowing down of planning activity
- ~ causes weakness in intestinal fortitude muscles. Most often triggered by well-meaning but inexperienced advice from mothers/friends/aunts/cousins/brothers/sisters/neighbors/friends about how to plan a renovation and things to include
- ~ occurs in conjunction with increased dosage of TV decor show diet leading to near fatal consumption of false and misleading information
- ~ symptoms include clenching of lower intestine and sleeplessness due to companion condition known as buck/bang syndrome whereby victims over-dream and under-budget, often triggered by HGTV disease
- ~ is symptomatic of a lack of professional guidance causing momentum to be stopped up
- In most cases, consulting with an expert professional with hundreds of projects in their portfolio will relieve the anxiety leading to the condition so the regular flow of renovation activities may resume without invasive surgery and minimal medication.
All kidding aside, if you’ve ever experienced this debilitating condition, you’re not alone. There are so many magazines, TV shows and websites all dishing conflicting information, it’s no wonder people don’t know who to believe or how to get started!
Homeowners know they need help, but who should they hire? Contractor? Designer? Architect? Decorator? And with a limited budget, many people are wary of paying big design fees, only to find out they’ve run out of money before the job even begins. This is a subject I cover in some detail in my book, Renovation Bootcamp®: Kitchen — Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse which you can find here.
Home design is absolutely a luxury service. It doesn’t come cheap and there are good reasons for this. If you missed my article on how much an interior designer costs, you can find that here. However, with so many businesses offering online services, the home design business is no exception and makes previously unaffordable design accessible to a much wider audience.
It’s faster, cheaper and easier to work online than in person, with fewer logistical headaches for both designer and client.
Case in point: last year, I got a referral to a couple who wanted to remodel their kitchen. They’d been talking about it for a long time, but didn’t always agree on what they should do or how to approach it so had gotten overwhelmed and hadn’t done anything. Never having done a renovation before, they weren’t sure who to talk to first, and what might be possible or how much it would cost. That’s when they found me.
They were outside my geographic area, but they were reluctant to hire a local designer and pay a hefty design fee in case they didn’t like what the designer came back with. So I offered them my online design program. Not being hugely computer savvy, this concept was a bit daunting at first, until I described how easy it would be.
I set up an online file sharing system for them called Dropbox, so we could easily share information without the hassle of dealing with e-mail spam filters, or large size files.
I sent them my Renovation Bootcamp Workbook with a multi-page questionnaire that asked them in detail to describe what they dislike about their current kitchen, what they want in a new kitchen, their preferences and how they entertain, shop and cook. You can find that questionnaire in the Renovation Bootcamp® Workbook here.
I asked them to add photos of their existing kitchen to the online sharing system, along with a basic floor plan of the room with dimensions (they just followed the easy template I sent them to show them how, which is in the workbook).
I asked them to send me photos of kitchens that inspire them so I could get a visual sense of their taste and style preferences.
Armed with all this information, I was able to analyze the problems with the current layout and figure out how I might be able to solve some of their function problems with a more practical layout.
The interesting thing about their existing kitchen, is that it wasn’t so much the style of the existing cabinets they disliked, although the finish was peeling and cracking, it was the function of the room. There were a few problems. There were two peninsulas bisecting the room and creating traffic flow issues. The first was in the existing photo above separating the eating area from the working area and the second was the one dividing the kitchen from the family room below.
This would have been quite a good piece of working counter top, except it was on the opposite side of the room from the sink and cooktop, so too far away from the main action to make it practical.
So, I decided to see if we could eliminate both peninsulas altogether and create a large island with working countertop, storage and a table built onto it. I created the concept in a drawing….
…and a digital concept product board….
The last step in the process was having a Skype call to review the design and discuss the products that the client liked on the product concept board and create a shopping list with links so they could acquire the products and accessories I suggested….
The important thing for them to know, was that the shopping links I provided took them to a site that provides them with name-brand quality products at competitive pricing. Although I do receive a very small sales commission when a client shops from these links, they pay no extra and the product is not marked-up to compensate. Furthermore, I donate 20% of all affiliate revenue to Covenant House, an organization close to my heart that helps kids who may have been the victims of severe neglect and abuse, and gives them a safe haven, hot meals and care. You can find out more about their great work or make a direct donation here.
After the Skype presentation, they were ready to take the concept drawing to a local cabinet shop for them to do shop drawings, and have a local contractor prepare the kitchen and install everything.
It worked beautifully and they sent me a photo of the finished result:
So even though they didn’t live in my town, with the online design option, I was able to give them the information they needed to work with local professionals to get the job done.
Here’s what they said:
“We knew we were in for a kitchen renovation when we bought our home 4 years ago. The thought of a renovation seemed quite intimidating to us and we had no idea where to begin, until we read Robin’s book “Renovation Boot Camp.” Robin’s book is excellent for anyone considering a kitchen renovation. It is clear, concise and covers everything you need to know to get started. We found this really helpful and encouraging so we checked out Robin’s web site and decided to work with her through her online design program. We had no idea what was possible. We sent measurements, photo’s of our kitchen and answered the wants/needs questionnaire in her book. Using this information, Robin was able to discern the problems and issues with our kitchen and provide us with a conceptual design that made our space more functional and attractive. We decided to move forward using her design and now that the project is finished we are very pleased with the end result. We really enjoyed working with Robin and truly appreciated her expertise and experience!
Thank you Robin”
And I’m thrilled to have another happy client!
If you need help with your home renovation or decor, from downsizing, re-decorating, or renovating your kitchen and bathroom, maybe online design will be right for you! You can find more details here. Or contact me here.
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