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Welcome to Tales from the Trenches! A no-holds-barred, roll your sleeves up, dig-in-the-dirt blog about home design and renovation. This is where you’ll see my successes and challenges on job sites first hand. This blog is an off-shoot of the first book in my series: Renovation Bootcamp®: Kitchen – Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse.
I’m Robin Siegerman, a 20 year veteran of the home design and renovation business and international award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer based in Toronto with a busy design practice called Sieguzi Kitchen & Home Inc. It was in the course of working with clients years ago that I started searching for a book I could give them that would clearly outline the process of kitchen renovation. I found lots of gorgeous books with beautiful photos (my work is featured in several of them), but NONE that got into the GUTS of the process. So I decided to write it. You can get a peek at the book here.
The title of the book evolved out of my feeling that sometimes designing and managing a kitchen renovation feels like a military manoeuvre. From managing competing desires and advice from clients and their well-meaning family and friends, the contractor and his sub-trades, cabinet makers and manufacturers, installers, shippers, customs brokers, down to the clients’ pets, the planning has to be painstakingly documented to keep the process running like a well-oiled machine. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a surprise bomb goes off and we have to come up with a revised battle plan on the run.
Follow along as I take you through budget planning, strategic schedule planning, materials selections, from barracks to bunker, through the renovation skirmishes until we emerge victorious with a ticker-tape parade!
You’ll see lots of examples of my own projects in the book and I’ll feature them in more detail on the blog. One of the times the kitchen design was specifically tailored to the client’s pet was when I had to find a way to build a dog crate into the kitchen and still keep it out of the way. Although I love all dogs and cats, little Charlie truly won my heart when he showed me how much he loves his specially designed cabinet “crate” which supports the granite island counter top above! This “tail” had a happy ending!
I’ll show you a combination of case studies of my own projects, with all the good and bad that a renovation entails, as well as posts on things of interest to many of my clients which I think you might be interested in too. There will be information on the pros and cons of various materials and finishes, new products and innovative storage solutions, to name but a few.
I’ll cover every room in the home, as I do in my day-to-day business with clients, but you’ll find that I highlight a lot of kitchens, which is where my heart is. I got into the design business by way of a kitchen design company, and I’ve loved working on them ever since. They often pose a really challenging space-planning problem that I love to solve. And I’ve found that with all the amazing technology available these days, I can do much more of it virtually, which serves the clients with faster, cheaper design, and lets me get my teeth into even more space-planning projects. You can check out that option on the Easy 5-Step Virtual Kitchen Design System. Where I create concept plans, virtual sample boards and shopping lists for product.
Although I’ll be showing you my projects large & small as we fight the kitchen renovation wars, in my next post I’ll feature one that’s small but quite unique: the existing kitchen is in two separate rooms and is 90 years old! The current owner (who grew up in the house) took out the stove several years ago and never replaced it. She’s been getting along with a hot plate, a toaster oven and a microwave, but it’s time to give the house a facelift with a new kitchen! Here’s a sneak peak of the kitchen before we got started!
Stay tuned next week for the story of the Little Kitchen That Could!