Interior Designer Michael Thomas has been pondering and offers advice if you have been thinking about starting a remodeling project. Check out this case study to see what Michael views thru his crystal ball of design.
Now is the time for all good folks to come to the realization that it may be more difficult to remodel if one waits very long to move forward to do a project.
Now that concept may seem self-serving but as design professionals, we are seeing significant growth in the remodeling community. That makes us have a few concerns for our existing clients (and those who have yet to be our clients.)
As a result I have concluded one thing : NOW time to get off the fence and start that project. Why? Here are 6 compelling reasons that it time to remodel and not wait any more.
1. As the market bounces back, the waiting time for the design professional of your choice will increase. And that designer or architect or landscaper may very well be balancing more projects at one time to meet the needs of clients.
2. Waiting longer also means the most talented builders and subs may not be available when you want them. We've recently seen clients disappointed when a favorite cabinet man told them to find another shop or wait until summer. They decided not to wait.
3. And then consider that longer waiting times increase carrying costs on land (if building new) and potentially higher lending costs (if self-funding the project).
4. Building material costs will inevitably go up with increased market demand. And keep in mind manufacturers have closed plants and laid off skilled workers, severely reducing production capacity. We just ordered hardware for a project that will deliver in 12 weeks.
5. Keep in mind that waiting times for delivery of materials will increase because of shortages and backlogs at the plants. And that can increase project carrying costs and delay the timeline. Furthermore, many of my colleagues have the time to work with clients to create custom solutions. There will be less time available to do so as the market returns.
6. It is tax time. And there are a number of items in the tax code that allow for tax breaks and credits. If you update for efficiency, you can get tax relief for new solar panels or certain hot water tanks. There are also deductions for home office improvements and medically necessary changes such as an entry ramp or an accessible bathroom.
• Tick - tock. Tick - tock. So what are you waiting for?
Residence overlooking downtown Providence, RI for a wonderful client.
In this fourth edition of Case Studies, Michael takes a more serious tone about interior design. Recently, he completed a quick interview with a local publication about design and he offered his advice about design of interiors. Here is what he had to say about his profession and practice. And the writer's questions were great.
• What is the most important value a designer brings to a project and a client?
Whether remodeling or building from scratch, I believe it is the skill to affect the utilization of space. We see many spaces, small and large, that don’t function as they should. And good design, at its core, is about the function.
• What is the difference between interior decoration and an interior design?
Decoration and design both contribute to the success of a room. "Decoration" generally addresses the finishes, i.e. the fabrics, colors, finishes and how spaces will visually appear. Without great decoration, spaces will fall flat.
"Design" begins by considering broader issues, visualized in the three dimensions, such as how spaces relate to one another and how they will function when completed. And the process of design includes accurate drawings such as scaled plans and detailed specifications to help others carefully execute the vision the design professional has created for the client.
• What should clients ask a design professional in the initial interview?
Two things: • First, “If this were your own home, what are the three most important things that need to be considered.” • Second, ask to see projects that were the most successful interpretations to a problem solved, not necessarily ones photographed for the designer’s resume, but successful for the client and then ask “Why.”
• What are the design trends we should be considering?
Good design is not about fashion, such as the “color du jour”, or the recent trends of style. It is about creating ways to help recycle, reuse and re-purpose what we have. And it is about making spaces that adapt over time, especially ones that help clients age-in-place.
• What is the most important thing learned after 3 decades of practice?
The most important and critical step is to create plans and not just floor plans. It is project management. • Lay out strategies for executing the job; • Establish a base line of criteria to ensure client needs are being met; • Check in with the client as the project evolves; and • Address in a timely manner the challenges that occur in all work of this nature. Planning provides focus and establishes a frame of reference during the course of the job. And the more complex the design, the greater the need to plan and plot, visualize the outcomes thru the drawings and specifications. It is all in the details.
• What’s the absolute best project you have worked on?
There isn’t one single best but there have been a few favorites because of the client, the location and/or the challenge. Four do quickly come to mind:
• An Ocean front guest house that was built directly over the dunes of the Atlantic Ocean.
• Preservation and restoration of a historic family home built in 1942 on Jupiter Island, FL.
• A full remodel of a New Jersey Penthouse, 41st floor overlooking Manhattan, NY.
• One very spectacular contemporary house on a hillside in Providence, RI.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.