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The Top Five, Most Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Remodeling your kitchen is hands down, the best improvement you can make to your home, it’s resale value, connection with your family and most importantly, your overall health and wellness. But as with anything that adds tremendous value, remodeling can also be a nightmare if you don’t have a plan. Here are the top five, most costly mistakes to avoid when remodeling your kitchen.

 

kitchen with modern elements

 

Emma Courtney, above.

 

The Top Five, Most Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Choosing the Wrong Kitchen Appliances

Appliances take a big bite out of the budget. For choosing appliances, I like to use a simple valuation method to start with before I create my actual budgets. My favorite method is the Good, Better, Best Method which you can find out more about in the download below.

As an example, Thermador or Viking would be in the Best category, Frigidaire, Bosch or luxury appliances bundled in package deals would be in the Better category, and Whirlpool, Maytag, open box appliances, appliances on sale and appliances with scratch and dent discounts would fall in the Good category.

Choosing the Wrong Contractor for Your Kitchen Remodel

When choosing contractors and builders, ‘more’ is definitely better. Always hire the most experienced people you can find. It can be hard scheduling them which is one of many reasons you want to start planning early in your kitchen remodeling process.

Hiring better, more experienced people will help you avoid costly mistakes, construction delays, overspending and general frustration in general. Choose licensed contractors with at least 15 years’ experience. 

Changing the Kitchen Plumbing

Keeping appliances and supply and drainpipes, etc. in the same place generally saves a lot of labor costs. Sometimes it’s worth it, as when you’re expanding the actual size of the kitchen, but only when the budget allows it.

When expanding the size of the kitchen, it’s best to hire an experienced kitchen designer to help you with the floor plans.

Not Having a Plan

This one is huge. There are so many moving parts to planning your kitchen and remodel: so many decisions to make. Remember, if you fail to plan, plan to fail.

Some of the decisions you will make:

Appliances

Cabinetry

Flooring

Lighting

Floor Plans

Budget

Project Management

Securing or Allocating Funds

Scheduling

Hiring Help

Not Knowing Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

It’s surprising how many people delve into a kitchen remodel with what they think is a budget, only to find out they don’t have a clear idea of costs. Generally speaking, kitchen remodels cost around $25,000 to $35,000 for a basic remodel; $50,000 to $75,000 for a mid-range remodel; and $80,000 to over $100,000 for luxury, high end kitchen remodels. 

 


 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“. 

In it you’ll get …

 

  • My good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • The classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your very own household income.
  • A pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • A checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • And a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

 

Need a few tips on making your weekly grocery list a health filled powerhouse? Get my best salads; tips for making healthy food taste super good; food shopping tricks; my favorite plant-based meals; and more in my post, My Excellent Weekly Grocery List!

A 30-Day Game Plan for your Next Kitchen Design Project

Smart investors know that remodeling during a recession has its advantages. Renovating during a recession is preferable to selling and buying another home. Renovations are typically more affordable during recessions. Renovations during a recession are generally easier to schedule. And better workmanship is easier to obtain during a recession. Here is a 30-day game plan for your next kitchen design project, for those willing to step outside your ‘economic comfort zones’ and remodel during an economic downturn.

If news about the economy has you canceling your kitchen remodel, keep in mind we are not officially in a recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research has not declared that yet.

 

stainless streamlined appliances

 

 

Smart Kitchen Remodeling Price Ranges During a Recession

Historically, recessions have proven to be a good time for home improvements, often inspiring us to do the work and make the improvements while staying in homes we may otherwise have sold.

When remodeling during recessions or economic downturns, focus on high return improvements like lower to mid-range kitchen remodels around $30,000 to $50,000. Unless your home is in a city with higher-than-average property values, high end, luxury kitchen renovations won’t typically see a great return during a recession.

30 Day Game Plan for your Next Kitchen Design Project

When planning your next kitchen design project, several factors will be considered including:

  • Determining your budget.
  • Securing or allocating funds.
  • Finding and hiring a contractor or builder.

Determining Your Budget

Kitchen remodels vary depending on where you live; the size or scope of the project; and the product brands you choose but typically you can budget anywhere from $25,000 to over $100,000. Use the Good, Better, Best method as a guideline when pricing products and materials.

As a general guideline, you can expect your budget to go as follows:

  • 25% cabinetry
  • 20% appliances
  • 15% flooring
  • 20% labor
  • 10% counters, backsplashes
  • 5% sinks, faucets, lighting
  • 5% miscellaneous

If you plan to sell your home within a five-year period, then consider remodeling your kitchen an improvement on your home investment and only spend what you can recoup.

Securing and Allocating Funds

There are several ways to fund your kitchen remodel, each with its own pros and cons. Consider in your decision making, things like interest rates, tax deductions, loan fees and deposit dates due to your contractor.

  • Refinancing your home.
  • Home equity loans.
  • Personal loans.
  • Loans against your retirement plans.
  • Withdrawal from savings or from an investment.

 

Finding and Hiring a Contractor or Builder

Start by getting personal referrals from neighbors and friends. Next, check out membership sites like NKBA and NARI. Search reviews online. Once you have three to five candidates, reach out to each one individually.

  • Ask if they are licensed and insured.
  • Can they provide references.
  • Who will be working on your project? 
  • Determine the dates they will work on your project, should you come to an agreement.
  • How will they bill you for their time, and what are payment expectations.
  • Generally, its recommended to find a contractor with at least five years of experience, however, I feel fifteen years is much better.

 

When to Hire a General Contractor

It’s always best practice to hire a general contractor for large projects that require multiple permits and subs, as with a major kitchen remodel. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“

In it you’ll get …

 

  • My good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • The classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your very own household income.
  • A pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • A checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • And a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

 

Need a few tips on making your weekly grocery list a health filled powerhouse? Get my best salads; tips for making healthy food taste super good; food shopping tricks; my favorite plant-based meals; and more in my post, My Excellent Weekly Grocery List!

ing during a recession may seem counterintuitive, but there are definite advantages for those who are willing to venture outside their ‘economic comfort zone’, when others are not. To help you find your own comfort zone, use this 30-day game plan for your next kitchen design project.

 

Great Decorating Checklists for Fall, Plus My Favorite Fall Foliage!

Everyone loves this time of year, but if I were to be completely honest, I would tell you I hate to see the end of summer! Regardless, I have some great decorating checklists for fall, and I’m sharing them with you today plus, my favorite fall foliage!

 

Living room with orange theme and Chinese Lantern bouquet.

 

TORY BURCH
 

Great Decorating for Fall

 
Great decorating for fall takes on significant meaning because of Thanksgiving. I love keeping various decorative items in my home for the change of seasons but because space is limited, I have to pick and choose carefully.
 
 
Here are some lists and tips to help make autumn decorating and entertaining a little easier.

 

Living room in neutral color schemes accented by classic furnishings.
 
 
Grant K. Gibson
 
 
 

My Own Decorating for Fall

 

No matter what season we’re in, I love decorating with anything that has a purpose such as platters, bowls, vases and books. This is especially true in fall, however.
 
In the entry, I generally swap out my faux boxwood for a fall bouquet of Nandina Heavenly Bamboo from the yard. For years I didn’t care for Heavenly Bamboo. Now I appreciate it for its low maintenance and consistent fall color.
 
I also love to bring out my cream-colored ceramic turkey candlestick holders and place them on my entrance sideboard, on a tray, next to my silver service set. They add a subtle reference to Thanksgiving that I love. I have eight of them and they hold small, tapered candles.
 
 

Fall centerpiece of persimmons and orange ranunculas in a silver, footed container.

 
 
 

Decorating for Fall, in the Dining Room

 
In the dining room, I add faux or real autumn fruits to the serving pieces already there and place seasonal tea towels on the ends of the glass bar cart. With its curtains, slipcovered end chairs, pair of 20-inch potted olive topiary and dining table centerpiece, a tray of wine glasses and bottles of liqueur, the room is festive to begin with.
 
 
 
Ralph Lauren interior, antique black book case, antique chair.
 
 
 
 
Ralph Lauren
 

Decorating for Fall, in the Kitchen

 

In my kitchen, I do a small autumn floral arrangement and put out fresh pumpkins and persimmons. I also have a bunch of little pumpkin shaped candles that I place on my counters and windowsills providing it’s not too hot outside.
 
For fall decorating, swap out or add to your rooms, a few of the following items:
 
 

Fall Decorating Checklist, for Everyday
 

 
Seasonal wreaths
 
Lap blankets in autumn tones
 
Coffee table books featuring fall themes
 
Salt and pepper shakers
 
Pinecones and best quality dried and faux fruits and vegetables
 
Ceramic and iron statuary (stags, turkeys, horns of plenty, wheat sheaths, pumpkins)
 
Autumn shaped and autumn scented candles
 
Best quality faux and dried floral and foliage
 
Fall themed napkin rings
 
Theme based hand towels for the bathroom (try not to go too obvious or overboard here!)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fall Decorating Checklist, for Festive Occasions

 
 
Tablecloths in tones of burnt red, chestnut or deep olive green
 
Napkins, paper and fabric
 
Serving platters, rustic or refined
 
Special vases (as opposed to plain, clear glass)
 
Fine China, crystal and silver
 
Handmade ceramic dinnerware and serving pieces
 
Rustic wooden salad bowls
 
 

Antique screen used in sitting area

 
 
 

Color Schemes for Fall Decorating

 
The fall colors below go with many decorating schemes and can be added for a beautiful, seasonal change:
 
 
Russet
 
Dijon
 
Chestnut
 
Teal
 
Pumpkin
 
Terra Cotta
 
Sage, emerald or Kelly green
 
Apricot
 
Warm white
 
Dark brown (brown textiles tend to be flat so look for items that have a sheen to them such as chenille, velvet or mohair)
 
 
John Saladino Designed living room
 
 
 

My Favorite Foliage for Fall Decorating

 
Any fall foliage is beautiful indoors. If you’re lucky enough to have them and know how to work with difficult materials, branches of maple, fig, pomegranate, and pear can be spectacular entrance arrangements.
 
Remember to pulverize a few inches of the ends of the branches so they can absorb water. Use a tall, narrow, heavy vase for such arrangements and a sturdy, heavy “frog”.
 
Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo

Liquid Amber

Pyracantha

Boxwood

Persimmon

Pomegranate

Pear

Myrtle (lasts forever, or almost!)

 

Sitting area in light fall colors of whites and russets

 
 

Decorating the Table for Fall

 
Decorating the table for fall is something we all love. For important occasions, my best advice is to do a mockup table a week or so in advance. For residential events I always start with the room’s overall design. What is the color scheme?
 
How many people will be seated? How much room will you have for the centerpiece? Try finding a common thread between the occasion and the existing interior.
 
If your dining room is in shades of blue, you can add pumpkin colorations because blues and oranges together are complementary on the color wheel. If your color scheme is in olive green and shades of red, you can play off the red with russet and brown because russet has a lot of red in it to begin with.
 
 
 
Festive dining room table setting with orange charger, monogrammed napkins and kumquat centerpiece.

 

Start with the tablecloth and dinner plates. I like to add a contrasting salad plate for visual interest. Add the napkins.
 
As you go, keep in mind the flowers and plant materials that will be readily available to you. Focus first on practicality. Nothing too high for sit down dinners at home.
 
If you have, say, eight to ten tablecloths or two or three dish sets to choose from, it will allow you more creativity. If not, start with the basics you do have and use stuff from your garden or nature for decorative touches.
 
Lastly, do the centerpiece and choose the napkin rings or place card holders if you have them. The napkin rings or place cardholders are where you can be really clever such as with a sly reference to the event or a thoughtful take away favor for your guests.
 
 

 

 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“. 

In it you’ll get …

  • my good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • the classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your own household income.
  • a pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • a checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • and a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today!

Happy Thanksgiving! Shiree’

 

PS- for more on kitchens, check out my article, Three Remodeling Budgets and Check Lists for a Health-Conscious Kitchen

Edit this post.

Health and Wellness Features for Your Kitchen

light filled kitchen with wood floors and natural elementsHaving a well-designed kitchen totally levels up how you live and take care of yourself in your home. If your kitchen is beautiful and efficient, you are much more likely to spend time there, enjoying connecting with your loved ones and doing all the things that promote health and wellness. Let’s talk about some great health and wellness features for your kitchen.

Health and Wellness Features for Your Kitchen

As an interior designer and wellness expert, I love designing kitchens around health and wellness!

I love including in kitchens the things that really matter like places for connecting over meal prep; smart refrigerators with family hubs; and streamlined good looks. In this blog I’m sharing an at-a-glance check list to help you create beautiful, health promoting features in your kitchen. It’s without a doubt, the hardest working, most important room in your home!

Soothing Colors and Textures for the Kitchen

Soothing colors are cool and muted. They are colors like pale blue, light green, dusty lavender and subtle neutrals.

Textures that add comfort to your kitchen can come from baskets, wood and tile


Supports Healthy Meals and Food Prep


Optimizing your kitchen can be done without the need for structural changes when you organize it by work zones. Identify your three most frequently done tasks (chopping; juicing; baking; stove top; cleaning; blending etc.) and optimize those work zones first by having the things you need for each task in nearby drawers.


Windows and Views of Nature


Bringing nature into your home via windows and glass doors such as French doors not only expands your spaces visually, but also brings emotional wellness and stress relief into your home.

Opening windows daily during the most temperate times of the day, even just a crack freshens air and ventilates rooms beautifully. Also see ventilation.


Fresh Flowers and Plants


Plants add beauty, elevate mood, reduce stress and improve air quality. Biophilic design pertains to designing and living with plants. As a designer, I know from experience that homes don’t look finished without potted plants and flowers.


Air Quality and Ventilation


Poor indoor air quality is a known health hazard with fumes emitting from paint; carpets; building materials; cleaning products and more. When building or buying a home consider installing a HEPA air purifier or at least have the air tested by a professional.

This is especially important for children, elderly and anyone with chronic health problems.


Non-Toxic Flooring in the Kitchen


A knowledgeable flooring specialist is so helpful when choosing flooring and building materials as there as so many things to consider. I like Green Building Supply online. They have stylish, non-toxic, certified safe for
sensitivities options including phthalate-free luxury vinyl tiles, certified safe and ecofriendly bamboo and hardwoods. If you decide on engineered wood flooring, choose ones that are made with urea-formaldehyde glues.

When choosing any wood products ensure they are not made with excessive formaldehyde.


Safety Features for the Kitchen


So important considering many disasters happen right in your own home! Work with licensed, reputable building professionals for all building and remodeling projects. Safety features includes properly installed electrical systems, home fire sprinkler systems, slip resistant flooring, anti-scald faucets, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and more.


Other Non-Toxic Kitchen Building Materials


Choose building materials that are non-toxic and mildew resistant such as stainless steel, copper, ceramic tiles, zinc, quartz, porcelain tile, cork, linoleum. Though there have been questions on the safety of granite and
marble, through various studies they are still considered a safe option for the home.

Request spec sheets on any materials you use to ensure good certification standards, especially with MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities).


Bringing the Joy


This one is highly personal and so often underestimated! Things that bring joy to your home are things you find to be beautiful, useful, spiritual and/or sentimental. If you’re lucky, everything in your home will have at
least one of these components. Ideas: framed photos, heirlooms, mementos from travels, gifts from your family and friends, things from nature.

I have my maternal, great grandmother’s antique bread bowl and my paternal great grandmother’s engraved sterling silver flatware. Especially cool is the fact that the latter’s monogram was S!

 

Kitchen Amenities


The kitchen is the hub of the home now more than ever thanks to all this great new technology! For the appliance lover there are steam convection Ovens, smart refrigerators, voice activated faucets and smart range hoods.

Design your kitchen around healthy meal prep with plenty of antimicrobial counter space and tools like Acme juicers, Excalibur dehydrating trays and blenders such as VitaMix.


Kitchen Work Zones for Meal Prepping


The family room is not the only place to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. Try rethinking your kitchen for two cooks. Cooking and eating your meals together is one of life’s great pleasures. 


Smart Kitchen Features


Technology and wellness do not always mix with EMF’s covering most of our urban areas. Decide on your priorities from choices like smart hubs, smart appliances, climate control and security features.


Antibacterial Kitchen Counters and Surfaces


Quartz and ceramic counters, and wood and bamboo floors are generally speaking, the healthiest choices for your home. When choosing flooring consider the manufacturing processes too, as many floor types have phthalates, formaldehyde and noxious adhesives.

Granite requires sealing but is still considered a healthy surface.

 

 


 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“

In it you’ll get …

 

  • My good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • The classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your very own household income.
  • A pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • A checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • And a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

 

Need a few tips on making your weekly grocery list a health filled powerhouse? Get my best salads; tips for making healthy food taste super good; food shopping tricks; my favorite plant-based meals; and more in my post, My Excellent Weekly Grocery List!

How to Create a Budget for Your Next Kitchen Remodel (within Your Household Income)

As if finding a contractor or builder for your kitchen remodel weren’t enough, you have to create a spending plan! I’ll show you how to create a budget for your next kitchen remodel within your household income. 

You will know going into your next kitchen remodel, what a reasonable budget looks like before you create one of your own.

 

kitchen with modern finishes

 

Photo credit unknown

Budgeting Kitchen Remodel Formula’s Within Your Household Income

There is a classic budgeting tool from Elizabeth Warren and the co-author of their book, “All Your Worth” that helps you determine a percentage of your total income towards 3 basic ‘life’ categories.

  • Essential expenses 50%
  • Non-essential expenses 30%
  • Savings, investments and/or debt repayment 20%

I love to use this tool as a basic guideline as I plan my own budgets. Of course, you can tweak these percentages for your own use. For instance, if your home is paid and you have no debt, you might adjust your formula by lessening your ‘essential expenses’ and increasing your savings and investments. 

Using these percentages is an excellent way to determine where your budget is right now, and then once you have determined your own comfort zone, your own dollar amount, you can self-select from my Good, Better, Best Kitchen Remodeling Budgets later in this article. 

To get itemized breakdowns of costs for things like appliances, cabinets, countertops, etc. be sure to check out my download “The Wellness Kitchen Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel” at the bottom of this page! 

 

Good, Better, Best Kitchen Remodel Budget Plans

Good $25,000-$50,000

Better $50,000-$100,000

Best $100,000 and up

When creating a budget for your kitchen remodel, always keep in mind the real estate values in your neighborhood and how your home value compares to other homes in your area. Your home value should play a part in your overall budget. 

If your home is in a low cost of living area, choose the Good Budget model. If it’s in a high cost of living area, choose the Best Budget model. 

 

 

 

 

 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“. 

In it you’ll get …

  • my good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • the classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your own household income.
  • a pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • a checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • and a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

For more on kitchens, check out my article, Three Remodeling Budgets and Check Lists for a Health-Conscious Kitchen

How to Choose, Budget and Plan Your Next Home Remodel

The pandemic has changed how we live in our homes. With more people working from home and exercising at home than ever before, we’ve become more focused on making our home fit the different roles in our lives. If your home isn’t functioning well for you, here are some tips on how to choose, budget and plan your next home remodel.

 

 

 

While making improvements to your home may or may not add immediate value on paper, it stands to reason that if other homes in your neighborhood are being upgrading, it’s something you should investigate too. Here are some benefits, pros and cons to consider when you plan your next remodel.

Choose, Budget and Plan Your Next Home Remodel

As a guideline for you, I’ve chosen the best interior additions and upgrades for you to consider. Obviously, priorities vary slightly for everyone. Some people care more about the budget and home dollar value while others are interested in lifestyle improvements.

 

 

 

 

Choosing the Best Home Remodel Projects

Kitchen remodels

Bathroom remodels

Flooring

Upgraded windows and doors

Casing, molding and hardware

Built-in bookcases

French doors

Fireplaces and mantels

Sky lights and solar tubes

Home offices

Lighting

Home gyms or workout rooms

These last four are for homes in neighborhoods with enough home value to justify them economically.

Media rooms

Wine cellars

Guest houses

 

 



 

Planning your Remodel Budget with Cosmetic Upgrades Only

If your home was built before 2,010, chances are your kitchen needs a cosmetic upgrade. Anything older 2000 might need a complete kitchen remodel because of the advances in kitchen design in the past 20 years but if the basic footprint is efficient there are a lot of ways to do that without gutting the kitchen like keeping the wiring plumbing and base cabinets the same and replacing the cabinet doors, appliances, flooring, countertops, backsplashes, sinks, faucets, windows, paint and lighting.

 

 



 

Flooring

Flooring is not that difficult to choose if you have these easy perimeters to follow. Stick with the basics. I love solid hardwood. It’s costly at first but when worked into the life of the home is actually cost efficient when building new or right after you’ve just purchased the home. This way you will re-coop your investment. I don’t care for engineered wood. It can’t be refinished. 

Wool carpet looks better and stays beautiful longer. It’s also healthier. As far as being a compassionate choice, I have my doubts. That’s up to you to decide. There are some health sensitive or ‘green’ carpets available that are made from corn. 

 

 



 

New Windows and Doors

Improving your home with new windows will of course add value to your home but choosing the right style is important too. Consider the architecture. Is it contemporary or traditional? Contemporary style windows don’t usually have grids or panes but rather large expanses of glass.

What materials already exist in the home? If you have light floors, it might look best to do light wood windows. Vinyl windows are easier to maintain, but wood windows are a natural product, are better for the environment, and are beautiful to the eye.

Will sun or privacy be an issue? Protecting your floors and furniture from the sun will be something to consider.

Built In Bookcases and Cabinets

Built-ins like bookcases and cabinets are my favorite architectural details. Without built-ins, a home lacks that distinctive feeling of permanence or purpose. They aren’t that hard to design if you know where they should go, and what they should look like. Coordinate them with your other architectural features like windows, floors and doors.

 

 



 

Skylights and Solar Tubes

The most astounding, small home improvement I’ve seen in years is the series of skylights my good friends Charlene and John installed in their downsized home several years ago. The home is now open, and light filled, and, in the Spring, you can see the tops of their flowering pear trees. As we age, our eyes (and moods!) require light. Skylights are wonderful improvements to consider whether you’re selling or staying put. 

French Doors

If your home is beautifully landscaped with plantings, patios or views, French doors add tremendous beauty and pleasure to home life. Any room in the house will benefit from them. Match the materials to your windows, casing and molding. They are particularly in keeping with an “indoor/outdoor” living style. When deciding on improvements, French doors are not the first, most important improvement for your home. They are something to consider “after” more important improvements have been made, such as kitchen and bathroom updates.

 

 



 

Consider in home improvement than just adding to the dollar value of your home. Think about function and aesthetics, how long you’ll be in the home, the overall value and condition of the neighborhood, the “emotional” appeal the improvements will have on potential buyers, and the enjoyment you’ll derive from the improvements. 

Budgeting for a Kitchen Remodel

 

 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“. 

In it you’ll get …

  • My good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • The classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your very own household income.
  • A pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • A checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • And a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

For more on kitchens, check out my article, Three Remodeling Budgets and Check Lists for a Health-Conscious Kitchen

The Kitchen: the Most Crucial Room in the Home

Self-care really begins at home, right? And much of it happens in the morning, in your kitchen with that first cup of coffee or green tea. The kitchen is the most crucial room in your home. But how does yours work in the morning? Does it support you and your special needs? Does it inspire you to begin your day in a healthy, proactive way? 

 

 

The Most Crucial Room in the Home

 

I get that not everyone wants to fully gut their kitchen. If you’re building a home, it’s a great opportunity to design it right the first time and I have strategy sessions available for just that contingency. But for now, let’s look at things that can be done without a big, expensive set of blueprints.
 

Small Kitchen Appliances

 
Some great small appliances for making you feel pampered are a VitaMix, KitchenAid mixer, Breville juicer and proper Dualit tea kettle.
 
Keeping these in easy to access places will save the strain to your wrists and hands. Or think about adding an appliance garage during your next kitchen remodel.
 
 

Appliance Garages, a Great Kitchen Addition

 
Appliance garages are a nice addition when you have small counter appliances. They keep appliances at an easy-to-reach counter level but stored behind doors for a cleaner appearance. 
 
 
 
 
Light and shadow filled breakfast room decorated with an abundance of plants.

 

Mornings in the Kitchen 

 
How do you start your day? Is it with a cup of organic green tea with organic, raw unfiltered honey or hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice? Or is it artificially flavored coffees and a chemical laden bottled creamer? These are important choices you make each day when you prioritize your health. If you are not aware of this or if you don’t practice these things at least five or six out of seven days a week, managing your health will be an uphill struggle.
 


Function and Beauty Can Co-Exist in the Kitchen

 
 
Little round cabinet knobs are not convenient or comfortable to use, if you have any arthritis going on. It’s okay to opt for larger, D-shaped pulls instead. There are plenty of great looking styles that are also functional to choose from.
 
A single lever faucet is a great addition and a small investment. I can nudge it off and on with my elbow and it extends and retracts too. Even better is a touchless faucet.
 
Rocker style light switches are so much easier than traditional toggle light switches. These are standard in new homes. They often come outfitted with sliding dimmers, also easier than the old round style dimmers.
 
 

Other Additions

 
For the tech lover, smart refrigerators create grocery shopping lists, share calendars, inter family notes and photos, and even stream movies and music. The latest smart faucets measure the amount of water dispensed and even control the temperature.
 
If your counter space is limited, install an under the counter pull down or pop-up shelves for your juicer, blender, etc. If your kitchen is equipped with shallow, full height pantry style cabinets the middle, arm height shelves are perfect for heavy pots and skillets. There are quite a few price options for DIY, custom and semi-custom projects.
 

The Work Triangle

 
If your kitchen is ready for a remodel, employ one of the most important and often overlooked tenants of kitchen design, the work triangle.
 
Simply stated, the work triangle refers to the distance between the three main workstations: the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. It is ideally around 27 feet in diameter. Each leg of the triangle should consist of roughly 9 feet. That’s nine feet from the sink to the refrigerator, nine feet from the refrigerator to the stove, and nine feet from the stove back to the sink.
 
Kitchens with more than two cooks often prefer the large island and open plan concepts.
 

Kitchen Tools: It’s in the Details

 
Little things can be such a joy, can’t they? Before unpacking my kitchen, my helpers lined my cabinet and drawer shelves and installed bamboo divider trays in my drawers and every time I open them, I feel special.
 
It’s easy for me to keep things organized when my drawer and cabinet interiors look so pretty! I also love having fresh tea towels for drying hands, clean white flour sack towels for drying glasses and dishes (aren’t they the softest and most absorbent towel ever?) and cotton wash cloths for wiping the counter.
 
The little tools you keep around your kitchen sink like special dish soaps and scrub brushes are not a big expense but add a little joy to your day. With arthritis, we must really limit our exposure to toxins so choose your cleaning products with care. Remember your skin absorbs everything… but more on that another time.

Self-Care Priorities in the Kitchen

 
The most important tasks that take place in your kitchen “hands down” are related to taking care of your health and wellness and they are juicing and salad making. Fresh green juices and big raw salads are really part and parcel to a healthy eating plan. I’m committed to making these two essentials happen each and every day.
 
They help you live at a much higher level, with more energy, they manage inflammation, balance your mood, help your skin, hair and nails look their best and they slow down aging. I talk a lot about the importance of adding daily juicing and raw foods to your eating plan on the blog and in my eBooks and eCourses.
 
Getting off to a good start in the morning will make it easier to keep that ball rolling all day. 
 
 

 

I love helping you weave through all the challenges building a nest can bring your way, so dig a little deeper and grab a premier copy of my download “Good, Better, Best Budgeting for Your Kitchen Design and Remodel“. 

In it you’ll get …

 

  • My good, better, best method for determining the perfectly, perfect sized remodeling project just for you.
  • The classic 50/30/20 Formula to show you how to determine the size of home improvements, according to your very own household income.
  • A pretty little journal to keep track of your first big decisions on your kitchen remodel.
  • A checklist of home design features you might consider in your remodel, with lots of wellness goodness in mind.
  • And a very special introduction, that I’m super excited to share with you, so click over and grab your download. Hurry!

 

That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

 

Need a few tips on making your weekly grocery list a health filled powerhouse? Get my best salads; tips for making healthy food taste super good; food shopping tricks; my favorite plant-based meals; and more in my post, My Excellent Weekly Grocery List!

Combining Homes for the Newlywedded … My Five Easy Steps for Mixing, Matching and Compromising on their New Nest

 

 

 
 
 
The key to combining homes for the newlywedded is finding elements, objects, colors and styles that can act as a common ground. Here are my five easy steps for mixing, matching and compromising on their new nest.
 
 

My Five Easy Steps for Combining Homes for the Newlywedded

 

1. When combining a couple’s homes for newlyweds, each spouse chooses their own, two to three, best quality pieces. 

 
2. After their quality pieces are chosen, each spouse chooses their own, two to three sentimental pieces.
 

3. Each spouse should be allowed to veto one of the other’s furnishings. These are ONLY based on poor quality, wear and tear, or overly gender-based themes (the color pink, car posters, etc.) but please don’t overdo the vetoing!

 

4. If possible, it’s advisable for each spouse to have one area that is decorated solely for him/her such as the master bedroom (her), the den (him), the home theater (him), or the patio (her). These are perfect venues for those gender-based items that have been vetoed or weeded out. 

 

5. Most people find interior schemes that have a mix of both masculine and feminine elements quite comfortable to live with and easy on the eyes so don’t be afraid to mix in feminine and masculine touches like floral fabrics and gentile colors alongside masculine architecture, metals and dark woods.

 

 

 

via Tumbler

 

 

Mixing and Matching Styles for the Newlywedded Home

When combing styles, it’s helpful to find one thing in particular that will tie everything together visually. You need a singular, unifying element like a wall color, or fabrics or unifying area rugs or furniture to use throughout the main living spaces. You can also pull a design scheme together with white upholstery or slipcovers and a simple print fabric on pillows and accent chairs. 

This is an instance when having a few hours consultation with a design professional can guide you on what to keep, what to repurpose, and what to discard. They can hang your pictures, artfully place your accessories and make solid suggestions on upcoming projects or purchases like paint and furniture.

 
 
 
 

 

 

Most importantly, if any of your furnishings are overtly masculine or feminine, try to find a compromise. Know when it’s time to move away from the Easy Boy recliners and usher in the wingbacks. A peaceful and harmonious home life is worth the concession.
 
Stayed tuned for my Style File where I give you my step-by-step process that eliminates the guess work out of combining your households!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My Favorite Pieces to Bring Disparate Newlywed Home Styles Together into a Cohesive, Stylish Whole

 
  • Modern, classic lamps go with everything.

 

  • Soft furnishings in unifying fabrics such as sofas, armchairs, accent chairs, throw pillows or curtains are the best unifying pieces and the costliest. 
 
  • Matchstick blinds, woven blinds or small slat shutters are classics too. Truthfully, I’m not fond of plantation shutters. I feel they’re the lazy man’s choice to designing.
 
  • Sisal or soft neutral area rugs pull everything together adding softness and texture to boot.

 

  • Beautiful, framed mirrors add visual space and go well with both of the couple’s artwork.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
via Southern Homes
 
Well, that’s it for today! If you’re a newlywed and you’re reading this congratulations to you both! I hope you found this article super helpful. 
 
To you newlyweds and to several of you old married couples! The download below, The Functional Home Blueprint will help you clear the clutter and redefine the zones in your home. In it you’ll learn to create work zones to get you organized and focused; how to make better areas in your home for downtime and re- connecting with yourself; how to carve out an exercise/wellness space even when there’s no room; and maximize your kitchen so you follow through with healthy eating.
 
Enjoy! Bye for now.
 
Shiree’
 
PS. Here’s that link again.
 
 
 

For more goodness on Wellness Design, check out my article How to Get a Wellness-Inspired, Living and Dining Room .

Hiring an Interior Designer

The reasons for people hiring an interior designer are varied. Most of our clients come from different backgrounds, but all have disposable income in common. They are willing to pay a higher price for styles that look fresh for twenty years. They want better quality than what’s available online and in big box stores. And in many cases, they prefer having someone else to manage their project, which can take a lot of time and diligence.

 

 

primitive wood table in light filled entry.

 

But just as many people enjoy the process of “doing it themselves” and that’s important too. There is great satisfaction in knowing you did something yourself.

Start out slowly the first time you work with a designer until you get comfortable. As your project proceeds from initial consultation to proposals, design schemes, orders, fabrications and installations you will become more familiar with how designers work and how they charge for their time.

When You First Begin Working with an Interior Designer

The potential designer/client collaboration begins with a consultation at the client’s home to see if you’re a good match. The first meeting won’t always tell you everything you need to know but things to watch for initially are arriving at the scheduled time (make allowances if your home is particularly hard to find or is off the GPS grid), making eye contact, professional grooming and attire, open mindedness about your project, overall organization, and knowledge of their own services and products.

First Consultation

Some designers charge for the first consultation. Others have a short, complimentary meeting. Still others ask to meet their clients at a local coffee shop rather than the client’s home to keep at bay any design related questions until compensation begins. In my early business days, I gave a complimentary, thirty-minute in home consultation. Now I prefer to charge one hour. This helps me weed out people who aren’t serious about hiring me. I love helping people but it’s painful answering a dozen or more questions once you have figured out, you’re not going to be compensated.

It helps to have at least some idea of what you like and dislike. Designers can gain a lot of knowledge from some of the simplest visual aids- pictures of things you like; swatches of fabric; or even a painting can act as a catalyst in your project.

 

white slipcovered, armless dining room chairs

 

 

Considering Your Lifestyle, Personal Style and Color Preferences

At the first consultation, the designer will usually ask about your lifestyle. They need to know if you have children or pets or if you will be caring for elderly family members in your home in the near future. It’s also extremely helpful to communicate to your designer in as much detail as possible, your personal style and color preferences. If possible, save magazine clippings for the purpose of helping your designer understand you better. Are you a casual or formal person? What colors do you prefer or dislike? Are you traditional, contemporary or a mix of both? Which of your existing furnishings do you wish to replace, and which do you wish to keep? Is there anything you particularly love that could be used as a catalyst for the design project? These things will be discussed in the early stages of your project. 

The Proposal

After the first consultation, I follow up with a proposal. My proposal itemizes everything I’ll be doing for the client and the amount of money I’ll be compensated. This allows the client to add or delete line items as they see fit before giving me a deposit.

Once the proposal has been approved, I begin work on the presentation. 

 

white sofa glass cocktail table

 

The Presentation

Preparing the presentation is very time-consuming. For a typical presentation I’ll source five to six sofas, chairs and ottomans in a variety of styles and price ranges; thirty or so coordinating fabrics; do written estimates of each item I’m presenting; print out tear sheets (large pictures with dimensions); type up written reports and estimates; do CAD or Autodesk renderings; and prepare visual aids like large, labeled fabric swatches on rings and oversized paint chips. The client doesn’t see all these items, mind you. But I do use them to help me make decisions.

The aesthetic quality of the project will be evident in the designer’s presentation. Look for outstanding fabric combinations that are pulled together yet not too matchy-matchy; plans that have a little flexibility; tear sheets of beautiful, high-quality furnishings; well written plans that evolve around your architecture, the things you love and at least some of your existing furniture; and professional, clean looking estimates and budgets with branded logos and signature fonts and colors.

Experienced Workrooms, Craftsman and Fabricators 

Look for designers who have workrooms with at least fifteen years of experience. I have seen many otherwise beautiful projects look amateurish and silly because of poorly crafted upholstery and window treatments.

 

Light filled breakfast room.

 

Other Things to Consider

By this point in the project, a client usually knows if the designer is a good match. Now, the presentation must gain their approval. Is the project within your budget? What, if any changes are needed? Do the design schemes reflect your personal style as well as the home’s architecture? Is it appropriate to your geography? Do the styles and colors jump out at you, in a good way? If so, you are ready to begin the project.

Your designer will most likely be providing you with both products and services. Before writing the check, make certain the products and services are clearly described in writing (my descriptions are on my written quotes and bids). Make certain payment terms and lead times are clear. Most designers require at least a 50% deposit upon order and balance at time of shipment for furniture and accessories. I require payment in full.

For window treatments, an additional deposit may be required because by the time the treatments are installed, most of the materials and labor have long been paid for and the designer will be out of pocket before collecting the full balance. It’s also helpful if the designer gives a ballpark estimate of what shipping costs will be.

Managing the Client’s Expectations

Managing the client’s expectations is an important part of the job. So are foreseeing problems before they occur. I know from past experience which vendors are slow, and I prepare the client by telling them a longer lead time than what I’ve been quoted. Then, if the vendor is on time, the client and I are both pleasantly surprised. Under promising and over delivering is another part of great project management.

 

white sofa and modern chair

 

How Designers Charge for their Services

Designers charge for their services and products in a variety of ways such as with retainers against future work; with hourly fees; and with cost-plus percentage mark-ups. Most of us are compensated by a capped amount of hourly fees for services as well as wholesale to retail mark-ups on products. We purchase products at wholesale and receive a commission by selling it at retail. We also charge hourly fees for services that don’t require materials or fabrication.

Budget, Timeline and Scope of Work

To ensure the personal satisfaction of your project, be clear about your budget, timeline and scope of work. Your designer will collaborate with you on this. They are very helpful in prioritizing and doing work in phases. Be proactive in the end result by giving your designer good descriptions of the styles and colors you prefer. Esoteric terms like “cozy” and “classic” have different meanings for different people and are subject to interpretation.

 

Sheila Bouttier

 

Sheila Bouttier

Communication

Communicate clearly and when possible, provide pictures of your preferences. Use real descriptions like “blue”, “large”, “modern” and “pale”. Clarity is almost an art form itself but like design, practice makes perfect.

The Sum of the Parts

And remember this subtle rule of thumb: it’s not the individual furniture or paint or fabrics your designer chooses that makes a room fabulous. It’s the way in which everything is put together as a whole.

That’s the real art of the interior designer.

If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home and learn my 5 simple steps to a beautiful, restful interior for women who value their home and wellness. It’s the prettiest little book and a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home. Get yourself some help post haste!

 

 

The Wellness Home

 

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by! Shiree’

For my at-a-glance must have’s for giving your home a wellness makeover, check out my “Design Help, Wellness and a Little Woo Woo”!

Window Treatment Decisions Made Easy

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
Shiree Segerstrom Design
 

If window treatments are something you’re contemplating in the near future, here’s a primer to help get you started with the basics. Your window treatment decisions made easy on this issue of Joy of Nesting.

 

Things to Consider When Deciding on Window Treatments

 
Among the many considerations in planning new window treatments are exposure to sunlight and cold, outdoor views, the home’s style, window size and style, cost, upkeep, and nearby obstacles.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My Favorite Types of Window Treatments

 
I’ve done a fair share of custom designed window treatments over the years, and I’ve seen many styles and types come and go. My own preferences lean toward custom draperies on high quality rods with rings and finials; simple, unlined sheers; box pleated board mounted valances; roman shades; traditional wood shutters with small slats; and high-quality woven shades. 
 
Before making any decisions, there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself. I’ll offer tips to prioritizing the budget and planning the styles in a minute.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shiree Segerstrom Interior Design
 
 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding on Window Treatments

 
Do you want to plan in stages? If so, I recommend doing the formal living room, dining room, entry, and master bedroom first, and family room, kitchen, guest rooms and baths last. Are your windows attractive and are the views pleasing? If yes, you probably are not going to want them covered up with wooden blinds or shutters. Are the clearances tight? In other words, is there minimal room for treatments and hardware on the outside of the window frame? If yes, an interior mounted treatment might be in order. Are there French doors or glass sliding doors? If yes, the best treatments for those two situations are draperies that coordinate with the other window treatments situated in close proximity.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Doug Atherly
 
 
 

Window Treatment Variables

 
There are many variables with window treatments. Often times there are more than one style of window in a room requiring visual continuity but with different functions. I often suggest box pleated valances or drapery panels for such contingencies because they allow for varying heights of windows. Layering treatments isn’t always the most cost-efficient choice but for small windows like those found in most bedrooms a valance over drapery panels visually increases the window size, softens noise, and creates a restful and attractive appearance.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amber Interiors
 
In mountain homes the views attract many home buyers.  In these cases, a “less is more” approach is used, mounting the treatments as far off the glass as possible.
This approach can be tricky because the farther you move the drapery panel off the glass, the bigger the panel’s “stack” becomes. So, while you expose as much glass
as possible, you still end up with a larger “stack”.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Laurel Bern
 
For homes with unattractive windows and views, wooden blinds or shutters are a lovely solution. Shutters and blinds are always a good investment for resale. Vinyl shutters are an
option that many people overlook. They are very nice looking, very clean, and easy to maintain.
 
 
 
 
 
 
For rooms that are naturally dark I have found unlined sheers on custom iron rods and rings to be beautiful and functional. Iron rods are a lifetime investment and should reflect the architectural style of the home.
 
To give you an idea of levels of cost, the least expensive custom window treatments would be draperies on a decorative traverse rod; board mounted valances over wooden blinds or sunscreens; some brands of woven shades. In the moderately priced category draperies on rods and rings over sheers and valances over drapery panels; roman shades. In the highest price category are triple layered treatments such as valances over draperies over sheers, and plantation shutters.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 Tips for Lowering Costs

 
To help lower window treatment prices on shutters and blinds wait for annual sales or choose reputable workrooms to do your own fabrication and design. Doing it yourself will require that you estimate fabric quantities and create a viable work order for the work room to follow. For fabric treatments like draperies, shades, and valances aim for fabrics in the $60 per yard range. Trims such as welts, ties, banding, and fringe add to the overall cost.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Some Caveats When Working with a Designer on Window Treatments

 
Most designers won’t work with fabric you have purchased at discount stores preferring instead to provide you with the fabric themselves. There is a lot of extra foot work using
the client’s own fabric such as driving or taking the time to ship it to the seamstress: when we order fabrics from our own sources, they automatically ship it directly to our workrooms; frequently the fabric has flaws; and often times there isn’t enough fabric to complete the job.
 
Window treatments are time consuming and technically challenging. For that reason, the mark-up we receive from purchasing fabric at wholesale and selling at retail is important to cover our time. However, there are fabric store chains in most major cities that will sell you the fabric and fabricate the product saving you considerable money. The draw backs are that workmanship isn’t always great and the styles tend to date quickly. If you know what you want and wish to be the designer yourself, hiring an experienced seamstress is a great option. They are usually willing to work with your own material too. Choose seamstresses that have at least 15 years of experience otherwise you won’t be happy with the end result.
 
 
 
 
 

Sheila Bouttier

 

Colors for Window Treatment Fabrics and Materials

When choosing shutters, blinds, or shades pay attention to the colors. In large amounts whites can be so white they make everything else in the room dingy. With fabric treatments if
you are going to play it safe, go all the way by choosing a nice neutral colored fabric like warm white or light taupe. Otherwise, be brave and choose a subtle print that will coordinate well with existing furnishings. Avoid the in-betweens.

 

If you need help with remodeling or your next design project, then check out my “Budgets, Style and What to Keep on Your Next Design Project”. You’ll get a lot of helpful advice and a realistic framework to help you figure out your own, personal design style. It’s a framework that actually works! 

 

 

Ready to take a deeper dive into freshening up your home? I created The Functional Home Blueprint to help you create a livable, clutter free home. Get my download and create beautiful places in your home for downtime and reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones!

 

  • Get organized and energized with my easy tools, attractive container ideas and simple home office hacks.

 

  • Carve out spaces to exercise, and 

 

  • Maximize your kitchen to follow through with healthy eating; and utilize all your rooms. Plus, a BONUS: my fave home workout equipment!

 

Here is that link again. That’s it for today. Bye for now! Shiree