Amy and her family had been living in their Plano home for over 25 years, and it came to the point where they were either going to buy a new house or remodel their current one. Amy and her husband made a beautiful life in this house. They raised three kids in it. It was truly their home.
So, they decided to stay and called us to bring their 1978 home into the 21st century.
Having lived in the house for so long, Amy knew exactly how she wanted to improve her space — open up the galley kitchen to the living room and dining room. She also wanted to give the 40-year-old home a makeover — update the style and give it a fresh, clean look that would last for decades to come. We took her suggestions and ran with them, giving her the space of her dreams in the home her family filled with memories.
The biggest task in the remodel was knocking down the wall that separated Amy’s kitchen from the surrounding primary spaces. Opening up that area brought in an incredible amount of light, which accentuated the white kitchen we designed for her.
WHAT OUR TEAM LOVES
“There’s a moment where the backsplash wraps around the cabinets up to the ceiling and it meets the wood paneling on the adjacent wall. It’s a beautiful meeting of two contrasting materials. I just love it.” — ABBEY, Junior Designer at Beyond Interior Design
When we first entered the house (prior to the remodel), we saw two separate spaces — the dining room and living room — with an entry to the kitchen on your left. The removal of the kitchen wall changed those two adjoining spaces. With one large connected space, we had the opportunity to create a cohesive design that flowed throughout the home.
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about the domino effect (if you change one thing, it will often change another). With the kitchen and dining rooms open to the living room, we knew we’d need to update the stairs and fireplace to maintain a fluid aesthetic. To achieve this, we created a custom, sleek fireplace wall and slimmed down the finishings of the staircase.
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In our previous post, we discussed how to set a reasonable budget for your interior decor and furnishing project. For those of you seeking help on setting your remodel budget, you probably felt a little left out. Well, guess what — in Part II of How to Set Your Interior Design Budget, you’re our main focus!
Budgeting for a remodel is more complex than a refurnishing project simply because the cost of labor and materials aren't straightforward and readily available online. So we won't be helping you reach a reasonable number this week. Instead, we'll point out all the details that go into remodeling your space so you can see how each step of the process will affect your budget. Kitchens and bathrooms are typically the most costly and complicated, so those will be our main focus in this post, but we'll also cover general elements that apply to all jobs.
One of those common elements is the domino effect. For all projects, big or small, changing one thing often leads to changing something else. This could be out of necessity or for design continuity. The domino effect is often the most overlooked and costly part of a redesign. Therefore, it's always good to think about how one change will affect another element in that space or the spaces around it so you can budget appropriately.
People often get caught up in the cost of materials (cabinets, countertops, flooring), but the cost of labor greatly impacts a project's budget. When making any considerable changes to a property, numerous tradesmen will be brought in at different stages of the project (i.e. plumber, tile setter, carpenter, electrician, demolition team, etc.). To overlook the subcontractors and organize the project timeline, a general contractor is needed. Each trade will have labor costs on top of the materials, and a general contractor will apply an additional 10-30% upcharge for project management.
The factors that alter overall cost get even more detailed and specific depending on the project, so to help you see how those aspects (as well as the domino effect and labor) come into play, we'll break down every major element of a kitchen and bathroom remodel and expose the areas that'll greatly affect your budget.
The first question to ask yourself when it comes to cabinets is do you want custom or standard? Custom cabinets are exactly as they sound, they’re built custom to fit your space. Standard cabinets can vary in terms of height and setup (i.e. drawers, shelves, lazy susan), but the sizes are set. In wall-to-wall configurations, standard installations often require filler pieces to close the gaps created by the cabinets not being built specifically for that space. Hence why custom cabinets are preferred for a seamless design. If custom is your preferred route, budget anywhere from $15K to $100K, depending on craftsmanship and size of kitchen.
Cabinet finish also affects cost. Laminate and veneer come with a higher price tag, so people commonly choose paint. However, if selecting this option, you should also take into account the cost of hiring a painter, as cabinet installers usually don’t cover that service.
When it comes to countertops, people often assume marble is the top-shelf of stone materials. In reality, the type of stone matters less (in terms of cost) than appearance. For example, an exotic granite slab will have a higher price tag than a simple marble one.
If the kitchen you’re remodeling is open or you’d like to open it up to another room, you must take into account the surrounding space. Once the two (or more) areas are combined, so are all encompassing elements. For example, we were hired to redesign someone’s open-concept kitchen in their Dallas condo. However, updating just the kitchen and not addressing the outdated style of the dining and living rooms would’ve created a discontinuity in the great space. We ended up redesigning the entire area to promote a continuous aesthetic throughout the space. Therefore, if you’re planning on having an open layout by the end of your remodel, we’d recommend also budgeting for updates to the adjoining space(s).
If moving major appliances, like an electric range or refrigerator, an electrician will need to be brought on board. Electric ranges require a special 240V outlet, which will need to be professionally installed in the appliance's new location. Fridges, on the other hand, operate on standard 110/120V outlets, but a professional needs to ensure an outlet is in the right position and the power comes from its own circuit. A plumber will also need to be involved in moving the water line to accommodate the refrigerator’s water hook-up.
If you’re considering moving your sink or installing one in an island, this will also require the labor of a plumber. And when plumbing is affected, your walls (or flooring for the island) are too because your plumber will need to reconfigure the plumbing lines. So if you weren’t originally budgeting for drywall work or new floors, you might end up needing to. Can you see the domino effect at work here?
As mentioned earlier, the cost of stone countertops varies more on exoticness of the stone versus the material. The big thing you need to consider when replacing your bathroom countertop is whether or not they want to replace the cabinets as well. You may not mind your current cabinetry, but the question is do you like it enough to keep for years to come. It’s important to consider this because once the stone countertop is placed, the cabinets can’t easily be changed.
If you do decide to change your cabinets, good news! Unless you’re stretching your cabinets from wall-to-wall or have a very particular design in mind, you can use standard cabinets from places like Wayfair, Ikea, or Lowe's.
Changing your finishes, such as tub or shower hardware, isn’t as simple as it seems. The tub or shower system must match up with the valve placed by the plumbers, or you will have to install a new valve. In which case, a plumber’s services will be needed. Just as discussed in the kitchen section, if plumbing is affected, tile on the floor or walls most likely will be, too. The seemingly simple switch from silver finishes to brass is no longer so simple.
The first question you need to ask yourself when trying to budget for your shower/tub remodel is do you even want both? More and more people are opting out of having baths to make room for more luxurious showers. If you have the room and want both, the next question is do you want it built-in or have it stand alone? Often, people think stand-alones are more expensive because they see the big price tag on the tub itself. However, if you want a built-in, you must also consider the framing of the tub and materials around it, in addition to the construction and installation labor.
Showers are arguably more complex because everything is customized — the wall and floor materials, placement of shower system, glass or no glass, built-in shelf or seat. Every custom element requires a different trade. Of course, a plumber will need to be involved to install the shower system. A tile-setter will be responsible for wall and floor finishes. But before tile can be set, a concrete pourer must pour the concrete shower pan and waterproof it. A lot of trades for such a small space — we know!
Unlike other rooms throughout the house, there’s a larger variety of wall finishes used in bathrooms. Besides just paint and wallpaper, tiles, laminate, acrylic, and stone are all used in the high-moisture rooms. Here, the mode you select will affect your overall budget, depending on material and cost of labor to install (i.e. a tile-setter will accrue more hours than someone applying wallpaper).
If this sounds like a lot, that's because it is! Remodel projects are complex and involved, which is why it's so hard to accurately budget for them. Hopefully, though, after reading Part II of How to Set your Interior Design Budget, you feel enlightened and can confidentially approach your remodel budget with an informed perspective.
It's a true joy working with new clients, getting to learn their unique personalities and styles and designing specifically for them. Yet, there's something special about getting to work with return clients. We know their design style and what they like, but we also get to see how their preferences have slightly evolved based on how their lives have changed.
Project Northcrest came to us from our very first client. At the time, she'd always wanted a modern house, and that's exactly what we gave her. In 2016, her life had grown, as had her family and their needs, and she was looking for more space and a home closer to her kids' schools.
She brought us in the loop prior to them even searching for homes. She wasn't sure if they were going to build or buy but she knew we'd be brought in for the interior design work.
Three months after they purchased the house, she sent us an update that they'd bought a house and shared the photos with us. It was a beautiful family home, but was French Country through and through — this was NOT her style at all. But for her, the home was all about location, location, location. Everything else, she knew, could be customized to her taste. And it was.
We sourced the kitchen through Porcelanosa, with the custom-built cabinets done by Supreme Design of Dallas. The tile for the master bath also came from Porcelanosa, which gave the space a sleek, European modernity.
The first modernist homes began popping up in the early 1900s. These sleek, unornamented designs completely broke from the traditional, neoclassical style that dominated the landscape. It took decades— almost a century, in fact — for the modern design concept to be adopted on a broader scale. Now (at varying degrees), cities over the United States have seen a surge of modernist residences pop-up. What once was rare, bold, and avant-garde is now becoming common and almost cookie-cutter.
Which is leaving home-buyers wondering, "How do I make my modern home different from the rest?"
And what a valid question! We, designers who thrive in the modernist and mid-century space, love this wide-spread adoption, but we also believe homes should be unique to the owners who live in them. Hence, why we were so excited to be brought on to project Lontos.
When the young, Dallas couple purchased their first home, they couldn't have been happier with the exterior aesthetic. They knew, however, the townhome had been built for the masses — not for them. The new homeowners wanted to make the house their own, keeping the modern-style flowing throughout their space. They started researching interior designers, and that's when they found us.
To give the couple a home unique to them, we designed each room to have a bold, eye-catching element. For the living space, we painted a black accent wall, which contrasted against the surrounding white walls and warm furnishings. Each bedroom received a textured accent wall: one with wood-inspired, herringbone wallpaper and the other with diagonal coffering.
In the end, we turned their modern home into the modern home of their dreams. And while one wouldn't know it from the outside, the townhouse has been completely personalized to the ones who dwell there.
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