I recently completed a remodel of a ranch-style home that includes a kitchen, mini-kitchen, powder room, small bathroom, fireplace revision, exterior paint, light fixtures and front door.
I followed up with my client, M.G., to ask about the experience from her perspective, and to determine whether there was any room for improvement in the process. Portions of our conversation, and my observations, follow.
S.S.: What was one of the best parts of your remodel that you did not expect or anticipate before you started?
M.G.: The result was beyond my imagination, both aesthetically and functionally. During the design process, it was hard to imagine how everything would come together, but we trusted our designer’s vision and it paid off. We are beyond happy with our new kitchen, and have received more compliments than we can count from friends and family.
S.S.: To obtain this kind of a good end result, it was helpful to learn what was not working for you and what you ideally wanted to resolve and improve. It was not necessary for you to know how to execute the remodel – just knowing the end result sought was the key to success.
S.S.: Did you learn anything during the project that may be helpful to others who are considering a remodel?
M.G.: Find a good designer as well as contractor team members (an architect or engineer as needed). Trust their expertise and overall vision, ask questions when clarity and understanding are needed and stay out of the way.
S.S.: Designers may joke about clients who sign on in the beginning, then stay away until the end of a remodel. However, the truth is that being available for feedback and decision-making as the design process unfolds is more helpful. Many times, practical and aesthetic assumptions are made by designers, but I’ve found the feedback to be an essential part of a fully realized project that ends up delighting its inhabitants.
S.S. When you look back and consider all of the moving parts on your remodel, what could have worked better?
M.G.: In a kitchen design remodel particularly, we did not know if we might have a use for something we’ve never used before. What I would have done differently is do more of my own research by getting more information about the functionality of the kitchen appliances, which would have made the decisions easier.
S.S.: Most people only remodel their kitchen once in a lifetime – if at all – so it is understandable there is little familiarity with current appliance offerings and technology. It is valuable to learn or ask about the current landscape of kitchen equipment, which includes sinks, faucets, light fixtures and appliances. There are technical advances in countertop and cabinet finishes, including heat-proof and fade-proof surfaces that are fantastic for long-term wearability. As kitchens should have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, it is imperative to install the most current and proven technology improvements so that they provide a long runway of use.
Sherry Scott is a Certified Interior Designer in California, professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the proprietor of Sherry Scott Design in downtown Los Altos, 169 Main St. To submit a question, email [email protected]