Monday, December 11, 2006

Interior Design for Dollar Conscious Homeowners

It is always exciting to meet a potential new client. Sharing ideas on how to get a great look and how we can best stretch the dollars is what keeps it exciting. Each time I am meeting with a client for an initial consultation I see an opportunity to help them create the "Home of Their Dreams". Creating the home of your dreams does not mean you have to live in a multi million dollar neighborhood and it doesn't mean you have to live in a multi million dollar house. Not even a half million dollar house. When we can take a house and turn it into a home, we have accomplished far more than a pretty sofa and a workable wall color.

Seeing the personality of each client come to life in their surroundings is what a successful Home Plan can do. For you that means your likes, your loves, your needs and your dreams wrapping themselves around you every time you cross the threshold of your door. Your home is your sanctuary, treat it that way. You can live in a house that is the same floor plan as 20 other homes in your neighborhood. That does not mean you should all have the same interior. It should be all your own. It should be all you. I have never duplicated a look for any two clients. If I did, I would not be doing what I am hired to do. I would be selling myself and my client short.

I hope to help you find a way to fill your house with the ideas and the furnishings that will make it Your Dream Home. If you like do it yourself projects then I can help you achieve a huge look for small dollars. The photos I have included in this blog are prime examples. This entry is mainly focused on Ready Made Drapes with what I call a Custom Touch. This means you can purchase your drapes, your hardware and any needed "added touches" at your local Home store. Be it Linen n Things, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target or Tuesday Morning. Yes, Tuesday Morning. Excellent resource for spending little dollars to get a big bang. For example, the drapes featured in this photograph....we spent a total of $443.00 plus tax. The drapes are Red Silk(lined) panels from Home Depot Expo. We bought them on sale for $80.00 per panel. The "Hardware" are simple coat hooks from Target. We wanted black "iron" hardware. The hooks, $5.00 each, were all different colors so I went crazy on a $3 can of black matte spray paint. The rings we used to hang the drapes from the hooks were qty.10 to a bag for $10 per bag. They were so easy, all we had to do was "clip" them onto the drape. This whole project took more time to shop for than it took to make/install. (helpful hint, preshop/shop online for most of these items)Great look for little money.

I realize for some of you $443.00 is a lot of money. Keep in mind, these were silk and they were lined. If I had designed these from scratch, I would not even have been able to find the fabric yardage needed for $443.00.

There are other ways to save too. This next treatment cost a little less. The hardware was from LnT or BB&Beyond. I cannot remember. (Always keep those coupons you get in the mail and newspaper). They will accept each other's coupons, they will accept expired coupons and you can use up to 9 coupons per purchase. So, if you purchase 14 items in one shopping event, 9 of those items are allowed a coupon to be applied at purchase.

The process here was 6 foot rod cut in half. 2 pairs of finials, 2 pairs of brackets and 2 sets of rings. Each item was allowed a 20% off coupon total= $136.00 plus tax. Our panels were from Tuesday Morning. They were $19.99 each. Our dilemma here was that the panels were not long enough. The texture was right, the pattern was right and the color was perfect. We went to a discount fabric house and found 3 yards of fabric to add for about $24. We added 18"to the top and the bottom of the existing panels.The trim we also found at Tuesday Morning -6 yards for $9.99. The fabrics were attached to each other with hot glue and the trim was then hot glued over the seam. Voila-beautiful formal dining room drapes for just over $300.00. The rings were stitched right to the top edge of the panels with nothing more than a button stitch. If I had ordered this treatment custom,meaning ordering the yardage, the trim, and labor for creating them it would have cost my client $480.00 just for the fabric yardage, apprx. $112.00 for labor, plus liner costs, plus trim costs, plus custom hardware. Do you see where this is going? This window would probably cost her about $1500.00 to have them made on the "custom" level. We saved a lot of money here so that she could invest her dollars where she needed them most. Inexpensive Windows that look elegant and beautiful are part of the bow on the package. There are times when you should spend the money on custom draperies. There are some rooms that demand custom treatments. When it is necessary, please, make the investment.

You need "good bones" to begin with (or a plan for replacing the worn out pieces as you go). Work with a good Designer. Don't go into your Home Plan with the idea that you are going to do your entire home "on the cheap". Enter into this with the idea that you are going to create a beautiful home while staying within your price range. A good and honest Designer will be straight with you and tell you where the bulk of your dollars should be spent and where you can save by either doing things yourself (within reason) or shopping at the right stores for the right accessories to finish off your beautiful look. With that said, if you tell your designer you want to decorate your Family Room, Dining Room and Master Bedroom(meaning furniture, draperies, paint,bedding, accessories, etc) for $1000.00 do not be shocked when she/he laughs uproariously. I say you can work within a price range but you as the Home Owner need to be realistic on just how loudly we can make the old Geroge Washington scream. $1000.00 for three rooms top to bottom is unrealistic in anyone's book.

Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Working with a designer does not mean you will have to go over your price range. As a matter of fact, working with a Designer should help you stay within your expectations or close to it. If you are like most of us you have Champagne taste and beer budget. Don't let that scare you. Your Designer should help you create a "Home Plan" that will allow you to move forward at a pace that fits your price point. This way, you choose and prioritize what to start with first. Once those things are in your home and you are ready to go forward with the next phase, it's already planned out. All you'll have to do then is purchase your next phase. It's like washing your hair- repeat until done.

In case you were wondering what I meant by the term "good bones".This room is a great example of "good bones". The furniture was pre-existing. This is mid stage through the design process. This client wanted custom bedding and custom drapes. She wanted a more contemporary look but owned very traditional furniture. This photo was taken after the bedding, new window treatment and recovered chair were delivered. Her next phase will be accessorizing. Because we are working in steps to fit her Price Range, acessories will be completed in a few months. She understands the design plan and knows exactly what will be happening next. A good home plan will help to keep you focused and a little more patient with the whole process.
If you have questions about how to find the right designer for you please ask me, I'll try to help. If you are already working with a Designer but are not sure how the process should work, ask me. Again, I'll try to help. No question is dumb and no question should go unasked. I hope to share ideas on this blog for anyone wanting information on Home Projects. I also hope to enlighten people on how to best work with a Designer so that you too can afford your beautiful Dream Home.
Thanks for stopping in and remember, any questions....just ask.

Diana Taylor
Taylor Haskins Design Studio