5:53 pm / Oct 27 2014

Let’s make it simple

I recently attended a seminar while being hosted at an event by my cabinet manufacturer Decor Cabinets Ltd. in Morden Manitoba. The speaker was Mike Hetherman, CEO of Willis. I was completely blown away by his message of “The Confused Consumer”. The more I thought about his message the more I could understand how true this was.
Stepping out of my designer shoes (no pun intended) I looked through the eyes of the average home owner.
  • You’ve decided to renovate your home.
  • Your first trip is to a big box or home improvement store or local showroom.
  • Upon walking in the door within minutes you are completely blasted by 100’s if not 1000’s of choices.
  • You are faced with walls of faucets, flooring, cabinets, finishes, backsplashes, sinks, tiles, countertops, appliances….AUUHHHGGG!  
How could anyone make a decision!?If that’s not bad enough you have the entire internet to do more research and again the pages and pages and pages of choices are truly endless. In our information age the availability to see products, materials, methods procedures…. is mind blowingly overwhelming!
So where do you begin? In Mr. Hetherman’s presentation he explained that here in lies the biggest problem, home owners are on information overload. The HGTV world makes renovations look seamless, pain free, even simple but in reality we don’t have a crew to make our home look amazing in a half hour. Or do we?
Instead of feeling “maybe we’re not ready to renovate the kitchen” or “the bathroom isn’t that bad” or “perhaps next year“, there is a way to get through the seemingly endless choices by working with a professional (defining professional: kitchen and bath designer, interior designer, licensed contractor).
It’s OK, this isn’t meant to cause more heart palpitations! Let me explain: as a professional in the industry I am consistently focused on learning about new products, methods of installation, design techniques and more. I spend hours going through magazines, websites, trade shows, product brochures absorbing, learning and allowing the creativity to foster ideas. I know, it sounds like an addiction but I am the crazy person that gets really excited when I find a new product! My kids think I’m nuts but I love what I do! Let me walk you through how I begin working with a new client:
1. Initial meeting is always at the clients home where I spend some time with my clients, asking critical questions to understands their needs/wants/lifestyle/budget. See the space they are planning to renovate. This meeting is crucial to gather as much information about the scope of the project, specific desires of the individuals who will use the space and what the true goal is.
2. I then take all the information and begin creating a physical design for the space. If we are working on a kitchen then I begin to develop a cabinet layout using the desired appliances my client is planning (or we begin with general sizes and configurations: range vs cooktop/walloven). During this process I begin to include the specific elements that will improve the way my client functions in their new space.
Most renovations address a lack of function in a given space, the second most requested desire is storage.
3. The initial design is sent to my client for feedback. This allows me to judge if I am on the right track and gives complete control to my client. The initial design begins to simplify the process. The client now has a direction, focus and starting point. I have found that the majority of people I work with may not always know what it is they like but everyone knows what it is they don’t like! Listening to the dislikes is critical to put “function before form”. Feedback and ideas bounce back and forth and together we find the right layout, design that fits the end users.
4. Now is the time to discuss the “form” part of the renovation. We talk about door style, cabinet finishes, countertops etc. But here’s the difference, I have already determined the general style my client is looking for (classic, modern, transitional…). When I bring door style samples I usually have no more than 5. This keeps the choices to a more manageable quantity. Once a door style is selected we move on to choosing the finish. Each step with options that reflect what I have learned about the client.
Each choice to be made comes only at the time when a decision is needed. The steps of the process (and these are only the first 4) I have created for my clients keeps them engaged, focused and informed. After all, this is their home and most often their single largest asset. This is where HGTV drops the ball (in my opinion), it shows renovations being done to peoples homes without their involvement in choosing WHAT is going into their home. Although, this may not be the case the “reveal” indicates that often they had no idea. It makes for great TV but in reality my clients want to be involved and I couldn’t imagine having it any other way. I have developed my company around this process and strive to create personal spaces for my clients that reflect their need for function first. Design style and budget are always important and although, not the first order of business are no less important. 
Above I have only given the initial steps of how we work to give you a foundation of how a major or minor renovation to your home can benefit when you work with a skilled professional. For greater details please check out our website (www.detailbydesign.ca) or call today and schedule your personal consultation. Together, we can make the improvements to your home without the process becoming overwhelming.
Check out next months topic “Reasons why you should renovatehousecalculatorimage” – coming in November.

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