Love HGTV and home remodeling makeover shows? Like spending time creating Ideabooks on Houzz or going pin-crazy on Pinterest? We do, too! Even with thirteen years as a local home remodeler under our toolbelt (and working on all sorts of home remodels from oddly shaped kitchens to quirky bathrooms to bland basements), there are times when we all need a little design inspiration to help us develop the perfect spaces in our home.
That’s exactly what happened recently when Mina and Mark were considering what to do with an uninspiring and under-utilized area under the stairs to their Main Level. Read on to see how they turned inspiration into a “wow” interior design feature and tips for how you can do the same.
1. Think About How You Use Your Space
If you plan to stay in your home for the longer term, design your space how YOU want it, not with a view to resale. When we start working with new clients, we conduct a design interview so we understand how the space will be used on a daily basis. We only work on home remodels with clients who are planning to stay in their home for the medium to long term. We don’t work on flips or simple pull-and-replace or countertop upgrades and focus on design thoughtful, custom home remodels that our clients intend to enjoy themselves for years to come. So, if that sounds like you, we say GO FOR IT and go with that unique design feature you’ve been dreaming of!
2. Take time to Plan
Gather some design inspiration photos. We love creating Houzz Ideabooks and Pinterest boards because it’s an easy way to save photos of designs you love. If you do engage a professional home remodeler or interior designer, it’s also a really convenient way to share your ideas with them so they get a sense of exactly what you’re looking for. However, be realistic. If you are a DIY-er and don’t really know what you’re doing, get an expert opinion on whether than wall is load-bearing or what cabinets will fit before you reach for your sledge hammer.
Idea Books are the perfect way to gather your design inspiration in one place. Click on the image above to learn how to create one. Image Courtesy of Houzz
3. Research the Permit and Code Requirements
County permit requirements and codes exist for a reason. They keep you and your family safe. From stair rise height to the number of electrical outlets needed in a space, you need to know what the codes are. In Mina and Mark’s case, the stair rise couldn’t be more than 8.25″ high, and the stair tread had to be at least 9″ deep. If you do unpermitted work or make changes that don’t meet code, it’s not only unsafe for you, it will be picked up by an inspector when it comes time to sell. Any reputable home remodeler will apply for permits and arrange for inspections on your behalf. Read our previous post on “To Permit or Not to Permit: That Shouldn’t be the Question”
4. You Don’t Need Expensive Materials for a Custom Look
You don’t need Carrara marble and fully custom cabinets to achieve a custom, high-end look. In Mina and Mark’s home, their custom staircase looks AMAZING but it was constructed using framing lumber and plywood. Likewise, advances in product technology has allowed for a complete change in getting high-end finishes at reasonable prizes. From tile to flooring, you can get top-notch, quality products at a fraction of the cost. Do your homework and get creative with your solutions so you don’t blow your budget.
5. Be Realistic in Your Expectations About How Long it Might Take
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. The reality T.V. shows are great for getting inspiration, but they don’t accurately reflect the time home remodeling projects can actually take. This is true even more so now due to demand outstripping supply in the home remodeling industry. Lead times have increased and many materials and appliances are experiencing LONG lead times and shortages. We have a saying in Synergy, “Materials wait for construction, not the other way around”. Do not demo anything until you have supplies at hand or know exactly when they will arrive.
Watch the video below as we take a look at how an inspirational photo was used to create a custom staircase and sitting area in Mark and Mina’s own home.
Of course, there will always be times when, despite your best intentions, getting your dream space will require the expertise of a reputable home remodeler. We can help! We only work on custom home remodels and our interior design team partners with you to come up with a plan that aligns to your aesthetic and how you’ll use your space, not someone else’s vision of your home. It’s all part of helping you to renovate happy!