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By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Couples start to plan for their weddings at least a year in advance.  They select photographers, florists, caterers, the officiant, seamstresses, tux rental shops, D.J.s, etc. for a single day event.  They worry and fret about every little detail, yet when it comes to major construction on their homes Remodelpeople often times plan hastily and expect it completed in just a few weeks.

We often have clients calling us to inquire about a remodel project and frequently they want to start it sooner rather than later.  Remodeling is not a quick fix—just to get ready for it to begin is a long process and the actual construction can last for a much greater duration of time.

When planning a remodel think of it as you would a wedding.  Line up all of your contractors, get on their schedules, line up your materials, price them, adjust the budget, etc.  Here is an easy to follow At-A-Glance timeline when preparing for a remodel.

6 Months Before:

–Start to think about the parameters of the project.  How much do you want to do? Will you be replacing flooring? Removing walls? Reworking the roof line? Will there be hardware that needs to be purchased? Appliances to select? Etc.?

–Establish a relationship with an interior designer (if you don’t already have one).  The benefit of having a designer on the team is that they have already vetted contractors and can bring an entire docket of professionals to you.  This is nice in the fact that it makes the process run smoother and affords project relationships that are already established.

–Select your general contractor.  Your designer most likely has a general contractor they work closely with and would be happy to share with you their information or you may want to research and secure your own contractor.  Either way most contractors only work on one or two projects at a time.  It is always recommended that you get your job on their schedule as soon as possible.  Your initial meeting with your contractor will give them and you a good idea of how much time the project will require and what they estimate your completion date to be.  It is always nice to include your designer in the meeting with your contractor as they will be working closely together throughout the project.

–Select the other professional contractors. Again ask your designer if they have recommendations, do your own research into specialized contractors or ask your general contractor if they have sub-contractors that they prefer to work with.  However you go about finding your painter, plumber, drywaller, etc.  you’ll need to schedule your project with their schedules as soon as possible to ensure your project has less of a chance of delays.

4 Months Before:

–Find some inspiration. Start to look online, in magazines, on Houzz.com, etc. for inspiration as to what kind of flooring you want, what paint colors attract you, what hardware you like, what appliances you might be interested in, etc.  Compile a file of these items to share with your designer.  This will make your likes/dislikes clearer and direct the shopping for these items.

–Set a date to meet with your designer You’ll want to make sure you get on your designer’s schedule to have a meeting about the design direction of your project.

3 Months Before:

–Meet with your designer.   At this meeting you will be able to discuss how you want the space to feel, what you want to use it for, what style you envision the area to portray, etc.  You will also set a date(s) with your designer to shop for all the products needed.  Depending on the project this could include flooring, paint colors, counters, cabinets, backsplashes, lighting, hardware, tile, furniture, etc.

–Collect Bids.  After the selections are made then the product bids will start to come in, as they do so, a budget will start to take form.  Once all the bids are submitted and the budget established then it will be time to decide if the budget is viable or if more shopping for alternative products as a lesser rate needs to take place.  The budget can always be altered either by increasing the homeowner’s actual monetary budget or by decreasing the cost of the materials.  It does, however, take a little time and that’s why it needs to be several months in advance.

–Order Materials. Once the budget is agreed to and the items selected then they are ordered.  We encourage homeowners to 1.) have all the items needed arrive prior to the beginning of the project and 2.) to plan a location (preferably on site) for the materials to be stored.

2 Weeks Before:

–Come up with a ‘during construction’ plan. Decide what you will be doing to accommodate for the loss of the space being remodeled.  If it is a bathroom, will you need an additional facility brought in (I.e. a porta-potty) or is there another bath in the home you can use while it is not available?  If it is a kitchen, where will you prepare and eat meals?  Is there an area you can set up a makeshift kitchen or will you be eating out for the duration of the remodel?

–Stage your new temporary area. Start to get everything together and setup in the new location so you won’t need to rush the day prior to construction beginning.

Construction Begins:

–Have Patience. Once the project starts it can take a minimum of five weeks, but depending on the size and involvement of the project, it could take considerably longer.

–Communicate, communicate, and communicate.  Open communication between homeowners, general contractor, designer, etc. is very important.  Daily calls between all parties is not unheard of.

–Problems may arise and delays may happen.  Until a wall is actually removed, a tub taken out, or flooring torn up it may be impossible to tell what will be found.  There may also be family or personal emergencies faced by the contractors themselves that are unforeseen and, unfortunately, will delay the job.

Yes, a remodel is a big undertaking and, just like a wedding, it requires a lot of planning and budgeting and will get messy before it is done, but also just like a wedding, the finished product will be beautiful, rewarding and change your life for the better.  Enjoy!

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By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Recently while brainstorming some blog inspirations I came across this idea for a piece: “10 color choices that will make your powder room feel larger” and I laughed OUT LOUD!  I have to shake my head every time someone thinks that a powder room can be made to feel larger with a coat of paint.

Most powder rooms are no more than coat-closets with a commode, sink and mirror.  You can usually spread your arms wide and touch opposite walls.  You will never be able to make the space feel more grandiose than it is, but you can embrace the small size and use it’s scale to decorate appropriately.

Paint: Instead of trying to use a light color to make the space seemingly expand, I suggest you choose a darker hue that will make the space feel warmer and cozy.  When painting the room, paint the whole space including the ceiling.  A color like a velvety aborigine or an earthy mahogany would be beautiful.

Mirror: A frameless mirror with a beveled edge makes a lovely addition to the room.  It provides a large flat reflective area that will bounce light around the space and will keep it from being ‘dark’.  I love oval mirrors in spaces that have lots of 90 degree angles and rectangular ones with more abundant rounded shapes.  The mirror should be used to balance not only the light in the space, but also the visual appeal.

Sink/commode: A pedestal sink or a small cabinet sink is better than a bank of cabinets that expand the whole end of the room.  The smaller the footprint of the sink the more floor space that will be exposed and the larger the room will feel.  The commode and the sink both should be white porcelain as to add another ‘light’ aspect to the room.

Fixtures:  Again think ‘light’.  Whether you choose a light bar or a couple of sconces, this is yet another opportunity for you to assure the space has great lighting.  I like the look of either brushed or high polished silver or nickel fixtures.  The additional reflective surfaces are a wonderful way to impart a little bling without actually hanging a chandelier in the space, but a chandelier would be very pretty too.

Flooring:  Go with flooring either in hardwood, laminate, marmoleum or tile in a color that grounds the space.  There are lots of options in flooring now and they are reasonably priced while affording homeowners a wide variety of styles.  Look for a style and hue that will not highlight the floor.  You want something dark enough that the floor recedes.

Finish the space with artwork and towels that complement the room and confirms the style you want it to portray.

The long and the short of it is that your powder room is small and will never be large.  Embrace the limited size and just go with it.  When you stop trying to expand the room you will find that the space will look more intentional and ‘designed’ and less forced and struggling.

Powder rooms

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Garnering New Décor From Old (Also a Review of Chalk Paint)

May 19, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger The moans from the backseat are loud, eyes are rolling and heads flop lifelessly forward.  My children are protesting my need to visit some random free pile on the side of the road.  They have grown tired of my countless stops at these subtle prize heaps.  They don’t see the appeal of […]

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When Interior Design and Waffles Collide—Something has to give!

May 5, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Upon returning from dropping my children off at school today I was struck by the wonderful warm, undeniable smell of waffles and maple syrup that wafted through our home.  An unmistakable remnant of my children’s busy active morning and the breakfast they had consumed.  I felt an instant bolt of love surge […]

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Gardens Need Makeovers too!

April 21, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row. We all remember this rhyme from our childhood.  It was usually chanted while holding hands with our little friends and dancing around in a circle under the warm spring smile […]

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Ahhhhhh Spring! Ehhhhhhh the Patio!

April 7, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger The twittering birds are here again, the sun is up earlier and setting later, the days are warmer and the flowers are blooming: It must be spring! If you are anything like me this time of year energizes you.  I start to feel excited to do some cleaning and decorating and refreshing […]

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Wine with Everything!

March 24, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger As you have probably already heard, or at least read in a not too distant blog post of mine, Marsala is the Pantone 2015 color of the year.  This color is rich, deep and warm and was a fabulous choice by Pantone, but it got me thinking about all of the ‘wine’ […]

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7 Quick Tips for Decorating Any Room

March 10, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Good design, as with most things, is made harder by what we don’t know and instantly easier once we gain more knowledge. It makes no difference if you are a free-spirited bohemian, a more traditional-classic soul or a straight-laced contemporary up-and-coming; there are several design ‘rules’ that can help you put a […]

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5 Guest Room Essentials Every Good Hostess Needs to Know

February 24, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger We’ve all been there:  You go to visit friends or family and end up feeling like you were an afterthought on their agenda, your bed some cot in an otherwise storage-room and you conclude your visit suspecting they are breathing a sigh of relief to see you go. Of all the things […]

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Do Paws Give You Pause When Decorating?

February 10, 2015

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Cats and dogs are our four-legged extended-family members.  We want what is best for them and we love them like they were our own blood-kin.  That said, they can prove as challenging to live with as any toddler of the human-form and decorating around them just might be even more discouraging. As […]

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