Friday, October 3, 2014

MAKE YOUR HOUSE A HOME FIRST

More and more clients I've worked with have purchased homes and completely renovated them from tip to toe before crossing the threshold.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good design gig, but my rule of thumb is simple; if it doesn't look like the set of "Sanford and Sons" or a depressed dwelling on the corner of Crack and Meth, LIVE WITH IT for a minute (I usually suggest at least six months) before making any big renovation decisions.  Here's why; I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a space and gutted it in my mind before signing on the dotted line (in the great room above I planned on replacing the pool table with a vintage travel trailer initially, then thought better of it over time).  What's one of the hottest trends in mainstream home design today?  Come on…you know it…OPEN CONCEPT.  Quite honestly, I don't get it.  Maybe it's because I love older homes that wandered through the years with random additions here and there, stumbling from one room to the other.  Or the simple practicality of it all; if someone's doing dishes YOU CAN'T HEAR THE TELEVISION in an "open concept."  So, while I first thought the design was interesting when I started seeing it pop up in housing developments years ago, after spending enough time in them, I learned it wasn't for me.  A few years ago I worked with clients who bought a home built in the late 1700's where the kitchen was located in the basement.  I suggested moving the kitchen upstairs and modernizing it (while maintaining the integrity of the original style) because in the 1700's in big old mansions, owners weren't cooking, the servants were, hence the location of the working part of the home in the basement where they were out of sight.  My clients, however, were hell bent on keeping the kitchen in the tight location downstairs.  We spent a bloody fortune renovating it, removing huge chunks of cement wall in order to gain access to install a modern-day Viking stove, double door refrigerator, large farm table island, etc etc.  Needless to say, about a year later I heard back from them in a voicemail; "we should've listened to you and moved the kitchen upstairs.  This is a real pain in the ass!"  Because we live in a society that demands instant-gratification, we've forgotten patience.  At times that can be a very expensive lesson to learn!