Sometimes I think people get fixated on the wrong things when they’re renovating. They spend wildly here, then get stingy there.
Even worse, if you’re doing a renovation on your own without the input of a design professional, you’ll swing back and forth even more.
For example, you’ll think the more expensive fireplace insert is important, but then forget about the colour.
One client showed me a brochure and the insert they were considering. I took one look at their existing black hearth and said, “Why not go for the black one?”
“Even better,” said the husband. “It’s $500 cheaper.”
Which, I should point out, is why you should never hire a designer like you’d buy an orange.
The more expensive your designer, the more money you’ll save because the advice you’re getting is usually based on years of experience. When you look at it that way, it almost doesn’t matter how much the designer costs, she just saved you $500 in one five-minute conversation. Imagine what can happen in two hours with all the other decisions you need to make!
Recently, I was with a friend who showed me a photo of her ’80s kitchen (that she was in the middle of painting white) and told me about the concrete countertops she was considering. I told her concrete generally looks the best in a contemporary kitchen (example above) and I would certainly not install them in her 30-year-old kitchen. I advised her to get a laminate resembling Carrara marble to compliment her white cabinets.
How much did I save her in that five-minute conversation?
When people stare at their old kitchen, wishing it was magically brand new, it does seems wrong to install another laminate countertop. But think about it: if it makes your kitchen just look like “new countertop, old cabinets” that’s not awesome either!
Recently, while having dinner at my sister Elizabeth’s home, her friend showed me pictures of her split-level ’70s home with the original kitchen that was newly painted white. Looked a lot better! Then she started talking about her staircase and the contemporary design she wanted with glass panels (example above). “No,” I said.”Unless you’re about to rip out your kitchen and change all your woodwork for a way more modern look and feel, NOT a good idea.”
I think we all spend money this way regardless of the situation. It’s impossible to spend money on just the perfect thing everywhere you go, but we can certainly try, right? It’s why we read books, buy courses and hire professionals. Because once you know what you’re doing, your more likely to spend your money in the right place and not on a mistake you’ll rip out later.
It’s my mission in life to help save you money and also have money left over to spend on more important things, like lamps 😉 😉
So, let’s get on with the point of this post, shall we?
On the renovation I mentioned that started a few weeks ago, the quote came in for the black fireplace surround.
We are installing black, flat, quartz in the kitchen but you can’t use quartz slabs in the surround of a fireplace, so it had to be honed, absolute black granite (above).
The price was almost $4000.
Here’s the before and during (above)
So instead we will install black quartz on the hearth only, and a playful white, penny tile surround instead.
And the price came down to approximately $1200. Much better.
By the way, here’s a sneak peek of the new kitchen cabinets:
Here’s what her kitchen looked like before.
Here it is being installed! Mike from Quality Cabinets in Vancouver, who installed my kitchen 4 years ago, is also building all their millwork.
We eliminated the kitchen eating area to give my clients an area where they could prepare drinks for guests that included a bar fridge (below). This way the adjoining dining room could actually be used for dining (it wasn’t previously).
So before you just accept the price on anything you’re about to install in your new home or renovation, get a second opinion and the alternative solution might be even better than the first.
Have a great weekend everyone!
If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.