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Minimalism and Being Tidy

The summer is over and schools are back in session.  The temperature is dropping and the trees are beginning to change colors and shed their leaves.  Trees do this to conserve energy.  As we move into autumn, its time to follow the trees preservation method and conserve our own energy by shedding our own leaves.  For this blog post, I write once again on the topic of minimalism in its effects on every day life.  Specifically, how to reduce items and naturally influence the knack for being tidy, thus conserving your energy for the truly important things in life.

If you’re constantly frustrated with the mess in your house, the stress that wanting to tidy up all the time causes you, or maybe overwhelmed with needing to sort and purge, then lets figure out some ways to help you shed and conserve all of that stressful energy.  I’m by no means a trending lifestyle guru, I’m just in a routine that I find beneficial, inspired by the ideals of minimalism philosophies.  With these practices I don’t have a lot of the clutter items that often bog down many people.

Things I don’t have:
  • Piles of junk mail
  • Unused items such as clothes, shoes, kitchen tools, or linens
  • Items in storage I might need one day
  • Anything expired
  • A junk drawer (inconceivable, I know!)
  • Broken or ripped anything
  • Cluttered surfaces
  • Useless or meaningless knickknacks

I simply don’t have them. They’ve either been processed and tossed out or donated. I have six methods of staying organized and tidy that I’ve adopted over the years that I can attribute to minimalism and find to be very beneficial. Its just like learning any new skill for your job, you must retrain yourself into a new behavior.  First, its very new but then after a while its routine and simply your modus operandi. My six methods can all tie into each other and are as follows:

Do it now
    How many times do you toss something aside and say to yourself that you’ll put it away later? Do it now while you remember.  It can also relate to chores, errands, just things to do in general. Do them now, while they’re on your mind. 
Touch it once
    This one particularly works for junk mail and paperwork. Don’t just bring it in and toss it on the counter, but rather sort it, file it, rip it and recycle it immediately.  Three letters in the mail is easy, an accrued stack of 50 pieces tall is overwhelming.  Bring in the mail and sort it immediately. 
Reset the scene
    This one pertains to rooms. When you’re finished with an activity, make the room ready for the next time use. For example, never leave dirty dishes in the kitchen at the end of the night, don’t leave out toiletries on the bathroom counter in the morning, or leave work on a Friday with a messy desk. When finished with something, clear it up and leave the area ready for next time. 
Once a season
    This one is good for clothes, coats, shoes, holiday decorations, and linens.  In the transition time between seasons, sort through previous used items and prepare for the new season coming by donating and tossing items that no longer work for you. 
Be realistic
    This one is in regard to all of the unused items you have stored away in your closets, attic, garage, and basement. It’s all the extra unused stuff that you’ve been given, inherited, or simply accumulated over the years. You need to be realistic on ever using these items. Sentiment and memories still exist without the items. Can the items better serve someone else? If so, then sell or donate them.  If they’re unusable or worthless, ask yourself why you have them. 
One in, One out
    This one relates to shopping. If you buy new shoes, toss out their predecessor pair.   Did you buy new towels, don’t leave the old ones in the cupboard, donate them to animal shelters.  Some people keep old towels in case of an emergency water leak.  If you’ve ever had a leak, you know you move fast and won’t be thinking, “Oh, grab the old blue towels not the new ones”  You grab whatever’s first visible to stop the flood.  Simply toss out the old used up items once you buy new ones.  This stops the  accumulation of useless stuff at the source.

Lastly, many people may comment that their spouse or children wouldn’t go along with these efforts.  If that’s the case then just focus on your items for which you’re responsible.  You’ll feel better and then, hopefully seeing your success, they’ll feel inspired to join you.

Its OK, step by step, you’ll get there.  Set small goals so not to create chaos, many people burn out by overdoing the attempt. Slowly, room by room it will happen. 

Set yourself free and shed your leaves.

fallen leaves

Thanks for reading, please join me again next time.

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Millis, MA

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Minimalism; back to basics.

I love minimalism, I believe the lifestyle philosophy is hugely beneficial for both mental clarity and lifestyle simplification.  Its a reoccurring theme in my blogs.  Last year I wrote about minimalism in a two part series Minimalism & Living Simply; Part 1 and Minimalism & Interiors; Part 2. The topic is also mentioned in many of my other posts including those about purging and downsizing, check out my blog archive.  In this blog, let me get back to basics, both in regards to minimalism in interior design and in a broader sense of life itself.

People have a preconceived notion about what a minimalist interior looks like.  Words used often have a negative connotation like barren and stark.  Case in point, the photo below:

loft, simple decor, minimalism, minimalist decor, interior designers in MA

Its a simple room with only the most basic furnishings.  Most likely this photo was staged this way to make an obvious point.  In reality, minimalist style doesn’t have to be so…well, minimal.  For me, I would furnish a room with all the necessary items and then stop when something has no purpose other than being idle decor.  Simple window shades, for example in the photo above, would not detract from the minimalist aesthetic.  Its all in the way that its done.  In reality, these windows would need covering for both weather and privacy.

For a minimalist decor approach, if it serves no purpose or meaning then it should not go into your home.  Its visual clutter, fills up a space, and eventually just needs dusting.  Visual clutter and chores create stress and prevent relaxation.  Minimalism goes beyond the aesthetic but rather its about life simplification.  So that minimal interior isn’t barren and stark, rather it should really be considered simplified and calming.

The purpose of minimalism is to return to the basics and focus on what’s important in life.  Simplification for the sake of getting more enjoyment from the space and being mindful of the actual activity.  Some people would say “oh, but its not cozy!” I’m all for a cozy space, bring on the Hygge factor.  The very definition of Hygge is cozy, its a Danish philosophy focusing on the people and activity but not all of the superfluous stuff.  And you know what else does that… minimalism.

In another post I can easily write about an aesthetically pleasing cozy atmosphere that’s filled to the hilt with stuff.  But to defend my point, all of that stuff had still better serve a purpose.  To all of those people who say “I can’t get rid of my things!”, I’m not asking you to, but just ask yourself this: is your life calm? Are you relaxed or stressed? Do you have a list of chores and always find yourself searching for something or having to tidy up the house?  Maybe you’re not ready to be a minimalist yet, but would it help to start being a “reductionist”?

Join me next time for another thought provoking design topic that hopefully helps bring you insight for your home, business, and life in general.

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Millis, MA

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Decor & Accessories; for a Purpose and Meaning

After a long hiatus, my blog has returned. Let’s jump right into the deep end…

If you take a look around any home store right now they are bursting with decor and accessories. Quite rightly so, the holidays are the quintessential time to decorate the home with accessories. Pretty as all of those glittery baubles are, they are majorly lacking in one area: purpose and meaning. Let me explain…

This time last year I wrote about holiday decorations and included a cute poem depicting the sentiment of decorations. If you missed it, here’s the link: Twinkle & Sparkle.  Now, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge that my home too is decorated with beautiful and curated store-bought decorations. I’ll even confess that I have a color coordinated Christmas tree that I put up with military tactical precision, calculating the distance between the same colors so as not saturate any area but rather evenly disperse the ornaments. (Seriously, I’m a real treat to decorate a Christmas tree with, its serious business. Occupational hazard, my apologies!)

But, with that precision, in the adjacent branches should be the ornaments that over time your family has created by gluing together popsicle sticks, knitting and crocheting bits of yarn, painting doilies, and drawing on tissue paper with markers.  Children’s art and family heirlooms are so precious and the most meaningful decorations you’ll ever have. In my mind at least, therefor the most beautiful, deserving the front row center spots on the tree.  Your tree will be forever the more humbly beautiful with them.

Another offender in the decor category besides pretty but meaningless holiday decor are the pointless accessories that stores sell to decorate your mantel, bookcase shelves, and coffee tables.  You know the type of things I’m talking about, its the abstract armillary globe with the arrow sticking out for your mantel shelf or the droid looking horse head bookends for your bookcase.  I think the worst one of all has to be the innocently placed, beautifully carved bowl on the coffee table but then is ruined with these five to seven “balls” sitting inside it.  They’re usually made of wicker or painted resin and they do absolutely nothing.  They sit in the bowl and just act as decor.  Really? We as a society have come to this, we can’t leave the bowl empty to stand alone and just be?  We have to fill it, don’t we? We’re uncomfortable unless there is something in the bowl.  I issue a challenge to all of you with a bowl with these fake balls in them, for the New Year…toss out the balls.

decor

What’s my point with this rambling rant?  When decorating your home with accessories, think about their meaning and purpose.  Are they a real item with history or are they simply shelf filler? Beautiful things are nice, but they should more importantly also hold a functional purpose or meaning to your heart.  A decorative bowl can just be a bowl, in all its glory, and sit empty.  Really, it will be OK, I promise you!

Have a great holiday season everyone, I’ll be back next year with fresh ideas and more satirical humor.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Millis, MA

cottage, landscaping

Downsizing; finding the RIGHT fit

I’ve lived in 200 sf and I’ve lived in over 3,000 sf.  Both of these sizes provided everything I needed…at the time.  That’s the key, living in a space that provides you what you need at the time.  It’s simple and basic, but many people don’t do it.  Their house is either bursting at the seams with people and stuff or they are rolling around like marbles with empty rooms they no longer use.

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to choose the house among several, realize the home isn’t just the style or location but also fit. Knowing and really thinking about the stage of life you’re in currently and probably the next 5-10 years will allow you to choose correctly.  Budget is a separate issue altogether; what you should buy and what you can afford to buy can often be two very different numbers, therefore housing options.

downsizing, real estate, interior design

When people live in a space for a few years the phrase “I need more space” often starts creeping in.  It’s not that you need more space, you just need less stuff or better organization. (Check out my previous blogs under the minimalism category)

finished attic space, teen space

Houses now have man caves, living rooms, family rooms, play rooms, teen hangout rooms, bunk rooms, craft rooms, finished attics, rec rooms and finished basements. That’s a separate type of room that 50 years ago used to be all the same room.  Let that sink in for a minute…all the same room. Whoa, right?

Once settled in the +3,000 sf house, people feel like they’re always picking up, tidying, cleaning, and honestly- constantly walking around stuff.  Kitchens now have two islands and built in banquettes, breakfast bars that seat 6-8 plus a dining room to host 8-10 people. That’s a lot of places to sit and eat a piece of toast with your morning coffee. Also a lot of counters to clean and furniture to walk around.

kitremodel (11)

Have you ever cooked in a really small kitchen? It’s fun! You’re at the stove, turn around you’re at the sink. Need a knife? It’s in the drawer right next to you. Need something from the fridge? It’s beside you an arm’s reach away. While you’re stirring the pot, the spice rack and spoon rest are most likely beside you already.

So what’s my point? Just because your mortgage says you can afford the +2500 sf house doesn’t mean you should. Think about that cute craftsman you saw or that 2 bedroom town home, would they really work better? What would the added income, that you would save every month from your mortgage, do for you? Can it pay off a car loan, old student loans, zero your credit card, then bulk up your neglected retirement accounts or maybe start a nice juicy college fund for your kids? Just think about it…

reducing construction costs, how to save money during a renovation, construction expenses, construction help

Join me next time when I discuss decor and accessories with a purpose and meaning. Thanks for reading, have a great day!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Millis, MA

Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.

As I write this month’s blog, it’s cloudy and snowing. A perfect setting to discuss spreading daylight through the home.  Do you have a dark room or hallway and wonder how to get more light?  Many people have their lights on during the day when there’s no need.  With proper delivery of sunlight, lights would only be used in the dark, completely logical right?

A dark and dreary interior doesn’t have to be with using purposeful historic features that carry daylight through a building while also bringing architectural interest and connectivity.  One method is transom windows.  These windows occur above doors and help spread daylight through to the next room.  Sidelights are another method, often used on front doors.  Any pet owner will recognize the immediate benefit of having a sidelight next to their doors; to alert them their furry friend wants to come in.  Another method for delivering daylight throughout about space and is becoming more common is the interior window.  Simply put, it is a window that is placed on an interior wall between rooms.  Often used in a long horizontal orientation to ease sight lines to entrances, niche corners, or landmarks within a space such as a reception desk. When an interior window is placed in a wall that is adjacent to an exterior window, the daylight is pulled into that next room.  If privacy is an issue, have the window sill placed higher up from the floor.

dream catchers, windows, courtyards

windowsdoors

pantry doors, open floor plans, wood flooring

Beyond spreading daylight throughout the space, it’s also about connecting to the next space.  Transoms, sidelights, and interior windows help pull you through to the next room.  But it’s not just windows that can do this, decorative french doors on pantries, laundries, playrooms, basements, dens and even dressing rooms help connect you, draw you through to the view beyond, and expand the feeling of space.

Whether it’s with a window, a glazed door, or even a mirror, spread the daylight around, appreciate the view, and expand your perspective!  Make a physical connection and engage with what is right next to you, whether it’s a room, your garden, or your neighborhood.  It’s all about connectivity!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Downsizing; finding the right fit.”

Resolutions & Decor Dreaming.  A Designer’s Bucket List of Dream Projects.

First, I need to apologize for missing last month’s blog “Stained Glass, Tales of Color” that was supposed to be published. You see, a week before Christmas, when my blog would have come out, I suffered a technological apocalypse.  My laptop experienced a quick and spontaneous demise.  It turned on once briefly giving me a glimmer of hope but alas it was just enough to quickly harvest files onto a jump drive and then it glowed no more. When I logged onto my blog to complete it for the month on another laptop, I realized it was completely unsaved and was truly lost. I will address the topic again at a later date as it’s already written in my mind, but right now with the help of a new laptop, it’s time for the next scheduled topic of resolutions and decor dreams.


As the hurried pace of the holidays slows and the decorations come down, the focus shifts to the new year before us.  Many people set resolutions; goals or dreams for themselves for the upcoming year.  Most designers have a secret list of project types they would love to do in their professional lifetime.  As a designer, I’ve taken that approach and created a bucket list of projects I aspire to be involved with at some point, may it be this year or in the future.

As an introduction on why these items are on my list, I like places that drip with ambiance.  To make a place memorable and enjoyable, they have to exude character and have a good vibe.  A restaurant for example, has to have a combination of good food and service, plus great atmosphere to bring repeat clients.  If you have one of these food or drink venue related projects, call me today! I would clear my schedule for you…

  1. Wine Bar
  2. Moroccan Restaurant
  3. French Bistro/Bakery
  4. English Pub/Old World Tavern
  5. Jazz Club

Now, here are some pretty pictures, let’s all dream together.

brick wall interior, cafe, renovated historic building, loft living

french bistro, french bakery, restaurant designers

ice cream parlor, cafe, vintage charm restaurants

french bakery, pastries, cafe design, restaurant design, chefs, french menus

cafe design, white wash brick wall, light fixtures, espresso bar design, interior designers in MA

jazz club, pub design, martini lounge, atmospheric establishments

My design resolutions aren’t all food related.  If you have one of these commercial or residential projects I will still excitedly clear my schedule for you…

  1. Modern Office
  2. Mid Century Modern House
  3. Studio Apartment
  4. Tiny House
  5. Restored Cottage
  6. Whimsical Preschool
  7. Surf Shack

officewhite

studio apartment, loft, mid century modern

tiny house living, tiny homes, cottages, downsizing, interior designers in MA

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog!  Set your 2018 goals high and make them happen.  Whether you want to renovate, redecorate, or just rejuvenate, contact my studio, I’d be happy to help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.”

 

Designer Tips & Tricks; Creating a Vibe. 

When it comes to creating a cohesive and knock out space that’s on budget, interior designers have several tricks up their sleeve.   From creative material use, budget friendly sourcing, and spatial analysis, a quality designer can blast a bland or chaotic space into the aesthetic stratosphere.  This month I’ve curated a list of five situations that often arise in conversations regarding designer tips and tricks.

1.How do you create the biggest bang for you buck with a back splash?

In my September blog post DIY Kitchen Renovation,  I eluded to a  budget trick regarding the back splash area in a kitchen to make the most drama.  Match the tile color identically and paint the remaining above portion of the wall, carrying it to the ceiling.  It creates a knockout look for a budget price, particularly if you’ve chosen a bold color of tile.  Look for cues from trim and flanking cabinets to decide where to stop extending the accent paint color, keeping it focused above the sink or stove.

The example below shows a pairing of red glass mosaic tile and a swatch of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2018, Caliente.

2.Is there a budget option to granite or quartz?

Solid surface counters do not get enough attention due to their bigger and more expensive siblings granite and quartz.  Its a viable upgrade from laminate counters by far without breaking the bank.  The colors are similar to granite and quartz and the material mimics the granular aggregate of natural stone.  I recommend selecting matte finish rather than high gloss to hide the scratches on solid surface, however, review solid surface specifications like you would prior to any purchase.   Common brands are Meganite, Corian, Staron, and Wilsonart,  Its a sensible option for smaller budgets.

interior samples

3.How do you choose the correct size faucet?

Many people don’t consider the ergonomics behind a faucet, however you will once you do dishes in that sink for the first time.  Taller people with longer arms don’t need a faucet that reaches into the sink as far as smaller stature people do.  However, shorter people will suffer from backache because of having to reach forward past the middle of the sink.  To select a faucet correctly, measure how far forward the head will need to reach to your palms with your elbows resting on the front edge of the sink counter.  This will affect your back when washing both hands and dishes.   Also, if you wash large pots and pans  look at the height of the faucet.

sinkfaucet

4.How do you lay out a gallery wall correctly?

This one is tricky for me, as I am such a big stickler for symmetry and uniform margins when laying out anything from a floor plan, design board, or artwork.  The key to a good gallery wall layout, that’s currently on trend, is balance and spread.  It should appear as one large ensemble.  Nothing should overhang the area where its centered, no object should overpower the eye’s attention, and objects should be closer together than farther apart.  I recommend laying it out on the floor and start with the center objects first.

In the example below, many of the frames are too small for the spacing and the eye is drawn to the meaningless ampersand sign. The mirrors reflect nothing to the viewer.  With careful rearranging, the frames can be laid out in a rectangular grid, the mirrors moved to a useful location, while the “and” sign is removed.

gallery 1

5.Where do you find old architectural relics?

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where antique malls and fairs occur, definitely check those out, however, one of the best places to source architectural pieces is Habitat For Humanity Restore. New and used Items are donated and then categorized into building sections, like doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, and lighting for example. These stores sell the items to the public and the profits go towards Habitat For Humanity.  Check here for store locations.

Whether you’re updating a back splash or counter, changing out your faucets, or adding the finishing touches of decor with art and accessories, creating a harmonious  and cohesive look is key to creating the vibe you desire.  Interior designers can be a great asset while you procure items for your space.  Contact my studio, I’d be happy to help.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in December: “Stained Glass, Tales of Color.“

color trends, color usage, paint color ideas, interior design

Knowing & Using Color Well

Introduction

T’is the season of color!  From October through February, the holiday season creates a race through the color spectrum.  We kick off with oranges, reds, and golds of autumn, the deep purple and orange of Halloween, moving to plum and brandy colors of Thanksgiving then into deep reds and greens for the Christmas season. The crisp blue and silver of Hanukkah and the bold black, red, and green of Kwanzaa bring even more festivity. We welcome the new year with silver, black and gold and finish the winter with the barren feel of white and brown.  Yes, there is the red and pink show for Valentine’s Day, the green parade of St Patrick’s Day, lavender shower for Easter and the colors of spring and summer flowers, but no other time of year is color ever more present in such a rapid succession. Color is all around us and quite rightly so.  It invokes feeling, reaction, ambiance, mood, and stimulation.  So, take these feelings and bring them indoors.

holiday lights

Paint Selection

The trick to using color well is understanding its undertones, meaning, the colors that are behind the front color.  For example, is it a pure color or does it look “dirty”? By that I mean that the color isn’t a true color, but rather a gray or beige version of it.  Is there another color in the background?  White, for example, is famous for having a second color present.  As an experiment, hold your paint swatch next to a piece of blank printer paper and you’ll see what I mean.  Then, look at how much black or white does your color contain (how far up or down is it on the paint swatch card.) Does it read as a pastel, mid tone, or a deep tone?

Current color trends are getting darker, bolder, and a little dirty.   This works better for walls and lets the furnishings and decor hold the true color versions to accessorize and feature.  These types of paint colors tend to change in the daylight as the day progresses and become moodier as the evening sets in to create ambiance. The black undertones come out allowing the contrast to increase of adjacent white trim  and metallic hardware. If wood trim is your preference, opt for middle tones of the color.

Paint Location

The trend used to be an accent wall, now its more of an accent area or alcove.  Painting a bigger space creates a bigger impact.  The corners of the room blur as the color continues to define to an area rather than a single, flat surface.

home-office

Colors in the Home

The 60’s and 70’s brought avocado and burnt orange.  The 1980’s brought mauve and pastels.  The 90’s brought the golden oak craze paired with jewel tones of hunter green, navy blue, and burgundy.  The 2000’s brought espresso brown and beige, mimicking the Tuscany region in Italy.  The Tuscan influence touched everything from bronze fixtures and lighting to large scale stately furnishings and dark wood trim.  If you didn’t choose the brown Tuscan style, did you have the red accent wall in the kitchen and brushed nickel finishes? Coming out of the 2010’s to present day is the all white kitchen, gray or “greige” walls and shiny chrome metal.

The color trend is moving into drama!  Dark and dirty jewel tones are even showing up in kitchen cabinetry.  Mid tone woods are also raging due to the renaissance of the mid century modern style.  Its time to bring color back. Below are the selected paint colors from various paint manufacturers for 2o17 and 2018.  These colors are where the paint industry believes the trends are headed.  It should be noted that Pantone (considered to be the industry leader in color) at the beginning of every year announces their choice of the “hot” new color, driving influence into all design fields from interiors, to clothing, and graphics.

 

Decor

Sad to say, but the pale neutrals of the Farmhouse style have had their time in the spotlight. Moving in aggressively are neo-classic styles that take the standard furniture profiles and turn them on their heads.  Traditional armchairs are showing up in bold colors with animal prints. Mix in a little bit of the eclectic granny Chic and some feature mid tone antique wood pieces with a bold wall color and you have the new classic.  It’s the navy pin stripe suit with a dark fuchsia tie and caramel color shoes.

Bring in the color, don’t be afraid!  Contact my studio for assistance in selecting the perfect colors for your project.

P.S. Tune into my Facebook page, routinely I post “Design Ideas” featuring a specific color. These montages are great ways to get some inspiration for the specific color you desire. Also if your’re working with the exterior of your home, check out my previous blog Creating curb appeal and exterior detail for additional color tips.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in November: “Designer Tips & Tricks; Creating a Vibe.

kitchen remodel blogs, interior designer in MA, DIY kitchen ideas

10 Steps for a Budget Friendly, DIY Kitchen Renovation.

I applaud you! Taking on a kitchen renovation is like ripping at the soul of your home.  Its the lifeblood that keeps your household working.    Even though you aren’t doing a full blown remodel, a simpler renovation can still grind on your nerves. (To quickly distinguish the terms: a renovation is aesthetic changes like cabinetry, flooring and lighting where as a remodel also includes opening up walls and tearing into plumbing and electrical.)

You’re ready to start a DIY kitchen renovation.  Now, contact a designer.  Better yet, contact me.  I would love to help you!  Even if its simply to review your floor plan or help you brainstorm ideas and get organized.  Across the miles, via email and FaceTime, I can help you save some headaches.  If not me and my studio, then find a designer in a kitchen showroom, your local big box home store, at the very least ask your neighbor who just finished theirs.  Don’t jump in head first alone, without a plan, a schedule, and a project outline.

So, you’re going rogue and being truly DIY, on your own.  I will still help you.  I’ve generated a list in the  most practical order, however if your project doesn’t include one of these steps, then move onto the next one.


1. Fix ALL Repairs First.

As you plan the path of your renovation, fix the broken items.  A leaky faucet, broken window, rattling exhaust hood, even bad wiring.  Fixing the repairs is a must before installing new finishes.  If you don’t, then down the road when the neglect has exacerbated the problem, you’ll end up tearing out your new kitchen items to fix the old problems, and you’ll kick yourself.  Fix them now when its cheaper and easier.


2. Keep Appliance Locations The Same.

Many factors raise the cost of kitchen remodels and renovations with one of the biggest being the relocating of the sink, stove, or refrigerator.  If your kitchen was haphazardly put together like it fell from Kansas into Oz in a bygone era, then appliance locations should be reworked to create a layout that’s current with today’s lifestyle and more importantly, building codes.  Dedicated and grounded circuits need to be created. If plumbing needs to get reworked, gas lines moved, or electrical panel work is needed,  its no longer a DIY job.  Unless you or a loved one is a licensed contractor, leave your appliance locations alone.  This is not a Do It Yourself part of the project!  Hire a professional for this step.

Also, if installing professional grade appliances, these are very heavy units and the floor and support below need to be checked and if necessary reinforced.  Again, hire a licensed contractor for this portion.


3. Keep Functional Appliances.

It is very tempting to want to upgrade the appliances, however, if they’re functioning then keep them.  If you want to switch from white to black or stainless steel to make them all match and unify the aesthetic of the kitchen, work the numbers out on paper first.  If you know that your stove is on the fritz, you should replace it.  But wanting to get a new refrigerator simply because its the wrong color will wreck your budget.  Creative solutions can be found online for recovering appliance fronts.  Work with the color of the newest, most expensive appliance and adjust the others to that one.


4. BE The Labor.

Depending on what part of the country you live, the labor portion of a renovation estimate can run 25-40% of the costs.  The DIY method is a no brainer for a job you know you can do, from demolition, re-sanding, painting, and installing new cabinets can all be done by willing and careful homeowners.

Have an expert friend or family help you, watch your how-to videos, and read manufacture’s instructions. Also think about attending workshops available in your area’s home stores and check out books at your local library and bookstore.

Become a task master.  This is where your project schedule will come in handy.  If you break down the renovation into smaller tasks, you won’t get burnt out nearly as fast.  Its when multiple tasks get started all at once, that homeowners quickly get stressed and their project becomes overwhelming.


kitchenopencabs
5. Replace, Refinish, Or Remove The Cabinets.

You’ve created your plan, outlined the project into tasks, and chosen the new direction. You’ve done the repairs, confirmed the appliance locations, now its time to get to the aesthetics.  If your cabinets are in good structural shape, keep them.  New cabinets are expensive.  You can either get them resurfaced, repainted, new doors installed, or keep the upper cabinets open.  Give the insides a good scrub and vacuum.  Install drawer organizers, slide out racks, and under cabinet lighting if desired.


6. Paint the Walls & Cabinets.

Paint is the cheapest way to redo a room.  Layout your color palette and assign locations. Research the proper prep work for the surface you want to paint.  Below is a photo of similar profile cabinet doors.  Notice the difference a coat of paint and a new counter top can do.  Even without a new counter top, the cabinets go from a warm Tuscan vibe to a modern farmhouse feel.

Choose an exciting paint color for the walls and give your painted furniture a touch up. Make sure to check out my next month’s blog regarding color and how to choose the correct one.

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7. Redo The Floors.

Depending on what kind of flooring you choose determines how much is DIY and whether you’ll need professional installation. If you do choose to do this step yourself, be sure to prepare the underneath properly prior to installation.  Also, where specifically on the floor your first piece is placed will determine the look of the final outcome. (Traditionally, planks start at the perimeter and tile products start in the center.)  Always read the manufacture’s recommendations thoroughly.


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8. Select New Counters & Back Splash.

Beyond the ubiquitous glass mosaic or white subway tile options, there are many choices regarding back splashes.  How about brick veneer or tin?  In a future blog coming up, I’ll address how to get a knock out look for your back splash for a budget price.  Stay tuned.

If you can’t afford the cost of granite or quartz counter and want to upgrade from laminate there is another option: solid surface.  Solid surface is a viable budget conscious option, commonly used on counters. Second to quartz and granite lines, it provides a similar look and feel of stone without the hefty price.  Don’t know whether to choose gloss or matte finish in the solid surface? Contact me, I can tell you the pros and cons of both finishes.


9. Replace Hardware, Lights, & Faucets.

I consider this the jewelry portion of the renovation outfit.  These are the items that add sparkle and character to what otherwise is simply a functional space. If you can only afford one change other than paint, make it this one.  As with any work related to water or electricity, shut them off at the main first.  Contact me for more information regarding how to choose the best faucet for your sink, the correct lighting for your needs, and to coordinate the cabinet hardware with the rest of your home.


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10. Update The Decor, Bar Stools, & Window Coverings.

A finishing touch to all of your hard work is the soft surfaces. With the decor, bar stools, and window coverings I would also add dish towels, oven mitts, place mats and rugs.  These items are the “clothes” of your kitchen.  They’re also an economical aesthetic option to change compared to replacing cabinet fronts or flooring.


Now, let’s generate some ideas with the following photos. Who doesn’t like looking at kitchen photos, am I right? I’ve included a variety of styles to cover all tastes.

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Efficient condo sized kitchen with decorative lighting, dark woods and white accents.

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Sleek lighting and door hardware with high contrast black and white.

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Simple kitchen with no upper cabinets, all storage is tucked away in base cabinets.

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Warm cherry cabinets with stainless steel and black accents.

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White shaker style cabinets, transitional style lighting, and aqua blue seating.

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Sleek and glossy cabinets, high rise condo kitchen.

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Quasi modern and rustic styles merge to a hip two tone kitchen.

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Aqua blue tile hood accent, dark aqua feature color on island with white shaker style cabinets surround.

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Mid tone woods with glass front doors, neutral walls and granite counter.

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Dark espresso woods with large pattern on counter.

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Statement lighting with feature dark color island.

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High contrast glossy white and matte brown cabinets with quartz counters.

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Mid tone wood with appliance fronts and high top bar seating.

One more bit of advice, before taking down your kitchen for the renovation; set up a temporary one in another room to preserve your sanity.  An electric tea kettle, a crock pot, a hot plate, and a toaster oven can fix numerous meals.  Create a dish-washing station in the laundry or bathroom and fire up the grill outside.   During renovation you need a dust free counter to pour your morning coffee and in the evening to prepare your dinner.  Preparation of a temporary kitchen is an absolute must!

God speed and contact me for questions.  I can help you through it.

P.S. For additional reference, check out a previous blog of mine Dust & Debris, Surviving Construction  specifically the “during construction” portion.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in October: “Knowing & Using Color Well.”

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Minimalism & Interiors; Part 2

Welcome Back!

This is part two of my ongoing series regarding minimalism and living simply.  This month I discuss minimalism and interiors.  As I mentioned in my previous month’s blog Minimalism & Living Simply:

“Any style of interior can be minimalist by simply not getting lost in the details and decor.”

Often times in the glossy decor magazines the rooms are filled to the hilt with accessories.  I’ve always felt that when designing an interior that the room needs space to breath and the eye needs a place to  rest.  This is where minimalism shines.

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Simple & Functional Kitchen

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Simple Bedroom

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Minimal & Modern Office Layout

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Rustic & Natural, Minimal Decoration

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Urban & Simple Minimalist Apartment

See? All different styles of interiors, but they’re ALL minimalist in nature.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, father of modern architecture is credited with the famous design phrase “Less is more.” however after delving in further, I found the phrase, under the same context, first appeared in a line of “Andrea del Sarto, The Faultless Painter”, a poem by Robert Browning.  Regardless of who said it first, the statement remains the same.  Less IS more.

To reiterate my minimalist point even more, this month’s blog even mimics my mantra when approaching minimalism in interiors. Don’t get lost in the details.  If you are developing a minimalist approach to a room, I invite you to share it with me via my contact page.  I would love to see what my readers are doing or work with you on a project!


Next month we step away from minimalism and into the DIY world of kitchen renovations.  If you want your kitchen project finished in time for the Holiday season, you must start now.  You can do it, but let me help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in September: “10 steps to a budget friendly, DIY kitchen renovation.