As the year ends and you start thinking about your New Years resolutions, I'm sure there are a few in regards to your home.
I know I have a few. Mine are : 1. a new lamp and art work for my entry 2. a new shower curtain 3. New baseboards 4. declutter, design, & furnish my girls ever growing and changing bedroom. 5. black out shade in bedroom 6. new windows 7. backyard design & furnish.
I'm sure you have a list yourself very similar to this. Winter and rainy weather reveals the cracks and flaws in our homes and brings out the need to get it done urgency in all of us. Especially with New Years resolutions fast approaching.
As an interior designer, I come across these projects listed below frequently. So I wanted to share with you some ideas, DIY and resources for some of your home related New Years resolutions.
Here are 10 DIY ideas for your New Year's projects:
1. New windows
Windows in the home are the most important part, in my opinion. They provide insulation, let in light, protect the home from the elements such as rain, cold, wind. However, it's important to have the windows properly installed to gain the aforementioned benefits and increase the value of your home.
There are a range of window materials and brands out there with everyone claiming to be the best that the task of finding a reputable company can prove to be an overwhelming task.
Signs that your windows have failed and you need to replace them include but are not limited to: 1. seeing condensation between the window panes; 2. having to run the AC or heater constantly with it never reaching and sitting long enough at the temperature you set. 3. feeling air or seeing dust coming inside the house even when the windows are closed
Here are some pointers to help you make educated decisions.
1. Aluminum windows are the least efficient and frankly aren't installed anymore in many states including California. They are just not energy efficient.
2. Vinyl windows are a step up. Vinyl windows are essentially plastic. They are more energy efficient than aluminum but prone to warping and discoloration over time.
3. Fiberglass windows are more expensive and stronger than vinyl, but they make up a very small percentage of the window market.
4. Wood windows look nice but they require a lot of maintenance and can be costly. The wood that they use for windows nowadays are of lower quality than the wood they used years ago because of deforestation and government regulations.
5. Composite windows are ideal because they are not subject to warping like vinyl and do not require constant maintenance like wood. Andersen windows with their composite material called fibrex are very nice but on the high end. Depending on your house and how long you intend to live there, they could be a good investment. A more economical choice is the Milgard window with its lifetime warranty even for accidental glass breakage.
It's always recommended to get multiple bids on your windows. But it's important to compare apples to apples. Vinyl sources to vinyl sources or composite to composite. For more questions or to get a free bid email kimwindow10@gmail. com
2. Get your backyard ready for spring
Winter is here and spring will be upon us in no time . It's good to start planning and thinking what you want to do in your yard.
Being in California we are very water conscious and water conserving landscape is wise and popular. I have a lovely succulent nursery source right here in Irvine whom I love to visit often and use for my projects.
I also love to shop Rogers Gardens. They have great outdoor flooring material in addition to their many plants and topiaries. Their landscaping services are quite pricey but they have some great ideas and products.
Outdoor furniture will be sold and on sale at Costco in Spring for the summer season. And my favorite Brown Jordan have fun and classic outdoor furniture; they have outdoor structures, fireplaces, kitchens, furniture, and umbrellas.
When you are arranging your furniture outside - it's not much different from inside. Think about a focal point, arrange your seating around that, choose your fabrics to what you like and have fun! Outdoor living is part of California living. Eating, lounging and playing outside is part of our lifestyle and it's just as important to style and make comfortable that space .
I'm obsessed with these vertical wall gardens. You can DIY them, or purchase the frames. Garden centers sell them such as Rogers Gardens, Armstrong, online sources as well.
Conserve water and convert your fountain into a giant container for your succulents and flowers. .
Creating shade is important in California. It gets too hot and un-enjoyable if out in the open. Also you can build a wood structure or hang triangle awnings that are so popular now. I've even seen them at Costco! The trick with those is you would need some structure to attache them to if you cannot attach to your house's siding. If you have trees big enough to use as structures that'd work too.
Box boundary bushes are a classic beautiful privacy back drop, with different layers of trees creates a beautiful backdrop for this classic yet modern seating arrangement. From Brown Jordan.
Outdoor dining is essential in California. I love the transitional lines of this set from Brown Jordan.
Clever use cinder blocks with succulents to create a boundary border or backdrop.
I love re purposing and I love organic. So this is my favorite example of both of those. Logs as containers for succulent planters along a walk way path, placed on a coffee table, or in an arrangement of it's own.
More rocks less dirt is a nice clean way to save water and create a beautiful California landscape.
3. De-clutter your home
I think will be on ALL of our lists. Even the most organized of people (like my mom) will always be wanting to reorganize or clean some cupboard. I have a few cupboards, and a room to do. It's a problem of the fortunate. We are fortunate to have this 1st world problem of too much stuff. It's silly with all of the mail, excess things, upgrades, technology cords, iphone chargers, old technology, we accumulate too much stuff. I have young daughters and it reminds me of one of our favorite movies WALL-E. We need to be mindful and dispose of our items with caution.
This gives you an opportunity to purge. Spring cleaning time is a great time or the first of the year, whatever time motivates you. Here are 5 Tips for letting go of clutter. http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2016/01/5-tips-for-letting-go-of-clutter.html
4. Replace old or broken window shades
I think this is another category of shopping that can be overwhelming. And I am here to help you with. I have many years of experience with selecting and design window treatments. You can go to 3 day blinds thinking it's and inexpensive choice, but it's actually not. You can get Hunter Douglas which is the most expensive. Or you can go to a nice middle ground The Shade Store. I also like Chicology as an economical option.
With all that said finding the source is the first step, the harder step is narrowing down your needs , such as Do you need privacy? Do you need light filtering? View impeding or view optimizing? Room darkening? Or just primarily decorative?
I am always in favor or a double layer either two roller shades, drapes over shutters, drapers over blinds, or roman shade over a cellular or roller shade. Most windows are not molded, and unless you want to invest in molding all your windows (which sometimes the double layer and molding is called for in the design) it's best to soft the unfinished edges of the window and do drapes or outside mount shade.
I love the look of sheer drapery panels layered with patterned drapery panels. It's creates such a finished and soft layer of fabric. Ceiling mounted treatments such as these are also a great solution to those arched Palladion windows that are so common in California architecture.
I also really love woven wood roman shades. They add a rich texture into a casual design.
Like I said - I'm able to help you discover your needs, choose a treatment that coordinates with your design and help you make the most educated decision.
5. Remodel your kitchen
What time is better than the New Year than to think of a newly redone kitchen?
A few basic pointers.
1. Cabinets: Prefab is the most cost effective and if you have a basic layout and basic needs is a logical choice. Custom cabinetry will cost more but will allow you to customize down to the tiny spice drawer all your storage and cooking needs. You can find prefab at Builders Surplus, Home Depot or Lowes, Best Cheer Stone Inc., and other smaller cabinet sources sprinkled throughout Orange County. A designer - such as myself - will plug in prefabricated cabinets into my design program and work with the vendor to order the cabinets we've selected in the design process. Custom is best to source that with the cabinet maker/contractor. Which would work hand in hand with you and I to solidify designs. Either selection stick to the wood option as best as possible, they will last longer.
2. Counter top: Granite is still a fan favorite. Your choice is really a matter of how heavily is it used? The hardest stone slab is Quartzite (different than quartz) The next down is granite, then quartz (which is a man made material with quartzite crumbs mixed in) Caesar stone being a popular brand, then down from that is marble being the softest . The hardness or softness will determine how it wears. Hardest being able to withstand resisting water rings and heat, the softest needing to be sealed every year and does not resist water rings and heat. Another interesting material is called Dekton, it can be used indoor or outdoor. It is a man made material heated to high temperatures and is impenetrable to water rings and heat. Concrete counter tops is a industrial and clever idea but in practicality can have it's wearing problems. _just imagine your driveway as your counter top - It's shows a lot of wear and tear.
3. Sinks and faucets. : These can be found a large range of price. The name brands are still the steadfast Kohler, Moen, Newport Brass, and Delta. It's pretty amazing to see online and in person all those who carry these brands. If it's too overwhelming have myself or your design select a few options for you to choose based on your criteria and pick from that. The finish and function is the most important to focus on.
4. Backplash: DON'T FORGET THE JEWEL OF THE KITCHEN! This WILL make or break your kitchen, it's always the last item considered, especially if you have not involved an interior designer in. I think it's just easier for the installer or contractor to not think about it, but it's a must! Do something different, fun, spectacular that coordinates. And if you're overwhelmed call me.
The above project was contemplating beige travertine and would have never imagined doing glass tiles when I presented it but it was the perfect choice.
Full wall back splash is the new trend. With or without upper cabinets tile installed up the wall creates a finished and dramatic effect.
Another example of the glass tiles mixing with rustic and picking up an accent color in the granite.
5. Appliances: Sears is the best place to shop appliances. They have great selections, big name brands and great prices. If you really want a good bargain physical look at the item at Sears and then order it from an online reputable source like Costco.
6. Update your lighting
From chandeliers and lamps to recessed lights, updating your lighting can save you money on your energy bill and update your homes look dramatically. The new LED bulbs are a great way to light up your space and save energy.
People always think that they have canned lights so they are good. But a well balanced design included 3 layers of light. One layer is the canned lights, the other are ambiance lights such as chandeliers and lamps, and the third is accent lights such as art lights, under counter lights, sconces and such. The source for lighting is endless and the price range is VAST. It's up to your budget and design theme that guides me to which source I use.
7. Revive your furniture
I say revive because freshening up your furnishings doesn't always mean through everything out and buy all new. I'm a big proponant for use the resources you have. Reupholstering your existing sofa or chair is always an option for my projects. Refinishing a table etc. Mixing in new with the existing redone is my favorite way to design.
In this room I reupholstered the sofa AND the two chairs with the geometric print. The leather chair was purchased new. Aren't they stunning?!
8. Remodel your bathroom
Bathrooms are another space that needs improving just like the kitchen to increase your homes value. There are a lot of different things you can do. You need to choose bath tub or no. Stand up showers are always popular but a bath is still a staple. The shower enclosure is where your tiling and materials will shine. Mosaics and glass tiles are the two popular trends still. But as a fun clever idea, I just designed two bathrooms using the ceramic tiles that look like wood floor running horizontal on the walls of the bath/shower enclosure. Pictures will be added later. It will be awesome!
As far as cabinets, it is the same as the kitchen it's easier to find a vanity cabinet all set up than build custom. And a prefab counter top will be more cost effective than buying a slab, but a space doesn't always allow for that. Stone counters in the bathroom are certainly most popular, ceramic tile is the trend of the past.
While you wait for my picture , this is a very popular look a more rich look would be to use travertine rather than ceramic tiles.
9. Repair broken or shabby home structures
Having a good handyman as a homeowner is essential. And you scored if your significant other is super handy. A designer is another source for a handyman. As designers we are always in need of a good handyman for our projects. Whether it's mending furniture, assembling new furniture, fixing household items, or mending fences. Comment below if you need a referral or call me.
10. Paint room a fresh new color
Last but certainly not least painting your room,/ rooms a new color is a great way to enhance the design but also is just needed after years of wear and tear. It's not recommended to just touch up a spot here or there to cover marks or patched up holes if it's been longer than 5 years. The combination of the paint sitting in the can and how it's worn on the wall is a disaster waiting to happen. Sure you could technically do it, but you will see the new spots versus the old spots. Pick a new fresh color or white and paint the whole room new for a more thorough finished look.
Swiss Coffee (I like Dunne Edwards colors) is still the steadfast home favorite. Whisper white is also a very nice white. Ralph Lauren colors are also so beautiful & Farrow & Ball are quite lovely. And by the way the new Pantone color of the the year 2017 is Greenery. That relates more to fabrics and textiles, but it could still apply to an accent wall. ;)
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