Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) explains that while many people use the terms "interior design" and "interior decorating" interchangeably, the professions differ in critical ways. If you are contemplating remodeling and/or redecorating and considering hiring a designer and/or decorator it is important to understand the fundamental differences and how each professional may be able to help you with your project. 

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a space that are both functional and attractive to the customer (NCIDQ). The interior designers job is to understand space and both its potentials and limitations. The interior design process includes understanding of architecture, engineering, and construction. A quality interior designer will be able to explain a room's function and what may or may not be changed. 

Scenario: Nancy and Bob are interested in updating their kitchen. They would like to make their kitchen larger in order to incorporate new cabinets and an island. Nancy would like the sink to be moved from an existing wall into the new island. Nancy and Bob call Mary a kitchen designer they were referred to by friends. Mary is an interior designer who specializes in kitchens. Mary explains the process of expanding the kitchen, installing an island, and moving the sink. Although she is not a contractor, she has enough fundamental knowledge to understand what will and will not work with Nancy and Bob's new kitchen design.

Example: Below is an example of interior design at work. Let's say this is Nancy and Bob's kitchen before and after. While the before and after layout is somewhat similar it is apparent that an interior designer was involved in the process. This designer squeezed the most potential out of this kitchen by adding cabinets, installing more functional appliances, creating and updated look, moving electric to create more light and aesthetic appeal, and extending the space with a misshaped island which works very well here. 

Interior decorators are not involved in the layout of the space. They are generally hired by homeowners, developers, and commercial buildings to create a look that is both desirable and comfortable. Decorators help their clients in choosing furniture, fixtures, fabrics, and miscellaneous decor. There are also instances where the interior decorator will help choose lighting fixtures and paint colors although interior designers can do this as well. 

Scenario: Nancy and Bob absolutely love their new kitchen! One night Nancy comes home from work and goes to her bedroom to change into her sweats. She goes to the kitchen where Bob is cooking dinner (how great is Bob!) and tells him that she loves the kitchen so much but now the bedroom just feels blah! They know that they will not need to move any walls around or change the layout so they consider calling Frank, a local interior decorator who just finished redecorating their favorite local restaurant. Frank comes to their home and gets an idea for their style and taste. Nancy and Bob would like a warm space with a relaxing and peaceful vibe.

Example: Below is an example of interior decorating. Again, let's say this is Nancy and Bob's bedroom. The space has not changed but it has been completely transformed by the interior decorator (in this case, Frank). The furniture placement, choice in wall color, application of wallpaper at the fireplace, and finishing pieces are all ideas generated by the interior decorator collaborating with the customer. 

Blog post by Aja De Los Santos, GM & Head Designer at Investcove Properties

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Tale of Two Clients

                                           Client #1                                              Client #2

These bathrooms are not in the same home. The people who commissioned me to help them with the design and construction of the bathrooms above do not know each other yet their bathrooms are now very similar. 

The bathroom on the left is a second floor bathroom in the home of good friends of mine (I always get nervous about working with friends because I do not want to disappoint them or hurt our personal relationship). They purchased their home several years back and had completed renovations on the entire downstairs. 

Client #1:


This upstairs bathroom was much smaller prior to renovation, had tile floor to ceiling throughout the entire bath, and had no bathtub (see above). I generally try to think of resale value when I help someone renovate their home... Their second story only consists of a bedroom/loft area and this bathroom; therefore it would be a possibility for a future buyer to use this room as a master suite. With that in mind we decided to install a double vanity with two sinks and make the bathroom larger. I also think it is a good idea to have bath tubs in any extra bathroom and since their master bedroom and bathroom is now downstairs and only has a shower I suggested putting a bathtub in this bathroom. 

We made the bathroom wider and longer in order to fit the bathtub and the double vanity. We also moved the toilet over closer to the window for a little more space (it is also more aesthetically pleasing). They really didn't have an idea for a design concept and were open to doing something a little different than their downstairs renovations (which are mostly neutral) so I suggested the Carrera marble shower and Carrera porcelain floor. They were open to the idea so we shopped for the materials and choose glass and marble materials for the listello and the back splash. They were already sold on the espresso vanity with white tops which went perfectly with the material selection. 


The end result was amazing and they loved it (see above). See more before and after pictures here: 

Client #2:
The bathroom on the right (at the top of this post) is a renovation I commissioned only a few weeks after completing my friends' bathroom. This client already had a vision. They knew that they wanted an espresso vanity with white shower tile, a black river rock shower floor, and blue accent materials. They have lived in their home for almost four years and have yet to use their master bathroom shower because it has never worked and has been sitting as an incomplete project (see below).

We did not make this bathroom larger but the renovations made a huge impact and the space appears much bigger now. We re-framed the shower area and installed new materials including 18" x 6" subway tile up the shower walls and black river rock shower flooring. We used the same flooring, listello, and back splash materials as client #1 which is why the two bathrooms appear to be so similar. This client went with a darker blue paint on the walls. We also removed the overhead soffit, re-wired, re-plumbed, and installed a custom shower bench and over sized nook.

Once again we achieved amazing results! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside when my clients are happy and can enjoy their new space! 

All in all both bathrooms look amazing and I am so happy to have completed successful renovations for each client. The espresso cabinets are a trend that I am happy about because they are classic, streamlined and will most likely be around for awhile. I always gravitate towards white and/or neutral tones because of their design longevity which is why I am glad both of these clients opted for classic materials. I really love when a client expresses themselves through a bold listello or back splash choice so long as it is not too wild or trendy. If a client wants to get a little crazy with a design aspect I always try to steer them towards a bold paint color. Paint is a great way to add personal taste without breaking the bank and it is easy to change if they end up growing out of the color choice. 

Which bathroom do you like the best?

Blog post by Aja De Los Santos, GM & Head Designer at Investcove Properties