Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We-Design-Day: Choices, choices, choices!

When I started delving into all the ideas I have for our space, it's a little overwhelming... Ok... Really, it's a lot overwhelming and I keep getting distracted by really cool storage ideas, expensive couches and even lead astray by my desire to redo our kitchen...

That's part of my problem when I undertake a project is the distraction factor - I keep thinking of all the things I could do our house and how hard would it really be to do it all at once?

The reality is, I actually know the answer. It is impossible. Well, not impossible, but improbable. And it causes the stress level to go through the roof! I know this because before we moved to our house, I renovated our condo. I didn't make any huge structural changes - mostly it was an update with flooring and a mostly new bathroom but let me tell you... I ran a month over schedule, ended up over budget, enlisting help from even my two year old niece (kids are handy with paint brushes if you don't mind paint blobs) and it cured my desire to do any home improvements for eight (yes, that is 8) years.

My tip today would be only bite off what you can chew - if you are new to the home renovating world, make your first project a small one that you can manage. Consider the energy, time and cost and multiply it by two - still want to tackle it? I've worked in the field for a long time and even on commercial and institutional projects, I've learned to always add a month to any schedule, plan a 25% contingency fund and expect at least one surprise during the course of the project.

I'm still wading and sifting through all the possibilities. The reality of opening my studio space up to the rest of the basement is scaring me. A good many things I am, but organized isn't really one of them. I flourish in chaos and clutter (and most of my best work gets done under pressure) so being very neat and tidy fascinates me but I'm beginning to really wonder if I can pull it off... Will any storage system, no matter how well planned, allow me to keep my husband? ;)

The cost of things frightens me too and I'm subject to scope creep. Sure, it's just some flooring, storage and a some art... But then I see some really cool lighting, the best play ideas for TroubleMaker and don't get me started on the really good ideas out there for photography studio design! I'm also not sure how I ever survived without Ikea... Do you have one near you? It is fantastic and reasonable. Speaking from experience, a good majority of our house is furnished from there and it holds up well too.

How is your search going? Have you had the same distractions I have? Share your thoughts and pictures of what you're dreaming about! Below, I've put together a small collage of some of the items I've been looking at - specifically related to my sewing studio.
One of the best ways to create a sample board, it so lay out all the pictures, paint chips, product cut sheets, fabric swatches, flooring samples and any other items you've gathered and place them all in front of you. Pair related things together, mix and match, move them around. Remember to keep the Principles of Design in mind - scale and proportion can play an important role when creating your sample board. If you are covering a couch in a red velvet and the couch is 80" long, you will want the fabric swatch to be bigger than the throw cushion fabric.

Another important tip is if you are using a fabric with a pattern, ensure to get a sample big enough to visualize the repeat. Most stores will cut you just a tiny square but if you are going outside your comfort zone with a pattern or print, consider buying a half metre so you can really get the feel for the fabric and how it will relate to your space.

Design solutions don't usually come over night - or even over a week. Putting it all together and refining the choices is a process. Selection, evaluation and repeating are often how things are done. I could count on one hand how many times I've hit the 'perfect' solution over night or on the first try. Usually, if you are in tune with your needs (or your clients, in my case) you get close but there is always some enhancing and tweaking that occurs. And that is just fine! You want to make sure that you are picking something you can live with and your family can live with (and hopefully, even like). This is an investment in your home and it shouldn't be made on the fly!

Keep looking through those magazines and catalogues and haunt a paint department at your local home improvement store!

Next week, I'm planning on sharing some more of my plans and introduce the idea of reusing and revitalizing some of my existing pieces and take a bit of a look at 'greening' up my project.

Have a great week and see you next week for the next issue of We-Design-Day Wednesday!

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