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When planning a renovation, are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Boy, kids these days sure are smart!  

Lauren, a 5th-grader from Liberty, MO, was doing a project on the process of renovating a bathroom and her questions for me were awesome!  I see a journalism future for this young lady!

I thought I’d share her questions and my answers, as they are important discussion points for both the homeowner and the designer.

1.  When meeting with clients the first time for a renovation, what are some questions you ask them?

What would you like this space to look like?       What do you like about the space?       What do you not like?       What is your budget?       What colors do you like (do you not like?)       How would you describe your style?

I just mainly try to determine by talking to the client what their lifestyle is like, what styles they like (like traditional, contemporary or a mix) and then talk through how that might work within their budget.


2.  What skills do you think help you the best when putting together a renovation plan?

No doubt listening is a key skill, but beyond that, hearing what they say between the lines.  If they keep mentioning how expensive something is, or what a deal they got on another thing, I can deduce that price is going to matter more in a project than what they let me know.

Besides that, organization.  Renovations can be very tedious, both in staying on budget but also in the timeline.  One thing usually can’t be done until another thing is done, and if that isn’t ordered and in on time, the whole project can be pushed back considerably, causing a lot of frustration.


3.  What are key elements to consider or be cautious of when renovating?

 If people have a fixed budget (and most do), sometimes they spend a big bulk of that amount up front on the showy objects—Jacuzzi tub, professional kitchen appliances, expensive tile, etc.—and forget that there are lots of expenses behinds the scenes in labor costs, rough-in costs (plumbing, electrical, etc). They can end up in a financial bind shortly into the actual renovation process.


4.  What are the biggest mistakes people make when renovating projects themselves?

In terms of larger renovation projects, like bathrooms or kitchens, many homeowners overestimate what they can actually DIY, and get themselves in a situation where hiring a professional to fix their problems ends up being more expensive than hiring them in the first place.

People need to be real about what they can and cannot effectively do and know when it’s time to call a pro.


5.  What are some simple things that make a big difference when renovating a bathroom?

Updating the faucets, painting the walls a bright, fresh color and painting/glazing old cabinetry.  These are wonderful (and usually cost effective) ways to make an immediate impact in a room.


6.  What are trending color schemes for bathrooms right now?

 A neutral base with a pop of color in mosaic tile.

Grey and charcoal are hot and has taken over where espresso brown used to reign.



Did you know that by having an eDECORATING Plan for your DIY remodeling project, you can reduce much of the indecision & frustration?

An eDECORATING Plan gives you a detailed direction for your renovation, including a shopping list with costs, color room renderings, and helpful advice to put together your room on your own and in your budget.

Check out eDECORATING by Gina McMurtrey Interiors, read testimonials from other satisfied eDECORATING clients, or contact us for more on how we can help you with you renovation project!

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