Project Management | The Not-So-Pretty Side of Design and Remodels

Project Management is the ugly side of design. It’s the part that nobody really understands but that HAS to happen and HAS to happen well. The pretty part of design is selecting fabrics and finishes and pretty accessories, but the project management side is making sure the right fabrics and finishes and pretty accessories get ordered correctly, installed correctly, move quickly and work together. Homeowners don’t realize a lot of the project management that goes on behind the scenes for a job - design or remodel, it happens.


If you’re thinking about project managing your own job, we’ve got some tips that might keep you from pulling out ALL of your hair by the end of it. We’re not going to lie— the project management side is difficult and frustrating and stressful, but if you’ve got the mentality that there will be problems and you will not freak out about them but instead will find a solution, you’ll deal with everything much better.


The thing with project execution is there there are always a lot of balls in the air at once. It’s a dance and timing is everything. If you have anything else going on in your life, you’ll likely forget about something, so be sure to track it all. Excel spreadsheets and lists are your friend! A lot of designers and builders have project management software that consolidates everything and keeps everyone on the same page, but you probably don’t have access to this. So consider things like Google docs or just shared spreadsheets that help keep everyone on the same timeline and with the same information.


Being on the same page is key to a smoother project. With so many moving parts, if one person has a different understanding or idea in their head of what should or shouldn’t be happening, it can throw a wrench in the whole project. Pictures are good, measurements are awesome and an open line of communication is ALWAYS important. Your contractors and sub contractors need to feel comfortable asking questions so make sure they know they can! The minute someone feels like they can’t ask a question is the minute they start assuming and that’s when the problems arise.


Don’t start any work until all of the material is ordered, received and inspected. This is important for the “in transition” side of the project. If you’re in the middle of a remodel and you run out of material or you’re redoing a room and you haven’t selected the paint color, it stalls the project. And stalling a project is very bad for multiple reasons. First of all, it means you have to sit in the unfinished space for that much longer which is an inconvenience. Secondly, it means you risk loosing your contractors for an unspecified amount of time. When the work stops on a job site, contractors move to the next job….and if they start another job because yours is stalled, they won’t come back to yours until the new job is complete (or stalls as well)…so that delays things as well. Time is money is the mentality that most contractors have so be sure there’s enough work to keep things moving even if something comes up to pause a portion of the job.


Get ready for the questions. You’ll get approximately 1 million questions as the project manager. About half will be duplicates but they’ll be asked nonetheless, so just be prepared. But, going back to our previously mentioned point of establishing an open line of communications— don’t get too upset when contractors ask you a question more than once. At least they are asking before they’re doing the work which ultimately saves everyone time and money in re-doing it if it’s done wrong because they didn’t ask the question!


And finally, the most important tip of all — have a cash cushion! Projects always have surprises and changes that ultimately affect budget. Sometimes it’s something completely out of your control BUT you still have to pay for it (one way or another). So give yourself that little cushion you need to be able to fork out some extra dough should (WHEN) once of those problems arise. Having the money ready prevents stress and delays and then everyone stays happy!


How To | Making a Small Family Room Cozy

The family room is one of the most used rooms in the house with the exception of the kitchen. It’s a gathering place, a relaxing space, and entertainment area, and often one of the most seen rooms in your home. You want it to look good, feel good, and hold up to wear and tear. But if you’ve got a small family room, you may be frustrated because it feels cramped or you can fit enough seating in it for the number of people you’d like to accomodate. We get it. Small spaces can be tricky. So today we’re talking about how to furnish and decorate a small family room space.

The first and most obvious thing to do is to scale down your furniture. The thing about small spaces is that the furniture can’t fill them up if you want people to be in the space as well. So evaluate the type of furniture you’re using. Are the pieces streamlined and not overly bulky? Of course you want them to be comfortable but space is everything. So if you need to replace your super fluffy, oversized sofa with something that’s not as fluffy but still comfortable, then that’s what you need to do. A rolled arm on a sofa is basically a whole entire seat on a track arm sofa and that’s valuable property. Consider your chairs too. Some reading or accent chairs can be really deep and the back may even slant taking up additional space. Scale those stylized things down and use the space for more people or more seats instead.

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The next thing to think about when assessing your furniture is the number of functions it can have. The less pieces in a small space, the better. So the more each piece of your furniture does for you, the better. Little ottomans are great because they act as a foot rest, an extra seat, and a coffee table depending on how you use them. They’re also light weight and moveable so they’re a great multi-functional piece. Select case goods with lots of hidden storage. Those hidden storage compartments will be a life saver when you’re trying to make the space convenient for friends and also keep it tidy.

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When laying out a small space, use your wall space! This can be hard because walls may be taken up by windows or doors, but start with wall space when determining where to put your furniture. You’re not going to be able to float a seating area in the middle of the room anyway, so your walls will dictate a lot about how the room lays out. Be sure to use your corners too! A sectional that turns the corner adds a whole additional seat that two pieces of furniture perpendicular to each other would not.

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Be sure to add lots of light so that the room doesn’t feel like a cave. If you have great windows and they’re enough, awesome! If you don’t though, think about adding little wall-mount sconces or skinny and tall floor lamps that won’t take up a lot of surface area. Lighting is important! Don’t overlook it!


Finally, keep it fresh by adding greenery. Greenery always keeps a space cozy and inviting and also helps with air purification. Even the tiniest plant makes an impact!

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A Finish Comparison | Painted Cabinets or Stained?

The type of finish you used for your kitchen cabinets didn’t used to even be a question. It was paint. Always paint. Stained cabinets were dated and and normally either too yellow or too red and painted cabinets allowed you any color option your heart desired! Most importantly, paint allowed you a bright white kitchen…something everyone loved. But as always, everything comes back around and this is the case for staining. With the popularity of the SoCal look, a light, waxed white oak cabinet has become super popular and with it, the reemergence of the stained cabinet. There are so many more stain options available now so the color options are expanded…even with stain. And you can still keep the natural wood look instead of completely hiding any sort of graining like you would with paint. That being said, there are still pros and cons to both options. So aside from the style you’re wanting to achieve, consider these items before making your cabinet finish choice.

As we mentioned before, paint will completely cover the wood grain on any sort of cabinet. This can be an attractive option for those who prefer a cleaner look and wants something very tailored. More modern kitchens would definitely be the place for a painted cabinet…but also consider the rest of your home. What’s the style you’re trying to achieve and would a wood grain work well with that?


On the other hand, if you want to show off the character of your cabinets and love the fact that they are real wood, you may not want to cover them up with paint but rather highlight the natural beauty with a well suited stain.


It’s important to consider what your cabinets are made of as well. Obviously a cabinet that is not real wood cannot be stained. The stain is simply pointless since there’s no natural wood material to enhance and no graining to show. If your home has cabinet doors that are a material other than wood, paint is really your only choice.


Don’t be discouraged though. The nice thing about paint is that the color options are endless! You can literally paint your cabinets any color you want! Most stains are some version of black, brown, grey, or white. There is a variety of tones and hues within those neutral families however, there’s no getting a true blue or green cabinet which some people want.


Practicality is a big factor when it comes to kitchen cabinet finishes since the kitchen is a high traffic area. Stained cabinets, because they have more movement in the graining, actually hide more imperfections. Painted cabinets, though, typically show any sort of nick or ding. The paint color is a smooth coat so any break in that coating will be visible. For this same reason, painted cabinets are harder to touch up whereas stained cabinets are easier to fix.


Depending on where you purchase your cabinetry, it can cost more when it comes painted. Most common stain finishes are less than a painted finish, however, the newer stains don’t always fit into the “inexpensive category”.


Finally, consider what is required when you want to change your cabinet color down the road. A painted finish can usually just be primed and painted over whereas a stained finish has to be stripped and re-stained which requires a lot more work.


It’s a lot to consider! The nice thing is that you can get a lot of look with either option, you just have to make sure the practical side works well for your lifestyle!

Design Tips | Calm and Collected Master Baths

It’s easy for master bathrooms to get neglected because they are used so often. It doesn’t really make sense when you say it out loud but if you think about it, it’s true. Because a master bathroom is a personal space rarely seen by guests, on top of the fact that it’s used frequently by EVERYONE, it often gets used and abused and doesn’t end up looking so hot. But a master bathroom should be calming space. Even if it does need to be functional, it doesn’t mean that it should be ugly or cluttered. So today we’re talking about ways to try to lighten up and declutter a master bath so that it doesn’t feel like it’s closing in on you when you walk into it.

The first very simple way to streamline the look of your master bathroom is by keeping the color scheme neutral and monochromatic. Tone on tone works for a functional space like this and is actually best for color when it comes to make up. So don’t worry about figuring out ways to add pops of color or crazy pattern, just keep it chill. It will function best that way in the end.


Even though there are like a million fun shower curtains out there, glass is always better in a master bath. More specifically, frameless glass. In the evolution of glass, you’re not pigeonholed with your glass options anymore. Glass can work in a shower and in a tub/shower combo. You can also make it pretty without all the hardware and do the frameless glass for either scenario. This will make a huge impact on the look over your bathroom. Not only does it elevate the style but it will immediately open up the space to make it feel more airy.


While this next tip can go more modern, there are definite ways to keep it within the transitional style. It won’t hold up in a traditional style bathroom but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good! Wall mounted vanities immediately open up a bathroom and will instantly give the illusion of more space. We’ll admit that it’s not the simplest swap since it does involve plumbing changes, but if it fits into your style, it really is a cool look that will work for you.


This next little tidbit relates to mirrors but gives you options! We are huge fans of countertop to ceiling frameless mirrors that have the lighting inset. It adds a ton of reflection in your space and is visually much cleaner than a framed mirror (no matter how pretty!) However, if that look or even the cost of that look doesn’t work for you, selecting a mirror with integrated LED lighting is another way to visually declutter your master bath by eliminating the visual noise extra layers can create.


Final tip: Chill out, folks! We all need some chill time. :)

TMID In Print | Magazine Feature

If you live in the Seminole county area, you may have seen some of our work recently. Interior Appeal magazine recently published photos of two town homes we designed for Park Square Homes — the Washington & Lincoln. To be published in a 6 page spread is amazing and an incredible honor but it gets even better! We were featured on the cover!

The family room from the Washington model with it’s bright pop of color and modern vibes was selected to grace the Spring/Summer issue cover! While the work is ours, we know that good design is best appreciated through good design photography. So we would be remiss to ignore the fact that Stephen Allen photographed these rooms and does incredible work. We are grateful to him and Orange Appeal for giving our work a voice! Check out the full magazine here and be sure to check out pages 92-97!

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