Sheila Rich Interiors: Design Blog

Helpful tips and suggestions on designing your interior.

Sheila Rich on NBC's George to the Rescue!

I was recently contacted by NBC to participate as the designer in an episode of George to the Rescue – if you’ve seen the show, you know that the goal is to help rescue the homes of deserving families. Host George Oliphant and a team consisting of a contractor, an architect and a designer come together to make life a bit better for selected families one home at a time.

The project I’m part of is the reconstruction of the back section of a modest New Jersey home belonging to a family of five. The husband is a stay-at-home dad because his disability doesn’t allow him to work. Not only does he take care of their three children, ranging in age from preschool to teenage, but this big-hearted family also has three rescue dogs that needed to be considered in the new plans.

Attached to the back of this home was an unusable sun porch that had been put on by a previous owner – a DIY project gone wrong. The porch couldn’t be used because it was below grade and flooded so often that it was constantly filled with water, which caused a major rust problem, along with many other issues. The only back door leading to the yard was in the sun porch, so the family had only one exit and no direct access to their backyard. As if all that wasn’t enough, the backyard at one time had a pool which is now gone – that area has become a valley filled with water that runs toward the house because the property wasn’t graded properly.

There was no way to salvage any portion of the sun porch because it was in such terrible condition. The only solution was to bulldoze the entire sun porch, grade the property properly so that water won’t run toward the house, and construct a new room in place of the sun porch. There were other complications and details that needed to be considered as well, like raising the roof on the second floor to accommodate a new eight-foot ceiling that will be equal in height with the other first-floor ceilings. And since the house is four steps up off the ground, a crawl space needs to be added underneath to bring the new room up to grade and level with the rest of the house, which will eliminate future flooding.

After many meetings and considerations, the bulldozing has begun and the family has relocated for the duration of the project. I won’t give any secrets away about the new room, the backyard, or any design work I’m doing, but check back after the show’s big reveal, when all will be told!

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More Than Décor: Interior Designer as Advocate in New Construction and Renovation

Building a new home? Renovating? Remodeling? Your interior designer is your stress-relief advocate.

Construction From the Inside Out: Avoiding “I Should’ve” Stress

Your architect shows you a blueprint of your new home – maybe you make a few changes, maybe you like it just the way it is. Giving your stamp of approval now - without the trained eye of an interior designer - could be one of the costliest mistakes you can make.

As your advocate, your interior designer considers your family’s lifestyle, tastes, and the overall functional efficiency of your home or business at every stage of the process. To achieve this, details such as optimal furniture placement and built-ins need to be considered well before a shovel hits the ground or a wall is torn down. Why so early in the process? Because these considerations have a direct impact on details like outlet and overhead light locations, where windows should and shouldn’t be, closet size and location, etc.

Interior Designers Simplify the Bidding Process: Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse Stress

Formal-Traditional-Living-Room-480So you’ve given your thumbs-up on the design concept; all architectural plans have been tweaked to your approval. Now you need to find the right builder.

First and foremost, your interior designer takes the stress out of the bidding process by putting the project out for bids and then reviewing builders’ proposals. She’ll make sure all materials being proposed meet your standards; she’ll also negotiate costs for the project on your behalf. A good designer’s training and experience will result in getting you the lowest bid for the highest standards you’ve agreed upon.

Second – did you know that all builders’ bids may not be based on the same criteria? It’s not just about the costs you’re quoted, it’s about comparing apples to apples in every large and small component, including technicalities. Your interior designer will make sure the competing bids are for equal products and services, right down to the last detail. Without experienced guidance, you may not realize that contractors or builders may be including or excluding features or materials that weren’t on your original wish list.

Which New Construction Options to Choose? Avoiding “Too Many Choices” Stress

There comes a point in new construction when builders ask clients whether they want to upgrade any of the standard selections of things like appliances, tiles, and flooring. Be sure of your decisions – you’ll have to live with them for a long time. Because if you make the wrong decisions, you’re looking at a lot of extra cost and time in replacements….not to mention the stress involved. But how do you navigate your way through the endless choices out there?

Since your interior designer worked with you to plan your project from the inside out in the early stages, your choices are much clearer because the basic plan and design concept are already in place. Included in this head start are your color scheme, fabrics, and furniture placement/size, which narrows the field down to a manageable number of choices. If you put the cart before the horse and make selections before your design concept is in place, you’ll be overwhelmed and more likely to make erroneous decisions that may be permanent.

Shortening the Process: Avoiding “How Much Longer?” Stress

Timing is everything in construction and remodeling projects. Every homeowner wants the job done right in the shortest amount of time possible - this is another area where your interior designer plays a crucial role. Acting as a project manager, your designer oversees and coordinates the ordering process, making sure things like cabinetry and countertops are ordered before the building process begins so they’re ready and on-site when installation time comes. This way, progress doesn’t have to stop while everyone waits for missing pieces to arrive.

Find the Interior Designer You Trust

The key to having a stress-free experience in new construction or remodeling is to hire an interior designer that you trust. He or she will be the backbone from which all aspects of the project flow smoothly. When interviewing designers, look at photos of their past projects and communicate your needs and desires clearly, making sure the designer understands your goals. Your interior designer will then be able to make sure your new home or project is exactly what you envisioned: a reflection of your needs and ideas.

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New Construction Considerations

Having a new house built is an exciting time, but it can be a confusing one as well. One reader said that the choices her builder was offering her in areas like cabinetry and flooring weren’t to her taste, and she was wondering if she should just go along with the builder’s selections and then redecorate later or if she should take the time to decide on different preferences now.

New construction almost always means getting involved in the selection process for things like cabinets, carpets, and tiling. If you’re planning to upgrade these builder-offered items, it’s best to have the upgrades put in during construction so you don’t end up ripping out new rooms in the near-distant future. This is especially true since so many others things will need to be done after you’ve moved in.

One word of advice during the selection process: don’t choose strong colors that will tie you in to a potentially dated color scheme for the long haul. Colors like dark green and burgundy may seem dramatic now, but in no time they’ll look completely outdated. Instead, go with neutral colors in major areas, then accent with the colors of your choice. Accent pieces can easily be replaced with the ebb and flow of various styles and colors, and you won’t be spending a fortune to update your look. This will also work to your benefit during resale.

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