Happy Mothers Day!

The card I received for Mothers Day…does it get any better than this?

Mother's Day Card

My top 5 best childhood memories of my mother in no particular order

Going to NYC – either wandering the New American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or seeing The Nutcracker Ballet. This one is a tie.

Brushing her very long hair.

Going to antique shows – how many kids ask for an antique secretary for their birthday?

Breakfast for dinner – oh yeah!

Sprinkling water all over her feet, with my brother, in the hot summer while she begged us – ‘no’ ‘stop’. Years later she told us she loved it. Funny…and now that I am a mom I will add very clever. I might have done this once or twice. Shhhhh…don’t tell.

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Three Tips for Surviving a Renovation

It’s all about the planning You know the expression measure twice, cut once? The most important part of any renovation, remodel or addition is the planning process.

 

Kitchen Space Planning   – Draft

1. Determine how you live and the needs of you and your family. Function is the beginning of a great design. Will you really use the great big dining room or do you prefer to hang out more casually in the kitchen? Don’t forget the kids, the guests, the in-laws and Fluffy and Fido.

Create a file with inspiration photos either hardcopy from magazines or online using such resources as Modenus, Houzz, Pinterest and so many others. An interior designer can provide you with space planning options that you may not have considered.

Kitchen Inspiration Board

 

2. Create a budget. How much are you willing to spend on the job? Research the local marketplace. Is your budget for your renovation going to be in keeping with your neighborhood? If you are the only 10,000 square foot home on a block of 5,000 square foot houses you will be overpriced when you decide to sell.

Make sure to have a budget for lighting. After all, you want everyone to see all of the beautiful work after it is finished. When you determine a realistic budget number, add 20%. Every project inevitably has cost overruns or change orders.

 

3. Bring in a qualified team right away. It will save you time, stress and money. Interior designers are professionally trained to work within any sort of a budget. They can give you estimates on the costs of materials, construction, furnishing you name it.

We can also provide you with a timeline for your project and help you set up havens away from the noise and construction. For example, if you are planning a kitchen renovation, do you have another place to set up a coffee pot, microwave etc?

I love to hear from you. Are you ready for a kitchen renovation? What are your biggest concerns?

Redesign of an Investment Manager’s Office

Office Before

This office needed to reflect the brand and personality of the investment manager. It lacked the warmth, welcome and professionalism my client wanted and her clients expected. Many of her clients are women – some struggling with dealing with their finances during and after divorce. My client wanted her office to be professional but not too sterile or intimidating.

Unfortunately, her lease conditions prevented her from painting the walls, so we had to add color in the art and accessories.

Plants and family photos personalize the space and lots of great storage containers provide organization for her reports and brochures.

Adding a coffee area allows her to offer her clients a cup while they review their portfolios.

I work with corporate offices to ensure that their corporate brand image is reflected in the interior design throughout their office space. For a complimentary office assessment, please contact me at catherine@averydesigninteriors.com.

Want to Learn More?

Join me for my presentation “Three Design Tips for a More Profitable Office” on Tuesday, April 10th at 12noon at the ConnectMore luncheon at Butterfield 8 in Stamford.

For more details go to ConnectMore Fairfield County on Meetup.

Great Store Front Design

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In Sono and loving Silver Graphic Design’s store front design with the hanging lightbulbs. Ideas anyone?

Zucchetti

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Sink and vanity by Zucchetti. Love the sleek lines, easy touch open and close drawers and the integral bowl. Even the drain is made of Corian.

Sink Shopping at Klaffs

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High wow factor for a powder room but not practical for a young family.

Sixty Days in Real Estate

Sixty Days. Seems like a long time doesn’t it? We sold our house and had 60 days to find a new one. 60 days flew.

So wondering where I have been? Let’s catch up.

We sold our house in Norwalk in late July and had exactly 60 days to clean out, organize, pack, find a mover, find a new home, find an apartment in case we couldn’t find a new home…well you get the idea. Something had to give and it could not be my family or clients.

First task, find a real estate agent. We chose Phoebe Leask, of Emmy & Co. from Higgins Group to help us in the search for a new home. She and her team are incredibly knowledgeable about and connected in Fairfield and I didn’t have a minute to waste. I met Phoebe through my BNI Merritt Madness group and really liked her balance of warmth but ‘get it done’ business sense. Selling a home and then buying a new one is a highly emotional decision. I needed someone who understood what I was going through while simultaneously acknowledging that I had a long list of needs and wants for our new home and had to move fast.

Phoebe insisted that we have a needs list and a wants list. Our top three on the needs list were an open floor plan (something similar to the one above), master bath and back yard. Our daughter still has a playground and we love to entertain outdoors. Oh and it had to be close to our daughter’s school – that was non-negotiable. Ok, so we got down to four absolute musts. On the wants list were a 2 car garage, finished (or finishable) basement and a place to “live” during the renovation.

Phoebe and I looked at 40 different houses in two weeks – not the above 40 – but now I think I want this book. My husband saw only the ones we really liked. I knew what he wanted – a man cave – we are a good team that way.

We went round and round on negotiations for three houses over the course of five weeks. I was just amazed at dealing with sellers who didn’t really want to sell their homes. Really? All of those people tromping in and out. I couldn’t wait to be done! I was ready to throw in the towel and just rent a beautiful Avalon apartment for six months. The process was so stressful that I signed up for an exam prep course for the LEED Green Associate with Bill Janhonen. I plan on taking the exam in the next month. It was wonderful to go to class and think about something other than the move. But that’s another post.

With Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival, we rushed to batten down instead of heading off to our much-needed vacation. Knowing that we were moving out mid-September, we did not have many groceries and the batteries and flashlights were already packed, but our generator was ready. By candlelight, I continued to organize and pack boxes. We were very fortunate to only have one downed large tree branch. You can imagine how concerned we were with a contract for sale.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. We packed the car and hit the road for Fenwick Island, DE.  While on the road, we received word from a lovely family at our church that we could rent their apartment close to school while we continued to look for our home. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief and then my husband said “I just want to move straight to our new home.” I realized that at that point it no longer mattered what the home was like, my husband was not willing to move twice.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do – after all we were headed on vacation, so I simply put it out there to the universe “find me a new home that I actually want to live in.” The one we were negotiating on had so many problems – causing us too many sleepless nights before we even moved in.

It was the most relaxing vacation ever. Maybe it was just sheer exhaustion from the move, but I was in full vacation mode by Tuesday morning. We had important decisions to make each morning – beach? pool? boat? mini-golf? Every single day was absolutely glorious – it was hard to imagine that mother nature had just slammed us with a hurricane. I didn’t spend one minute thinking about where we would live when we got back home. I was much too busy having fun!

By Friday morning I had my answer. Phoebe sent me an email about a home that had just come on the market. It was the perfect size, the right price, a lovely little backyard and only a mile and a half from DD’s school. The catch? We wouldn’t see it until the following Wednesday because we were on vacation! We drove home that Tuesday in the after-effects of Hurricane Lee. With all of the rain here in CT, a tree fell across the Merritt Parkway so instead of seeing our new home we were left waiting some of us more patiently than others on the highway…

When we saw it Wednesday, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. From there, the entire process was so easy, we just knew it was right. We had a 10 night stint at a hotel in between closing dates, but it was fun and we had a kitchenette so we did not have to eat every meal out.

This was my view from our front door on the day we moved in. I didn’t ask for a sign, but I believe I received one anyway.

Now, we are negotiating piles of boxes, creating a rudimentary kitchen setup in the second kitchen downstairs (how great is that!) and interviewing contractors for the renovation. We are so happy in our new home. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it is true.

Stay tuned for posts on the renovation process…

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