Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Before & After

I wanted to share with you the before and after photos of a restaurant I worked on in Las Vegas. The new owners had leased a space that was previously a middle eastern restaurant. It was very dark and dreary inside. The new owners wanted the space to feel light and fresh for their bistro.
The dining area before:

The dining are after:

The bar area before: 

The bar area after:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Building 101, Part I

Many of us will one day have the amazing opportunity (and sometimes headache) of building our own homes. For some it may be a custom home, for others it will be designed and built by a homebuilder, sometimes called a “cookie cutter home,” because the homes are repeated throughout the development.  I am currently in the process of building a cookie cutter home and I couldn’t be more excited. It may not be a custom home, but by choosing to invest more in some design options and saving on others, you can make it custom for you (and stay in budget)!
Whether you’re building a custom home or making selections for your cookie cutter home, the building process is the same. I hope that in this Building 101 series, that I can help you on your journey to making your home perfectly you. Before we start with the building process, let’s start from the beginning.

Before you look into building a home, you should always know what you want your final number to be. Never buy a home that is outside your budget. It will only lead to stress and the possibility of you loosing the house. Once you know that number it’s time to go shopping.

No two homebuilders are alike. Some may offer their home at a lower price, but they require a lot of “upgrades” to make their home livable. Some homebuilders may charge more for their base price, but their standard options are of a higher quality, thus requiring fewer upgrades.

Many homebuilders will often offer incentives to entice you. If they don’t tell you about them, ask! Some incentives can save you thousands of dollars.

Always price out a home per square foot. For example, if a 2,900 sq/ft home is for sale for $350,000, you are paying $120 per sq/ft. Do some research (Zillow is helpful for this), in seeing what homes in your zip code are selling for. That way you will be able to compare if you are getting a good deal or not.

Homebuilders want you to buy their homes. Period. In order to do that they will often present their model homes with the nicest finishes and priciest upgrades. Once you’ve seen the models, ask the sales person if you can see an inventory home that has mostly standard finishes. It’s usually a stark contrast. Some builders will put $10,000 - $100,000’s of upgrades into their model homes.

Case and point. Here is the model home of the home we’re building. I will tell you what are upgrades in just this small area of the home.
Tile: $24,000 upgrade for the downstairs
Cabinet stain: $1,900 upgrade
Under and over cabinet lighting: $600 upgrade
Two tone paint: $2,400 upgrade
Built-in desk: upgrade (far left)
Stained handrail going upstairs: $1000 upgrade (far left)

As you can see, it adds up fast. However, this kitchen (unlike most builders), comes standard with staggered cabinets, double oven, pullout drawers in all lower cabinets and self closing drawers.
*If you’re unsure what is standard vs upgrade in a model, be sure to ask!

You have homework too! You need to find both a good general contractor and architect. Ask for references and call them! Ask your general contractor (GC) how many other jobs he's currently working on. If the number is high, your house will take much longer because he will have to divide his time and attention amongst all those homes.
Feel free to ask the GC if you can visit one of his job sites. Is the job site well maintained and relatively clean? Are there workers there, working? Have him discuss the process with you and don’t forget to ask questions.
{A custom home I worked on from the ground up in St. George, UT}

Stay tuned for our next phase of Building 101.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


This is me with my adorable girls. First and foremost I am and mother and wife. Second, I am an interior design. I took a little break from the business I founded in 2008, to raise my girls and move around the country where ever my husband’s job took us, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Portland and now we call the Phoenix area home. I’m excited to be getting back into design and I look forward to sharing my projects, insights and hopefully some inspiring ideas with you.