Cabinets-to Reface or Replace? That is the question.

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Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is a great way to add value and update your home. These rooms are two of the the most important rooms in your home to buyers when they are shopping for their dream home. You will recoup more of the money invested in a remodel by updating these rooms than any other rooms in your home. A complete kitchen remodel including replacing cabinets can be quite expensive since it is labor intensive involving tear out, building new cabinets, plumbing, electrical, and finally installation. Add to that the cost of materials-cabinets, counters, backsplash, sink, hardware, plumbing, appliances, etc. If you’re on a tighter budget or happy with your cabinets and just want a newer look, an affordable option is to simply reface the existing cabinets.

There are several considerations in addition to budget before determining which way is best for your project. First determine if your cabinets are sturdy and structurally sound with no water or other damage. If they are very old and damaged they may not take the refacing process well and you will not be satisfied with the results. In that case your only option is to replace them. Once you have determined if the cabinets are fine to reface you have other decisions to make.

You can keep the cabinets as is and simply have them painted or stained. You may want to update the style of the doors and drawers to a more updated style such as Shaker style doors. Shaker style doors are very popular, classic and blend nicely with many design styles.Keep in mind, however that 75% of the cost of cabinetry is the in the frame and doors. Replacing them will not be significantly less expensive than completely replacing the entire cabinet. Next decision is stain or paint and choosing a color. Chose a stain or paint color that coordinates and compliments your counters and floors. Next you can change or add new hardware pulls and knobs in a finish that suits the rooms other fixtures.

If your budget allows you may decide to change the counters in addition to refacing the cabinets. Quartz is becoming the preferred counter material of late. It has all the excellent qualities of granite and requires no sealing so there is less maintenance and cost. There are many pattern choices from solid to some with more movement resembling granite. If you add new counter material you will want to select a new sink and faucet. A full remodel would include appliances and even flooring. The options are only limited to your budget and requirements. Whatever you decide, replace or reface, the cabinets will get a needed facelift and give you the feeling of a new room to enjoy.

As always when in doubt, consult with an Interior Designer who is experienced with both processes for good advice and trusted trades to help you with your project.

Aging In Place

In 2011, the first of the baby boom generation reached what used to be known as retirement age. And for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day, according to AARP. As this unique group grows older, it will likely transform the institutions of aging — just as it has done to other aspects of American life. Will boomers redefine this life stage? Most experts believe so. The boomer generation is more active, youthful and less likely to “embrace” aging as previous generations have. They want to remain independent as long as possible maintaining their lifestyle and home.

Despite the youthful mindset of boomers, most aging Americans will face inevitable changes in their lifetime. There are currently 9.8 million senior homeowners with some type of disability or impairment that can make it difficult to live at home according to the National Council on Aging. Group homes, assisted living facilities, retirement homes and extended care facilities are usually less desirable or not affordable options for these folks. For most, staying in their home is preferable to a group home. So to enable this to happen they realize that their home will require design modifications, renovating or remodeling to create an environment that is more healthy, secure, and supportive of them as they experience age related challenges.

The housing industry recognizes the attitudes of the baby boomers and is addressing the needs of seniors who want to remain living independently as long as possible. This design concept is known as “Aging in Place”. The number of people facing age related decisions in the next few years is a strong indicator for those in the building, interior design, and architecture professions to incorporate aging in place principles in their designs.  Aging in Place addresses the basic design elements in a space to ensure a safe and secure environment. Elements such as better lighting, non-slip floors, easy to reach cabinets and drawers can make a huge difference in how a room functions.

Designing a home with Aging in Place principles is complex. Here are just a handful of basic design elements that can make a difference in your home: Non-skid floors, taller toilet seats, balance bars, lever style door handles, level threshold door entry, easy roll out drawers, lower kitchen cabinets, larger doorways and halls, lowered light switches and raised outlets.

Whether planning ahead for yourself, taking care of an aging parent or disabled loved one, design changes you make in your home now based on Aging in Place principles will make life more comfortable for everyone in your home. Consult a designer familiar with these principles for more helpful advice.

Cynthia Champness Cuellar, IDS is the owner and principle designer of Rancho Interior Design. Call for appointment 951-767-2147 or email her at ranchointeriordesign@gmail.com

2014 Interior Design Trends

0212141409The 2014 Las Vegas winter furniture market was held this past February. The market that is held twice a year features hundreds of vendors in the World Market Center. Each vendor showcases their newest products for store buyers and designers. Buyers and designers shop the market to discover the latest  products  and trends in home furnishings. The market is a great indicator of what we can expect to see in stores in the coming year and educates us designers on the latest looks to create for our clients.  Let’s take a look at some of the trends that emerged from the 2014 winter market.

Colors: Neutral colors are still and always will be very popular in home décor. Exotic prints in fabrics and  wall coverings are toned down with sophisticated neutral hues. This year think of adding bold, pure colors like peacock blue, navy, orange and yellow as accents in a room. Bold citrus colors when mixed with white, are beautifully crisp and upbeat-think papaya, coral and tangerine.  Bold colors can be introduced as an accent wall, sofa or chair against a neutral wall or by using colorful decorative accessories throughout the space. This year we will see more gold used in lighting fixtures, mirrors and accessories.

Global Influence: Hand crafted, brightly colored ceramics, baskets, plates, and statues from all over the world-China, Tibet, Peru, Brazil, India and Africa provide a beautiful pop of color and texture to a room. Think global traveler for an eclectic decor. Baskets and plates look beautiful when displayed in groups on a wall or table.

Industrial: The industrial look still remains strong. This “Restoration Hardware” style has grown in popularity as companies like “Pottery Barn” and others are featuring the look. To soften the hard edged style the new approach is pairing industrial tables with upholstered traditional, tufted chairs. This style has a very cool, urban look and broad appeal especially with the younger customer. Other industrial items include metal lockers used for storage, steel or metal accessories, vintage signs and old black and white photography art.

Eco-Friendly: Reclaimed, recycled or sustainable materials will be a strong trend in 2014.  The look includes furniture made from reclaimed or recycled wood sometimes paired with metal feet or top and often distressed for an even greater aged appearance.

Mid-Century: Mid-Century continues to be popular with a lot of manufacturers. It’s classic modern look fits well in 2014 interiors so plan on seeing more of it in the coming year.

Upholstery: More traditional detailing in upholstery pieces will be seen everywhere this year. Tufting on sofas, chairs, benches and headboards are important this year. In addition to tufting, nail heads add extra detailing on furniture pieces that you will see this year as well.

These are a few of the trends you will be seeing this year. Lifestyle furniture stores can give you ideas on how to put the looks together.  Designing a room, however, can still be a daunting experience and you should avoid designing a room that looks like a cookie cutter store showroom. You should aim for  uniqueness, incorporating your personality in the style that suits you best. For a professional perspective, be sure to consult an interior designer for help in pulling your looks together.

Cynthia Champness Cuellar, IDS, owner and principle designer Rancho Interior Design.

See our interview on Southern California Homes, a top site for California homes for sale, as well as New Mexico real estate, Northern California real estate and San Diego, CA homes for sale: Common Interior Designer Dilemmas.

What to Look for When Shopping for Furniture

If you have ever gone furniture shopping you know how daunting the job can be. With so many choices in styles and broad range of prices it’s often hard to know what to buy. Furniture is an investment. You should buy pieces that not only look good and fit your style but are also well constructed and durable. Knowing what to look for in furniture will save you money and heartache. Buying furniture that looks good in the showroom but is shoddily made will not last and will need to be replaced in a short time.  Here are some key things to look for when shopping for furniture.

1. Wood-When you are looking for wood furniture you want to select a piece that is constructed out of reasonably scratch resistant wood. It’s easy to test the surface by running your fingernail along the surface. If there is a visible dent you know the surface is not very durable.  Check the wood for knots, even on unexposed pieces; all knots are susceptible to cracks. Some woods, like pine, are ‘knottier’ than others, and therefore less desirable. Avoid particleboard, pressed wood, or fiberboard. Some furniture companies use lower grade woods with a veneer covering. The drawback to veneer is that you are limited to how many times you can refinish the piece. Other companies produce furniture with a photo finish, so you really have to be careful and examine the piece inside and out.

2. Construction– The best joints are either dovetail or mortise and tenon with reinforced block corners. Anything held together with staples or nails is shoddy construction. Drawers should have a dust panel which is a thin sheet of wood between them. Drawers should glide smoothly and have a stop to prevent accidentally pulling it out. Check to see if the piece is level and does not squeak or wobble.

3. Upholstery Frames-When it comes to upholstered furniture look for frames made of kiln-dried hardwood. In a good quality frame, joints are glued, dowelled and screwed and the corners are reinforced with wood blocks. These provide extra support. The springs used should be close together and have even resistance. Eight way hand tied coil springs, coil, sinuous and grid springs all work well. Test the feel by sitting on the piece in various spots.

4. Cushions-Check the fill in the cushions. You can easily do this by unzipping one of the cushions. They should have a Dacron, cotton or down wrapped high density foam fill and inner muslin cover. Foam only cushions are less durable and less comfortable and will also lose their shape over time. Be sure the cushions are reversible, too to get twice the wear.

5. Fabrics– When choosing fabrics for upholstery, choose an appropriate fabric for the function of the piece.  Durable fabric such as microfiber or chenille that can easily be cleaned would be a great choice for a family room sofa and chairs whereas a bedroom chair that gets little use can be made with a lighter fabric. Ask about the rub rating. Fabric strength is determined by how it rates on the double rub test, which is a back and forth motion that approximates the wear and tear that comes from someone sitting down or getting up from an upholstered seat. 3,000 double rubs equals one year’s worth of use. Heave duty is rated as 15,000 double rubs or more, medium duty is 9,000-15,000, light duty is 3,000-9,000 and delicate duty is 3,000 or less. Delicate fabrics should not be used for upholstery. Be sure the manufacturer matches patterns exactly both ways.  Less expensive manufacturers will not do this so you end up with furniture that does not match well.

When considering purchasing furnishings it’s a good idea to hire an Interior Designer who is trained in all aspects of selecting furnishings and can buy directly from quality manufacturers. The investment you make will be worth avoiding costly mistakes.

For an appointment call her at 951-956-0661 or email her at Cynthia@ranchointeriordesign.com

 

Affordable Interior Design in Temecula

Chaparro BedroomI recently participated in a Home Show Event in a private Del Webb community in Hemet, California. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of residents at the event. I am always surprised at how people are confused as to how designers charge for their time. Many people are under the misconception that designers are expensive to work with and they can’t afford to hire one. Granted, some top designers in major metropolitan areas are expensive to work with. Many have made a name for themselves and work with celebrities who have large budgets to offer the designer to work with. A designer has to keep in mind the area he or she works in and who they want to target their services to. Designers also have many ways they can charge for their services. They can charge a flat rate, an hourly rate, cost plus for purchases and/or a combination of these.

Working with a designer can actually save you money on your project. Their education and experience in their specialized field qualifies them to create a cohesive design for each project. Designers skillfully combine artistry, project management and knowledge of interior design into one profession. Each project is unique and requires a wide spectrum of ability to complete a wide range of tasks on time as well as on budget. From sketching, designing, researching, shopping for furniture, fabrics, paint, and accessories, coordinating trades, installers and deliveries takes a lot of time and knowledge. Most people do not understand what goes into creating a successful design project. Unfortunately HGTV has given people a false view of our industry. They fail to show all the time, people and actual cost involved with a design project. They simplify the project and lead the viewer to believe that design is a simple process. Anyone who has tried to tackle a project on their own with less than satisfactory results or are left with a room they hate can attest to this. A designer can save you from making purchase mistakes and wasting money. They can also save you money by selling  you items way below retail prices.

For the past twelve years, I have offered affordable interior design services at  Rancho Interior Design. I always ask for a budget before I begin a project so I create a practical design that can be implemented. There’s nothing worse than creating a design that a client can’t afford to purchase. I have been successful at creating beautiful spaces with quality furnishings on modest budgets.  I have different design plan options so anyone who needs help can afford to work with me and my team.

I wanted to blog about this subject after a couple I worked with came up to me at the Home Show (they were the reason I was invited to be featured at the event!). They both individually pulled me aside and said how much they loved their home and how much money I saved them!! I was able to sell them furniture at lower prices than they shopped for anywhere else. They said the amount I saved them more than paid for my services. (Their bedroom is featured here on top of this blog). So I hope I cleared up some misconceptions about how we charge and let you know that yes, Interior Designers can be affordable. Give me a call.

Virtual Interior Design-Affordable way to get design help

Rancho Interior Design now offers Virtual Interior Design services . Virtual Interior Design is a fairly new design service that some Interior Design firms are offering. The use of the term “virtual” means that your design can be done without ever meeting the designer in person so it can be done from virtually anywhere you live. It is a great alternative for do-it-yourselfers, that is anyone who prefers to do all of the labor and shopping themselves and also for people working with a small budget. You get the benefit of working with a designer at a fraction of the cost of a traditional design project.

Although design shows such as the ones on HGTV are entertaining and we enjoy seeing the designers transform spaces, the shows are very misleading to the public. Most shows fail to show us the entire behind the scenes work, additional designers, assistants and trades people and actual costs of the projects they tackle. These shows lead people to believe that interior design is simple and anyone can tackle any project and achieve the same results.  In fact, designers and decorators have many years of education and experience in their trade. Of course there are those out there who are naturally talented and can plan a beautiful room all by themselves. But most people find themselves stumped when they set out to begin a project and do not know how to do a space plan, where to begin, where to purchase materials or how much the project will actually cost them.  This is where a Virtual Interior Design plan can help.

Like any design project, the process must begin with learning about the client and the space they want to design. Rather than meeting with the designer in their home, the client communicates with the designer mainly by email. They begin by completing a questionnaire. The questionnaire will have questions such as: How do you describe your style, What is the function of the room, What colors do you like, Do you entertain often, Do you have kids or pets, and What is your budget? These answers will help the designer plan a room that reflects their style and fits their needs. Clients are given instructions on how to measure the space and take photos of the room and any furniture that will be included in the plan. Then the questionnaire, measurements and photos are sent to the designer via email. Once the designer receives all the materials, she can begin her research to design the perfect space for her clients from her studio. The design plan will include all the elements for a complete room including; construction/remodel suggestions, floor plan/furniture arrangement, photos, sketches, color palette, furniture suggestions, wall treatments, window treatments, accessories and lighting, and a  resource list of where to purchase all the items for the room including retail prices. This information is then sent to the client via email or regular mail for them to implement the plan. So if time and budget are considerations, Virtual Design is a great way to benefit from the experience and knowledge of a designer for a modest cost. You will feel confident that the plan you are embarking on will be within your budget and be properly designed with your personal style and needs in mind. If you are interested in having us design your room for a very affordable fee, please call or email us anytime.

Color Forecasts for 2012

We here at Rancho Interior Design are always excited to see the color trend predictions  each new year. One resource, Brentano Fabrics has made their predictions for 2012.  Brentano Fabrics is an internationally represented textile manufacturer, manufacturing everything from upscale textiles to affordable residential fabrics. Their design department looks back on the success and trends of 2011, considers client requests and what they have observed lately in the world of design.

Based on their research, they have come up with six colors which were singled out for 2012 including updated neutrals Paper White, Graphite and Linen, and bold and jewel toned hues.

Marine- A continuation form 2011, marine is a navy that plays up the rich jewel toned aspect of the color blue-a classic color for interiors.

Sprout-This bright yellow-green shade is perfect for livening up an atmosphere. Use it for accent pieces to give interiors a pop of color surprise.

Tangerine-A reddish orange that works well with neutrals.

Paper White-A true white getting away form the creamier neutrals, pure, clean, crisp and luxurious with any color.

Graphite-Grays have been strong and now we see grays shifting to darker charcoal that looks beautiful with deep yellows and purples as well as neutrals.

Linen-Linen looks beautiful as a crisp white or in its natural  unprocessed form. It works well as a neutral and perfect for a subtle palette.

Watch for more color and design trend predictions in upcoming blogs.

 

Thanksgiving

We have all gone through  difficult economic times these past few years. Most of us have felt the squeeze in one way or another. Some of us have lost our jobs. Some of us have lost our homes. Some of us have seen our life savings disappear. Many of us have had to tighten our belts and cut down on the non-essentials. Despite all this I remain optimistic that the future holds promise for us all. I am thankful this Thanksgiving for the blessings that I have been given.

We at Rancho Interior Design are thankful for all the wonderful clients we have had throughout the years. Thank you for your confidence and trust as we worked together to design your lovely homes. We look forward to meeting and working with many more wonderful people in the coming year and helping them make their interior design dreams a reality. Remember we can work with any budget so don’t hesitate to give us a call for some interior design ideas.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.