Why Are Kitchen Designers’ Fees Horribly Scary? 5 F-A-Qs

Why are kitchen designers' fees so high? Why?

We Can’t Afford To Pay A Kitchen Designers’ Fees!

Kitchen Designers’ fees can be frightening. “Sticker shock” is not uncommon for homeowners. So I’ve answered five frequently asked questions about how much a kitchen designer may charge you for their services and how they calculate their fee.

Questions about kitchen designersHas This Happened To You?

You do a Google search for “Kitchen Designer Near Me.” You get a list and call designers to help you with your kitchen remodeling. They tell you their fee is “X” amount per hour, but you don’t know how much you will pay them in total.

They may say that their fee starts at $2,500 and goes up. Or they’ll let you know their fee is a percentage of your investment. It’s confusing and frustrating.

Ask how much they typically charge to design a kitchen like yours. If they can’t answer, or if their fee will be a high percentage of your investment, they’re not the right one for you. If you’re thinking of spending only $20,000 to remodel your kitchen, you probably won’t be able to find someone to help you.

The first question will help you decide how you want to proceed with your project.

#1: “Do I Need Someone To Help Me Design My Kitchen?”

Who can help me design my new kitchen?You may not need a kitchen designer if you’re:

  • Thinking about freshening up with a new color scheme
  • Painting your existing cabinets
  • Installing a new countertop and backsplash
  • Installing new flooring

A contractor can accomplish these types of projects without a designer. But they cannot advise you about the color and style, other than their personal preferences. So you’re on your own to make these decisions. Or you’ll have to hire a decorator.

The second question is a good follow-up:

#2: “Can I Hire A Decorator To Help Me?”

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, most homeowners (and many contractors) don’t understand the difference between:

  • Decorators: People who can help with colors, furniture, window treatments, and accessories. They do not have the education, training, and experience with building systems to draft plans and specifications. They need specific technical knowledge to make the best recommendations for you and your budget.
  • Designers: People who have education, training, and experience. They can draft plans for a project. But they may not have the specific knowledge of products and codes to prepare detailed plans and specifications for your remodeling project.
  • Kitchen-Bath Designers: People with education, specific training, and experience related to remodeling. They can draft detailed plans and prepare contractors’ estimates, permits, and specifications. Some kitchen-bath design specialists have become certified to prove their knowledge and dedication to helping you. Get more information about these designers at the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.

#3: “When Do I Need A Kitchen Designer?”

Kitchen plan by Diane PlessetYou should hire a professional kitchen designer if you want to:

  • Do more than freshen up — new cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc.
  • Change the layout within the same footprint.
  • Enlarge your kitchen.

 

 

 

 

It’s reasonable to pay a kitchen designer to help you if your target budget for a completely remodeled kitchen is $45,000 or more. Why? You’re going to need someone to:

  • Help you select the right products for your budget and lifestyle.
  • Create detailed plans that follow building codes. Design plans should show all your decisions.
  • Create specifications for all the products you’ve selected.
  • Refer you to qualified contractors and suppliers.

The fourth question will help you refine who to hire.

What is a kitchen designer going to cost me?#4: “Okay,” you say, “I get it. But what is a kitchen designer going to cost me?”

People ask the fourth question most frequently. It’s frustrating because there isn’t much specific information about fees. But keep reading! You will need more information to understand how designers calculate their fees. There are three basic systems that designers use:

  • Hourly rate
  • Flat fee
  • Percentage of the project cost

$ Hourly Rate
Jill Geisdorf of Chic on the Cheap was quoted on houzz.com, “No two projects are the same, and no two designers charge the same.” Bob Vila says, “Most independent kitchen designers charge by the hour with rates ranging from $65 to $250 an hour, and $125 to $150 is typical. If your designer charges by the hour, you’ll want an estimate of how many hours the designer expects your project will require.”

$ Flat Fee
This system gives designers the most flexibility because they can charge whatever they want for every project. You must know:

  • When the designer will expect payments.
  • What percentage of the fee they’ll expect you to pay for each interval.

$ Percentage Of The Project Total
The percentage system is a percentage of your total investment. The problem with this fee structure is that it’s in the designer’s best interest to increase your investment. Who’s going to be your advocate? Unfortunately, it will be you.

There May Be A Hidden “Gotcha.”

There may be hidden gotchas when you hire a kitchen designerSome decorators, designers, and kitchen-bath designers may charge a lower fee. But they’ll want to sell products to you so they can mark up how much you pay for those products. Also, they may receive referral or finder’s fees from contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers. Selling products and receiving finders’ fees increase their bottom-line income.

You have a right to know how much the designer makes on products and referral fees. Of course, you should get a written agreement that states:

  • What services they do include for the fee they charge.
  • What services they don’t include for the fee they charge.
  • Describe how they calculate their fee for what they do.
  • Show their maximum-not-to-exceed total fee.
  • How they will invoice you for the services they’ll provide.

Now, the fifth question:

Why are kitchen designers fees so secretive?#5: “Why Are Kitchen Designers’ Fees So Secretive?”

I understand your dilemma. Everyone cites a range, but no one publicly wants to be locked into a specific fee. I hear your frustration. But there are two reasons for the secrecy:

  • Kitchen Designers do not want their competition to know what they charge homeowners.
  • Months or years after submitting a proposal, someone may demand that fee, creating a potential dispute.

Call candidates to gather information, including how much they charge so that you can make an informed decision. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what and how they charge and be able to write it down on a comparison list? I will give you a free chapter from my award-winning book to help you! You can get a copy of the chapter immediately by simply filling out the request form below. Filling out the form will also subscribe you to my informative Newsletter filled with remodeling hints, tips, and special offers.

Variables That Will Drive Up Your Kitchen Remodeling Investment

How much you invest in your kitchen and pay a kitchen designer depends on the complexity of the project. Here are some examples:

Variables may add to your bottom-line kitchen remodeling investment

  • Non-standard cabinets loaded with storage accessories.
  • Imported appliances, plumbing fixtures, and tile.
  • Custom backsplashes and tile layouts.
  • Unique architectural features include a vaulted or barrel-vault ceiling, angled walls, or non-standard windows and doors.
  • Change your mind after the designer has finalized your plans.

Up-front, honest communication about expectations is the best way to prevent problems. For example, if a kitchen designer has quoted a maximum fee based on what you’ve told them, you may have to re-negotiate their price if your project becomes more complex during the design phase.

Ethical, Honest kitchen design with integrityYou Ask For Total Honesty and Transparency. Here It Is!

Here are the guarantees you get when I work with you. I will:

  • Never sell products. Never! My responsibility is to help you find the best value for your products.
  • Help you select all the products for your remodeling project.
  • Never receive or pay referral fees.
  • Be transparent about what you’re paying for my services and provide a detailed written proposal immediately after meeting with you.
  • Recommend contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers to you who I know are honest and ethical.
  • Be available to you every day during the process! Yes, from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., I’ll be available to answer questions and reassure you. Yes, we always answer the phone — unless we both happen to be in the middle of a call already.
  • Reply to your email within 30 hours.
  • Provide detailed plans and specifications that include all of your decisions.
  • Create Virtual-reality “photographs” of your finished project starting early in the design process, so you can make informed decisions about how it looks, feels, and functions.
  • Send detailed invoices every four to six weeks, calculating my fee to the nearest 15 minutes. You’ll pay only for the time I devote to your project. My total fee remains the same unless you request more services or change the scope of your project. My goal is to help you achieve your goals.

How do I calculate my fee? After seeing your home and talking with you, I derive my total fee from other similar projects I’ve had recently. My hourly fee is $125 multiplied by the number of hours your project will require. Here is a project that’s a great example:

A Kitchen that’s 250 square feet (15.5′ x 16′) with the following features:

Remodeled kitchen designed by Diane Plesset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Minor changes to the layout
  • New appliances (range, hood, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven)
  • Quality plumbing fixtures
  • New custom-painted cabinets loaded with storage accessories
  • Stone countertops and custom tile backsplashes
  • Dimmable LED lighting
  • Ventilation that complies with current codes
  • Wood flooring

My proposal stated a total maximum-not-to-exceed fee for all professional services of $4,875 at $125 an hour. By the end of the project, my clients paid a total of $3,750 for all the services I provided.

Virtual-reality perspective created by Diane PlessetDuring the design, I provided homeowners with multiple virtual-reality perspectives to help them make informed decisions about the layout and cabinet details. See Before and After photos, and a project description in my portfolio.

Get information about how my creative design process can help you.

Call me today if you still have questions or want to talk with me about your project.

In Conclusion

How much you pay a professional kitchen designer will be essential to your total investment. Their fee is only one aspect of your decision about who to hire. Your relationship with your designer will last from the day you meet until after finishing your project. The best collaborations include:

  • Mutual trust and understanding.
  • A common goal and a commitment to teamwork.
  • Top-notch communication.

Call other designers and ask questions about how they work and charge for their services. Will you get truthful information? Maybe and maybe not. Do they understand (and care) about your situation? Maybe and maybe not. Will they have similar guarantees to reassure you that you’re getting the best value? Maybe and maybe not. So why take a chance? Call me today and discover the positive influence I will have in your home and your life!

Free download How to find and hire a professional designerGet a FREE Book Excerpt About Designers
Get the FREE e-book, chapters from my book about designers, including an essential list of questions to ask them, and much more!

You are also subscribing to our Newsletter. We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

Diane Plesset professional kitchen designer for over 38 yearsDiane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is an Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling,” the recipient of many design awards, and a regular contributor to Kitchen & Bath Design News (Planning & Design column).

© 2022 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved

Life-changing Values Manifesto

Sometimes we hear something that speaks to us and for us. Read on to discover what happened to help me create my “Values Manifesto.”

Did you see the Grammy Awards on Sunday? I turned it on because I’m a raving fan of Jon Batiste. He was nominated for multiple awards and ultimately won 5 Grammys. His acceptance speech for Album of the Year (“We Are”) choked me up. Here’s what he said, “I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor. Music is more than entertainment for me, it’s a spiritual practice.” He ended with, “Let’s just keep going.” “Be you.”

Definition: Manifesto

Webster’s Dictionary defines a Manifesto as a written statement publicly declaring its issuer’s intentions, motives, or views.

Values Manifesto - Not the bestValue Manifesto: No Best

Doing my best always in all ways, but I never call myself the best.

 

Values Manifesto - SpiritualityValue Manifesto: Spiritual Practice

What I do every day goes beyond a job or even a career. Helping people achieve their goals is uplifting and inspirational.

Values Manifesto - Keep goingValue Manifesto: Keep Going

Challenges, obstacles, and problems are opportunities to think about where we are and want to be. Of course, we may have to pause or stop to be mindful. But the hesitation lasts only long enough for us to change our course or decide to stay on the same path.

In my 37-year career, I’ve had many challenges, obstacles, and problems. But loving what I do so much, giving up is never a viable option. I’ve made many mistakes along the path and felt like a failure. In reality, though, feeling like a failure – or “less than” is a negative narrative in my mind. It happens when I compare myself to others or believe someone who compares me to others.

Values Manifesto - Be YouValue Manifesto: Be You

Some people find their voice early in life. It’s taken me a lifetime to discover who I am. Here’s what I’ve learned: Don’t say or do things just to please other people. Instead, spend quality time discovering what matters to you – your values. Stay true to your values. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it or say it.

Recently, I read Mark Schaefer’s book “The Third Rebellion.” It’s an excellent argument for everyone — especially businesses — to be more human, compassionate, and empathetic. Technology should be a tool, not the end-all, be-all that it’s become.

While reading the book, I realized why I’d resisted expert marketing advice for years. “Experts” say I must develop a list and send emails to that list at least once a week. The messages are often called a “Nurturing sequence.” They’re also referred to as a “Sales funnel.”

I don’t like being on someone’s mailing list and receiving frequent messages. They may seem interesting, but I know the ultimate goal of the sender is to sell me something. It’s manipulation. Mr. Schaefer cites statistics about how unpopular frequent emails are for the recipients.

Why should I create and send manipulative messages frequently? Why should I follow the advice when it doesn’t align with my values?

So I decided not to send “sequence” or “funnel” messages to anyone. Instead, I am developing a page on my website that’s a newsletter. It may be a synopsis of recent blogs or a subject inspired by articles, comments, and questions. It will be short, 300-600 words maximum.

Values Manifesto: Synopsis

I intend to honor Jon Batiste’s words and Mark Schaefer’s advice:

1) I will continue to be the best and provide the best service, but I’ll resist calling myself the best.

2) I will continue my spiritual practice: Provide Homeowners with the best information about kitchen and bathroom remodeling and home additions. Offer the best services humanly possible.

3) I will be faithful to my values of listening intently, understanding empathetically, and responding compassionately.

4) I will respect everyone but reserve the right to disclaim anyone whose actions are not respectful of all people, animals, and Mother Earth.

I want to hear and read your comments, and I want to engage in open communication — whether it’s about this post or your remodeling project. Comment below, or contact me at diane@dp-design.com

Why Are Designers’ Fees So Frightening? 5 F-A-Qs Answered

Why are designers' fees so frightening?
 

We Can’t Afford To Pay Designers’ Fees!

Bath and Kitchen Designers’ fees can be frightening. “Sticker shock” is not uncommon for homeowners. So I’ve answered five frequently asked questions about how much a designer may charge you for their services and how they calculate their fee.

 

 

 

Has This Happened To You?

You call a designer to help you with your kitchen or bathroom remodeling. They tell you their fee is “X” amount per hour, but you don’t know how much you’re going to pay that designer in total. They may tell you that their fee starts at $2,500 and goes up from there. Or they’ll say to you that their fee is a percentage of your investment. It’s confusing and frustrating. If you’re thinking of spending only $10,000 to remodel your bathroom or $20,000 to remodel your kitchen, you don’t know how much you’ll need or want to pay for a designer to help you.
 
The first question is critical for helping you decide how you want to proceed with your project.

 

Do you need someone to help you design a bathroom or kitchen?#1: “Do I Need Someone To Help Me?”

That’s a great question! You may not need a bath and kitchen designer if you’re:

        • Thinking about freshening up with a new color scheme
        • Painting your existing cabinets
        • Installing a new countertop and backsplash
        • Installing new flooring
A contractor can accomplish these types of projects without a designer. But they cannot advise you about the color and style, other than their personal preferences. So you’re on your own to make these decisions. Or you’ll have to hire a decorator.
 
The second question is a good follow-up:

 

#2: “Can I Hire A Decorator To Help Me?”do I need a decorator or a bath-kitchen designer

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, most homeowners (and many contractors) don’t understand the difference between:
  • Decorators: People who can help with colors, furniture, window treatments, and accessories. They do not have the education, training, and experience with building systems to draft plans and specifications. They need specific technical knowledge to make the best recommendations for you and your budget.
  • Designers: People who have education, training, and experience. They can draft plans for a project. But they may not have the specific knowledge of products and codes to prepare detailed plans and specifications for your remodeling project.
  • Kitchen-Bath Designers: People who have education, specific training, and experience related to remodeling. They can draft detailed plans and prepare specifications for contractors’ estimates and permits. Some kitchen-bath design specialists have become certified to prove their knowledge and dedication to help you. Get more information about these designers at the National Kitchen & Bath Association website.
  • Architects: People who have the most education but may lack the training and experience to help you with specific details for your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project.

 

Kitchen plan created by a bath-kitchen designer#3: “When Do I Need A Designer?”

You should hire a professional bath and kitchen designer if you want to:
  • Do more than freshen up — new cabinets, new appliances, new plumbing fixtures, etc.
  • Change the layout within the same footprint.
  • Enlarge your bathroom or kitchen.
It’s reasonable to pay a designer to help you if your target budget for a bathroom remodel is $20,000 or more or if your budget for a completely remodeled kitchen is $45,000 or more. Why? You’re going to need someone to:
  • Help you select the right products for your budget and lifestyle.
  • Create detailed plans that follow building codes. Design plans should show all your decisions.
  • Refer you to qualified contractors and suppliers.

The third question will help you refine who to hire.

 

What's a designer going to cost me?#4: “Okay,” you say, “I get it. But what is a kitchen-bathroom designer going to cost me?”

People ask the fourth question most frequently. It’s frustrating because there isn’t much specific information about fees. But keep reading! You will need more information to understand how designers calculate their fees. There are three basic systems that designers use:
  • Hourly rate
  • Flat fee
  • Percentage of the project cost

$ Hourly Rate

Jill Geisdorf of Chic on the Cheap was quoted on houzz.com, “No two projects are the same, and no two designers charge the same.” Bob Vila says, “Most independent kitchen designers charge by the hour with rates that can range from $65 to $250 an hour, and $125 to $150 is typical. If your designer charges by the hour, you’ll want an estimate of how many hours the designer expects your project will require.”

 

$ Flat Fee

This system gives designers the most flexibility because they can charge whatever they want for every project. You must know:

  • When the designer will expect payments.
  • What percentage of the fee they’ll expect you to pay for each interval.

 

$ Percentage Of The Project Total

The percentage system is a percentage of your total investment. The problem with this fee structure is that it’s in the designer’s best interest to increase your investment. Who’s going to be your advocate? Unfortunately, it will be you.

 

There are hidden gotchas with some designers' feesThere’s A hidden “Gotcha.”

Some decorators, designers, and kitchen-bath designers may charge a lower fee. But they’ll want to sell products to you so they can mark up how much you pay for those products. Also, they may receive referral or finder’s fees from contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers. Selling products and receiving finders’ fees increase their bottom-line income. You have a right to know how much the designer makes on products and referral fees. Of course, you should get a written agreement that states:
                • What services they do include for the fee they charge.
                • What services they don’t include for the fee they charge.
                • A description of how they calculate their fee.
                • Their maximum-not-to-exceed total fee.
                • How they will invoice you for their services.
 
Now, the fifth question:

 

Why are designers so secretive about their fee?#5: “Why Are Designers’ Fees So Secretive?”

I understand your dilemma. Everyone cites a range, but no one wants to be locked into a specific fee — publicly. I hear your frustration. But there are two reasons for the secrecy:
  • Designers do not want their competition to know what they charge homeowners.
  • Months or years after the fee is stated, someone may demand that fee, creating a potential dispute.

You’ll have to call candidates to gather information, including how much they charge, so that you can make an informed decision. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what and how they charge and be able to write it down on a comparison list? I will give you a free chapter from my award-winning book to help you! You can get a copy of the chapter immediately by simply filling out the request form below. Filling out the form will also subscribe you to my informative Newsletter filled with remodeling hints, tips, and special offers.

Variable Remodeling cost factorsVariables That Will Drive Up Your Investment

There’s one part of any remodeling project that will increase designers’ fees and the overall investment. It’s the complexity of the project. Here are some examples:

  • Non-standard cabinets loaded with storage accessories
  • Imported appliances, plumbing fixtures, and tile
  • Custom backsplashes and tile layouts
  • Changing your mind after the designer has finalized your plans

Up-front, honest communication about expectations is the best way to prevent problems. For example, if a designer has quoted a maximum fee based on what you’ve told them, you may have to re-negotiate their price if your project becomes more complex during the design phase.

Ethics, Honesty, IntegrityYou Ask For Total Honesty and Transparency. Here It Is!

Now I’m going to share my information with you. You deserve it! Here are the guarantees you get when I work with you:

  • I never sell products. Never! My responsibility is to help you find the best value for the products you buy. 
  • I have never received nor paid referral fees and never will. You’ll get the results you want for the lowest possible investment. I am transparent about what you’re paying for my services and provide a detailed written proposal immediately after a meeting with you.
  • I’ll help you select all the products for your remodeling project.
  • I’ll recommend contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers to you who I know are honest and ethical.
  • I’ll be available to you every day during the process! Yes, from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., I’ll be available to answer questions and reassure you. Yes, we always answer the phone — unless we both happen to be in the middle of a call already.
  • I’ll reply to email within a 24-hour period.
  • I’ll provide detailed plans that include all of your decisions.
  • I’ll create Virtual-reality “photographs” of your finished project starting early in the design process, so you can make informed decisions about how it looks, feels, and functions.
 
Here is how I calculate my fee: After seeing your home and talking with you, my total fee is calculated compared to other similar projects I’ve had recently at my hourly rate of $135 multiplied by the number of hours I estimate your project will require. Here are two projects that are great examples:

 

A Master Bathroom that was 168 square feet (11′ x 14′), with the following features:

Designer Fee for Master Bathroom in Vancouver was $3,645

  • Minor changes to the layout
  • A private toilet room
  • Two sinks
  • Storage for all personal-care items and linens
  • A whirlpool tub
  • A large, separate tiled shower with fixed and personal showerheads, a shampoo niche, and a bench
  • Dimmable LED lighting
  • Powerful, quiet exhaust fans
I devoted about 27 hours to that and similar projects. At $135 an hour, my total fee for all my professional services was $3,645.
 
 

A Kitchen that was 250 square feet (15.5′ x 16′) with the following features:

Why are designers' fees so frightening?
  • Minor changes to the layout
  • New appliances (range, hood, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven)
  • Quality plumbing fixtures
  • New custom cabinets
  • Stone countertops and custom backsplashes
  • Dimmable LED lighting
  • Ventilation that complies with current codes
  • Wood flooring
I devoted about 39 hours to that and similar projects. So my total maximum-not-to-exceed fee for all my professional services was $5,265 at $135 an hour.
 
I send invoices at least once a month. I calculate my fee to the nearest 15 minutes. You’ll pay only for the time I devote to your project. My total price remains the same unless you request more services or the scope of your project changes. My goal is to help you achieve your goals. Get information about my creative design process.
 
I hope that what I’ve written in this article answers your questions. Call me today if you still have questions or want to talk with me about your project.

 

In Conclusion

How much you pay a professional designer will be an essential part of your total investment. Their fee is only one aspect of your decision about who to hire. Your relationship with your designer will last from the day you meet until after finishing your project. Therefore, it should include:

  • Mutual trust and understanding.
  • A common goal.
  • Stellar communication.

You can call other designers and ask questions about how they work and how they charge for their services. Will you get honest information? Maybe and maybe not. Do they understand (and care) about your situation? Maybe and maybe not. Will they have similar guarantees to reassure you that you’re getting the best value? Maybe and maybe not. So why take a chance? Call me today and discover the positive influence I will have in your home and in your life!

Free download How to find and hire a professional designerGet a FREE Book Excerpt About Designers

This chapter of “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” contains information to help you, including the questions to ask when you interview designers.
 
 
 
 

You are also subscribing to our Newsletter. We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 
 

 

Photo of Diane Plesset, Bath-Kitchen DesignerDiane Plesset, CMKBD, CAPS, NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate specializing in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane wrote the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and has won many design awards.

 

 

Leave your comments below! Thank you!

 
 
 

Tired of Frustration? 5+5 Outstanding Tips To Help You Plan For Your Home Remodeling

Frustration!

Are you tired of feeling frustrated during the pandemic? Are you feeling “pandemic overwhelm?”Frustration and Fear About Remodeling during the pandemic

Are you frustrated about how your home looks and works for you now? Is your home:

  • Cluttered, hard to organize and keep clean?
    • Is the pantry overflowing because you’re fixing at least three meals a day?
    • Are you buying and storing more snack foods?
    • Are there computers on the dining table with wires everywhere?
    • Is the entire family crowded around computers on the dining room table, leaving no place to eat?
    • Are school supplies and hobby paraphernalia everywhere except where they’re supposed to be?
  • Showing its age?
    • Have you been noticing all the deferred maintenance that you need to do?
    • Paint chipping and stained?
    • Appliances working poorly?
    • Old countertops and flooring showing years of wear?
    • Broken hinges and permanent stains on your dark wood cabinets?

Here you are, wanting or needing to freshen up your home. But you don’t know what to do or how to do it. Frustration has got you stuck! Maybe you were thinking about remodeling your kitchen, but the pandemic stopped you. Now you have to wait for the pandemic to end, right? Maybe and maybe not. More about that later.

First, I want to talk about what frustration is.

Exactly What Is Frustration?

Here’s a great definition: “The feeling of being upset or annoyed, because of an inability to change or achieve something. It’s the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something we want.”

We always have options, but we don’t see them.

Fear and Frustration Are Connected

First, fear takes over. It’s like a curtain drops in our mind, hiding all our options. We play the “What if?” game in our heads. When this happens to me, I envision the worst possible outcome.

Fear prevents us from making the right decisions about the present and the future. Then frustration enters the picture because we feel stuck and uncertain. I felt uncertain about the future until a friend helped me. “Fear and frustration are like a jumbo loan, with compound interest that accrues daily. This leaves us feeling stuck.

Here and Now

We are in the middle of very uncertain times. The pandemic is controlling everything in our lives. You know how your life has changed, and you don’t like it. You’re frustrated because you can’t have what you want:

  • To go back to work away from home and talk with co-workers in person.
  • To have your children back in school.
  • To go shopping without fear.
  • To fix and renovate your home so you can invite people to be with you in a comfortable environment.

You want everything to get back to the familiar normal. You’re not alone! So do I! But there may be a new normal when the pandemic ends. Not knowing, not being in control, becomes the fuel that feeds our frustration.

Conscious Decisions To Reduce Frustration’s Hold

I decided that fear and frustration weren’t going to control my life when the pandemic became a reality in February. Instead, I decided to take classes. I’m learning how to work on my business rather than working at my company. I’ve read more books in the past nine months than I have in the past several years. All the books have one thing in common. The stories are about people rising above whatever it was that was holding them back. They made conscious decisions to move forward and try new things.

5 Tips About How To Control Frustration (And Other Negative Feelings)

There are many ways that we can control our negative feelings. Here are some helpful tips from experts that will take about five minutes:

  1. Breathe. Take deeper, slower breaths for one or two minutes. I’ve learned to count to four as I inhale, then hold my breath to a count of four before exhaling while counting to four. I also use the phrase “I am at peace” when inhaling and “I let go” when I exhale. Here’s another breathing technique I use. I take in a very deep breath, hold it as long as possible, and then exhale forcefully like I’m blowing out a candle several feet away. During the pandemic, I’ve been breathing a lot!
  2. Take a couple of minutes to stop what you’re doing and look outside. Notice the light and shadow in the trees, or birds flying from branch to branch. Listen to your breath and notice your body relaxing. This has gotten me back to the present and “out of my head,” where frustration lives.
  3. Before you go back to what you were doing before, think of something — anything — that fills you with gratitude. For me, it’s the sky, no matter what the weather is. Nature has a calming influence on me. So do my cats when they’re not asleep in the other room.
  4. Gratitude opens the door to accept or at least acknowledge that the situation (pandemic) will not last forever. Change happens every day, even if we’re not aware of it.
  5. The next step is to say an affirmation in the present tense. What worked for me is: “I choose to transform my [feeling name] into positive action.”

I’ve been lucky to work with clients during this time. One couple is actually planning a new home to help them simplify their lives! The other homeowners want (and need) to remodel their homes. There’s one major similarity between these homeowners. They’re all planning now, so they’ll be ready for construction when the pandemic no longer controls their lives.

The other side of fear and frustration

It’s true! Everything you want is on the other side of Fear — and Frustration!

Here is how they’re preparing. This is something that you can do, too!

Planning For The Future

  • We met virtually, and they told me about their goals. We talked about what they don’t like and want to change and the specific details they want.
  • I asked about their budget for the entire project. I also asked when they’d like to start construction and when they want the project finished.
  • We talked about the options to begin the design process. I asked if they want me to take measurements of the areas they want to remodel. Or do they feel comfortable taking measurements and providing pictures? When I take measurements during the pandemic, I always follow guidelines. CDC and State regulations protect everyone’s health. Only one couple wanted to take their own measurements. They provided electronic copies of the sketch plus photos of the existing conditions.
  • Then I explained how I work. I gave them an estimate of my fee for preliminary plans only. This would allow them to get rough budget estimates from contractors. I also gave them an estimate of my fee for the entire project to end any surprises.
  • After the virtual meeting, I prepared and sent the homeowners a proposal. It included what we had discussed and verified that I had listened to them to remember what they said.

No one wants to remodel their home during the pandemic unless they plan to be living somewhere else. I agree with people’s reluctance about having strangers in their home now. A general contractor and his crew should perform a kitchen or bathroom remodeling. This can take several months. Now isn’t a good time for exposure to the virus.

Everything has proceeded very well with my clients. We’re all looking forward to the end of the pandemic! I’m excited about working with my client who lives in Clark County, Washington. It’s a master bathroom project. I’ve prepared two alternative plans for him and sent links to manufacturers’ websites. He’s selected most of the plumbing already. As soon as plumbing showrooms are open, we’ll make an appointment so he can see and touch when he’s chosen. Then we’ll visit other showrooms to look at countertop options and tile for the shower and floor.

Remodeling projects can be smooth, but there can be unforeseen problems. If homeowners aren’t familiar with the remodeling process, it can cause problems.

Fears and Frustrations During A Home Remodeling ProjectBiggest fears in home renovation graphic

In the past 36 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of homeowners. They’ve had different lifestyles, needs, and budgets. But many of them share two common feelings: fear and frustration.

Here are common fears I’ve observed that were confirmed in a recent online survey:

  • They won’t get their desired results or the products they want.
  • They’ll hire the wrong contractor.
  • They’ll hire the wrong designer.
  • They’ll spend more than they want. Several respondents decided to do the work themselves, D-I-Y. I’m going to check back in several months to ask questions about their projects and the results they got.

Homeowners can feel frustrated about time and money. Frustration happens to everyone, as we discovered earlier, if there are unrealistic expectations. Here’s what I’ve observed:

  • They want everything, including expensive luxury products, but their budget limits them.
  • They want the project to end by a specific date, often for a special occasion. But these tasks take months until completion:
    • Homeowners have to make decisions about the scope of their project and all products.
    • The designer has to get the plans ready.
    • Contractors have to prepare estimates.
    • The plan-check process for permits can take a month or more.
    • Construction from start to finish requires much longer.
  • One mistake can turn a remodeling project upside-down: Homeowners hire the contractor with the lowest estimate. But they’re frustrated by the workmanship that doesn’t meet their standards.

Yes, this is a simplified overview, but the similarity is pretty remarkable!

I’ve experienced fears and frustrations myself, so it makes me sad when it happens to other people. I try to help homeowners avoid fears and frustrations with honest communication.

We create our own frustration with unrealistic expectations and how we react to reality.

When we take responsibility for our lives, it reduces the chances of frustration.

Writing about fear and frustration reminds me of a project I had several years ago.

Case History

My client, “Barbara,” had a 1600-square foot home with three bedrooms and one bathroom. During our first appointment, Barbara told me about her kitchen remodeling project. It happened five years before we met. Her voice quivered, and she often paused when she talked about her kitchen remodeling. “The original kitchen didn’t fit my needs. I hired a contractor referred to me by neighbors who were very happy with what he did for them. The contractor said that I didn’t need a designer to help me.”

Her mouth became contorted, and her eyes squinted with anger. “My contractor did an excellent job but didn’t give any advice about details. He sent me to different showrooms to find the products. I was responsible for making all the decisions by myself.”

I asked, “Did you make any changes?”

“Yes,” she said, pounding her fist in the air. “It started when he asked me if I wanted to expand the kitchen into the family room to have an island. If I didn’t do that, he suggested a peninsula. First, I had to choose between a range or a cooktop with separate double ovens.”

Her frown softened, and she looked at me, like a child who’s lost their favorite toy. “I felt so alone, making all those decisions. I was afraid of making a mistake. I didn’t know what the project would cost.”

I knew that she was talking about feeling overwhelmed. Every kitchen remodeling project involves hundreds of choices. Here’s a shortlist of kitchen products that homeowners need to select:

  • Appliances
    • Type?
    • Manufacturer, model, and features?
    • Color (white? black? stainless steel?)
    • Size?
  • Cabinets
    • Wood and finish?
    • Style?
    • Storage?
      • Deep drawers?
      • Rollout shelves?
      • Corner lazy susans?
      • Pantry?
      • Utensil drawers?
  • Flooring
    • Wood?
    • Vinyl?
    • Tile?
    • Color?
    • Pattern?

Barbara said the work proceeded better than she expected. But two product decisions caused her to lose sleep: the countertop and backsplash. “The contractor got frustrated because it took so long for me to decide. He didn’t understand or care how overwhelmed I was. He wanted to get the job finished so he could move to his next project.”

Five years later, she was still enjoying her remodeled kitchen without any regrets. Now she was thinking about converting the smallest bedroom into a master bathroom.

“Are you ready to do this project?” I asked.

She answered with hesitation. “Yes, but I’m nervous about how much it’s going to cost. I’m fed up with my daily routine. I have to cram my skin-care products and makeup into a small drawer. I have to store my dryer, curling iron, brushes, and hairspray in a basket under the sink. I hate taking a shower in my tub. I’ve slipped several times, getting in and out, stepping over the tub.”

I reassured her that I’d be there for her during the bathroom project, beginning to end. I’d help her make all the decisions and communicate with her contractor. I’ll share the rest of Barbara’s story later. I want to lay a good foundation for your home remodeling.

Your Proposed Project and Overcoming Fears

Here you are, during the pandemic, anxious to embark on your home remodeling project. But you’re fearful. Are you ready, or are you still stuck in some ways? I understand and care how you feel. There are several essential questions that I want to ask you to think about:

  • How has the pandemic affected you and your lifestyle?
  • What makes you feel afraid?
  • Is your fear one about making an expensive mistake, or something else that has you stuck, unable to move forward?

Your project is unique. Your needs, lifestyle, and budget are individual, unlike any other homeowner I’ve known. But like I said earlier, there are similarities. I discovered that the best way to end negative feelings like fear is to be proactive.

Break your project into logical steps. Here are five significant steps that will help you. Each step has many phases that will help you achieve remodeling success.

“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Step 1: Do Some Homework About Your Goals

  • Figure out your goals and what you want to achieve.
  • Family members’ input is essential.
  • Buy two or three magazines containing articles and pictures relating to what you want to do. Attach a “post-it” note to pictures and write what appeals to you about the image.
  • Visit the Houzz website (https://www.houzz.com), set up one or more portfolios, and start adding pictures. Contact the designer to ask questions about products, etc.

Step 2: Set A Budget

Figuring out how much to invest in your project is challenging! 87% of homeowners wanting to remodel don’t know what their investment will be. They don’t know how to establish a budget. They don’t have a clue!

  • I recommend the Cost vs. Value Report (https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2020/). Remodeling professionals create the report for specific cities all over America. It’s easy to navigate. Don’t be upset because they ask you to register. No one has ever complained about sponsors contacting them.

Step 3: Interview Design Professionals and Hire The Best Candidate

  • Get referrals from neighbors, friends, and business associates. If no one can help you, you can contact the following organizations for referrals:

National Association of Home Builders (https://www.nahb.org)
National Association of the Remodeling Industry (https://www.nari.org)
National Kitchen & Bath Association (https://nkba.org)

  • Interview design professionals.
  • Talk about your expectations and listen to their advice. Communication is the only way to get what you want. Or the way to discover different (or better) results.
  • Ask for and call all references given by the candidates.
  • Hire a design professional who listens to you and understands what you want. S/he should be someone who:
    • Has experience with similar projects to yours.
    • Understands building codes for your area.
    • Offers virtual meetings.
    • Uses Computer-Aided Drafting and creates virtual-reality “pictures” of your project.
    • Will prepare many preliminary plans for labor and materials estimates.
    • Will help you make adjustments to stay within your budget.
    • Will help you define your project’s scope.
    • Will refer you to qualified contractors.
    • Will prepare final plans and specifications for permits and construction.
    • Will communicate and work with everyone.

Step 4: Interview Contractors and Hire The Best Candidate

  • Ask your designer for referrals to contractors. Or get referrals from neighbors, friends, and business associates. You can also contact the professional organizations above.
  • Contractors may be busy, unavailable to help you. You may disqualify them if you sense a disconnect in communication.
  • Interview contractors and communicate about your project and your expectations. Verify that the contractors respect your designer’s role in your project’s success. (Unfortunately, many contractors don’t understand how to work with a designer).
  • Ask about the candidates’ ability and willingness to communicate daily, as needed, and their preferred tool (phone, email,  text, or a combination).
  • Ask for and call all references given to verify the candidates’ qualifications.
  • Verify that the candidate is licensed and bonded for the work they’ll be performing.
  • Hire a contractor who listens to you and understands what you want. Trust your “gut” and avoid hiring someone who guarantees to do your job for less than everyone else.

Step 5: The Design Process

During the design process, you’ll be making important decisions. Your project’s scope and your products need thought and consideration. Here are tips to help you:

  • Stay in touch with how you’re feeling. Be honest and share your feelings with your designer. Your designer should understand and help you.
  • Make timely decisions. Delaying decisions might create artificial anxiety. Products you want may have a long lead-time or have unexpected freight costs.
  • Order your products immediately. Arrange to store them until your contractor is ready for them. Access to installation manuals included with products is essential. The crew needs to read manuals so they can prepare the job site for the products.

The next step is construction. I’ve prepared a separate whitepaper that covers this.

There are many more steps until you achieve a finished remodeling project. With the designer and contractor working as a team, your project should be successful. I’m not going to deny that there may be challenges. Almost every remodeling project has unexpected challenges. To reassure you, I’ve never seen a problem that didn’t have many solutions. But the result has to be right for your circumstances. The goal is to make informed decisions during your remodeling journey.

Now, The Rest Of The Story — A Synopsis

Barbara’s bedroom-to-bathroom conversion project finished on time, within 2% of her target budget. It was a significant undertaking! I helped her select every product for her new bathroom and closet. Then I prepared several preliminary plans showing her the options. Her contractor provided estimates, and she made the right decisions for her budget. Yes, there were challenges, but we resolved them to Barbara’s satisfaction. I’ve attached a copy of the preliminary plans, elevations, and perspectives. You can see that this was a large project.

–o0o–

Now you know a little about how I work. You’ve learned about my philosophy. You’ll learn more when you read my newsletters. When you are ready to remodel, I want to be the design professional for your project. Call me so that we can talk about your goals, your concerns, your anxiety, and fears.

As-built plan eliminates fear and frustrationProposed Plan eliminates fear and frustrationElevation 1 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 2 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 3 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 4 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 5 eliminates fewar and frustration

Bathroom remodel eliminates fear and frustration

New master bathroom eliminates fear and frustration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Terrific Kitchen Remodeling Tips For Today

Case Study: Kitchen Remodeling Project During Pandemic

I’ve got 3 Terrific Kitchen Remodeling Tips to help you! 

But first, a question: Why is kitchen remodeling a mystery for most homeowners? There are two logical reasons:

    • Millions of print and online magazines show kitchen remodeling results. But few articles outline how professional designers helped their clients.
    • Kitchen designers use the rules and guidelines we’ve learned. Unfortunately, they’re a boring list of items about Function and Safety for homeowners. But not for us!

The National Kitchen & Bath Association 31 Kitchen Guidelines is essential information for designers. But, is it necessary for you to know? No, especially if you’ve hired a kitchen designer.

Surrounded By Too Much Information

You’re living with pandemic challenges every day. Are you tired of reading and hearing about them — not because you don’t care. Do you feel helpless when the media overwhelms you with sobering statistics?

There’s nothing we can do about product and labor shortages, either. We see pictures of loaded container ships waiting to dock and unload their cargo. Reporters talk about how much more we’re paying for everything compared to 2019. Often, they end the report about how bad it’s going to get in the next year. On and on.

We get it! Until these issues affect us personally, it’s easy to think that the media examples are somewhere else, happening to someone else. So I’ve decided to share what’s happened with a recent client, how the pandemic affects her kitchen remodeling project, and what we’re doing about it.

Terrific Kitchen Remodeling Tips

As you read Mary’s case history, keep these tips in mind:

Tip #1. Plan ahead. Wa-a-a-y ahead. The days of immediate gratification may never return. Answer the following questions:

        • When do you want your kitchen remodeling finished?
        • What are your specific goals?
        • How much do you want to invest?
        • What products do you want to use?
        • What tradeoffs are you willing to make?

Tip #2. Plan and do what’s needed — NOW! :

        • Get your total investment ready;
        • Hire a kitchen design professional and a contractor (or a design-build firm);
        • Make decisions about everything ASAP;
        • Order all products and store them until your contractor is ready for them.

Tip #3. Handle setbacks and challenges with grace and compassion. Remember that we’re all in this pandemic together. Avoid the “blame game,” if possible.

Pandemic Case History

Mary has been living in the same home for 25 years. Before they bought the house, they knew that the 190-square foot kitchen needed remodeling. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the money to update the kitchen immediately.

Instead of moaning and groaning about the circumstances, Mary decided to update the kitchen:

      • First, she painted the dark-brown kitchen cabinets a soft off-white and replaced the old “belly-button” knobs with new pulls.
      • Then she covered the laminate countertops with tile that looked like a professional did the job.
      • Finally, as they could afford it, Mary and her husband bought white appliances.

Original Builder Created 5 Major Problems

Her D-I-Y kitchen began showing its age three years ago. She knew that the original builder created function and safety problems that no one could resolve without completely remodeling the kitchen:

  1. Base corner cabinets that need her to get on her hands and knees to find what she vaguely remembers storing months before;
  2. Wall cabinets adjacent to the windows that have the same problem as #1 above;
  3. Only 3″ of countertop space between her ovens and cooktop (wide enough for a tasting spoon);
  4. Painted wall cabinets on both sides of the 30″ cooktop are scorched and peeling from exposure to heat and moisture because the builder only allowed room for a 30″ wide hood;
  5. Nothing but air between the top of the wall cabinets and the ceiling;
  6. One incandescent fixture in the center of the kitchen;

Do these problems sound familiar? In the 1970s, builders didn’t understand the importance of kitchen function and storage! They didn’t have access to the 31 Guidelines (and if they did, they wouldn’t use them anyway).

Every Kitchen Remodeling Problem Has At Least One Great Solution!

Here are specific solutions for each of the problems listed above:

  1. New base corner cabinets will have accessible swing-out lazy susan units.
  2. Angled wall corner cabinets will make storage and accessibility much more effortless.
  3. The oven cabinet will move towards the patio door, allowing generous room for a pull-out base pantry with a new wall cabinet above. Mary will have about 15″ of usable countertop space between the cooktop and ovens.
  4. A new 36″ wide hood will protect the new wall cabinets.
  5. New wall cabinets and tall cabinets will close the gap and give Mary more usable storage (even if it’s for items used only once a year).
  6. Mary’s new kitchen will have dimmable recessed LED fixtures for general lighting. In addition, there will be dimmable LED strip lighting under the wall cabinets for task and mood lighting.
  7. BONUS! Moving the oven cabinet required the elimination of a bookcase that Mary uses frequently. I’m happy that we came up with a great alternative: install a built-in bookcase in a wall adjacent to the eating area. There’s still room for a narrow phone counter on the side of the oven cabinet!

Quest For A New Kitchen

Mary embarked on her quest for a new kitchen in May 2021, hoping for completion when her son will be visiting for Christmas. He loves to cook and bake and asked to be involved in the kitchen redesign.

She knew that a complete kitchen remodeling would address all the function and safety challenges. But she couldn’t decide between the aesthetic options available:

Should she get a new range and install a microwave-convection oven – OR –
     Get a gas cooktop and install a double oven with a microwave-convection oven at the top?
Should she stay with off-white cabinets and white appliances -OR –
     Opt for wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances?
How would white appliances look with wood cabinets – OR –
     Would stainless steel appliances look better with off-white cabinets?

She visited houzz.com and saved pictures to a project folder. But none of the photos showed the options she needed and wanted to see. Time slipped by. So after she hired me, I created photorealistic renderings of how her kitchen would look with the different options. Here are the options I showed her:

Virtual Reality Renderings showing options

Photorealistic Renderings: White cabinets with varying options of appliances

Photorealistic Renderings of wood cabinets and appliance options

Photorealistic Renderings: Wood cabinets with different options of appliances

Move Ahead, Then Stop. And Wait.

Mary made decisions so we could plan for construction that her contractor scheduled to start in mid-October. But we ran into the snag that the media has been reporting: product delays. The appliances may be available, but freight and delivery charges will be a budget-buster. Cabinets won’t be ready for delivery until the second week of December at the earliest.

Last week, I suggested that she put off starting her kitchen remodel until early 2022. She was disappointed but understood that working in her old kitchen with her son would be better than having everything in total disarray during his visit. So Mary gets gold stars for following Rule #3!

Case Study how homeowner used 3 Terrific Kitchen Remodeling Tips to help

Homeowner is excited about how her remodeled kitchen will function and look!

Collaboration About Function, Safety, And Your Style

The pandemic has forced us to shift our priorities and rethink our lives. The NKBA 31 Guidelines remain the foundation for Function and safety, essential parts of every kitchen. But there’s nothing in the Guidelines about kitchen appearance. That’s when our collaboration gets the results you want, how you want your kitchen to look. When we start with the best kitchen function and safety possible, you can have any style you desire! I’m delighted to use both hemispheres of my brain to help you like I’ve helped Mary and hundreds of other homeowners. 

You’ve read about Mary’s Case Study that’s ongoing. Now read a Case Study about one of my favorite finished projects.

Do you recognize familiar problems that you’re having with your kitchen? Do you have other kitchen remodeling problems? Call me, and let’s chat about the things that are bugging you! In 37 years, I’ve discovered that most challenges have multiple solutions. It’s a matter of finding the right solution for your needs, your budget, and your unique lifestyle.

 

How To Create An Accessible Bathroom

CASE STUDY: ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM IN RIDGEFIELD, WA.

Ridgefield WA accessible bathroom features Evergreen Fog

 

WHAT MOTIVATED THE HOMEOWNER TO WANT AN ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM?

 
 
Paul is a Baby Boomer with one health issue. He knew that he wanted to transform his existing bathroom into an accessible bathroom for the future and had great ideas, but he didn’t know how to do it. He had set aside money for the project, suspecting that the remodeling project would be expensive. But was it enough money? He knew he needed help. We talked about what he wanted to achieve and his investment range during a long phone conversation. His goals included:
 
 
  • A roll-in shower with an inline drain that he’d seen online when he searched for “accessible bathrooms.”
  • An accessible toilet. Paul described the existing narrow toilet room that had a door. He wanted to remove the door to make the toilet accessible from a wheelchair or a walker.
  • Replace the existing linen closet with cabinets for better storage and accessibility.
  • Radiant heating below the bathroom and closet floors.

 

 

Paul invited me to see his home and bathroom at the end of our conversation. The help he needed is my specialty, creating accessible bathrooms.
 
 
 
Approaching the neighborhood, I observed that Paul lives in a new development, one of many in his area. Young trees are a giveaway. Developers mow down all established trees to make construction easier and faster. While planned communities have the advantage of new construction technology, the homes often lack accessibility for homeowners with health problems or limitations.
 
 
 
 
Bathroom Before it became an Accessible Bathroom

EVIDENCE THAT BATHROOM ACCESSIBILITY WAS AN ISSUE

 
 
Paul purchased one of the few one-story homes in the development. A brief tour of his home proved the developer’s lack of knowledge about accessibility. Here are significant problems that I’m showing on the “Before” plan:
 
 
  • There was a narrow hallway next to the master bedroom, not enough space for accessibility.
  • The bedroom door was only 30 inches wide; no way to widen the door or use offset hinges.
  • A 36-inch walkway between the king-size bed and the bathroom doorway prevented clear access to the bathroom.
  • The bathroom had a 28-inch wide door, 4 inches too narrow for a wheelchair or walker.
 
 
Inside the bathroom, here’s what I observed — major use problems:
 
 
  • Although there were 50 inches between the lavatory countertop and the shower, sliding glass doors on top of a curb enclosed the shower, making it inaccessible for a wheelchair or walker.
  • The interior of the shower was 60 inches wide by 32 inches deep.
  • A narrow 28-inch door limited access to the toilet room, which was 64 inches wide by 33-3/8 inches deep.
  • There wasn’t space anywhere in the bathroom for a 5-foot turning radius required for wheelchairs.

 

DESIGNING AN ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM

Accessible Bathroom in Ridgefield, WAI was happy that Paul hired me to help him transform his bathroom. He asked great questions, weighed all the information, and did a lot of research. However, it took about four months for Paul to make decisions because one feature relates to all other features.
 
 
 
 
Paul asked if we could add a window in the wall between the shower and the toilet room during the design phase because he wanted more daylight in the bathroom. This wall had the existing showerhead and valve. We discussed the pros and cons, then agreed that the best location for the new showerhead and valve was at the opposite end of the shower, the wall dividing the bathroom from the bedroom. Paul’s decision made the other wall available for a tempered-glass window. But his decision increased the investment in framing and rough plumbing. He realized that the money he’d set aside wasn’t enough. He could forego the new window, or he could add money to the investment. He decided that the new window added value and personal enjoyment to the bathroom. Natural daylight is something we all need, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. 
 
 
 
 
We went shopping together for countertop material, tile, and flooring. Also, we exchanged emails about plumbing and lighting. I included all decisions in four 24″ x 36″ pages of Paul’s plans. Soon after I completed the plans, Paul interviewed several contractors and decided to hire a local company specializing in building accessible homes. It was a well-considered decision, like every other decision he made. 
 
 
Accessible Bathroom plan in Ridgefield, WA

SOLVING BATHROOM INACCESSIBILITY PROBLEMS

 

 How did we solve the problems to create Paul’s accessible bathroom?
 
 
 
  • There is no door between the bedroom and the bathroom, and the doorway is wider.
  • There is no glass shower door or glass shower screen, so Paul can move safely and turn a wheelchair around freely. Now there’s enough room for accessible safety and comfort.
  • The new accessible bathroom shower floor has the same tile as the bathroom and the closet.
  • Floors in the bathroom and closet have radiant heating.
  • There is no shower curb — a requirement for accessible bathrooms.
  • There’s an inline drain against the back wall in the shower.
  • There’s a drop-down seat with an adjacent corner grab bar
  • Two corner soap+shampoo shelves are also grab bars.
  • There’s a vertical grab bar next to the shower valve, so Paul can support himself safely when he’s turning on the water.
  • There’s a multi-purpose showerhead and a personal shower. Personal showers are very important for a feeling of independence in accessible bathrooms.
  • We’ve swapped the location of the ADA-height toilet+bidet 180 degrees.
  • We removed the toilet room door and made the doorway as wide as possible for better accessibility.
  • We’ve planned a convenient shelf for personal-care items next to the toilet.
  • The toilet tissue holder is also a grab bar.
 
 
There are significant changes to the cabinets, too:
 
 
  • There’s an open knee well on the right-hand side for wheelchair and walker accessibility.
  • We’ve placed the faucets on the sides of both lavatories for easier control. NOTE: Faucets at the rear of lavatory sinks make it nearly impossible to reach when someone is sitting in a wheelchair or using a walker.
  • A new pantry cabinet replaces the linen closet. It has three drawers at the bottom and a pair of doors at the top.
  • All cabinets feature soft-close hinges and glides that are easy to operate.

 

 

VIRTUAL-REALITY RENDERINGS: SHOW AND TELL!

 

Paul’s favorite color family is warm green. Here are the finishing products he selected:
 
 
 
Evergreen Fog Sherwin-Williams paint for accessible bathroom
 
 

After receiving a Sherwin-Williams newsletter with their color of the year, “Evergreen Fog,” I recently recommended it to Paul. I shared two virtual-reality perspectives to show him how it looks. Read more about “Evergreen Fog,” and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter where I intend to share more information about accessibility, colors, and design.

 
 
 
 
The design phase was as smooth as butter in warm weather because Paul took (and made) time to make informed decisions about everything for his remodeled accessible bathroom. I’m sure that the actual remodeling will be as smooth. Construction will begin within a month. I can’t wait to see the results!
 
 
 
 
Accessible bathrooms are an important part of total home accessibility, vital for all ages and all stages of ability. I previously wrote about important features of accessibility. But an accessible bathroom has to be visually and emotionally pleasing, too. To be successful, accessible bathrooms (and accessible kitchens) must look like they belong in your home. They should fit in with your lifestyle and personal preferences. This is why I’d love to help you!
 
Universal Design is a synonym for accessibility. I prefer accessibility and Universal Design to the term “Aging In Place,” don’t you? Leave a comment about your opinions!
 

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.
Read about Diane Plesset’s design process.

Do you have specific needs for your master bathroom? I’d love to talk with you about your goals! Send me an email, or call me!

© Copyright 2022 D, P, Design – All Rights Reserved

 
 
 

Is It Absolutely The Right Paint Color Or Not?

Choosing the right paint color is overwhelming

PAINT COLOR IS ESSENTIAL BUT DIFFICULT TO CHOOSE

How challenging is it to select the right paint colors for your home? Color is an essential feature in your home. Your walls are the backdrop for your life story as it unfolds. It’s personal, like your fingerprints. But it also tells everyone who you are and what’s important to you. There are so many choices! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated.
 
Choosing the right paint color is an overwhelming challenge for most people. You want to use your favorite color — let’s say blue — for your living room walls. You go to the paint store to discover hundreds of blue colors available. You stand there anxiously. You pull a chip out of the bin, look at it for several minutes before you put it back. An employee sees you and approaches. “Can I help you?”  You reply, “No, I’m just trying to find the perfect color. You deal with people like me every day.” He nods and steps away. Finally, you get several samples and paint swatches to help you decide.
 
Weeks later, when you finish painting and rearranging your room, it looks so different! It takes a while to adjust to the change, but you know you made the best choice.

GREAT PAINT SELECTION TOOLS

Many paint companies provide fantastic tools to help you visualize results. Yes, you can buy peel-stick or small-quantity paint color samples. But it’s easier to upload a photo of your room and select the color you want. Then, voila, there it is! We’d love to help you if technology confuses you. We can show you during a Zoom session, and we can consult with you about colors for your home. 
 
Years ago, I switched from a well-known brand to Sherwin-Williams paint. I discovered it was easier to do touch-ups with Sherwin-Williams. Using the other brand, I’d end up repainting an entire wall. In addition, the texture and color of the paint looked different in the touched-up area even when I used well-known techniques. More about the touch-up methods later.
 
Sherwin-Williams is now my go-to company for paint. Not only because they have great ads, but their products are top-quality. Low- and no-VOC, anti-microbial for all surfaces.
 
I recommend Sherwin-Williams to all my clients. I’ve subscribed to their newsletter and gotten regular updates about paint technology and colors since it became my #1 choice. In the past, I’d look at their message about the featured color and think, “That’s nice,” then delete the message.

THE LATEST FEATURED PAINT COLOR: “EVERGREEN FOG”

Sherwin-Williams Featured paint color Evergreen FogSomething happened when I got the January S-W newsletter. It featured a color called “Evergreen Fog.” A thought hit me like a giant snowball. What if I created virtual-reality perspectives to show the color in clients’ projects? I’ve been creating virtual-reality renderings for clients to help them select products and paint colors for many years. The blog and newsletter idea is a perfect extension to show possibilities. Subscribe to my blog and sign up to receive my newsletter below. Also, please leave comments about the featured projects.
 
“Evergreen Fog” is a soft, warm green with a touch of gray paint color to make it universally appealing, even for me. I wrote about the effects of warm colors before. I’ve always preferred pure “jewel” tones. But I chose “greige” for most of our walls — a wonderful mix of grey and beige that complements all colors. My husband and I have loved this color for over 11 years. “Evergreen Fog” is great for every room in your home. I’ve chosen to show it in a kitchen and a bathroom that I completed this year.

VIRTUAL-REALITY CLIENT PROJECTS

First, the kitchen, located in Lake Oswego:
Lake Oswego Kitchen with Evergreen Fog paint color
 
The homeowner selected:

Lake Oswego Kitchen VR features Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog paint color

Do you agree or disagree that Sherwin-Williams’ “Evergreen Fog” enhances the kitchen? Please leave us a comment below!
 
The project in Ridgefield, WA., transforms a standard bathroom into a fully-accessible bathroom. It’s perfect for “Evergreen Fog” because it’s the homeowner’s favorite color family.
Ridgefield WA accessible bathroom features Evergreen Fog paint color
 
The homeowner selected:

Ridgefield WA accessible bathroom features Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog paint color

How do you feel about these colors? Does the “Evergreen Fog” paint color appeal to you? Please leave a comment below!
 
The Professional Painting Contractors has interesting information on their website about the Sherwin-Williams “Evergreen Fog” paint and other paint-related subjects.

PAINT TOUCH-UP TIPS AND BONUS TIP

Now for the three touch-up tips I promised. I hope you have some paint left over to touch up areas that have gotten dinged or smudged. Here are the steps to Tip #1:
  • Thoroughly mix the paint to dip a slight amount into a small plastic container.
  • Dampen a paper towel and dip it gently into the paint, then daub it onto the area lightly, feathering out from the center
  • After it’s dry, check to see if you were successful. If not, try the same technique again using a fresh paper towel.
I’ve discovered that two light coats are better than one heavy coat that may leave harsh demarcation lines. The trick is to be as light-handed as possible.
 
Tip #2: Use a small paintbrush. The paint must be almost dry on the brush, or the results will be “globby.”
 
The third technique that works is to use a sea sponge. But if you don’t have one, don’t substitute a regular sponge because it’s too dense and hard to control. It will leave hard edges.
 
And I have a bonus tip for you, directly from a professional painter years ago. After you’ve painted your room, put the paint chip — with the name and color — inside the cover plate of the light switch. You’ll never have to guess which paint you used! Never again! It also helps to write the room on the label with a permanent marker after you’ve painted the room.

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP AND BLOG COMMENTS

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Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.
Read about Diane Plesset’s design process.

Do you have specific needs for your kitchen master bathroom? I’d love to hear about your goals! Send me an email, or call me!

© Copyright 2022 D, P, Design – All Rights Reserved

 

 
 

LED Lighting = $avings!

LED Lighting $aves Our Environment While $aving You Money!

Remodeled Vancouver kitchen with LED lighting

LED Lighting in Remodeled Kitchen

LED lighting technology was in its infancy eleven years ago. It wasn’t available when I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s until 2000. California passed laws to help energy conservation, but it was a heavy-handed approach. We did have incandescent filament lamps, but we were forced to use fluorescent lighting as the main source of light in kitchens and bathrooms.

Homeowners objected to this limitation, so we worked around the laws making fluorescent under-cabinet fixtures the main light source in kitchens. The fixtures were controlled by the switch closest to the kitchen door. These fluorescent lamps were small in diameter so the fixtures were short. There were varying lengths of the fluorescent lamps, but we were limited by which lengths were available in either warm white or cool white.  I made the mistake of mixing the lamps on my first project. Warm white looked reddish-orange and cool white looked blue-green. The backsplash in my clients’ kitchen looked like Christmas!

For a while, we could use halogen lamps in recessed and decorative fixtures. They were used because they could be dimmed. But the regulations got Then manufacturers produced fluorescent lamps with standard screw-type bases so they could be used with recessed and decorative fixtures. The EPA told us that CFLs would be the standard to replace incandescent lamps. Reluctantly, the construction industry and homeowners adopted this, but everyone hated the results. Fluorescent lamps were on or off. No dimming. The light was simultaneously flat and harsh.

My, how we’ve come a long way — and the future looks even brighter!

In 2005, LED lighting was available, but there were limitations:

  • Not dimmable.
  • Color was a cool blue-white.
  • Replacement bulbs (lamps) for many fixtures did not exist.
  • Strip and rope lighting was available, but it was very expensive ($40 per foot!).

LED lighting has improved!

To create the indirect lighting for the entry hall and hallway, dining room, living room, master bedroom, and kitchen in our new home in 2006, my husband had to buy 3,000 individual LEDs and wire them together on “perf” board. Then he connected the finished Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) strips to a dimmable transformer and plugged the transformer into a switched outlet that had been installed in the coffers. It was a lot of work for him, but it saved us thousands of dollars. We got the results we wanted and lit all of those areas with only 100 watts of power, which was reflected in our lowered electric bill. To achieve similar results in 2021, any Homeowner can purchase ready-made dimmable LED strip lighting for a multitude of purposes and a multitude of color ranges:

  • Indirect lighting in trayed/coffered ceilings or on crown molding
  • Task and accent lighting under wall cabinets and countertop overhangs in kitchens
  • Accent display lighting in unlimited applications
  • Safety night lighting in bathroom toekicks and stair edges
  • Increased-visibility lighting in pantries and closets

Comparison of LED lighting to other types of lighting

In addition to LED strip lighting, there’s a wide selection of bulbs available, replace discontinued incandescent and outdated CFL bulbs. The colors, brightness, and dimmability have been improved, to enhance all interior environments. The best news for all of us, though, is that the price of LED lighting has dropped like a rock as the technology has improved and the market has become more competitive. Early incandescent lamp replacements were as high as $50 each. In 2021, we can purchase better LED replacement lamps for as low as $5 each! Here is a chart from Earth Easy that graphically shows how cost-efficient LED lighting is:

Comparison chart for LED, CFL, and Incandescent lighting

There is more technical information available at Wikipedia.

LED Lighting has grown in popularity

Lighting designers understood the benefits that LED lighting would have on the environment. They knew that homeowners and businesses would save money on energy bills. They worked with manufacturers to develop better and varied light sources for residential and commercial use. “DOE estimates there are at least 500 million recessed downlights installed in U.S. homes, and more than 20 million are sold each year,” according to a report by energy.gov.

Armed with all of this information, I hope that you’re inspired to switch (pun intended!) your existing lighting to LEDs.

See before and after pictures and a description of the featured kitchen project that successfully used LED lighting.

© 2016 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved; Revised 2/2022.

LED Lighting — The Highest Impact on Your Life

How and Why Does LED Lighting Affect Your Life?

Vancouver-peninsula and table

LED lighting has the highest impact on you and your life other than sunlight. I’m going to share facts that you may not know about lighting:

  • Insufficient lighting contributes to seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder) and vitamin D deficiencies.
    • Up to 90% of vitamin D comes from exposure to sun – diet alone isn’t a good enough source.
    • Vitamin D can prevent or slow down the growth of tumors and even boost survival rates for cancer patients.
  • Light, especially blue wavelengths, plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm, commonly known as our body clock.
    • The Harvard Health Letter suggests that sleeping rooms should not have sources of blue light (clocks, TVs, and computers).
    • Red lights are more soothing in sleeping rooms, relating to the melatonin in our bodies, reported by health.com
  • Health effects associated with poor lighting include:
    • Headache and eyestrain.
    • Neck, back, and shoulder strain.
    • Falling, tripping, slipping.
  • Blue light can increase confidence and boost happiness levels, research suggests.
  • Without the Sun’s heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock, like many of the moons around Jupiter and Saturn

LED Lighting Replaces Incandescent Sources, Better Than Fluorescent

LED Strip Lighting under Cap lights backsplash and countertop

January 1, 2014 marked the official ban on the manufacture of 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs, after Congress passed a law in 2007. It took 7 years for people to understand that LED lamps were better than the filament incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.

One hundred years later, in 1979, California started tightening its energy laws, requiring that fluorescent lighting must be the dominant source of artificial light in kitchens. To pass final inspection, contractors and homeowners used non-dimmable compact fluorescent lamps in fixtures. As soon as they could no longer see the inspector’s tail lights, they removed the CFL’s and replaced them with dimmable incandescents they’d known and loved all their lives.

Manufacturers made it easy to use small-tube fluorescent fixtures for task lighting under wall cabinets, which made working in the kitchen safer. We all hated the artificial “cool white” and “warm white” colors produced by the early fluorescent lamps that made everything look salmon pink or green. We hated the flickering. There had to be a better alternative! But that didn’t start to happen until 2006, when manufacturers started making LED lamps.

The History of LED Lighting

We think of LEDs as new technology. But the history of LEDs goes way back. In 1907, Henry Round reported light emission from a crystal detector. It took another 20 years until Oleg Losev noted that silicon carbide crystal diodes used in radios glowed when excited by electrical current. And in 1939, two Russian scientists patented a silicon carbide electro-luminescent lighting device that’s probably the predecessor to the LEDs we know today.

In the 1960s, LEDs produced a low-efficiency red light that was used widely as indicators on lab equipment. A partnership between Monsanto and Hewlett Packard formed to make LEDs on a wide scale, but it didn’t work out, so Monsanto continued to develop LEDs until General Instrument bought the business in 1979.

I’m surprised about how long it’s taken for manufacturers to adopt LED technology in the lighting industry. Today’s LED technology is used extensively for commercial, industrial, and residential applications. LEDs’ capabilities have improved across the board: increased lifespan, increased brightness and performance, and increased energy efficiency. Now all LED lamps have warranties. National and state government agencies adopted programs and standards that ultimately led to the demise of incandescent lighting.

What’s The Major Upside to LED Lights?

]Corner range and hood in remodeled Vancouver kitchen

There are many advantages to LED lighting:

  • LEDs have an extremely long lifespan relative to every other lighting technology. LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours, and they don’t fail in the same way as older technology. The typical lifespan for a halogen bulb, by comparison, is about 1,200 hours, or 1-5% as long, at best.
  • They are extremely energy efficient relative to every other commercially available lighting technology. There are several reasons for this: they waste very little energy in the form of heat, and they emit light directionally. This means that there is no need to redirect or reflect light.
  • LEDs have faster switching with no warm-up or cool-down period.
  • They have very high light quality. Manufacturers have listened to engineers, and have improved the color that LEDs produce, in temperature and wavelength.
  • LEDs can generate the entire spectrum of visible light colors without having to use the traditional color filters required by older lighting solutions.
  • They are much smaller than other light sources.

Is there a Downside to LED Lights?

When I first began touting LEDs in 2006, the major argument against buying and using them was the up-front cost of the bulbs. Yes, they were expensive, for sure! A non-dimmable replacement for a standard “A” lamp was at least $35 each. But the technology of LEDs has followed the pattern established by other technology. As soon as people started buying the bulbs, manufacturers took notice and figured out how to produce the diodes at a considerably lower cost. Consequently, this made the investment in LED bulbs more acceptable.

There’s an unlimited selection of LEDs available to replace all kinds of lamps. Incandescent lamps are no longer available. We can buy halogen, CFL, and LED lamps only. There are differences between them, shown in the chart below. What gives LEDs the advantage is that they’re dimmable (like halogen lamps) and they save you money on the annual operating cost.

Comparison chart Halogen - LED - CFL

Light and Color: Why It’s Important

It’s impossible to have color without light!  There are two aspects to the color of the light and how we see colors:

  • Color temperature
  • Color rendering

All of the colors we see are a byproduct of light waves, as they are reflected off or absorbed into an object. An object that reflects back all of the rays of light will appear white. An object that absorbs all of the rays appears black.

Warm, yellowish light, what incandescent lamps typically produced, intensified and enhanced warm colors like red, orange, and yellow, and muted cooler hues. Cool, white light, what fluorescent and halogen lamps produce, works best with blues, violets, and greens.

Color Temperature

Color Temperature ChartYou’ve probably heard and read about color temperature developed by British physicist William Kelvin in the 1800s. He discovered the color change that occurred when he heated a block of carbon. Starting from a dim red, through shades of yellow and up to a bright blue at the hottest temperature. When you buy a package of bulbs, you’ll be able to tell how warm or cool the light is, which will affect all the colors you see by the Kelvin color temperature.

Color Rendering Index

Color Rendering Index examplesAnother reference you may see is the CRI, or color rendering index. The numbers go from 1 to 100. According to Wikipedia:

“A color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source.”

What this means to us is the ability to match colors. Hundreds, maybe thousands of times in the past 35 years, I’ve known frustrated homeowners who went shopping in showrooms lit with fluorescent or other light sources. They thought they found a product with the perfect color to match their interior, only to discover that the light in their homes is much different. Of course, the products weren’t what they wanted.

Watts and Lumens

Lumens - Watts ChartThere are two more numbers on light bulb packaging, the watts, and lumen output. We’re all familiar with watt reference, the amount of energy that a light source consumes. We’ve associated a certain level of brightness with 60 watts of incandescent light. We can’t do that anymore, because we have LEDs that give us more light with fewer watts. Instead, we need a measurement for visible light energy – lumens. Lumens per watt is a measure of how well a light source converts energy (watts) into light (lumens). Tungsten filament incandescent bulbs produced about 15 lumens/watt. LED technology can produce about 60 lumens per watt. In other words, LEDs are about 4 times more efficient at producing light than incandescent bulbs. This 4-1 ratio is a rough guide of how to calculate what LED bulb to use when replacing an incandescent bulb.

LED Lighting Options

As I said earlier, manufacturers have been on board with LEDs since 2008. Here are the nine different kinds of LED bulbs that are available on one of my favorite sites, 1000 Bulbs:

  • Remodeled Vancouver Kitchen and Family Room with LED lightingStandard Shape A19 – Designed to give the appearance and pattern of a standard incandescent bulb. Standard and A-shape LED bulbs fit the same sockets and fixtures as your current household lights.
  • 3-Way LED – A three-way bulb is a light bulb that has three brightness settings instead of the standard on or off. If your lamp or fixture says it requires a three-way bulb, this is the category for you.
  • Vintage LED Bulbs – Vintage reproduction bulbs are now available with LED filament. They have a warm orange glow with lower light levels to mimic the style of a vintage bulb on a dimmer as it transitions from yellow to orange. These Edison-style and Victorian-style bulbs make great collector items. Order yours today to make your own steampunk lighting.
  • Wet Location LED Bulbs – A wet location UL rating means these LED light bulbs can be used in humid indoor areas or outdoors where water may drop or flow against the bulb or fixture.
  • Decorative LED Bulbs – Browse LED globe lights ranging from 3 in. to 1.5 in. diameters or find LED replacement bulbs for your chandelier light bulbs. The long life of LEDs means less time on the ladder changing burnt-out bulbs. Many LED chandelier lights are dimmer switch compatible and come in a range of color temperature so you can still enjoy the ambiance of traditional bulbs but the energy savings of LEDs.
  • LED Tubes – LED tubes are the emerging standard for commercial and household lighting. Ranging in size from T5 to T12 and a variety of color temperatures, these LED tubes are an easy way to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting. Some of them work with or without an existing ballast, making the transition to LED lighting easier than ever. These LED tubes emit the same amount of light as fluorescent T8s while using a fraction of the power and lasting up to three times longer. LED tubes are especially effective in cold areas like refrigeration lockers where fluorescent tubes are less efficient at producing light.
  • LED Tape Lights – For accents, alcove, and backlighting, LED tape light is a fantastic choice. More flexible than rope light and bright enough for accent illumination, a strip of LED tape light can bring any place to life. There are countless uses and applications for this easily installed new light source.
  • Shatter Resistant LED Bulbs – Dipped in a special coating, these bulbs may still break if dropped, but they won’t shatter into pieces and fly across your floor. We recommend not dropping them, but if you do, these make cleanup quite a bit easier.
  • LED Night Lights – Keep the monsters away with LED night lights. Motion-activated, and battery-powered, these LED bulbs will light the way to the bathroom or give reassurance that nothing is lurking under the bed when your child needs to reach for a dropped retainer or teddy bear. Mounted using tape or screws, light only the area you need without waking sleeping babies.
  • Reflectors – From the powerful flood and spotlights to home-bound recessed or track lights, reflectors find excellent use indoors or out. LED reflector lamps can provide the same brilliance for less energy and will create far less heat than an incandescent or halogen lamp. As a bonus, they have a higher CRI than fluorescent reflectors for better colors. – Vintage reproduction bulbs are now available with LED filament. They have a warm orange glow with lower light levels to mimic the style of a vintage bulb on a dimmer as it transitions from yellow to orange. These Edison-style and Victorian-style bulbs make great collector items. Order yours today to make your own steampunk lighting.

A Personal Testimonial About LED Lighting

Frank  Lloyd Wright-inspired living room with LED lightingWhen we built our dream home 11 years ago, I wanted to use dimmable indirect lighting in the main hallway, the dining room, living room, and kitchen. At that time, LED strip lighting was prohibitively expensive, about $40 per foot. So my “techie” husband figured out how to build the strips using individual LEDs on “perf” board. The electrician installed switched outlets in each of the recessed coffers to make installation easy for us. Eleven years and about 35,000 hours later, the lights are still working perfectly. When we decide to replace the LEDs, we’re going to use commercially-available strip lighting that sells for about $2.50 per foot! You can see pictures of our home in my portfolio.

In Conclusion

Lighting technology can impact your life. The technology really isn’t difficult when it’s explained in terms that we can learn and understand. The bottom line is by exchanging all of your existing fluorescent and halogen bulbs for LEDs, you’re getting the following advantages:

  • No mercury, a cleaner alternative to fluorescent and CFL lamps.
  • A lifespan that is 20 times longer than traditional lighting products.
  • Light quality equal or superior to traditional lighting products.
  • Energy consumption that’s lower than any lighting product to date – you save money!

Listen to the “Today’s Home” Podcast: LED Lighting — The Highest Impact On Your Life

See Before and After Pictures of the Kitchen featured in this article.

Call me today to talk about remodeling your home that will include improvement of your lighting!

Headshot of Diane Plesset

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is an Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling,” and the recipient of many design awards.

© 2016 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved; Rev. 2021

 

 

Best Kitchen Lighting Combines Art And Science

What Is The Best Kitchen Lighting For All Your Activities?

West Linn Remodeled Kitchen Lighting

The best kitchen lighting (1/2)

. . .  and why should the best kitchen lighting combine art (the human factor) and science (the technical factor)? To achieve maximum enjoyment and function.

Here’s an example: The homeowners loved their home but disliked the dark kitchen.

  • It was large and had many angles.
  • The windows faced east which meant that the kitchen got dark early in the day.
  • They had to turn on recessed incandescent fixtures that wasted energy and increased their electric bill. Their kitchen was still dark.
  • The speculation builder used dark-stained standard cabinets that absorbed most of the light, limited the layout, and wasted space.

Several contractors said the best solution would be to add onto the kitchen. That would solve the problem with angled walls. But it wouldn’t solve lighting problems unless they went with an all-white kitchen. That’s not what they wanted. No one suggested using LED lighting.

The good news, there was only one addition needed. A 3′ by 3′ area was added to the southeast corner of the eating area. This allowed space for a sliding patio door and it created more wall space for a large picture window. This allowed more light into the room, and the homeowners got a great view of Mt. Hood! They soon became fans of LED illumination. More about this later.
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