Saturday, January 31, 2009

But it only cost $100 on HGTV!

The photos to left show a Staged Dining Room "Before & After".
We added new wall and ceiling paint, changed the light fixture, re-painted all the trim and mouldings, refinished the wood floors and brought in the owners furnishings with a few decorative touches to make this space attractive to the general public.

I am a fan of HGTV. It is one of the few channels I actually spend time watching...but I do get a little discouraged at some of the shows. Let me elaborate...The before & after picts of the Dining Room to the left are going to be my example. This Dining Room is in a home I staged and is on the market For Sale. This client had a large budget to stage his home from floor to ceiling inside and out- which is awesome! But that is not reality for everyone. On some of the staging and updating shows on HGTV, they give viewers a false sense of "affordability". Then, when a client contacts me or someone in my profession, they believe (because they saw it on TV) certain projects should cost much less than what they are quoted. The problem is this...each show on HGTV has a "crew"...they have laborers, tradesmen, professionals, really professional tools-BIG ones- and other "crew members" in addition to the homeowners they "use" in making the show. Typically they have a budget of say $2000, and they do a kitchen update for a stage job. It ends up looking fabulous of course BUT here is what they don't figure in to the "budget"...

*Labor Charges* Professionals, spending time, experience and efforts on the ENTIRE job. They normally have (more than one) pro carpenter, electrician, plumber, painters, tile & stone experts and flooring pros...Go hire just ONE of these experts and see how much your material AND LABOR ends up costing! Totally worth having a pro for any project, but HGTV doesn't show the REAL monetary value of hiring one- they just show how great it is to have 1 (or 7) on site!

*Space Planning & Design Cost* A host Designer or guest Designer is shown leisurely drawing out by the curb or while they are inside talking about what they want to do...I can tell you it takes several hours, sometimes days or weeks to come up with a plan depending on the job. To simply sketch out or install the plan onto a program that gives the 3-D space effect takes time and knowledge (a measuring tape and camera is good too!)...HGTV doesn't show how much time & research it takes for the designers to come up with ideas. In some case they show MANY Designers working on a plan for just ONE project. If you hired 3 Designers to work on your one little Living Room Project- I assure you, they wouldn't say- "Aww, it was nothing, take my plan for free- my time wasn't worth anything!" I also assure you, each of them will be paid. Folks contact professionals because they NEED what is in their brains to come out and make their spaces have to pay for doesn't magically happen in 10 mins like on camera and then there is no charge for it- sorry! :)

*Tools needed for all Labor* You can't just tile your kitchen with a screwdriver people! My husband is THE Tool Man. He loves his tools! Loves to use them, share them and buy more. I love his handiness and knowledge about tools and that he teaches me more about them. I can honestly say, jobs are easier when you have the right tool. You should always buy quality shown on HGTV! They always have these enormous tents with, what I like to think of, as the Tool Buffet, waiting for the project to begin. Normal people do not have these tools laying around OR THEY WOULD BE USING THEM! Table saws, miter saws, jigsaws, nail guns, power tools, lights, saw horses, an unlimited array of perfect tools for the project. In reality, Tradesmen have to pay for their tools, they have to store them, upkeep them, know HOW to use them, replace them, etc...That is not cheap! Understand HGTV provides tools on their shows but doesn't show any "cost" to the clients for them in any way...BUT back here in Kansas, Toto, we either have those tools ourselves at home and can use them (and obviously pay for them) OR hire tradesmen that can use them (and pay THEM for using their tools). Just take a look at the tools used on the next show...then go price some of them!

*Retail Material Costs* Once in a while, HGTV shows "real prices" of items from normal stores we can all go to. Lots of time though, they go to a store that is wholesale only and show this ridiculous price for something you are never going to find! If you want to know what YOU are going to pay for an item in REAL life, go shop for items on your project list and see how quickly they add up...most often HGTV doesn't count all the "little" extras you will need...go buy a round of nails for one of the nail guns they use... HGTV doesn't add that to the overall costs of a space they just added crown moulding too. They just show the cost of the moulding and maybe paint! There would be a lot more to adding crown to a space in reality...Paint brushes, buckets, caulk, caulk guns, saws, sand paper, nail guns, nails are just some other expenses incurred on a real job site where crown moulding is being installed (and don't forget the Carpenter & his labor expenses!). Be aware of what they DO and DON'T reveal as costs.

*Demolition, Clean Up & Removal* Never have I seen this expense listed on any of HGTV's shows. It is a HUGE task and expense depending on the project. Demolishing a simple wall, tearing out kitchen cabinets, or God forbid removing tile or wallpaper is hard work! It produces more trash and wastes than is will fit into your City trash can for Monday morning. Some jobs require a rented dumpster, trailers to haul things to be recycled or trucks & trailers to just make it to the dump! It takes tradesmen time, muscle and know-how to demolish or remove something. Then there is the issue of where it goes once it's out of your house and how it's going to get there! Make sure to not forget about this issue when figuring your project budget & plan.

I didn't cover everything HGTV shows leave out of their "expenses", but hopefully I listed enough to make you stop and think about what reality is and how much it costs. It may cost more than what is shown on TV, but if done well with good planning all along with way, it will be worth it! Who knows, you may be able to do it for less!

In the long run, I love to watch HGTV and admire many of the good people who work for the shows. They are talented and give us all inspiration and guidance to make our lives a better place to live everyday. They may not show all the expense related matter they should, but they show enough to make us all want to get off the couch and create something, right? Hopefully this helps you become aware of some details to pay attention to when dreaming of that new master bathroom and watching HGTV!

Interior Decorating and Design in 2009

The photos below are from wonderful clients that moved to Texas recently from ATL! They built their dream home and are now enjoying knowing that everything they see and experience in their home each day is ALL they wanted...many professionals worked on their home. I was one of those pros hired and went through the whole process. These are just a couple shots of their home...the Kitchen & adjoining Living Room in framing stages and after completed. We still have decorating to do in this spectacular home...more pictures from their home to come again later!

2009 is off to an unusual start financially for most...With the odd economy, folks are debating on whether or not to buy or build new homes in this great "Buyer's Market" or just stay where they are and Update (dreaded word of most husbands), Remodel or ReDesign.

I have met a few of both lately...

New and current clients that have decided to build and hire me to review their architectural plans, go over material selections, color choices and an overall professional opinion of how they can achieve the perfect personal touches they desire in their dream homes.

On the flip side, I have new clients each week that love their location and sorta love their homes....but would REALLY fall in love w/ their spaces again if they could affordably update.

That's where Creative Solutions comes to the rescue in both cases!

Reviewing your builder plans in detail is a must for new construction. Spaces could end up being wasted or impersonal when just a little tweak here and there could have made all the difference are crucial to get right in the building phases. Most homeowners know what they want, but the actual process of building a home is to say the least, overwhelming for most, and simple things get left out or just passed over due to the "hurry and get it done" mentality. Building a home is an everyday addition to the normal "to-do list" we have, staying atop what is going on and how things look throughout the process is vital. There are always unavoidable hang-ups, hold-ups and mess-ups, but a good builder knows how to get you through all those rough spots. In the end, working with true professionals make the process, dare I say, enjoyable?! The end result will exceed your vision if you take the time to use the advice and knowledge of those "in the business"...TIP: Do your homework on your architect, builder, potential tradesmen, Interior Designer/Decorator, Landscaper, etc. to find who you can best work with personality-wise and has the professional qualities you desire.

Regarding general Residential Updating, Remodel and Redesign if you decide to take that route...It is most important to have realistic goals in mind in relation to your budget & work to be done. Going through your home and making an extensive and comprehensive list of everything you dream of doing from inside/out top to bottom is the best place to start. From the list, you can get bids, go price materials, find ideas, get advice, and finally form a budget with a realistic idea of what you can afford. You may find you want to update your entire kitchen, but in order to afford some of the big ticket items, you should keep your cabinets and just paint them. Or maybe a granite tile fits the budget better than slab granite being installed to replace your counter tops. There are many ways to get the look and feel you want in your home while staying in your budget. Having a professional guide you or oversee the project for you is a great way to ensure your budget is spent accordingly and the experience is positive. Creative Solutions specializes in taking your budget & dream list and making it a reality for you to enjoy!

Make sure and post your puzzling design questions!!