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Designing Your Renovation

A designer’s job doesn’t stop when plans are drawn up. Part therapist, part curator and definitely part problem-solver, a designer is your key to a successful renovation.

Really? Really! When you work with a designer, you’ll have a trained voice to calmly guide the project, making sure everyone’s wants and needs are taken into account. A designer will also offer solutions and suggest products that make the best use of the project’s budget.

My design style and approach is simple and elegant with a touch of something special that makes it noteworthy. Working as lead designer for over eight seasons on TV’s Income Property with Scott McGillivray also made me extremely conscious of the ROI. I approach every decision with that in mind.

Listening to homeowners’ verbal and non-verbal cues is key to a successful collaboration between a homeowner and designer. Often, one spouse might talk about a specific fabric or colour choice while I will watch their partner’s nose cringle in distain. I take note of these responses and gently guide my clients in a direction that will satisfy everyone. It is part intuition, part understanding human psychology and almost two decades of experience. Here’s what to expect when you work with a designer (like me).

My Design Process

1. Programing and predesign: Meet with the client on site to discuss their desired outcome. Review images and inspiration. Verify existing plans, complete measurements and input into AutoCAD

2. Feasibility and budget layouts: Complete a first draft version of the renovation plans. This offers a good idea how much of the wish list physically fits and how that might look. These plans can also be sent to contractors for budget pricing.

3. Final plans and permit drawings: Once the overall layout is agreed upon, we begin producing the package required to obtain necessary permits to ensure any flags or issues can be addressed as early as possible

4. Design plans and elevations: Produce more detailed design plans inclusive of lighting, electrical and millwork drawings, kitchen and washroom elevations and any custom cabinetry drawings.

5. Finishes and fixtures: At this point the permits should be approved and we have the green light to move ahead with more detailed selections. We select all floor, wall and celling materials. All light fixtures, door hardware and other fixtures required.

6. Project management: We complete weekly or bi-weekly site meetings reviewing the contractor’s work to ensure it’s meeting our design and quality expectations. We also speak on the client’s behalf to answer the inevitable day-to-day questions.

7. Furniture, accessories and art: Complete the project with all the furnishings, rugs, art and accessories to complete the look.