The Who is Who in a Remodeling Project

The Who is Who in a Remodeling Project

Recently at a dinner party a friend of mine started narrating her remolding construction experience and how miserable she felt having to manage all the materials and details. She said the General Contractor was not meeting her design expectations and she felt the overall project was not what she had envisioned. She had a decent sized project that involved moving her laundry room from the garage to indoors, a new kitchen layout and creating a more open space between her kitchen and family room. She went on to say that she hired a General Contractor thinking he was skilled to help with ALL aspects of her project including the design. I have seen this situation happen so many times, where a person will either choose to project manage their own remodel, or hire a GC thinking that's all they need. It was very apparent that consumers are not informed about the roles of a GC vs an architect vs an interior designer, and why some remodeling projects may need all three. Below is the explanation I gave her of the different roles each professional plays in a remodeling project.

The General Contractor. They are builders. They are responsible for managing and coordinating the sub-contractors: electrician, plumber, tiler, sheetrock installer, painter, etc. as well as creating the remodeling budget. Pulling permits, calculating material quantities, ordering and making sure it arrives to the jobsite is also part of their job. They typically do not like to be involved in the design or layout of your project. They prefer for you to know what you want and have a set of plans ready for them to use. They are in charge of creating the remolding project and will simply work from your plans. They will also expect for the homeowner to provide and choose all their own finish materials (tile, wood, baseboard, crown molding, etc.) and fixtures (i.e. lighting, faucets, tubs, etc.). Some GC businesses have in house designers and architects but if they don’t, they usually do not like to take on the additional risks involved with the design of any project.
Pro tip: having accurate floorplans and elevations will allow the GC to give you a TRUE estimate for your project and avoid change orders through-out your remodel.

The Sub- Contractor. This is for the homeowner that takes on the task of managing their own project and act as the GC. Being your own GC is a lot of work to take on and it requires for you to have a lot of available time. Sub are usually hired by the GC and they take on specific tasks of the project (i.e. the sheetrocker’s only job is to install the drywall). There are several different trades that will touch your project before it’s finished. The different subs have to be managed, schedules coordinated, materials provided, floorplans explained and lastly, they need to be kept on track so the project doesn’t stall. A sub will focus on their particular specialty and most of the time won’t look at the big picture. Keep in mind that subs usually are independent; thus, they have loyalty to the GC’s because they get a continuous feed of jobs from them and perhaps will not have the same loyalty to the homeowner acting as a GC. 
Pro Tip: Make sure you have all your decisions made PRIOR to the sub arriving to perform their work. Making decisions on the fly is a total no-no as this can result in costly mistakes.

The Architect. The architect’s role is important if the remodeling project involves structural work, adding space or extending the roof line among other things. Their job is to take your existing space and create a new design with all the structural and functional elements that are needed. They will also draw the plans with your needs and stamp them for permitting purposes. Architects do not typically procure furniture and will make a very general furniture layout that keep in mind traffic patterns, focal points, window locations, and make sure the additions are up to the building code. They typically do not get into the nitty-gritty of what the interior details will look like.

Interior Designer. The Interior designer’s role is key as they present ideas and concepts based on the needs and wishes of their clients. They translate clients’ vision and take it beyond what they can imagine for their homes. They introduce them to materials and products that will create a unique and custom look that reflects their lifestyle. Vital at pulling everything together: materials, finishes, color palettes, lighting, fixtures, etc. They draw detailed plans and elevations (including 3D Renderings) that include tile pattern layout, cabinet design, built-ins, etc. Interior Designers work towards the big picture and can anticipate potential issues; addressing them in the design phase prior to any work being commenced. They can handle a wide range of services: conceptualize ideas, create plans and often manage the project through the construction stage. Then finish it off with interior decorating, furnishings and install for a complete finished look. Many Interior Designers work closely with GC’s, architects and subs.
Pro Tip: your first call should be the Interior Designer.

After the explanation we concluded that more often than not, homeowners think they are saving money by having one professional do the work of other professionals. Skimping on the important parts of the project can actually end up costing you more in the end. Whomever you decide to hire, the one thing you absolutely need to have are detailed plans on paper. It will avoid having to explain your vision verbally to a GC or Sub, leaving the execution open to individual interpretation, not to mention that people tend to forget things. Hopefully this article has opened your eyes to understating the different roles each professional has when thinking about your next remodeling project.

RUGS: choosing the magical one.


Do you know how in a group of friends there’s always one that is the mediator and brings balance and cohesiveness to the group? That’s what area rugs are to any room of your house. They have magic powers; they extend their fibers and attract all the other elements in the room to bring them closer together in a friendly embrace. Area rugs can add color and interest to an otherwise bland room, help divide larger spaces into cozier areas -especially in an open plan living space, give comfort to your tired feet and ultimately offer a sense of homeliness that just speaks warmth.

There are many aspects to take into account when finding the right area rug(s) and properly placing it into your space along your existing or new décor and furniture. Deciding which one is right for you involves several key considerations. Below are five points to take into account when out shopping for your magic rug.

1.     Materials. There are many rug materials to consider: wool (hand-knotted, hand-tufted, hand-loomed, machine loomed), natural fibers (sisal, jute, sea grass, bamboo), Silk, Cotton, Hair-on-Hide and Synthetic.

2.     Style.  The possibilities are endless. From the all-time traditional Persian rugs or classic European styles that feature medallions, flower and vine motifs. Dhurries & Kilims a type of flat-woven rugs that have no pile (no squishiness to it for those that are new to the term), Ikat rugs that use a weaving process that gives the rug a tie-dye effect.  Moroccan rugs which have a myriad of designs and colors depending from the region that they are from, etc. There’re also modern and contemporary alternatives with bold florals, and more bold geometrics as well as natural fibered rugs like jute and sisal.

3.     Patterns. Rugs come in a many different colors and patterns. They are like artwork but for the floor.  If you have a neutral palette going on with your furniture and walls it would be a great idea to add pizzazz with a bold, fun and colorful rug! On the contrary if you have patterned upholstery a solid rug can have a grounding, calming effect. Balance is key!

4.     Sizes. The room’s shape, as well as your furniture, dictates your rug size, its shape as well as its orientation within the room’s layout. The most common mistake is buying a rug that too small for the space. To avoid this pitfall, arrange your furniture to your liking, measure the area where you want the rug to lay and use painters’ tape to mark the edges of where your rug would go. Measure and then look for a rug that is close to those dimensions. TIP: Laying down a large, room-sized rug that will cover the majority of the surface of the floor, for instance will give the room more of a “wide open” feeling, this option works well in rooms with high ceilings.

5.     Position. The general rule of thumb is to allow approximately 18 inches of exposed floor space around the perimeter of an area rug; however, the overall size and location of the room should also be taken into consideration. Keep in mind that a rug that’s too small in the space can make the furniture in the room look uncoordinated. Definitely when it comes to rugs; bigger can be better. In a living room go for rug that is large enough so either all the furniture sits on it or at least the front legs of all major furniture rest on top of  it.  Tip: Avoid smaller rugs as it will make the room look cluttered and smaller. A larger rug will for sure make the room appear more streamlined and spacious.


Rugs are commonly overlooked as a must in a room but floors also deserve to have artwork adorn them! Hope these tips have helped you purchase the perfect rug for your space! Share you new rugs with us@2112design and use: #arerugswith2112DS

Shelfie Styling on Point

Built-Ins are my all-time favorite. They are a great way to display your collected treasures, while also adding a lot of character to a space. I love walking into a friend or client’s home and discovering their cherished memorabilia, it tells so much about the them and their interests.

Be it built-ins, a group of shelves on a wall or a bookcase, make it fun, your options are endless! 

The key points to getting your style game on is balance, a curated color palette and remembering that less is more -edit, edit, edit! There’s no exact science of how to get your “shelfie” style cohesive, it takes a lot of placing objects, standing back and starring, and rearranging until it feels just right. Below are seven helpful styling tips to get you started and excited!


1.    Blank Slate. Start by taking everything off your shelves. This will allow you to re-set your view and let the creative juices flow freely. Make sure you are not in a rush, take your time to enjoy the process!

2.    Gather Your Treasures. Gather the items that you want to display. The ones you took off plus anymore that you would like to incorporate. Books, pottery, bowls, vases, pictures, art pieces, candles, plants (real or faux depending on your green thumb!), wooden pieces, letters or monograms, small mirrors, etc. I like to collect more items than I think I’ll need so I have options to choose from. Tip:Group like items together, that will help you visualize and most likely you will notice you have a color palette already going on. Edit anything that doesn’t work within the color scheme.

3.    Color Scheme. Keeping the color balanced is essential to achieve cohesiveness. Two to three colors are a good rule of thumb. When placing your items take a moment to notice where you are putting them in relation to others. Are two same colored items next to each other? Move it to the opposite side to balance them out.

4.    Books.These will be the base of your masterpiece. Like all the violins in an orchestra, they help the leads shine. Group books in odd numbers, stack them and lean them. Stacking will be helpful to give height to smaller accessories. Alternate from left, middle and right sides of the shelves so the books fill in a good portion of blank spots.It will help move your eye around the space and make everything look pulled together. TIP: Don’t like the cover of your book? Think about repurposing them with designer fabric and have a set that are in the same color family. Don’t like the spine? Take the cover off or just turn it around so the spine faces the back.

5.    Variety. Having a healthy variety of accessories will keep your shelves looking interesting and add dimension to them. Mixing and matching is key to well layered “shelfies”! Take a chance at the quirky object! Sprinkle in some heirlooms if they fit the styleand don't be afraid to flip something on its side for a unique view.  Lean baskets or bowls with pretty insides against the back as well as your frames or small mirrors. Our eyes tend to like groupings in odd numbers, so working in three’s is a nice start. Tip: Unless it's in a group of like items, accessories that are smaller than your fist should not be displayed as they will feel lost in the space and look like clutter. 

6.    Greenery. Be it real, faux or some dry foliage, greenery is a must as it brings life and movement to your shelves! Don’t forget to remove your plants from the built-ins when watering them. Avoid getting water marks on your gorgeous shelves!

Take a step back as you move along and check to see if your shelves are feeling balanced. If you aren't sure, take some things off and look at it from another angle. Avoid overcrowding, having air between accessories is ok! Keep on adding and subtracting items until you love it! Remember a good “shelfie” takes time, it’s a labor of love! These tips are a get-you-started-guidelines, have fun -pour yourself a glass of wine and remember: it’s your home and display whatever your heart desires!  

I hope you found these tips encouraging.  Share your “shelfies” with us: @2112design and use: #shelfieswith2112DS

The Cast Iron-y of a New Kitchen

Are you going through cast iron piping woes in your house? Are you having to reinvent the way you drain your kitchen sink or your washing machine “temporarily”? You are not alone. It feels like a very lonely and desperate place when you are trying to figure out the steps to mitigate your slippery -and smelly underground problem! After many nerve wrecking sleepless nights fretting the crumbling sewage piping underneath your cast away home, I recommend for your mental health to look for the silver lining of the problem the Universe has put before you. Cast Iron piping gone rouge is no joke, especially when it’s in your kitchen/ laundry area.  I have found that envisioning what your new space will look like helps keep your mind away from the worries of adjusters, lawyers and insurance agencies that are out of your control and taking forever to respond.

Let’s dream, but more importantly plan, so when the time comes around to go head first into the renovation project you are ahead of the game and ready to tackle your project like a pro. Here are 4 kitchen tips and questions to ask yourself before demolition rolls around.

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1. Layout & Floorplan
Measure your kitchen and draw up a floorplan, include window and door placements. This would be a good time to move that door to improve flow, change the swing of its opening or open up the window to allow more natural light in. Think about if the current placing of your stove, fridge and kitchen sink make sense in the space. Pro Tip: Keep in mind the triangle rule. From center point of each item -sink, fridge and stove- they should form a triangle with legs no less than 4 feet or more than 9 and the total of all three legs should be between 13 and 26 feet. Lastly, do you have a stubborn wall you’ve been dreaming of opening up to add more kitchen counter to your space? Go for it! Remember that planning a layout ahead will give you time to keep a healthy budget, your expectations positive and attain the style that you envision.

2. Cabinets
When estimating your budget, after plumbing and electrical, the cabinet line item will be a significant part of your budget. However, it is very important as it will give character and style to your kitchen. There are three main cabinetry styling choices to keep in mind: cabinet door styles (flat panel, raised panel, slab, mullion), wood species (cherry, maple, red oak, hickory, etc.) and cabinet finishes (stain, stain/glaze, paint, paint/accent, weathered, etc.). Next think about how many drawers you want on the lower cabinets. Pots and pans in drawers or in the standard shelving? Upper doors with glass inserts or without? What door hardware will you be choosing? Take your time to look at the options as this is the jewelry for cabinets. Lastly, think about your hood range. It can be an architectural element and a great opportunity to make a statement.

3. Plumbing and Lighting Fixtures
Sinks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, and can include a wide range of accessories. Revisit your layout and budget and check the size that fits your space and your budget. Some kitchen sink styles are: drop-ins with a rim that extends above the countertop surface, undermount, integrated kitchen sinks made out of a composite material with a seamless transition from countertop to basin for easy cleanup. The top materials used are: stainless steel, composites made by combining crushed granite or quartz with a resin filler, fireclay and enameled cast iron. If you are prone to keeping everything tidy, make sure your kitchen faucet has a pull-out sprayer so you can reach all the food debris stuck in the sink corners. Faucets come in a variety of finishes: chrome, polished and brushed nickel, matte black, brass, oil rubbed bronze etc. I don’t believe in matchy-matchy but definitely the whole ensemble of finishes has to speak to each other and make sense. The last piece of wow factor are the lighting pendants above your counter. Have fun, there are a lot of inexpensive options out there.

4. Tiles & Countertops
Time for pizzazz! Backsplash tile can be fun, a statement, mute, calm or bold. It’s up to you and your kitchen style. Kitchens are the core of the house and the place you spend the most amount of time in. Make it yours, whatever that may be. Think about if you want to take the backsplash all the way to the ceiling (height and budget permitting) or if you’ll take the upper cabinets bottom line as your mark as where to stop the tile. Does the tile have a pattern? Think about how it will stop at the edge of the countertop. Make a little sketch for the tile sub so he knows what to do beforehand. What will the countertop material be? Quartz, marble, granite, porcelain? All these have pros and cons and vary in pricing. Make sure the combination between backsplash tile and countertops speak to each other. Tip: if you like the look of marble but are scared of the brittleness and the fact it stains easily, then porcelain is an excellent alternative.

Hope these tips have you dreaming of what your new space can look like. Independently of the outcome of your cast iron dilemma, the irony of it all is that you will ultimately have to redo that kitchen -or bathroom or wherever you cast iron-y woes lie! I like to find the silver lining in the irony of it all and envision the positive. If you still feel overwhelmed with the thought of all the remolding planning and figuring out where your healthy budget lies don’t hesitate to call us!

Paint Your Space

The moment has come, you’ve made the decision to paint the room(s) in your home. You are focused on getting the job done and head over to visit a paint store. As you stand there in true combat mode: color chips vs. you time comes to a stop; you feel the color hue quicksand sucking you in. Confusion sets in as the options take over your focus and determination. The endless shades of gray and array of “off whites” - that seem all the same yet have proper names like: Powder Sand, Cotton Balls, Simply White, and Ice Mist, turn you off into a sea of self-doubt. “Dash out and leave it for another day” seems like the best color name at the moment. But do you really want to just leave? That unfinished room or your peeling home exterior paint will be there greeting you like a faithful friend on your return! So…Let’s grab the “navy bull” by the horns. Below are seven tips, to getting your paint hues fired up!

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1.    The Space
My first question to any client: How do you wish to feel in your space? Focused, efficient, creative? Secure and at ease? Passionate and optimistic? Is this a social space or sleeping quarters? Once you know how you want to feel in the space and what its function is, the color will come to you with ease.

2.   Undertones
Let’s say you want a white as the neutral for your walls. White comes with many undertones. If you put Benjamin Moore’s Sand Dollar White next to its Pure White, the first one will have a red undertone to it. As opposed to the latter one that has a blue undertone to it. Keep that in mind as you feel and look at the colors.

3.   To Trend or not to Trend
That gray you saw on the HGTV magazine that is trending looks perfect! Before running to purchase all the forty and something dollar paint cans take a moment to feel if that color works in your desired space. Does it coordinate with your furniture and the other existing spaces? If you are only painting one room, will it flow well with the adjacent rooms?

4.    Location.
Take a look at your windows and see what direction they are looking out at, north, south, east or west facing. Depending on your home’s cardinal location, light will impact differently the color on your walls. South-facing windows allow the most winter sunlight but not as much direct sunlight during the summer months. North-facing windows have a relatively even, natural light. East and West facing windows provide good daylight, although in South of Florida the West sun most likely needs proper shading as it is the most intense hours of sunlight in the afternoon.

5.  Base Paint & Accents Colors
Stick to a neutral palette for all walls and ceilings and then add a few accent walls here and there. I personally love an accent wall. It brings in a pop of color and visual interest. Take into consideration if you have furniture with bold colors or textured fabric, avoid pairing a strong piece like a blue sofa with a bold accent wall, as they can neutralize each other and neither will stand out. Neutral does not have to be necessarily a white, beige or gray it’s just a lighter version of any color.

6.   Samples and the Process of Elimination

Take home some sample chips from the paint store. Try to make a pre-selection or you can order a color fan online and have it delivered to your door step. Select three base colors, order over-sized color samples or purchase some quarts of paint to sample on a foam board. This will give you a better grasp of what your color selection will feel like. Move the color boards around to each wall and get a sense of how the light will bounce off the color. Bright natural light will wash out colors, so you might have to go a shade darker.

7.   Our Favorite Whites.

Benjamin Moors Whites: China White, Cotton Balls (yellow undertone), White Dove & Decorators White.
Sherwin William’s: Pure White, Cotton White, Alabaster (warm undertone), Creamy and Westhighland.

I hope these were some helpful tips that have guided and inspired you through the paint selection process!