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Every House Needs a Plan. It is just Good Business.

The truth of the matter is that in today’s economy, if you are going to do any kind of updating of your home, whether it be painting, remodeling, or updating of some existing furniture, you really can’t afford to do it without properly thinking your way through it. Mistakes are just too costly.

Your Home is your Single Biggest Investment.

For most of us, the single largest investment we will ever make in our lifetime is our home. It is also the place where we will spend most of our time. Yet it is the place, once we have moved in, where we are reluctant to spend money unless something is
broken. You know the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Our expectations are that our appliances and our furnishings should last twenty years, or until they fall apart, regardless of styles, trends, technologies or lifestyle changes. We would never expect this from our car or an item of clothing, but somehow we expect this from our home. We expect our home to maintain its value, or even go up in value, yet we think we don’t have to do anything to it to keep it current or relevant, other than fix it when it’s broken. Then we suddenly wake up one day, when it is time to sell, and the broker comes in and tells us everything that needs to be done to make the house saleable. Now we are ready to make changes, although in “catch up mode”, chasing a market and spending money for the new owners to enjoy.

by Julie Furey, Principal & Interior Designer, Julian's Interiors

Bathrooms and Kitchens Date Themselves in Ten Years.

Or maybe you never plan to sell your home but want to get a home equity loan. Now you need an appraisal. Do you think the appraiser who evaluates homes for a living is unaware of the difference in value between an updated home and an outdated home, or an addition that looks like an add-on, versus a seamlessly integrated room? Bathrooms and kitchens, the two most important rooms in a home, are considered outdated in
ten years.

Every Home should Have a Plan.

Now does this mean you need to run out and renovate everything? Of course not, but just like you do financial planning for your kids education and retirement, you need to have a plan for your home. Again, this is one of your largest investments. Now does this mean by renovating you will get all your money back dollar for dollar? Well, in reality, no one knows the answer, because so much of it is driven by the overall housing market, and the economy that we have no direct control over. But this much we do know: if you make smart decisions with a well thought through plan that keeps your home current and relevant to today’s buyer, then you shouldn’t be sitting on a boat
anchor when you’re ready to make a move. And most important, you will have a house that will be worth more, will be more relevant to current buyers, will sell more quickly, and bring you more money, know matter what market conditions are. In the meantime, you have a great home to enjoy and you can feel confident in how you are spending your money because it is all part of a bigger picture. It’s really no different than the operation of a well run hotel.

Why you would Hire a Design Professional?

Why hire someone when you can do it yourself for less? A properly thought through plan requires a strategy: Where are we going? This depends on how long you intend to be in your home. What do you like about it now? What do you want from your home over the long haul? Then we look at space utilization, life style and of course personal style. Many times not all family members are on the same page. It is amazing what you find out when you actually sit down and really talk with someone about their priorities. I often hear that one person in a relationship really doesn’t care about what is done to a space, and am surprised time and time again to discover that they do have “priorities” that are important to them, whether it be a comfortable chair, a quite space, a certain color for a wall, a favorite painting, or just making sure a space does not feel too cluttered. It never fails, there is always something, and all voices need to be heard. Of course, lifestyle is a key factor as well. Whether someone entertains, likes to cook, has many family gatherings, likes to be casual, likes formal... all of this needs to be taken into account. And then there is the environment the house is surrounded by: ocean, palm trees, forest... these are all relevant factors in good design. By synthesizing all of this, we can derive a cost effective plan that is relevant and sensible. And here is where the real creativity begins.

Cost Effective Design is not a Oxymoron

The budget. No one I know wants to spend more money that they have to on home improvements, so now we have to come up with the most cost effective way to meet their requirements. Many times there are creative ways to achieve solutions without breaking the bank. We just have to figure them out using the most cost effective “timeless” products on the market that will give us the best look. And yes, there really is a whole world of
interesting products out there beyond Lowes and Home Depot! Through this process we can build the specifics and identify the necessary resources, and now we space it out according to the budget. I recommend revisiting the plan every three to
five years.

Design Expertise can bring Value and Better Return

So now you know how HGTV makes it all look so simple. It is, if you have a qualified expert who does this everyday and has had a formal education in the field from one of the leading schools in the country, and is continuously exposed to the latest products and trends in the industry. It is like a great game of tennis: it looks easy, until you try to do it yourself. Then you get a sense of what’s really involved. Now it is not quite so easy, especially today in home design, when you are dealing with so many open spaces that flow from one room to another, requiring a tightly cohesive plan to really pull it together. Now some of you may not care about any of this, or some of you may be natural born athletes, and for this special group, have at it. I am available by the hour if you run into bumps along the way.

Internet Buyer Beware

Now the last point I will make is in regards to the Internet. We all love the Internet; it has made us all far more productive and forced us to make sure our prices are fair and competitive because there is always someone out there that will do it for less. Now, our goal is to be fair and reasonable. We know there may be someone out there in cyberspace selling something for less, out of some warehouse, or running some blow out sale, but will “they” come to your home and measure? Will they figure out if it is correctly proportioned for the space? Will they guarantee it? Will they inspect your furnishings and see that the goods are not damaged before you ever see them? Will they set it up for you? Will they pack it up and send it back if it is not right? Will they answer that phone two years later if you are having a problem? And let us not forget: Will they then turn around and accessorize your room with your own things just so that it looks right? Do you really know how that piece of furniture is made? Remember you do get what you pay for. A bargain is a bargain and cheap is cheap. You are still spending a lot of money so you may want to think twice before you order furniture on line.

Remember your home is probably the largest investment you will ever make. Treat it at least as well as you would treat your car. Don’t expect more from it than you would a suit or a dress.When things are tired in your home, update/refresh. It is money well spent. At least, this purchase doesn’t usually depreciate. And guess what? The process can be fun for everyone and you can enjoy the fruits of your success.
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It is good Business to Maintain your Home.

Now maybe you are one of the really smart ones. You know all of this. You recognize the need to stay on top of your home. But why waste money? You sort of have a plan. You can do itself. Whether you’re handy or hire the work out, you know what needs to be done, you know what you like. Why would you need home and design expertise? That’s more unnecessary money wasted. Well, you may have a point, if you and your partner both like the same things, you never plan to move, and you have plenty of money. Then you probably should keep doing what your doing and stop reading right now. But if that’s not you, I would suggest you read on.