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gulf coast special magazine



Learn To Love Your Home Again Through Remodeling and Redecorating
By Katricia Langy

Whether you do it yourself or play it smart and hire a professional, embarking on a remodeling or redecorating project can be both frustrating and overwhelming. Success is possible, according to four talented Houston designers, who share their top tips here.

Debra Cruz of Designs by Debra Cruz says the first step is to create your budget. For limited budgets, consider redecorating, which works for a smaller budget. You can rejuvenate your home with a paint makeover, window treatments and new, restored, or salvaged furnishings. Remodeling, on the other hand, is more permanent and therefore a more expensive transformation.

For remodeling, Cruz suggests treading carefully if remodeling the kitchen or bathroom. While these are the most commonly remodeled spaces, they also are the most expensive areas of a home to remodel. Cruz’s advice is to keep the same basic footprint, a decision that can yield greater cost savings.

Everything in moderation — even moderation. A smaller budget is not always the best budget, Cruz tells us. If you’re truly unhappy with how the space performs for you, your family and your lifestyle, a bigger budget can be just as economical with the right scaled-back choices.

Let social media be your friend; Pinterest has become a major hub for decor ideas and can be a handy resource for helping to determine your own style. Cruz, who posts much of her work on Instagram under the handle @designsbydebracruz, says more and more designers are moving away from traditional websites in favor of social media. Not only can social media help you determine what style, look or products you want to incorporate in your project, it gives you a way to screen interior designers for potential hire.

Use feng shui to reorient your environment. “Feng shui is a natural way to feel good and harmonious in your home. It’s really about creating good energies,” says Madeline Banks, interior designer and owner of Home Design by Madeleine Banks LLC. “When clients talk about a feeling that they want the room to have, they might not be able to put into words exactly how they want it, and by using some feng shui techniques, we are able to reach that goal.”

Decluttering also yields positive results. Redecorating doesn’t have to mean adding furnishings to a space. Clutter-clearing is liberating, says Banks, and only keeping the items you love creates good energy. Try removing the non-essentials and restoring items in your home that are still good, but have become worn over time.

Be sure to prepare for your first meeting with an interior designer. Banks likes to start the design process by asking about the function of the room you intend to redecorate or remodel. The goal, she says, is to arrive at the ultimate design direction.“That’s where we end up based on a lot of work: getting to know the client and her preferred style, questionnaires, budget, perhaps limitations of the room, home and more.”

Finally, let there be light. A good lighting plan incorporates as much natural light as possible, says Banks. Use artificial light sparingly and choose the color and strength of your bulbs carefully.

Julie Downey, ASID, NCIDQ, RID, LEED GA of Downey Design LLC agrees with Banks about the importance of light. According to Downey — who teaches a color and lighting workshop — when choosing a paint color for a room, look at the room’s lighting first. The lighting type, direction and reflective properties should all be taken into account.

Downey’s process is full service, beginning with an initial consultation that will cover the project scope and an analysis of the budget. The preliminary design presentation will include design sketches, color study, space planning and the selection of furniture and finishes. For her, the project isn’t complete until she’s overseen procurement, installation and construction management.

If you are going to DIY, start small. More than 30 percent of all jobs home remodelers perform are the direct result of failed do-it-yourself projects, according to the National Association of Home Builders. So if you’ve chosen the DIY route, proceed carefully.

It’s difficult but not impossible to hang your own wallcoverings, says Julie Young, The Wallpaper Lady. When it comes to paper hanging, the wallpaper maven suggests trying a single accent wall before tackling an entire bathroom.

Also, don’t believe everything you read. You will get plenty of advice from friends, family, blogs, and instruction pamphlets. Some of the information you receive will be accurate, but much of it will be wrong warns Young, who is known as the picky paperhanger. “Many people hear or read one thing and latch onto it and accept it as gospel truth,” says Young. “If you’re going to DIY, it’s imperative to learn as much as you can from a variety of sources.”

Be sure to invest in the right tools. If you’re hanging your own wallpaper, the proper tools include quality paper, primer, paste, tape measure, and laser level. And if you’re going to hire a professional, says Young, peruse that person’s website, read reviews, and talk to him or her to see if you feel comfortable with their level of expertise and how they plan to tackle the job.

Befor embarking on a remodeling or redecorating project, make sure that you communicate effectively with your contractor. Be very clear about what you want and can afford, and listen carefully to their needs, expectations and timeline. Get proposals in writing, ask in advance about the change order process (in case it is needed), and be flexible while your home is undergoing upheaval. Finally and for your own protection, request a written lien waiver upon completion of work.



Designs By Debra Cruz
Debra Cruz
12621 Highway 105 West, Conroe

Downey Design LLC
Julie Downey

Home Design by Madeleine Banks LLC
Madeleine Banks

The Wallpaper Lady
Julie Young


Houston Web Design Company