Good remodeling design is essential to bringing people into space

I was going to write about the cost of remodeling your bathroom but had a change of heart at the last moment while standing in line for bread. No, it hasn’t gotten that bad! It was at The Second Street Market, in downtown Dayton, OH. This is my favorite Saturday morning shopping, hanging out place in Dayton. If you haven’t been there, you’ll be hard pressed to find a good reason not to go once you’ve been. It is a great place for foodies, shoppers and people who just want a place to sit and have breakfast or coffee with friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

2nd Street Market on any given Saturday morning
2nd Street Market

OK, shameless plug for Five Rivers Metro Parks, but it dawned on me, the reason I enjoy it so much is the architecture and design. It is what draws you in and makes you want to stay and hang out, eat and chat. It is a memory maker. Space that allows your brain to effortlessly engage in the environment without knowing it.

Now comes the hard part. Do it in your home! The reason some people want to remodel, teardown, rebuild or move, is because there are no memory making rooms in their home. Yes, we all remember where our son took his first steps or the Christmas tree that caught on fire 15 years ago. But is there a room in your house that evokes feeling, a smell or color, the angle of the sun, a place where you look forward to spending time in? Do you walk into it and feel like it’s always been a inviting part of your life even though you only lived there for the last 5 years? If you’ve answered, “no”, to this then you have a house. Shelter. One of the primary functional needs for humans.

No disrespect, we all either live like this or have lived like this for a variety of different reasons. So where do you go from this point if you decide to renovate a part of your home? Start with design. It’s worth every dollar.

We do a lot of renovation of space that includes designed plans. The space is planned so that it works. The client is happy for many years and we get to be a part of that. Yet still a lot of people want to know right off the bat, “How much will it cost?” It is a great question. I use it all the time when someone pitches me something I didn’t ask for and don’t need. The latter part of that sentence is also what a good deal of my prospective clients feel like also. “I don’t really need design, I just want redo it”. OK.

Design, though, doesn’t always mean “tear down the wall!” Design can also mean, color, tile layout and selection, countertops and fixtures, say for a bath.

It’s hard to know what a client wants when we put together a design and quote.┬áSometimes there is nothing to do but quote new material and work with the client to match price with budget. Other times though, we believe a clients wants a memory making space, but thinks it can just be done without design. The client gets quotes from 3 or 4 different contractors and settles into the compromise. Price and “kinda what they want”. In the end, I meet those people 4 years later and get the same response: “We just don’t like the space as much as we thought we would”.

Designing memory maker space is not easy. It requires time. Time is money. A conundrum for sure in an economy that is still breathing on life support. But, as a country, we have moved toward a different reality when it comes to our homes, fix, stay and enjoy. By all means, if you have to move, don’t spend more money to “fix it up to sell.” Clean it up, fix the leaks, maybe new countertops and fixtures and move on. But if you plan on staying for 5 or more years, get it right the first time and enjoy it. Why wouldn’t you want it to be a place of memories?

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