When Canadian transplant, residential home stager/decorator Anne Hill asked me to renovate her Southport kitchen I was a little curious why she thought she needed me.
She was referred to me by neighbors whose kitchen I had renovated the previous year, Anne explained to me that while she had gone to school for design, she wasn’t up to handling the nuts and bolt of all the details she knew were essential to a well thought out and professionally executed kitchen renovation. At the time of the project Anne was primarily staging but now she’s handling full design projects. At first glance I thought this kitchen had a lot of possibilities before my contractor looked at the project and determined that the major structural header needed to stay. I always like to present a couple design possibilities to my client’s, and I love a good challenge but let me tell you, this kitchen was super challenging.
Design possibilities on paper exist as just that. Even the best contractors (and mine is) don’t have x-ray vision to see what’s behind the walls.
We do our best guess but until the space is down to the studs, it’s a guessing game. Once we knew what areas of the structure had to stay, we also discovered that the existing column wasn’t nearly adequate to support the second-floor weight as well as the vaulted ceiling structure. These are the unknowns in projects that when discovered, must be rectified and often add costs. This is the reason that when discussing budgets with my clients, I always recommend we design to 80% of the budget. This way it leaves a slush fund for the unknowns that arise as well as having some flexibility to choose special materials.