Tag Archives: Interior Designer

Why is an Interior Designer an Important Part of Your Project?

Choosing products and materials can be an overwhelming process, sometimes extending the project’s timeline or overreaching the budget if not done properly.  An interior designer works with homeowners to choose items based on quality, function, price and style, helping you bring your design goals to life.

At Bartelt, our in-house interior designers serve many roles – creator, project coordinator, a friendly ear – to guide you each step of the way and make the remodeling process enjoyable.  Why is it important to look to a professional interior designer for direction?  Let’s examine!

They have a process.

Your interior designer has a proven process to guide you through your project and selections, keeping you organized and using tools to help you visualize and understand how everything fits together.  They’ll ask the right questions to hone in on your style, and they’ll help you make decisions at the proper time in the project’s progression.  The designer is there to coordinate all the moving parts and make sure details don’t get missed.  There are a lot of steps between preliminary design ideas and the final space.

Pewaukee Kitchen Remodel

They keep you on track.

Your interior designer can help keep your project on time and on budget (they may even end up saving you money).  Homeowners don’t always realize the incredible amount of decisions that need to be made.  That’s where your designer is a huge asset.  They help you sort through all the options – lighting, paint colors, tile, flooring, countertops (this list goes on!) – and ensure that your selections are cohesive and within your allowance, leaving less room for errors and unnecessary spending.

They’ll also hold you accountable to make decisions in a timely manner, so your project’s timeline doesn’t get derailed.

Oconomowoc Lower Level Remodel

They bring a new perspective.

A fresh eye is important!  It can be hard to step back and look at your home from a different perspective.  You often get accustomed to the layout, color scheme and other details.  An interior designer has a trained eye and can see the potential in your space and offer creative solutions that you may have never considered.

Beyond offering ideas you may have not examined, they can also share options you may not have known even existed.  Continuing education is an important aspect of the designer’s job, and they have a great pulse on new materials, tools and methods.

Wauwatosa Master Bath Remodel

They can bring you back down to Earth (if needed).

We all have big plans for our homes, and let’s face it – sometimes, we need a reality check.  Your designer will help you set realistic goals and educate you on any design limitations.  They can also help you practice restraint, or in other words, learn how to “edit.”  What’s important to incorporate into the design?  What isn’t necessary?  Where can you take design risks?  Where should you keep it simple?  This will ensure your final space is practical while still showcasing your personality and unique style.

Wauwatosa Sunroom Remodel

Remodeling Guide Part II

May is National Home Improvement Month, so throughout the past few weeks, we posted remodeling tips everyday (every weekday and non-holiday, that is). Here is a compilation of “must-knows” from the experts here at Bartelt.

Be patient and understand that the design process is just that, a process. It can often take several iterations before you land on the perfect design solution for your home and lifestyle. Sometimes, on large remodels, the design time can take almost as long as the construction phase. In the end, you’ll have a design that fulfills your objectives.

Architectural Rendering

Our architectural renderings allow homeowners to visualize the possibilities for their remodel and work with designers to tweak elements.

Make sure the construction phase kicks off with an on-site meeting with all pertinent parties – you, the designer, the lead carpenter, and the production manager (or expeditor). At Bartelt, Rick Bartelt also attends this meeting as well as the ongoing weekly meetings. This gathering is the perfect opportunity to set ground rules, including start times; dumpster, lumber, and port-o-let placement; dust control; flooring coverings; and other expectations. Also, let the contractor know if you have any pets and what measures need to be taken to ensure their safety.

Be prepared for the ups and downs in your project’s progress.  The first part of any remodel takes off quickly, normally without major issues or challenges.  Once the rough work is completed, things can often slow down.  This is due to many factors – waiting on inspections, scheduling cabinet measuring and templating, choosing selections, and other elements.

If the process was on a graph, it would climb rapidly during the first phase then level off until the drywall was complete.  Once finish items started being installed, the graph line would continue on a steep incline.

Constant and meaningful communication from the contractor greatly helps during plateaus.

Remodeling Ups and Downs

Here’s a quick sketch (not to scale) of the ups, downs, and plateaus of the remodeling process.

It’s okay to make changes during the process.  We often have homeowners add something or a number of things to their remodel during the progression of the project.  Once they see the space coming together, many customers want to make updates to adjacent spaces or tweak some of the elements in that room.  Just know that this can add time to the project.

Be prepared for inconvenience.  Once the remodel begins, your home becomes a worksite.  Remodeling can turn your daily routines upside down (although we take the measures to ensure the experience is as comfortable as possible).  A kitchen remodel, for example, will definitely affect meal planning.  Many homeowners set up temporary cooking areas in this situation.  Make sure you have a place to unwind and escape the chaos.  In the end, it will all be worth it!

Remodel for you and your family, not for the next owners.  If you plan to stay in your home, think about your lifestyle and preferences.  It’s important that you enjoy your remodeled space.  Keep in mind, however, that the more your selections stray from the norm, the less likely you are to get maximum return on your improvement.

Take before and progress photos.  They will help you realize how far you’ve come, and they’re a fun opportunity to showcase your home’s transition to family and friends once the project is complete.

Shorewood Kitchen Remodel

Here’s a kitchen before and after (just for fun)!

Make sure you have adequate storage space for belongings that need to be removed from the construction area – furniture, décor, etc.  For larger projects, many homeowners rent PODS or take things to a storage facility.  Fragile items should also be removed from neighboring walls to eliminate potential accidents.

Now that a communication plan has been established, don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns during the process.  Things may come up, and it’s best to address them immediately to ensure satisfaction with the end product.

Enjoy the process!  Have fun with the design and selections stages.  Use your remodel as an excuse to get away for the weekend or go on vacation.  Treat yourself to a night out to recharge your batteries.

As the remodel nears completion, make sure the contractor walks through the project with you and forms a “punch list” of items that need to be addressed before they leave the site.  It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions.

Now, it’s time to enjoy your new space!

Remodeling Guide Part I

May is National Home Improvement Month, so throughout the past few weeks, we posted remodeling tips everyday (every weekday and non-holiday, that is).  Here is a compilation of “must-knows” from the experts here at Bartelt.

Talk to friends and family who have been through the remodeling process.  Time spent listening to others’ experiences will give you a better understanding of the realities of remodeling.  They can offer advice, recommendations, and insight about what they wish they would have known going into their remodel.

Prioritize your needs, wants, and wishes for your project, so you can establish a realistic budget.

Meet with a couple of contractors, but no more than two to three.  Talking to too many people can lead to paralysis of analysis.  Choose the contractor you feel most comfortable with; you’re building a long-term relationship.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references.  Check out questions NARI recommends asking here.

Start gathering inspiration photos for your remodel.  These images help you introduce your style and wishes for your home to the designer.  Houzz is a great resource to search for and organize your ideas.  You can also ask questions about products or materials and share your ideabooks with others.

Bartelt Remodeling's Houzz

Visit Houzz to gather ideas and see photos of our work.

As much as we all enjoy a good before and after show, programs on stations, such as HGTV, can set unrealistic expectations when it comes to a project’s budget, timeline, and process.  Watch these shows for entertainment or inspiration, but be aware that they are far from reality.

The time is now!  There’s no better time than the present to get your 2013 remodeling plans and ideas on paper and priced out.  Lumber pricing is increasing substantially with no end in sight for the remainder of the year.  Once we sign a contract with our customers, we can lock in the pricing and hedge potential surprises in terms of a material price increase.

Hire an experienced designer and establish a strong relationship.  Our in-house designers guide the process, solve spatial problems creatively, and educate you on the vast material options available.  Meet our designers, Matt and Mary, here!

Work with an interior designer to make selections.  Choosing products and materials can be an overwhelming process, sometimes extending the project’s timeline if not done properly.  Our interior designer, Mary, works with you to choose items based on quality, function, price, and style.  She also helps homeowners stay on task and select products to create a cohesive design.

Hartland Kitchen Remodel

Here’s a photo just for fun! Don’t all of the selections go well together?

Remember: Form follows function.  Although it’s fun to envision the “look” of your remodel, it’s important to truly evaluate how you live in your spaces.  Where are the high traffic areas?  What works in each room and what doesn’t?  Once you’ve addressed the flow and layout of the room, you can focus on those fun details to showcase your personality.

Establish a communication plan.  Your remodeler should lay out the plan from the start.  If not, make sure to set expectations for communication methods, frequency, and availability.  Also, clarify who you should be talking to on a regular basis.  At Bartelt, our production team works diligently to keep the lines of communication open.  For most projects, Rick Bartelt, the designer, and the production manager meet with you on-site on a weekly basis to review progress and discuss the next steps.

Before you proceed and fall in love with a design, have a concrete budget and be honest with your contractor.  Once we know what you are able to comfortably invest in your project, we can analyze your needs, wants, and wishes list to see what will realistically fit into that number.  We don’t want to present plans that don’t work with your budget because it can lead to disappointment.