Magazine article Sunset

Diary of a Remodel: In the Second Chapter of Our Three-Part Series, We Guide You through the Material Selection Process. (Home Design)

Magazine article Sunset

Diary of a Remodel: In the Second Chapter of Our Three-Part Series, We Guide You through the Material Selection Process. (Home Design)

Article excerpt

* This past April, we introduced you to our first remodeling venture, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how we're transforming a 1940s three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow into a comfortable home adapted for today's casual lifestyle. Here, we continue our design diary and remodel countdown, and dive into the space planning and material selection processes. The unfolding story is also on our website,

Our design diary


REFINING THE SPACE PLAN. As framing begins, we fine-tune our space plan, checking the placement of windows and doors and the size of rooms to see if they work with the interior designers' proposed furniture plan. To eliminate a dead-end space in the entry parlor, we add doors on either side of the original fireplace for access to the porch. We cantilever the master suite about 1 foot over the kitchen to get a larger master closet and bath, and we add a window in the pantry downstairs. Stacking the washer and dryer allows space for a closet in the laundry room, and a half-wall adds privacy between the stairwell and home office. Doors and windows in the family room are reconfigured to open up the space to the outside.


DEVELOPING A FURNITURE PLAN. While reviewing how the rooms work and flow together, interior designers Patricia McDonald and Marcia Moore are also placing furniture. They have easy chairs, sofas, and tables drawn into the floor plan for our review This part of the process can be fun, but it's also very subjective, so there's lively discussion about specific shapes, colors, and patterns, any one of which will ultimately affect the overall palette. Before we make any final choices, we have to select flooring and order plumbing fixtures and kitchen appliances to make sure everything works together.


DESIGNING A FLOORING LAYOUT. This proves to be one of our most contentious issues to date. McDonald and Moore's design is daring. While proposing hardwood flooring in the downstairs living areas-including the kitchen-is no big deal, they want to inset a stone mosaic in the entry and have random tiles radiating from it through the kitchen and family room, continuing outside to the patio. Some members of the team aren't sure the design fits the concept of the house. And the designers want to run the hardwood from side to side when seen from the front door--but the builder favors a front to back direction. In the end, we reach a compromise: We leave the stone mosaic and run the wide planks horizontally, but we eliminate the scattered tiles. Choosing carpet for the upstairs bedrooms is a breeze by comparison.


PREPARING PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL LAYOUTS. We walk the house to pinpoint the placement of appliances and Fixtures, checking the exact locations for electrical outlets. The designers check measurements for tubs, vanities, and built-in cabinets, including kitchen and closets.


SELECTING SURFACE MATERIALS. We all agree to a mix of materials in the kitchen and bathrooms, including polished sandstone, integrally colored concrete, and ceramic and glass tile backsplashes with stone and metallic tile accents. McDonald and Moore present us with kitchen elevations, detailing cabinetry and appliance placement. (See diagram of kitchen elevation and material selections, page 103.) They also specify hardware and millwork, including paneling for the children's bedroom, crown molding, and window trims. Once we all agree on the materials, they develop a finish and specifications schedule for the builder so he can project final costs for surface materials and create a more accurate cost estimate for the project as a whole.


DEVELOPING THE COLOR PALETTE. Throughout the preceding weeks, McDonald and Moore have given us color boards of fabric swatches, surface materials, and paint chips to help us reach final decisions on furniture and paint colors. …

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