DECOR Fabulous Living With Lisa Ferguson Interior Design
interiors mutual fit Client designer relationship guide
A LISA FERGUSON INTERIOR DESIGN
Published by Decor Mentor email@example.com MEDIA & SALES INQUIRIES Lisa Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org PHOTOGRAPHY Stacey Van Berkel Brandon Barre GRAPHIC DESIGN Brainstorm Studioâ„˘ Creative Services www.brainstormstudio.ca LISA FERGUSON INTERIOR DESIGN
PROJECT INQUIRIES Lisa Ferguson Toronto M6R 1E7
email@example.com 416.993.1253 ONLINE
Web lisafergusoninteriordesign.com Twitter @DecorMentor
Pinterest Lisa Ferguson Interior Design Houzz Lisa Ferguson Interior Design
We design personalized interiors that have the ability to change your quality of life. Features
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Mix Mastery Two styles merged showcases a fusion of his and her preferences in this Oakville home with before photos. Design Crimes The top 10 crimes to avoid and resolve. For the Love of Colour Unmatching
furniture sets gives new mileage in this full house Parkdale project.
Guide to Getting to a Mutual Fit
Organized Interiors Optimal space
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Designer Client Relationship New ways to approach this process.
planning and multi functional choices showcase designer tricks of the trade. Luxe and Livable Restrained editing is used to make a Rosedale home photo worthy yet livable. Real Numbers Budget allocation inspiration from a real home office project. Design with a View A complete Danforth
home reno is planned to showcase the view and maximize organization. Project Budget Control Knowing the
23 areas that affect budgets can help conquer budget creep. Great Qualities in Great Contractors
We share the qualities that are non negotiable in our world of professional design.
an i d a Can me Ho s d Tren
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Thoughtful interior design planned and implemented by an experienced interior designer can fundamentally enhance how you experience and live in a space. It can be far more than an incredibly pretty space you swoon over. Have you ever entertained the idea that your health and stress can be positively or negatively affected? Contrast Mary with our client, Sarah. Mary spends 15 minutes collecting her essentials and arrives at work late. Her boss is upset. She is stressed and unintentionally proceeds to blame co-workers all day long. By the time Mary gets home at the end of the out of control day her husband and kids get the worst from her. Sarah, on the other hand, heads out the door in the morning with incredible ease. She grabs her keys and work bag which are always in their designated place we designed. Chelsea’s mom called with disbelief, a year after completing her teen client’s bedroom, the optometrist was saying the health of Chelsea’s eyes had improved so dramatically there was clearly one explanation - her space must have been completely restructured! How’d we do it?! A carefully considered strategy included a new layout to encourage better behaviors. A layered lighting plan created ambience and function while reducing stress. Organization started with a purge, then inventory, followed by a plan with customized storage organized in zones. The design was subtly infused with elements of favorite places with great memories. As you explore our magazine, we think you will see spaces with beautiful craftsmanship and thoughtful details as unique as each client and reflective of our twenty four years in the world of design. So you like a designer’s look? Fit and communication are also important. I hope you find the content in this issue sheds new light on working with a professional and aids you in the journey of getting to your dream interior.
Lisa Ferguson Interior Design
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STYLES Merged Interior Design Lisa Ferguson | Photography Stacey Van Berkel
When the phone rings and we hear on the other end “We know budgets and timelines on HGTV aren’t real life” we are excited to learn more about this potential client and project. As it turns out, this client who found our work on Houzz, values many of the same things our firm does, like Canadian made quality pieces with a high level of attention to the fine details and to re inventing and showcasing sentimental items. Clayton and Emma each had such divergent styles. Identifying and fusing many different preferences together is something we love to bring to a project. Finding a designer that is a perfect fit for your project, goes far beyond liking their aesthetic. Services and experience match, style before of communication, similar level of attention to detail and personality fit are all important to consider. Art & memories This gallery art wall is equal parts his and hers and designed by Lisa Ferguson to bring back great memories of the client’s travels. Pieces were selected to also ensure varying mediums and were reframed for a well curated feel.
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“Custom” is full of rewards Custom sized book matched walnut sideboard with Tigre marble waterfall, made in Canada and designed by Lisa Ferguson, enabled additional storage that wasn’t possible with ready made sizing.
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Showcase The custom coffee table was fitted with see-through glass to showcase the rug like a piece of art.
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keepsakes We restored a 100 year old chair that was our client’s grandfathers and designed a custom embroidered pillow with words from a hymn that bring back great memories of grandpa.
“I will always find a way to re-purpose existing pieces of furniture that hold sentimental value for my clients.” ~ Lisa Ferguson
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Enhance what you have Replacing the stone on the fireplace wasnâ€™t an option so we designed bookshelves, a new mantel and stone surround to create a seamless and integrated design that flows into the remainder of the house. Multi-functional Versatile seating reigns supreme in this space with stools for kids behind the sofa table, ottomans that pull out from under the coffee table to become benches and swivel chairs. smart Space planning will enhance how you live The banquette was designed to replace an unused bar. Built to twin bed dimensions it is perfect for lounging or sleepovers. The base is fitted with beautiful walnut drawers for extra storage space. Sumptuous leather swivel chairs were selected so that you can join either conversation with a whirl!
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Ever wonder what interior design crimes professionals see most often? Maybe you are guilty of one of these. We promise to keep it just between us.
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Rugs that are too small A rug should ground a grouping by having all upholstered furniture legs or, at a minimum, the front legs on the area rug and in the case of a dining room allow you to pull chairs entirely out.
Individual items that don’t relate or enhance each other Really, without training, it is very hard to see the entire finished picture. Pre-planning and avoiding impulse and silo purchases can help. My goal is always for finishes and styles to enhance each other and this is easiest when looking at a plan in it’s entirety.
Wrong scale of furnishings in relation to the space and to each other Most people have the tendency to go too large but truly this is one of the hardest elements to get right without experience. Neutral and matchy matchy This results from the fear of making mistakes and lack of knowledge to curate a space that feels collected over time. I can’t tell you how many times I get a call to fix the blah! It is really hard to do without replacing expensive items. You can save a lot of money if you start the process with a professional.
Following trends and decorating by what others think Look to your wardrobe preferences if you are stuck at knowing your preferences. You won’t likely be happy if you decorate by committee. If you want to infuse the latest magazine trend, make it five percent of the room.
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LISA FERGUSON’S FORMULA FOR DESIGN SANITY Create a timeless foundation by making 70% of choices “classics.” This works best for large upholstery and wood furniture; neutral tones for those bigger in scale and bigger ticket items give them longevity. Make “bolder choices” for the next 20% by adding colorful occasional furniture or art. Your “signature style” makes up the next 5% and is great when executed in accessories, custom decorative pillows, curtains or art. These are the pieces that take the “bones” of your design and make it instantly recognizable as you. Trends, quirky items and the unexpected make up the final 5%. I like to call these the “surprise elements.”
Ineffective and under lit interiors Lighting should enhance furnishings and provide appropriate function for desired tasks. An optimal lighting plan is layered and consists of general, ambient and task lighting. This often means five lighting sources in main living spaces!
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Furniture pushed against the walls While spaces feel larger and more pleasing when furniture is at least a few inches from the wall, having seating grouped 4 to 6 feet apart allows for easiest conversation.
Art hung too high If art is not grounded by a piece of furniture, when standing up your eyes should land on the center of the art. For pieces in a furniture vignette, 6-8” is a good rule of thumb. We use a professional art installer because it is a relatively small investment for the impact it can add to a space.
Picking paint colors too fast and too soon Be sure to do actual tests on various walls and review during the time of day you plan to use the space the most. And resist painting before you have your furnishings selected. There are many more paint choices than fabrics and you really want to enhance your furnishings Building upon poor choices Eliminating a poor choice and starting from scratch will get you to a better result and after spending all that money it is essential to be thrilled with the completed space.
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For The Love Of Colour
Interior Design Lisa Ferguson Photography Stacey Van Berkel
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form and function Counter stools designed by Lisa Ferguson are as attractive as practical. Inspired by a favorite lounge chair, guests can sit in comfort for hours. The main fabric is a timeless classic, yet the patterned seat can be changed on a whim. The bases are thoughtfully made of metal to withstand much abuse.
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everything in its place Walnut sideboard with antique brass detailing and smoke glass shelf designed by Lisa Ferguson.
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You donâ€™t always have to start at zero We initially designed this sofa for the clientâ€™s previous home. The solid wood kiln dried frame and main fabric was in excellent shape but the seat and back cushions needed new life. We replaced traditional back cushions with decorative pillows and added contrasting textured seat fabric to completely reinvent the piece.
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Unmatch to reinvent Since this set had memories for our client, we had it restored but re-finished in two finishes for an unmatched look.
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Why do“good” when you can do better? This is exactly how we feel about design. Here, we started out with a barely functioning closet and not only wanted to give our client a “good,” well organized closet, we wanted to give her the “BEST” closet. To begin we completely tore out the existing closet and created a plan starting with an inventory of everything that needed to be stored here. The end result is a closet where everything has a perfectly fitted spot and is tucked away behind beautifully designed doors.
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TRICKS TO UN-MATCH A BEDROOM SET • • • •
Replace the night tables with better scaled and painted pieces Dress up the hardware on the painted pieces Conceal the headboard with large Euro shams Distract from the footboard with a beautiful blanket
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form meets function (opposite) Custom night tables are perfectly sized and inset with a durable antique mirror top. The color is pitch perfect and we love the layering of textures. Designed by Lisa Ferguson. focal point A decorative pillow is treated like a piece of art. We had a design created and etched onto solid fabric. Designed by Lisa Ferguson.
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I treat each challenge as an opportunity for a creative solution. Lisa Ferguson
creative solutions Here there was no room to fit the brackets between the millwork for a rolling ladder that would typically be used to reach the upper cabinets. The client was delighted with the solution. This antique french ladder that doubles as a chair and what would have been just a functional piece is now a unique focal point in this space.
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creative solutions We are delighted how much more luxe the marble vanity top looks since we took the vanity from white to charcoal gray. Custom Mirrors by Lisa Ferguson Interior Design
Guide to getting to a
Mutual fit t n e i l C r e n g Desi Relationship by Lisa Ferguson
When ever we tell someone what we do, the response is very often, “how fun!” While we do love what we do, the creative part that is often the most fun is only about five percent of a successful project’s equation. Our job as professionals is to shield our clients from as much of the painful part of the process as possible. Mix that with the faux reality of design shows and it looks easy! Truth is, there needs to be designer client synergy on many more areas than liking a designer’s esthetic! You should be including the following while making your “is it a mutual fit?” decision. I’d be willing to bet most unsuccessful designer client relationships can be boiled down to a poor mutual fit. A great designer will be your advocate throughout the project. I hope this guide will help find the perfect fit for you! Signature Ask what makes them unique? I, for example, desire to fundamentally enhance how my clients want to live. That goes far beyond a room looking really pretty. I bring to the table a unique set of skills to that end: extra ordinary space planning and problem solving, custom furniture design, uniquely personalized details and the ability to discern and merge seemingly different styles and viewpoints. Experience Ask how many projects the designer has done similar to yours. Talk about scope. Ask to see photos and for references.
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Project Scope Fit If you only want partial rooms completed and your favorite designer prefers complete room projects and the rest of their project load is their preferred project type, you are likely in for trouble. Don’t forget to discuss existing pieces you want incorporated in your design. Are they happy to not only work with them but potentially showcase them? Level of completion What do you desire? Main furnishings only? Basic accessories? Magazine worthy styling? Chemistry You need to like your designer and ultimately trust them for a successful project. The most successful projects happen when you go outside your comfort zone and a foundation of trust is key.
Plan to have all decision makers (including who is paying!) at the initial and all key meetings. Attention to detail What matters to you? It is important that this desired level of detail matches the designer’s forte and experience and aligns with your budget. Values Think about what you truly value and choose a design professional that aligns with your values. Some things you may value could be: professional help to save time and allow for more family time, concierge service, experience of professionals or you may like to do it yourself, great value for goods and services or best perceived deal on everything with a lot of research and running around, quality furnishings and craftsmanship or it only needs to look good, brand labels or no name, green products or function and organization.
Beautiful and Awe-inspiring Spaces are a result of reciprocity between a designer and client.
Consider asking your Designer to build in a Contingency Budget.
Brands Talk about brands you expect for your budget. Does the designer mix high with low where appropriate? Do you desire or does the space demand custom or semi custom? Are you looking to source at big box stores? Client Involvement Discuss how involved you want to be with the concept, specifying, sourcing, managing and implementing and ask the designer if that is a good fit for how they prefer to work. It must be a mutual fit for a successful project! Design specifications are linked. Sometimes clients go “rogue” after a design plan is created because they see what appears to be a deal. Usually this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, so quality is compromised, the final vision is compromised and very rarely does this save the client money. Your designer may need to charge additional design time to accommodate the “look what I found!” items. Know this: twisting a designer’s arm to deviate from how they work best, will not be a win for either of you in the end!
“The lowest price is almost never the lowest price after all is said and done.” Process Ask how they work and who will be working on your project. Designers work differently. Some use a team and are only involved at a high level.
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Presentation Materials and Working Drawings Talk about presentation material expectations. Ask how they will help you visualize your new space? Will you be able to “sit test” furnishings? If construction and workshop drawings, elevations and/or electrical plans are required can your professional provide? Communication Communication styles vary. Great designers can adapt to your preferences. Be sure to discuss level, style, type and frequency of communication and be comfortable that it is a great fit for you. Decisiveness Malcolm Gladwell talks in his book Blink! about how our first gut response is often the true one. If your personality is to be indecisive or you change your mind often, it is in your best interest to communicate this. Not only could it affect the true cost of a project but the designer can likely utilize communication and presentation materials to help you make your best possible decisions. Designer Availability If your availability is only evenings and weekends, a great designer with a family who is mostly available from 9-5, may not be a good fit for you on a larger project requiring many meetings. Other Trades Discuss whose trades/suppliers will be used on the project. Experienced designers have developed and
nurtured relationships over the years. They know who to go to for what thing, at what quality level and for what deadline. They have established communication patterns and trust. They know how to anticipate challenges together and resolve the unanticipated. Trades are aware of the amount of business that designers bring them collectively and often, you the client, benefit from greater care. If you want to use your own trades, be open right up front in the first meeting and have a clear understanding of the designer’s comfort level with this. Discuss how it will work and who will manage your retired cousin or neighbour and how this may affect costs in the end if the work is subpar. Investment Amount Do give the designer the true amount you can invest in the project. Discuss early on if this matches desired scope of work and designers ideal project? Often expectations of scope of work don’t align with amount available to be invested. Have a transparent discussion about other options: budget change, scope change or the project could be executed in phases. Experienced designers know how they need to charge
“A furnished living room can be $10,000 or $100,000 and more depending on scope of work, level of detail and quality to name a few factors. Be prepared to have an honest money conversation on the first call or in your first meeting.” for your project to not just pay the bills, but to have a life, and to be fairly remunerated for their experience. Negotiating a designer down, who you want to be your advocate on all things, rarely is a win. Billing Know the fees and what is included and when you will be required to pay. A great designer will offer great value but must be compensated equal to experience brought to the project. Design is a profession with
“Hire a designer who is mutual fit, then trust the designer and the process.” alot of training and experience. Designers have different ways of getting to the final number. Usually a combination of fees and goods. That may mean if you dig you can find a few items similar or the same for marginally less. Remember these deals often take you time and often will increase the amount of the designers time to incorporate an unknown supplier and may result in affecting other elements in the room. Trusting the designer you hire is key, as is remembering the value the experienced designer brings to a project when you are tempted to save a dollar! Ask how they bill. Ask to see an example of proposals and bills. Timing Do your desired timelines work with what they are telling you is required? Find out if they complete projects on time. What is best time for them to be involved? Clients often bring designers in too late. For example, on a recent project the architect designed beautiful large doors with stunning crown moulding, but no regular drapery hardware would fit. The client spent an additional $10,000 on custom hardware that could have been avoided if the space between the crown and the door casing was only one inch larger! Contracts Ask to see a copy early on so there are no surprises! Changes How do changes work? Most designers require change orders and may need to re quote. Problem Solving Do you like their approach? Even the best run projects have challenges. There will be significantly less with a professional, but you should ask up front questions to understand how they handle inevitable trade and supplier challenges.
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Organized Interiors Interior Design Lisa Ferguson | Photography Stacey Van Berkel
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Next to no entry with no storage, minimal seating and limited storage for a growing family who also frequently entertains large groups of friends required extra ordinary space planning. They also required the living space to easily be re oriented to face the projector screen. Our client was thinking about moving to get more usable space but instead creative pre planning increased the functionality by as much as fifty percent and the custom options were far less than a move.
I look for opportunities to add
personalized touches to my client’s
spaces. This client’s family crest was
carefully routered into the doors on this shoe cabinet. It’s the first thing you can see in the entryway and an intentionally hung mirror creates a subtle reflection. ~ Lisa Ferguson
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We took this
dining area from seating for eight to seating for fourteen.
Lisa Ferguson versatile This sectional was designed in sections to be easily reconfigured into theater seating in front of the ceiling mounted projector. Back cushions are removable for overnight guests. multi-functional This custom ottoman does triple duty with storage for toys and extra seating for kids.
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Floor plan Before
Floor plan After
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You have more control than you think!
Factors that affect time
“I often Client Has Control hear chatter from • Scope of work people about frustration • Size of project: more rooms at once = less time for sourcing from budget escalation. • Level of completion just the basics or photo worthy While not all is in a client’s • Budget for product/materials lower budget often means more time control, so much is. • Level of attention to details required This list will help you manage • Level of communication required what you can and plan for • Level of client involvement what you can’t!” • Level of project management required for design, ~ Lisa Ferguson construction and/or decorating • Number of inherited trades that designer hasn’t worked with before • Time frame required faster takes more time • Level of presentation materials required or desired reality check: The Project Triangle • Client clarity of vision You control two, and only two. • Length of time to get from pitch to agreement • Level of customization Features • Level of decisiveness/number of changes • Number of client driven add ons/change orders • Rogue decisions after plan is approved Client has little control • Number of unforeseen elements • Resolution of deficiencies
Factors that affect budget
I recommend putting a contingency line of 15-20% to plan for the following (As the surprises inevitably arise, the process will be much less stressful!): Client Has Control • Escalation of materials quotes usually good for thirty days • Upgrades • Changes
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Client has little control • Unforeseen construction expenditures
Real s r e b m u N
If you are an interior designer, you know and are super frustrated that so many design shows on TV fail to show “real” budget numbers for design and decorating projects. If you are a consumer, you may not realize that much of the labour and product is donated, sponsored or discounted and the true costs are not included in numbers thrown about! Even on my very favorite shows with my favorite designers … le sigh… While we all have different budgets and priorities as to where to allocate our decorating dollars (where I splurge and save is likely different than where you do!), I desire true transparency. Don’t you? Being realistic only benefits brands, designers and clients. I also desire clients to want to properly budget for a few categories often left out in the cold: optimal space planning, lighting, accessories and styling. There is no other way to get that finished space that parallels your inspiration images!
Here is an inside look at a home office project currently in the works for a client. Don’t get hung up on the actual numbers of each line (they may be way higher or lower than in your world...these are real numbers based on the amount my client was prepared to invest) and lets be real … numbers that are really close to some of the very professionally designed spaces we love on tv that are passed off as costing a third of this (and I believe there are takeaways for you no matter your budget) but I hope you at least take away a few things:
-1Designer services can be only 14% of a realistic budget and will likely be the best value of all line items! -2The layers and details that go into the space (don’t forget to properly budget for often overlooked categories like lighting and accessories… at beginning of project) -3The percentages each line has in relation to the overall budget -4Cost per square foot as a way of looking at decorating estimating
Designer (Optimal Space Planning customized to how client lives, Design Concept, Drawings/Sketches, Sourcing of all components, Installation, Details & Trade Management)
Paint (Labour & materials for 3 walls, ceiling, trim, doors)
Wallpaper (one feature wall)
Flooring (8 x 10 wool area rug & underpad)
Lighting (Ceiling fixture, dimmer and desk lamp)
Lighting & Dimmer Installation
Casegoods (Desk, Credenza, 2 bookshelves)
Upholstery (Ergonomic desk chair and occasional chair)
Window Treatment (Roman Blind)
Electronics (new printer, wireless mouse) Art (includes $200 professional art installation)
Total Home Office Decorating Cost* * 10‘x11’ Home Office [ 110 square feet ] = $301.36 sq ft
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L 50 | lisa ferguson interior design | rosedale entry
Luxe Interior Design Lisa Ferguson Photography Brandon Barre
& livable â€˜â€˜
We paired luxe with raw and traditional with modern to achieve a curated, yet comfortable and organic luxurious space. Restrained editing was essential in creating this home for a family of four.
Rather than a traditional closet, an armoire with a raised base will visually make a space appear largeR. Lisa Ferguson
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Walnut dining table, dining side chairs and banquette by Lisa Ferguson Interior Design.
well edited New custom drapery (this page) and pin stripe chair (opposite) are mixed with clients gorgeous antique dresser, black and white photo and a new vase from Homesense.
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Faux croc vinyl and a
stainless foot rest make these
luxe stools family friendly.
~ Lisa Ferguson
Stools and custom round storage ottoman by Lisa Ferguson Interior Design.
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Interior Design Lisa Ferguson | Photography Stacey Van Berkel
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design with a view The marble backsplash is right next to the new trifold mahogany doors flanking the entire back of the home. “The marble backsplash was an unexpected choice but truly brings the outdoors in.” ~ Lisa Ferguson smart planning provides great rewards Gray cabinets fitted with bronze artisan handles open to reveal recycling bins, wine cubbies and precisely sized pull out drawers.
“This home was being used as a multi-family home when our client bought it. The process of converting it back to a single family dwelling and honoring the period of the home made this a very rewarding project.”
~ Lisa Ferguson
Custom doors and railing by Lisa Ferguson Interior Design.
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Great Qualities in Great Contractors Sometimes things that are a “given”, people let slide or ignore, in favor of an inexpensive quote. It is really important to establish what your non-negotiables are and hire the trade that is the best fit for your expectations and that your bank account will allow. Don’t ignore early warning signs either. Excuses starting before you have even met are often a sign of what you may get during an actual project. I always look to be sure a trades actions mirror what they are verbally telling me. A great example is the guy that says “my job sites are highly organized and clean” but you see tools in complete disarray in their truck.
12 Qualities in Great Contractors or Trades 1. Comes with a proven, established skilled crew or sub-trades appropriate for the scope of work You would be surprised how many trades leave actual work in the hands of people they have never subcontracted! 2. Great communication Excellent verbal skills, a detailed scope of work agreement and diligent about change orders. 3. Good listener Hears what the client is really saying and responds accordingly. 4. Reliable They follow through on commitments, show up on time and when expected and make your job a priority and keep the project on track and on budget. 5. Trustworthy 6. Attention to finishing details The finishing details can make or break a finished space. Some trades feel a job is complete if it is functional. If you want more than function, be sure your level of attention to detail matches the trades and your budget! 7. Ability to anticipate most challenges before they arise This will help minimize surprises, frustration and extra costs. 8. Organized Order of actual work and tools on job site. 9. Ultimate respect for homeowners space All surfaces thoroughly covered before work commences and very special care throughout project. 10. Continual clean and daily end of day job site clean up The entire crew needs to be on board with this! 11. Creative problem solver Challenges always come up. You want a problem solver, not an excuse maker or blamer. 12. Great after care customer service When a job is complete and something needs to be addressed, I expect a problem solver, with a willing attitude who comes back to job site in a timely manner!
Always cover these bases: 3-5 referrals of similar scope of work, proper permits, licenses and insurance.
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DID YOU KNOW? Bathroom renovations
require about 361 decisions! Carefully considering and orchestrating decisions also requires factoring in how they all relate to each other and making selections to enhance space, shape, finish and texture. 31 FEASIBILITY + CONCEPTING 75 SPACE OPTIMIZATION PLANS 47 LIGHTING + ELECTRICAL + SWITCHING PLANS 91 FIXTURES + FURNISHINGS + COUNTERS + TILE/GROUT SPECIFICATIONS: Type. Brand. Material. Size. Quality. Features. Colour. Style. Finish. 33 PLACEMENT + TRANSITIONS 67 FINISHING DETAILS 17 MISC Disposal of old materials etc.
Life changing spaces are equally functional and beautiful. They are personalized, carefully planned, and then skillfully orchestrated. Lisa Ferguson
Custom Console and Stool by Lisa Ferguson Interior Design.