Author: Valinda

Designer = Mental Health


Never underestimate the value of having a designer with your project. Their expertise goes well beyond picking out countertops and paint colors. Unfortunately, when you have a project and are looking at ways to cut corners, the elimination of the designer seems like a no-brainer way to save money. But you better watch out — you may end up spending more.


A work colleague of mine once said, “Everybody thinks they have good taste.” This is so true! We individually know what we like, but quickly turn down our noses at others who do not share our own design acumen. Because we all think we have good taste, there is a fair amount of us that forego using a designer. This ends up being the first of many mistakes in the project, resulting in wasted time and lots of headaches.


True story: a friend embarked on a kitchen remodel alone; not using a kitchen designer. She thought that since this was a “small remodel” – just new cabinets, new appliances, new countertops and new flooring, but all within the existing kitchen footprint – that she could easily manage it herself. All seemed to go perfectly, up to the day when she had her new appliances installed. She was so excited that she was getting a new bottom mount style refrigerator to take the place of her old side-by-side. As soon at the installers put in her new refrigerator, she pulled out the bottom freezer drawer, only to have the front handle of the drawer collide with the new cabinetry on her kitchen island.  She never took in to consideration that the freezer drawer would pull out further than her side by side doors did. Result? She had to move the island, which had already been permanently attached to her new floor, 12 inches which caused damage and needed repair to the island and to the new floor. A kitchen designer would never have let that happen.



Another true story: a different friend was using a kitchen designer. Late one afternoon during the demolition week, the designer called her to state that the demo had caused a pipe to burst, leaking through the ceiling of the basement, into her husband’s office. Then the designer quickly added, “I’ve talked with the builder and he has fans drying out the ceiling and we’ve arranged for painters to come in two days to paint. Plus I’ve asked the builder to install a couple of new shelves in your husband’s office at no expense.”

Ahhhh. Now that’s mental health.


Building a kitchen? You still need to eat.

Kitchen remodels are not the fastest of home projects. They can take weeks, even months, to complete. This is why one of the first things you need to do is to get with your builder or contractor and figure out where you are going to locate your temporary kitchen.


This is not a time to worry about the aesthetics of what this temporary kitchen looks like or where it is located (garage, basement, hallway…). This is about functionality. This is about maintaining family harmony and your sanity.


Greg and Alison Brown

7th House on the Left – Greg and Alison Brown


At a minimum, you’ll need a refrigerator. If you are replacing your current refrigerator with a new one, use the old one! Your builder can haul it away during the punch list phase. Close to the refrigerator, you will want your coffee pot. No need to go cold-turkey just because your home is practically a construction zone.

Next, think about having a microwave and possibly a small single burner cooktop. There are some nice, safe ones out there…much more than what a Bunsen burner can do.


7th House on the Left - Greg and Alison Brown

7th House on the Left – Greg and Alison Brown


For those that have outdoor grills, take full advantage of that grill and learn how to make new and different foods. Have you ever tried to cook a pizza on a grill? Grilled sandwiches? Bake a pie? The possibilities are endless.


During a kitchen project, going out to eat day after day becomes a drag on your psyche, your waistline, and your kitchen budget. Plan to have a temporary kitchen to handle simple meals, or at a minimum, keep food and drink staples in the house.


D Day. Demolition Day. You know it’s about to start when you look out your window and see two, three, maybe even four men in your driveway, all wielding sledge hammers. This is the signal that it’s time for you to leave.

Picture of kitchen demolition

Photo from Badger Pro Construction

Do not stay home while the physical demolition is happening to your project. Nothing sounds louder and scarier than the sound of your home being bludgeoned by big, burly strangers swinging hammers at walls, floors, and whatever else was remaining to be removed. It is too painful to watch, and if you choose to listen, your imagination will run wild: “Was that a pipe I just heard burst? Were those cracks in my ceiling before?” Oh the horror of it all.


Photo from All Those Details


Instead, chose to make D-Day more of a Me-Day. Go get a great latte and read all the papers at your local coffee shop. Have a long lunch with your Designer and review all the selections you’ve made for your project. Go peruse your favorite shops and start to select any new accessories you will need. Good design takes time. Use D-Day as the perfect time to check off some of those To-Do items on your project list or just use it as the time to stay sane during a very insane time.

Welcome! Where Do We Start?

dumpster outside a house

Remodeling often starts with a dumpster

Welcome to Save Room For Design.

So where do we start?  Many of us think the beginning of a remodel starts when the dumpster arrives at the house. (Which usually incites two questions from the neighbors: “What are they going to do to their house now? and “What can we sneak into that dumpster without them knowing?)”

Although the actual physical beginning of the remodel usually does start with the arrival of the dumpster, the actual planning of the remodel starts well before the dumpster arrives.  There is a lot of planning and mental sweat that needs to happen. Continue reading