Karen Sealy: Reno tips and tricks
Interior designer Karen Sealy won the Designer Superstar Challenge II on HGTV, and given the stunning reno she completed on her home, it's no surprise.
Inspired to take on a reno of your own? Don't start without reading her 10 tips!
1 Set a budget
"Generally, we all want to do more than we can afford, so somewhere we have to make compromises. I suggest determining in advance what you're comfortable spending. I usually suggest a few splurges on focal points, or things a client loves, and then to save money on some other items so it all works in the end. If you make one-off decisions and never consider the bottom line you will spend twice as much as you expect, or have to quit before the project is completed."
2 Deal with disagreements
You can deal with disagreements using "a sense of humour and a referee's whistle! Okay, I don't really use a whistle, although I have had to separate people. Tension can run high on the job site because there never seems to be enough time, so I try to keep the trades out of each other's way; make sure they have what they need on-site (supplies and sometimes a great lunch); and manage dilemmas with practical solutions."
3 Narrow down decor choices
"I have five houses, of course—my Paris apartment, my loft in the Meat Packing District, my Cape Breton cottage, my . . . okay, sorry, I was dreaming! It is tough to narrow down the choices. Start with function. If you need storage in your front hall, don't buy a table, buy a bench with storage inside. Make sure you are solving a problem!"
4 Lots of planning is key
"There are a million decisions over the course of a renovation. Before you remove a wall or break ground you should have most of these decisions made. You don't want to be standing with your electrician in your dining room guessing where the junction box is going but having no idea how large a table you will buy or where you will put it in the room. There is no such thing as being too prepared."
5 Karen's top 8 things to avoid:
2 Hiring people [just] because they are available.
3 Not enough lighting, and not using dimmers.
4 Not taking sight lines, proportion and scale into account.
5 Buying just because it's on sale.
6 Not knowing when to get help.
7 Overdoing a trend.
8 Expecting contractors to be designers.