Historic Passagrille Home

This historic Passagrille home was one of the first built on the south end of the island. The homeowners were seasonal residents and brought their 5 children here on vacation for years. Now that their many grandchildren are coming to visit, they decided to expand the kitchen. The existing kitchen was quite small, so the homeowners chose to add an additional 12 feet of length, making it a long galley-style kitchen. They entertain their large family often, so we incorporated a full size refrigerator and freezer to accommodate their food storage needs. They also wanted a gas range, so we had a propane tank buried to accommodate their wish. Because they are very beachy, casual people, they didn’t want a granite or natural stone counter surface. They selected a hi-def laminate with a beveled edge, which suited the home and their family nicely… After SheBuilds . . . zeman after 1 zeman after 12 zeman after 2 zeman after 3 zeman after 5 zeman after 6 zeman after 7 zeman after 8 zeman after 9 zeman after 10 zeman after 14 zeman after 4 zeman after 13 zeman after 11 She’s Got A Plan . . . ZEMAN FLRPLN ZEMAN ISOMETRIC ZEMAN PANTRY ZEMAN RANGE ZEMAN REFR ZEMAN...

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Allowances and Budgeting Can Be a Nightmare for Both Contractor and Client

There are two really frustrating issues that can (and usually do) surface during the course of a remodeling project. Inadequate allowances and/or not identifying and budgeting for all the items a client wants, can really turn a project sour. To anyone getting ready to plunge into a project or to those in the early stages of a project, take heed and insist that your architect/designer help you avoid these pitfalls. This second piece of advice might sting a little, but here it goes…take control of your own budget. If there is a line item allowance for a material and you select another material that is more expensive, that’s your choice as the homeowner. That does not become your contractor’s problem. This is one area where contractors and homeowners sometimes have issues, so avoid this altogether by paying attention that each purchase or expenditure falls within the set allowance for that item. It is, after all, your project and ultimately your check book. Now, to avoid the issue of an inadequate allowance by your contractor, you need to be very clear about what you want in the early stages of design and planning, so both of you are clear on what is expected. Material samples are a very important part of gaining clarity. When a material is chosen from a sample (be it flooring, cabinetry, tile, trim, whatever), budgeting is a piece of cake and no one gets hit with a surprise when it’s installed or when the bill comes. The other communication that needs to happen is a design. Cabinetry, for instance, needs to be planned in terms of layout, door style and finish and accessories installed inside. All of those details need to  be understood, and there’s no better way to communicate those details than with a set of approved drawings. It can be difficult for a contractor to create a budget, when the client isn’t extremely specific about what they want. I tend to budget “middle of the road” when figuring allowances for materials that are not specified, rather than going low just to get the job. I can closely predict what a particular house may dictate construction-wise, but I cannot possibly know what finishes an individual may want in their home. The vast amount of selections required with an even larger range of pricing for these items makes it nearly impossible to define a budget. Ultimately it is up to the homeowner to decide how much they want to spend and what finishes they would like in their home. Because I am also a designer, I help my clients make all those decisions.  Plan, plan, plan is the only way to have a project hit budget. And if you choose not to plan and wing it along the way, please do not blame the contractor. We would love to have detailed material lists, so we may price your...

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How important is a designer?

When you have a designer from the beginning, they can and will help to create a REALISTIC budget for a project. Many times in my ”designer” past I have been brought in when the homeowner and the contractor were frustrated with each other, because there was only $1,000.00 left in an allowance that should have been ten times that amount. The job is at a standstill because details were not discussed until the contractor needed them. It’s not really the fault of the contractor; it’s just reality. I also have to say that having every line item chosen at the drawing phase is a difficult task. The trick is to be a couple steps ahead of the timeline. Weekly meetings with the homeowner are helpful to keeping the project and budget on track. Find out what the next phase requires. Some materials need lead time. Many tile lines need 4 weeks or more to be ordered and shipped. Always leave a little extra time for problems. In my 12 years in this business I have yet to be on a job that didn’t evolve a bit from the original drawings. We cannot see into the future or know about that termite damage under the floors or the mistake the builder made 50 years ago that has been hidden until the demolition phase. We have to remain open to a bit of wiggle room and a lot of patience and understanding throughout the entire process. SO before you renovate have these 4 things in place… Architect (if needed) Designer + Contractor (preferably one person who wears both hats) Therapist (I counsel couples frequently during a...

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Downtown St. Petersburg Town House

I loved transforming this space. I knew the homeowner personally for many years, so I knew she loved cooking and entertaining. This chick can throw a party! I wanted to make it really awesome for her, because it was sort of a new beginning. The existing kitchen was what I would call a “builder’s special.” The cabinets were recessed panel oak, and the kitchen including all 4 standard appliances was contained in a very small “L” configuration. The sink windows and the French doors leading to the patio let in tons of natural light. During my first visit with her, we talked about possibilities. One was building a peninsula off the end of the sink run. This didn’t appeal to me because it blocked the flow to the patio. She also wanted to have a small table in the area in front of the French doors (where the builder had placed a chandelier). I didn’t like that either, because you would have to walk around it to get to the patio. We talked about an island with seating for 4, but keeping it inside the footprint of the existing “L” made it too tiny. Then I got the idea to expand the kitchen to the opposite wall nearest the patio and centering the island in the entire space, and the idea started taking shape. Pay attention to the walkways…the traffic flow makes total sense now… After SheBuilds . . . Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen Otazo Kitchen She’s Got A Plan . . . OTAZO ANGLE SHOT OTAZO DESK PANTRY OTAZO OVERVIEW OTAZO RANGE OTAZO SINK Before SheBuilds . . . Otazo Before Otazo Before 2...

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Kitchen Renovation in Historic Kenwood

I must start by saying that this is one of…if not THE favorite project I’ve ever worked on in all my years designing kitchens. When I first met the owners of this adorable shotgun bungalow (they were also adorable btw), I noticed it had a very big problem…a very, very small kitchen. The space was so small, you had to go outside to change your mind, yet it had 4 standard size appliances. The fridge was covering one of the two pass thrus. Their sink was a utility sink meant for a laundry room. There was little counter space. It was not functional. As I examined the adjacent spaces, I began to get an idea. The dining room in front of the kitchen had lots of wasted space, and they said they only ate there sometimes. The sunken breezeway behind the kitchen was being used for storage, but had tons of light and French doors that opened onto their beautiful patio. I asked about the breezeway and they said, “We’re getting rid of a lot of that stuff, so you can incorporate that room into the kitchen if you want.” So then I asked them, “How would you feel about making that breezeway your new dining room? It’s perfect for entertaining, and it opens to the patio area (can you say, “al fresco dining”). That would allow me to take the wall down between the kitchen and dining room, and give you a much bigger, more open, more functional kitchen…and have seating along the back of the peninsula.” They also suggested opening up the entrance to the breezeway (which had a doorway and a pass thru window), so it would mirror the arched opening in the wall dividing the living room and dining room. They liked the ideas we tossed around, but needed to see the design, so I got to work… After SheBuilds . . . COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after COUTURE kitchen after She’s Got A Plan . . . COUTURE-REFR-WALL COUTURE-SINK-WALL COUTURE-FLOORPLAN COUTURE-RANGE-WALL Before SheBuilds . . . COUTURE kitchen before COUTURE kitchen before COUTURE kitchen before COUTURE kitchen...

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