2.27.2011

Ten Tips for Renovating and Our New Living Room

1.  Determine the overall Style you desire.  For our 1950's house, I wanted a clean lined "Beach Cottage."  Nothing grander.  As you proceed,  keep your design style in mind and it will give your individual selections focus. 

2.  It seems obvious, but remember to have a camera with you at all times to take photos for your inspiration file (in addition to blog and magazine pictures).  While in a gift shop, I noticed this 7.5" oak planked floor and took a photo.  Later, it was easier to remember and find the source.  
3.  Be cost efficient by getting competitive bids on labor and materials.  Let's face it.   
In these economic times, contractors and suppliers have had to lower their prices to stay in business.  Everyone has had to "tighten" their belts and we are included.  I obtained at least three bids on everything, painting, flooring, windows, carpentry, etc.

"Before"
Do not overpay but be Fair.  Get reasonable prices that still achieve quality workmanship.  Pay in installments with a sizable amount left for completion.
4.  Ask for due dates upfront to maintain your timeline.  It is a little easier to get workers to show up now while building is slow,  but you still need to know when they can start and finish.

"Before"
5.  When renovating, think about Energy Efficiency.  Although it increased the cost initially, we added insulation to the ceiling and installed double paned windows.

6.  You are internet savvy, right?  Sell your used items on Craig's List (like our patio bricks) or donate for the tax deduction.  Also, purchase items on Craig's List and search for bargains using the internet.   After researching, Overstock.com was a good source for door knobs.  I discovered what the comparable prices were for appliances and other household items.  
7.  Ask your subcontractors if they know of any deals.  For example, the granite surrounding the fireplace was a leftover remanent taking up space in the stone fabricator's workshop.  He sold it to us for much less than the tile/stone store would have as we paid him for his labor to install it.  
8.  Do as much of the labor as you can.  I am not as handy as a lot of you, but I did save money as the owner/contractor/interior designer.  Use the experts where you have your limitations and check daily on their work.
9.   Keep records of your expenditures.  You'll need this later for your taxes...from the energy efficiency rebates for windows, insulation and appliances to capital gains  if you plan to sell your home.  Ugh!  I need to work on taxes now--but I have all the receipts in a handy file.  You'll also need these to show the bank if you plan to refinance.



10.  After construction, relax and decorate with the things you already have 
edited down and love.  Move accessories around.  Have fun playing.  It's just decorating.



Best Wishes, 
Mary Ann

Participating in Transformation Thursdays.

59 comments:

  1. Lovely!

    I'm especially obsessed with the corner chair you have with the books stacked. I've been looking for one like that -too cute.

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  2. Mary Ann,
    I love your home. I especially love the groupings you have on the chests and tables. The white slipcovers are beautiful as are the bright pillows. The colors your used are so pretty and clean looking.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  3. mary ann! its beautiful! i am in love with the dutch door!

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  4. Everything is beautiful and so comfortable looking. Thanks for the tips.

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  5. These are great suggestions, Mary Ann. Thanks for writing all of this down... its definitely worth printing out and keeping in my folder of upcoming project info!

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  6. Your living room looks fantastic. I love how the fireplace tapers as it goes up. It is such an amazing focal point to your room. That is a living room I would feel comfortable in.

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  7. Mary Ann this turned out so classically beautiful. Simple and yet elegant but comfortable. all the best design elements!!! Just lovely,truly wonderful, Kathysue

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  8. It is so beautiful! You must be so happy to have it all finished! I love that black and whitel polka dot pillow:)

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  9. Ok,, that's a living room I can fall in love with and live in for a very long time. Great tips but I'm more wowed by the great photos :) Your style speaks volumes to me and your pieces are just beautiful, expecially your coffee table and the chest to the right of the fireplace. I love chests like that in a room. It is so fresh/traditional and I just can't express enough what a beautiful job you did. You must be thrilled!

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  10. What a great post. I love seeing people's 'real' houses. Your living room is beautiful - it is warm, inviting, current but not so 'trendy' that it screams "It was done in..." , clean looking but not stark and it shows your personality. Great photography too! Thanks for sharing ;)

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  11. Maryann, I am a new follower of your blog and really enjoy your style. These are great - thanks for sharing. Now - can I move in with you? With my family of 5 and dog? Yes? Okay great! :) Lisa

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  12. Wait?!! Aren't you guys watching the Academy Awards? Thanks so much for your sweet comments. I am sitting on one of the living room couches watching the show with my dog.
    Mary Ann

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  13. Wow! It is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful job!

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  14. Dearest Mary Ann,

    You are a SAVVY decorator and above all very energy conscious; like the Europeans have been for decades. Hope that through the economy more people start looking into this. As you stated, initially more expensive to install insulated window panes but the monthly energy bill will be lower and that is for the rest of your (or the home's) life that is!

    Lots of love and thanks for your visit.

    Mariette

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  15. These are great guidelines, Mary Ann. You are so right that you have to be on top of your project and make sure the deadline is met. Your living room looks fabulous!

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  16. Simply beautiful Maryann, it has such a welcoming feeling to it. I love all the scatter cushions they look very cute as well as cosy. What a gorgeous home you havex

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  17. I am very impressed with your room...gorgeous, beautifully put together, but mostly inviting like a room you want to go into and sit down! I love the pillow arrangement on the sofa..so elegant, the decanters, the books, all exquisitely done!

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  18. Great advice and your home looks beautiful!! Love all the attentive details. I think I have the same or very similar set of prints above the lovely Louis Philippe chest!

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  19. Mary Ann,
    Such a beautiful room and I love reading how it came together. It is so cozy and elegant at the same time... oh and I love your dutch door!
    Shelley

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  20. Your finished room is a complete balance of casual and elegant. It must feel great to have the project complete.

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  21. So beautiful. I love everything about it. What great information, thanks for sharing!

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  22. You live in my dream house!!! I love what you have done! I wish I had kept my camera on me more often during our renovations. Not only for my blog posts, but I could really use a dose of appreciation for how far we have come at times :)
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Kelle
    xx

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  23. Mary Ann, This was a super post! I love those photos and all of your great tips! You inspired me with your lovely home. I'd love to do that sometime.

    xo
    Donna

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  24. This is a fantastic post, Mary Ann! I love your home... it feels like a home! It's gorgeous, comfortable and stylish. You have great taste!


    Have a great week!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    Post of the Day: A Day at the Ranch.

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  25. Wonderful attention to details. Knowing what you like is vital and when sourcing (hunting and gathering) stay focused. Tips are a perfect reminder of getting things done. Often this is where people lose interest. Photos are a priority and great for the details.

    Everything looks great!

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  26. Oh my gosh, your house is GORGEOUS!! And your taste in colors? Amazing!

    Happy Monday Darling! xo

    Oh, and pop by for today's perfume GIVEAWAY!

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  27. Love it! I'm saving a few pictures into my inspiration folder. Such a pretty mix of updated fabrics & upholstry & textures with classic antiques. Perfect!!
    Tessa

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  28. Mary Ann,
    I just found your blog and loved this post of your living room...
    Would you share where you bought the throw on the back of your couch?
    Love your taste, so gorgeous!!
    Susan

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  29. So Cozy! I love everything. Just has a crisp,clean feel but it looks so relaxing and comfortable...
    Did you go with the Oak floors?
    You are doing Beautifully*
    xo,
    Gail

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  30. Hi Susan, the suzani (I think from Turkey) throw was purchased on Ebay. Women embroider the cloth as a wedding present for a female family member. Good luck.
    Mary Ann

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  31. A lot of work but definitely worth it. You put it all together so beautifully....a classic, casual home for real!

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  32. Fabulous job! Thanks so much for this post- it's always great to know where to look and how to look, to get the best deals! The space looks amazing. I love the vaulted ceilings and everything you did with the decor!

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  33. Excellent post! Said it many times, but I love your style. Such a clean classic look. You really achieved your goal as stated in #1. I think that's possibly the hardest task for most people, me included. You are very talented. Thanks for sharing all this beautiful space!
    Have a wonderful day!

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  34. Great tips! You have a beautiful Den! I love the way you decorated. Especially your pillows and the stacks of books, great accents! Gorgeous remodel!

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  35. Good advice, Mary Ann! Love your accessories. :) Thanks for the anniversary wishes and for stopping by Show Some Decor.
    I'll be back!
    Heidi

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  36. Great advice. What a beautiful home you have. You are certainly a talented decorator!

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  37. What a lovely home and a delightful posting! Your home is full of personality (yours) and defies a labeled style... I love it!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and I will be back here often!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  38. Hi Mary Ann,

    What brilliant tips. I am drooling over that gorgeous vase with the tulips in. I LOVE it!!

    Sarahx

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  39. You did a great job! Beautiful home, I'll bet you're loving it. I'm so glad you said "Be Fair" with contractors. If they have to go too low, you will pay for the quality or lack of service later. They are all hurting right now, but it's good to be reasonable. I always say, do you really want someone working in your home that's only barely making enough on the job to get by? Do you really think you're getting best quality that way? Great post!

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  40. Mary Ann... I don't know where to begin!!??!!??!! I'm in love with everything! Your classic style, gorgeous fabric, amazing furniture... Love, love, love it all! Just like Tessa said, I'm saving a few pictures in my inspiration file. You did a beautiful job. I could move right in! {you wouldn't even know I was there} :)

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  41. Loved this post! So helpful and your work is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your tips and pics of your finished room. It's gorgeous!

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  42. Thanks for stopping by my blog Mary Ann! I simply adore your pillows on your couch. I am looking to get some black and white ones for mine and I feel renewed in my search inspiration!

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  43. Thank you, sweetie for dropping by today!

    Love when you come "visit" me! :-)

    Have a very nice day!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  44. Maryann...WOW! Love all the tips, but even more than that....May I say, your house is perfect in everyway! You have added so much character to that house....can you imagine if the original owners from the 1950's could see it now?!!!

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  45. Mary Ann,
    I love what you have done! I am going neutral on the paint this year as well, it is such a clean look!
    ps..I grew up not too far from you!
    Blessings...

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  46. Mary Ann,

    This was a terrific post with excellent ideas - will definitely be bookmarking it for when we re do our master bath later this year!!

    Your photos just get better and better!!!

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  47. Fantastic post! As always! I just love your blog. My "blog love" was down for a few days but you're back on there now!!
    abby

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  48. Just to clarify--my "blog love" is the list of blogs I keep on my blog to refer readers to your site! I LOVE your blog every day and that doesn't go down. ;-)
    Abby

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  49. I loved seeing this room come together. You have some beautiful furniture as well as accessories. I too love that unique chair that's holding books.

    Gorgeous!
    Donna

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  50. It turned out absolutely picture-perfect! I love all your great advice as well...maybe if I ever tackle a floor to ceiling redo, I will reference that! (c: Thanks for visiting today and I hope you come back and enter the giveaway!(c:

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  51. Salut Mary Ann, your comment on my blog made me smile - sorry I was talking about York/UK rather than NY... ;-) This post is great and the photos show the transformation really well. The end result is lovely, fresh and classy - a great achievement. Love from London xo

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  52. Hi Mary Ann, I just found your lovely blog and now I am following. It is wonderful seeing the room transform and how beautiful it has turned out.
    xo,
    Sherry

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  53. Great advice (says the woman with 9,000- literally; renovation photos!!)

    joan

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  54. This is a good guide for renovation. I gathered new ideas from it. Thank you. By the way, what style and designs are in trend now a days? I find it hard to decide what style should I choose in our home renovation.

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  55. Such a pretty mix of updated fabrics & upholstery & textures with classic antiques. I love your home and all the attentive details!

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  56. Mary Ann, how did you add insulation to the ceiling with it being exposed boards like that? I am looking at my exposed board ceiling and am trying to picture how it was done...ours doesn't have any space between the boards and the roof.

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  57. Very nicely written post it contains useful information for me.Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.
    Hunter Douglas

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  58. I have not yet tackled my 'fake wook' laminate cabinets yet in my kitchen. I did the same on my walls, started with kilz then painted over them.
    Floor Refinishing Nj

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