NARROWING YOUR CHOICES
Curate your remodel with ease and style.
Robert Frank is accustomed to working with clients whose projects may evolve over several years. He comments, If you're undertaking a DIY remodel, don't feel pressure to try and do it all at once. Q: What would you recommend as a starting point for someone planning a DIY remodel? When we begin working on a project, the client has been attracted to our aesthetic, so we have that as a starting point. But for someone not working with a designer, the best way to do research on your own is to look at photographs. You can narrow your focus before you start your search. Otherwise, its so easy to be overwhelmed. Q: What kind of questions do you ask a client to get a sense of how they see themselves design-wise? We do a lot of research up front with our clients. Sometimes people describe themselves as traditional, but as we show product photos, it turns out the client is more transitional. We want to understand what they like in the abstract, but we also want to know about their lifestyle. We are always balancing the practical perspective with aesthetics. Countertop materials are a prime exampleeveryone loves white marble, but not everyone wants to maintain it. The choices are almost infinite. It's all about making the right choices. Ultimately, you want to love living in your home and love caring for it. Q: Would you give a specific example of how to narrow a search? How about cabinet pulls? Lets say the client has decided on traditional pulls in nickel. On Build.com, we use the Narrow Your Results tool to first filter by inish. So we filter out every pull that doesn't come in nickel, then we sort by theme, which means style, such as traditional; and by size, which in the case of a pull means length; but we can also sort by the profile or projection. We can sort by manufacturer, and we can rank by price. As we narrow, we can focus on design detail in a relevant way. So, in a few clicks, we can whittle our search from almost 3,000 nickel pulls to our top contenders, and then decide on three recommendations for the client. Q: What about price as a factor? A bathroom faucet is a great example. A top-of-the-line one might cost $4,000, but unless the budget is generous, Im going to search for a less costly fixture, one with a similar feel and design details. In addition to using the Narrow Your Search tool, we can look at Build.com's Learning Center and Inspiration Gallery. You absolutely want to see what a faucet or light fixture looks like in an environment. A beautiful faucet-or pair of faucetscan actually be the focal point in a bathroom. Q: Would you elaborate on that, please? We are always cognizant of view corridors. A focal point or a focal piece isnt just for when you are in a roomits important as you approach the room. When you open a bathroom door, for instance, you dont want to see the toiletbut a well-appointed vanity can set the mood for the entire room. Be aware of the more beautiful things you want in your sightline. Q: What about a home that doesnt have a particular style? Some of the most interesting interior remodels are homes that dont necessarily have a period stylebecause they are blank canvasses. You can create your own style. For example, we frequently adapt elements of original Cape Cod design to work harmoniously with the California lifestyle. As you expand your remodel, you can continue to bring in details that overlap, in terms of color, ixtures, textures, and furniture. Conversely, lets say you have a historic or a Craftsman home. From a fixtures perspective, it might not be practical or possible to do an exact period match. You can develop a consistent and cohesive feel without having a literal match. For example, we might introduce a modern Hansgrohe faucet, whose clean lines feel appropriate. Q: And what about being on-trend? We are always excited to see new productssuch as the touchless faucet, for example. Fashion is cyclical, and we are seeing lots of interest in mixing metal finishes. Gold is back in a beautiful way. I recently saw a stunning bathroom with polished nickel faucets and cabinet pullsand matte gold sconces. You know, many times someone has had a project in mind for years, and might be feeling paralyzed by all of the choices and new options. Its really valuable to think about what you love now and need now in your life. Its exciting to keep changing the look and energy within your home. ROBERT FRANK Robert Frank Design in San Marino, CA Robert's studio originally focused on kitchen and bath design. As clients began asking for help with their interiors in other rooms, the firm expanded its scope. www.robertfrankdesign.com Interview by Alyson Kuhn
Ultimately, you want to love living in your home and love caring for it."
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