>>RON GOLDBERG: Today’s webinar is titled
Sustainable Home Remodel: How to Achieve a Beautiful, Healthy Design that Meets Your
Budget. And our presenter today is Mary Golden, Assistant Professor and Program Chair for
Interior Design. Mary has more than a dozen years of experience across multiple bio-regions,
merging innovative, architectural, and interior solutions with sustainable business practices.
Holding a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University at Buffalo, she established
the first company in western New York to specialize in natural building technologies and clay
finish plasters. The company evolved to include sustainable interior and hybrid projects integrating
mainstream materials and ecological systems. At the heart of her work is a personal philosophy
intent on being a whole systems thinker who creates, practices, and teaches about a built
environment that is not only significant, but fully responsive to global challenges.
Current research interests explore public interest design and processes for creating
sustainable businesses through the assessment of innovative, green materials. Mary contributed
to the introduction of the book Ecokids: Raising Children Who Care for the Earth, and her professional
work is featured in the book Space Matters. Mary is a longstanding member of ASID, the
National Association of Professional Women, and the United States Green Building Council.
As a designer, corporate professional, and Assistant Professor, her work thus far has
been grounded in construction technology, methodology, and practical applications inherent
in professional practice. Welcome, Mary, and thank you for presenting
today.>>MARY GOLDEN: Thank you, Ron, and hello
to everyone. It’s certainly my pleasure to talk with all of you today about sustainable
home remodeling and working with an interior designer. This is a subject, as Ron mentioned,
that I teach about here at RIT in our BFA Interior Design program, and it’s been at
the heart of my professional work for more than 14 years now. So I know for a majority
of my clients, when we get together for an initial meeting, most are often not sure how
to begin the remodeling process, and for many, sustainability is an idea that is important
to them, but exactly how to go about incorporating sustainable practices and green products into
a remodel is typically pretty unclear. There can be a lot of confusion about what
sustainability and green remodeling actually mean, and working with an experienced interior
designer will help guide you through the remodeling process so that you can achieve a beautiful,
healthy design that definitely meets your budget.
Remodeling is a big investment, so for many of us, it’s an opportunity to significantly
change our day-to-day experience and the aesthetic of our home. It can be exciting and intimidating
at the same time. So with that in mind, today I am going to
talk about a few key areas to help everyone with us today prepare for a remodel and make
the process more understandable. So let’s start with the three key areas that
we will focus on in today’s presentation. We’ll talk about how to include sustainability
and green materials in your design, and I’ll share some resources with you for continued
exploration. Next we’ll talk about understanding how to
create a budget for remodeling. And we’ll round out the discussion on where to find
a professional interior designer and how to best work together to achieve your design
goals. But before we get into the details of remodeling,
let’s clarify the difference between sustainability and green building and look at why we would
consider their importance in home design. So let’s start by defining sustainability.
The classic definition of sustainability is simply the ability for a system or a series
of actions to continue indefinitely without being destroyed. So sustainability is, therefore,
a really broad concept, and it’s a way of thinking about the impact of the decisions
we make for living on the planet. It’s really about thinking about where your food, your
clothes, your energy, and the other products that we use or purchase come from and how
that is affecting the systems of the planet as well as our own personal well-being.
If we apply sustainability as a holistic approach to the built environment, where like physicians
we commit to doing no harm, then sustainable development involves meeting the needs of
the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The main objectives of sustainable development are to reduce or completely avoid the depletion
of critical resources like energy, water, and raw materials or prevent the environmental
degradation caused by facilities and infrastructure throughout their lifecycle. Ideally, we are
looking to create the built environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and productive.
Building construction and operations can have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the
environment, society, and economy, and this is probably familiar to a lot of you. It’s
commonly referred to as the three Ps — planet, prosperity, and people. Sustainability for
the built environment is built on an independent balanced system between these three tenets.
So let’s start with the protection of the planet. What this means is that the conservation
and restoration of natural resources is our primary goal, while enhancing and protecting
biodiversity and ecosystems. Buildings use resources like energy, water, raw materials.
They generate waste through occupant use, construction, and even the demolition of the
building at the end of its lifecycle. And during its occupation, the building itself
can emit potentially harmful atmospheric emissions, so we are looking to reduce those.
Also really important is prosperity, taking a look at the economy and the lifecycle economic
performance of our homes, as well as our buildings, and create demand for diverse, affordable
green products and services so that we can create an equitable building model that produces
energy, improves the bottom line, and for our businesses improves profit.
For people, we look at ourselves as active participants in the planetary cycle, and the
aim for us is to improve the overall quality of life for all people, current and future
generations, by enhancing occupancy health and comfort. Ideally, all home and building
decisions should represent a net positive benefit in all three of these areas.
So for architecture, this means designs for buildings and communities that create lower
environmental impacts while enhancing health, productivity, a sense of community, and the
quality of life. So if we take the practices of sustainability
and apply it to architecture and building, what we come up with is what’s known as green
building, and green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings
use resources over the complete building and lifecycle. At its core, green building is
a sustainable systems approach, meaning that the building is considered as a whole, not
the sum of individual or unrelated parts. So when we think about green remodeling, it’s
more than adding new things to an older house. It considers how those changes will affect
the existing infrastructure, systems, and performance while identifying weaknesses so
that the homeowner can take steps to improve them. Designing major renovations and retrofits
for existing buildings to include sustainable design attributes reduces operation costs
and environmental impacts and can increase what’s known as building resiliency.
To remodel our homes with building resiliency in mind, we start by exploring energy consumption
and efficiency. So with concerns for energy independence increasing and the impacts of
global climate change more evident, it is essential to find ways to reduce energy loads,
increase efficiency, and maximize the use of renewable resources. Improving our home’s
energy performance reduces our overall consumption and, in turn, can reduce our monthly bills.
You don’t have to do it all here to see energy savings and improve the efficiency of your
home. Simply adding one system that is more efficient than an existing one can have a
big effect. For example, selecting a new high-efficiency
furnace or investing in a geothermal system will make heating in your home much more effective.
While both of these systems have high up-front expenditures, the value over time gives a
return on your investment, and you’ll also see the savings in your monthly energy bills.
For a more moderately priced energy system, investments suitable for remodels include
retrofitting existing floors to include radiant floor heating or smart controls to manage
the systems of your home. Being sure your home’s windows and doors and
insulation are sound, create a tight thermal barrier, and makes for any of the systems
we just talked about work for efficiently, again, saving you money.
If budget and site conditions permit, you can significantly alter your energy resources
away from the national grid by supplementing with solar panels and wind turbine. But unless
you live in an area like Colorado and the southwest, where sunshine is abundant, you
will not be able to dedicate 100% of your home’s energy resourcing to just solar panels.
So for example, you’ll have to complement your solar with another generator, like wind
turbine. Similar to furnaces and geothermal, these
are higher-expenditure retrofits, but they do have benefit.
The easiest investment for reducing energy needs and lowering bills is selecting energy-efficient
appliances. All major manufacturers have energy labels, so it’s relatively easy to compare
and contrast appliances and their packages, not only for functionality, but for efficiency.
Look for the ENERGY STAR label to be sure your appliance meets the guidelines, and that’s
going to position you to apply for rebates or tax credits.
If we apply the same thinking to water savings, a sustainable home should use water more efficiently
and reuse or recycle water for on-site use when that’s feasible.
For efficiency, this can be done quite easily by selecting water-conscious appliances, like
washers and dish washers, and low-flow fixtures for bathrooms and kitchens.
Huge advances have been made in very recent years in the technology of how these household
fixtures and equipment have been designed, and the issues of low water pressure have
been eliminated in most brands. Again, look for the ENERGY STAR label for your appliances
and test out water-conscious fixtures at plumbing showrooms to be sure you like the performance.
Your interior designer will have training from manufacturer representatives on a wide
range of products and will be in a position to help you evaluate which fixtures will offer
you the function, the style, and efficiency you desire.
For research, reuse or recycling water on-site, use rainwater collection systems to store
water for your gardens. These systems are really quite cost-effective. Most of the time
they are less than a thousand dollars to purchase and install, and they can save you money in
the long-term. In some cases, folks have felt that the storage
units are rather unsightly, but more attractive units have recently come on the market, and
they can be decoratively installed around your gutter systems or even buried underground.
So for example, like the cistern water collection that we are showing here on the slide.
As we continue talking about water outside the home, managing water away from your roof
and away from your home is vital to your home’s health and long-term structural stability.
Any exterior renovations to your property should able to reduce, control, and/or treat
stormwater runoff. This is the kind of water that’s hitting your roof, the exterior walls
of your building, or any hardscape surfaces, like your patios and driveway. That’s all
considered stormwater. And if possible, what you want to try to do
in your greenspaces is to support native plantings in the landscape. Your interior designer will
have referrals for good landscape designers and landscape installation companies who specialize
in sustainable and even organic landscape processes.
Let’s step back and talk about indoor air quality of a home. The indoor air quality,
otherwise known as IAQ, has a significant impact on occupant health, comfort, and productivity.
Among other attributes, a sustainable home will maximize day lighting, have appropriate
ventilation and moisture control. In addition, it will optimize acoustic performance and
avoid the use of materials with high volatile organic compounds, or VOC, emissions. VOCs
are gassing off of chemicals from the manufacturing process and can sometimes take up to six months
to almost a year to completely release. A good example of this is new car smell. Everyone
gets very excited about the way their new car smells. The unfortunate truth to that
is that is a gas-off of chemicals from the manufacturing process of our vehicles. So
if we think about all of the different products that we are placing within our home during
a remodel and we close up that building with doors and windows, that’s a lot of potential
chemical release that’s happening in the household. The most important for thing for you and your
designer to do together is to read the labels. Sustainable manufacturers will publish reports
on their products and offer details and statistics on safety of their products. It’s kind of
like reading the labels of the food in your grocery store before you purchase.
Besides VOCs, your interior designer will help you select materials that will be durable,
maintenance appropriate for your home, and minimize lifecycle impacts, such as global
warming, resource depletion, and human toxicity. A sustainable home is designed and operated
to use and reuse materials in the most productive way across its entire lifecycle and is adaptable
for reuse during the end of its lifecycle. Green materials range in price, just like
any traditional building material, and it’s important here to qualify your investment
by looking at the quality of the attributes, their functions, and budget.
Something that’s on trend right now in the green building world and green building market
is what’s known as LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This is a series
of prescriptive approaches to employ sustainable practices and methods over the whole process
of designing and building. Now, currently, green LEED AP for homes is directed towards
new construction. Within that, there are several credit-bearing categories that add up to a
possible 110 points, which ultimately can lead to certification once it is approved.
The benefits of certification for new constructions are in performance and in resale values. And
I am bringing this up because certification is important to a lot of us that are professionals
in the field, so many interior designers will have become what’s known as LEED Green Associate.
That is the first step in the certification process. And some will also have LEED Green
AP Homes specialties. Now, you don’t have to go through the certification process to
take a look at the goals and the points that are involved in LEED, and you can certainly
apply a lot of these credentials into your personal process, and a certified LEED Associate
can help you do that. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits
of green remodeling and why would you go about doing this? First would be health reasons.
A green remodel can be good for you physically and emotionally. Health-focused designs improve.
Universal design is known as designing for life span that considers the performance of
systems from childhood through later life and the needs of all populations.
The USEPA includes poor indoor air quality on the top list of the five most urgent public
health risks. Levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times greater
than that of outdoor levels. And that’s typically going to be due to high VOCs in the home and
poorly functioning air systems, such as your humidifier, your dehumidifier, and your furnace.
So using low-toxic materials, adding good ventilation such as an air-to-air exchanger
can help prevent problems like mold, allergens, and poor air quality.
We, of course, want our remodel to be beautiful and comfortable, so inviting and attractive
rooms reinforce the comfort of a home through natural materials resourced from renewable
resources; high energy-efficient lighting like LED technology, and quality design details
make for pleasing spaces that have longevity. Next, the ecological benefits. Remodeling
is an opportunity to create a home that enhances the environment instead of depleting it. With
your green remodel project, you can be more resource efficient by minimizing waste and
recycling what’s left over to reduce the amount of materials that will end up in a landfill.
By choosing environmentally responsible products, you can protect forest, wildlife, air, and
water quality. Let’s think about this. For every gallon of
water or kilowatt hour of electricity you save, you reduce the amount of carbon dioxide
or greenhouse gases that are entering the atmosphere. If every remodel incorporates
sustainable thinking and green design, we can make a significant impact to reducing
our overall carbon footprint on the planet. Important to all of us is cost savings. Energy-efficient,
water-wise designs and products will reduce monthly utility bills. For example, installing
a high-efficiency washing machine can save up to $90 on energy bills per month and $6,000
in gallons of water every year. The most efficient new ENERGY STAR appliances typically use 50%
less energy than other models. This all adds up to added value.
If we take a look at our aesthetic and how we are designing in our selections, if we
make classic or timeless design choices, this helps keep our interiors current and avoids
having them look dated. This helps us keep their value.
Homes designed to welcome various ages and abilities are marketable to a larger population,
which becomes a key benefit for resale. And according to a 2015 House Healthy Homes Trend
study, green elements were represented as having a high value, with 80% of home buyers
indicating that their new homes did not meet their environmental expectation, and 96% of
those folks said that they were willing to pay more for a home with green features.
So let’s look at what’s impacting the real estate market and the remodeling industry.
The current trend for sustainable practices in remodeling is largely due to a raised consciousness
around green building and the resulting benefits. And because of this, we are seeing an unprecedented
level of government initiatives; improvements in sustainable material quality, access, and
affordability; and a heightened residential demand for green construction.
The April 16, 2015, Renovation Motivations Point to Going Green article in Architect
magazine reported on the same House Healthy Homes Study, which that polls more than 170,000
people in the United States and more than a quarter of a million people globally. Ultimately,
what this study produced is that there are some big generational trends that are influencing
the rise in green remodels, and there’s really two demographic populations that are currently
impacting the remodeling market. Sustainably minded millennials are making up the newest
and largest demographic of current home buyers, and this coming-of-age generation is purchasing
existing homes and renovating them for sale. Second, there are 2.5 million baby boomers
in or approaching retirement who are invested in staying in their homes and aging in place.
41% of these boomers determined that their homes were not healthy, either in the finishes
or the energy systems, and those folks are investing in significant changes to create
universally designed, comfortable interior environments with green products and sustainable
systems. So this graph here is really interesting in
regards to the topics that we are covering today. This is a graph from that House study,
and if we take a look at the top concerns for renovation, the issues that were on most
people’s minds were finding the right service providers, finding the right products and
materials, their budget, and financing. So you are not alone in making these concerns
your top priority. So with that in mind, let’s look at some strategies
for reducing these challenges. Redesigning your home is a very personal process,
as you are inviting professionals into your life and your home to create significant changes.
Before you begin working with an interior designer, here’s a few tips to help you prepare.
First, it’s important to define who the stakeholders are in the project. And what I mean by this
is identifying who is involved in the remodel and the decision-making for the project. This
includes the aesthetic, the functional, and the budgetary decisions.
Next, identify who will the design impact? Is it just yourself? Yourself and a partner?
Perhaps you have a new baby on the way or you are empty nesters. Perhaps it’s children
or elderly parents. Even pets come into consideration. Many times I have designed around pets, just
like this little guy here. I’ve designed new dog rooms that have included showers and baths,
and that’s been on the rise. It’s kind of a fun direction that remodeling is taking
to even include our pets. So we want to think about the functional needs
for everybody in the home. You know, and what’s our day-to-day patterns? How are we starting
out our day? Who is staying at home? Who is going to work in the morning? Where does everybody
gather in the evening to socialize, to hang out, to cook and relax? All of those aspects
become elements that we can help to prioritize how the remodel is going to go.
So for a smooth-running project, have an understanding about how those decisions are going to be
made and who is going to come into agreement on those aspects. And this is a big, big piece
— challenges and differences of opinion. How are you going to address those and be
willing to compromise about aspects of the design that may be wants as opposed to needs?
So let’s take a look at how we can go about doing that. The first is to create checklists.
This will help you set some clear goals, and this can be a little tricky at the start,
and it’s okay if you don’t have the project fully defined or you weren’t sure about what
to do. That’s what hiring a professional interior designer is for. Most people have an idea
of what it is that they want to do in their home, and they aren’t just really sure about
the whole scope. So making a list of things that you love about your house would be ideal,
and that way you know these are things that you want to keep or work around. And then
also making a list of things that maybe aren’t necessarily working really well for you or
you definitely want to remodel, perhaps something that’s really dated. Those will help you at
your initial meeting with your interior designer, so you want to bring those with you.
The next thing to do is to identify your taste. What’s aesthetically pleasing to you and to
the folks who are stakeholders in the project? You want to achieve this relative to your
budget and think about this in the investment for the short or long-term. Are you somebody
who remodels every 5 years, or is this an investment that you are looking at to have
stay in place for perhaps 10, maybe even 15 years? You can do this by gathering inspiration
pictures to discuss with your designer. For those of us that are old school, pulling images
out of a magazine and creating a folder is a great way to go. Many, many people are using
Pinterest or House to flag and tag and pin different things that they find exciting.
One thing I recommend to most of my clients — and I am seeing this more and more — is
the use of a tablet because if you store your images and your information about products
that you are interested in in that tablet, you can actually take that with you on your
trips with your designer to different showrooms, and it becomes a really great working tool
throughout the process. So at this really early stage, while you are
making lists and setting goals, remember it’s okay to think big at this point, as the interior
designer will help you refine your aesthetic and identify a focused direction that considers
your budget. So let’s think about the size of the remodel,
and if it’s large, are you interested in doing a remodel in phases?
So one of the things that happens in the initial stages is most everybody thinks that they
need to add on, that they just don’t have enough room in the house. A lot of times when
I get involved with my clients, we find that by simply reprogramming the spaces that they
already have, we can oftentimes avoid doing a remodel. But that may include some structural
changes. So these are some things that we want to identify. If we do include a remodel
that has structural changes or we add on to the structure, you will need to consider the
services of a licensed architect or engineer to stamp those structural changes and requirements.
That will all have to be submitted in through your local building code as well.
But before considering an addition, let’s consider how much space you really need. The
other thing that we need to think about with additions is that when you add square footage,
you also have to factor in the extra costs of heating, air conditioning, electricity,
and dressing out the space through to your furnishings to service that area of the home.
So do consider the possibilities of utilizing the space you have to its highest potential,
as I mentioned earlier. So one strategy for this is instead of thinking
about quantity of space, thinking about the quality of the space. Perhaps there are some
areas that aren’t being utilized as well, and that’s where making some of those lists
about your daily activities in the early phases can help us to itemize out exactly what areas
of the home we might be able to put multiple uses into or perhaps reclaim and reprogram
that space for a better use. After all, truly eco-friendly design means
using fewer new materials and creating the least waste as possible.
The next thing that you want to do is plan your timeline. When do you want to start,
and when do you need to have the construction completed? It takes on average six months
to plan and prepare for a remodel. So it’s better to start much earlier in the process
because that will give you an opportunity to make changes, to really think thoroughly
about the project, and to make good decisions about the remodel itself. The more time that
you put in to the design and planning phase, the smoother your construction process will
go. It always takes much more time than you anticipate for the construction and process
to go. So try to avoid setting up your completion dates right before major events and holidays.
We’ll revisit the timeline and expectations a little bit later on in the presentation.
So once your overall goals are better defined, you can have a discussion with your interior
designer about sustainability expectations about the project. So remember, you don’t
have to do it all to be sustainable. If your goal is simply an energy-efficient house,
you can focus on ENERGY STAR appliances, on-demand hot water heaters, high-efficiency insulation
and windows, and perhaps, if budget allows, solar technology. If you want to take it a
step further, you might consider incorporating finishes and materials that are healthy and
renewable, like sustainably harvested woods, reclaimed materials, low-flow water fixtures,
and greener finishes that have recycled content or natural properties.
At a construction level, green building materials, such as certified lumber, energy-efficient
roof systems, and nontoxic sealants or formaldehydes can be considered. The materials that come
together to create our homes require energy and resources to produce and ship, so many
of the projects that are on the market that imply sustainability or green qualities can
be pretty overwhelming to try and sift through, and at times it can be misleading, so let’s
break down a few key considerations about resourcing materials that would be appropriate
for our project. So let’s start with location. We’ve heard
the term “think globally and act locally.” Each state and region will have its own particular
green building culture. Politics and partisanship can influence the rate at which some cities
and states adopt green initiatives, which can impact the materials that interior designers
will be able to access. A sustainable interior designer will have awareness of these initiatives
as well as sustainable manufacturers. To get a feel for what’s happening locally, I suggest
you take a tour of green homes locally and converse
with green homeowners. NESEA is an organization
here in the northeast. Building Energy is an organization that you will see nationally.
And annually, these organizations will host these green building tours typically in the
spring, and you can travel from home to home and check out all of the really interesting
sustainability features, talk with folks about data, and this site in general is a really
great resource for finding out what’s happening in your region. Next, let’s consider climate. For interior
designers, the most important factor is ultimately how well materials and the design align to
keep energy consumption down and decrease the ecological footprint of the structures.
So not all materials and systems are going to be appropriate for all reasons.
So for example, building with bamboo is common in a tropical climate. Earthen and natural
systems are going to be more common in desert climates. And materials like shakes or wood
in coastal or temperate climates might be deployed. And super insulated materials for
cold climates. Interior designer with a focus on green design
will be well trained in understanding climate and be able to help you compare and contrast
products to suggest the best option. You may also want to attend a green building
trade show, especially if you are somebody who wants to see everything that’s out there.
The Green Build International Conference and Expo is part of the U.S. Green Building Council,
which supports the LEED initiative. This Council — this conference, happening annually in
various cities of the country, showcases a very wide array of products and systems that
are on display with the manufacturers, and you can see and touch the products firsthand
and get a lot more information all in one place.
Now, the Expo itself is typically free or a very small, nominal fee to attend the Expo.
The conference, on the other hand, is a paid venue, so you can decide for yourself how
deeply you want to engage in that. State and regional green conference also hold
smaller conferences on specific climate considerations as well as more localized companies.
Next let’s investigate tax breaks and incentives. This is always a big topic, such as energy
efficiency mortgages which offer loans for sustainable upgrades or tax breaks for homeowners;
designers and contractors creating a green home — and they can be for homeowners, designers,
and contractors creating a green remodel. Most municipalities now require an inspection
or energy audit in order to refund or rebate taxes. So it’s very important to read and
understand the stipulations, both at your state and federal level, to be eligible for
the refund break. Your municipalities can also recommend energy auditing companies in
the region and frequently offer reduced or no-cost inspections.
The two links that I am providing for you here will have a lot of information about
your regional and federal guidelines and will provide you with a huge amount of links and
resources. So let’s evaluate materials and products for
expected life span. What we want to do is look at the cleanability, the durability,
where these products are resourced from, and how are we installing them in the home. Are
we putting the application and function in for the appropriate material, or do we really
need to consider alternative materials to satisfy all of the functions and needs?
The initial price only gives a peephole view of the true cost of a product or design over
the lifetime of your home. So for example, a low purchase price may mean a good deal,
but it can also signify a lack of quality or durability over the life span of the product.
A higher purchase price, on the other hand, can mean a better deal in the long run, and
you can actually reduce the cost of living in your home by choosing more resource-efficient
fixtures and durable materials. Because when we factor in the cost of multiple replacements
for lower-cost or less durable materials, we need to consider not only the expense of
that product, but the expense of the deconstruction and the reconstruction. So it does add up
to be sometimes significantly more than the lower initial product we were looking at.
So value to value, look at the timeframe that that product is going to live in your home.
So that brings us to a conversation about cradle to cradle. When we think about cradle
to cradle concepts, what we are talking about here is the life span of the product from
its initial harvest through its production, transportation, and ideally to its selling
point and into your home. That should all be within a hundred-mile radius if you are
looking to be truly low impact. Now, that’s oftentimes very difficult, but that hundred-mile
radius is considered to be the average for low-impact materials.
Many materials are imported and have a higher cost of carbon for the longer travel distance
and/or might be nonrenewable. So what we are looking at is from that initial harvest through
to the installation in a home and then even at the end of its lifecycle what happens with
that particular product. Is it going into a landfill, or is it something that we can
reclaim, reuse, recycle, remanufacture? So, in — and your interior designer will have
more insight into these products and help you evaluate the selections.
So resources and efficiency, all of these things add into sustainable practices. You
can evaluate different manufacturers. Most manufacturers will now boast online their
sustainable practices, meaning are they using energy efficiency — energy efficiently while
they are producing your good? How are they managing water? And what’s happening in terms
of their packaging and transportation? As I mentioned earlier, the hundred-mile radius,
what we are looking for here is an energy-efficient distribution. If we are going over longer-term
distances, what’s the kind of distribution that’s happening there? Is that a more energy-efficient
distribution, or are we using a lot of gasoline to bring products closer to home?
When we add value into our design, we are looking at the use in place, as I mentioned
earlier. We want to make sure that when we are selecting products that they are going
to be most functional for their use in the home, so thinking about flooring, for example,
is a really good place to start. When we think about high traffic areas, we want to make
sure that we are picking surfaces that are going to be very durable and resilient as
opposed to areas like bedrooms that might have more carpeting or softer surfaces and
not get as much high traffic area. So while carpeting will not last as long as tile, let’s
say, that we have in a higher traffic area, its durability over its lifetime will still
have a good value. Another interesting approach is to incorporate
salvaged materials. Reclaimed materials have an attractive pa Tina and can help create
an old or weathered look in areas of new construction, which is very on trend in the design world
right now. Home reclamation stores have popped up in most cities and offer a tremendous variety
of products that have been selectively reclaimed for use. You can used recycled or renewable
materials. Take a look at the label. A manufacturer can claim that its product is recycled even
if it only includes 5% of recycled material. Ideally, recycled components can make up a
bulk of the material, and you should really be looking at 50% to 75% of that to be recycled
components. A good example is recycled glass that’s made into countertops.
Renewable materials, on the other hand, are made from sources that are fast growing, like
bamboo or cork. If we take a look at the two examples that I am showing here, this was
an interesting remodel project where the client, in the picture on the left-hand side, had
reclaimed a salvaged material from a shipyard. The post there is actually the tie-off for
boats. So that was very interesting. And what you don’t see in that image is that the handrail
is lead pipe that goes up to the second story. The other interesting feature in that particular
image is that she used recycled — she recycled her grocery bags, her grown grocery bags,
and actually tore up the grocery bags into nominal sizes, and then using a nontoxic glue,
created an interesting wallpaper, and she then lined that with magazine clippings. So
if you can see in that image there, there’s a lot of reds and oranges and yellows. She
went through before throwing away her old magazines and collected all of these — this
color palette and created this interesting border. Above that is chalkboard paint, and
that allows for a refreshing every day, if you wish, to put a new quote and inspiration
in the home. On the other side, on the right-hand side,
this is a very interesting use of recycled materials. That door there was actually recycled
from Eddie Van Halen’s home. Her brother is a contractor out on the west coast, and when
Eddie Van Halen was remodeling his home, pulled all these doors out of his house, and they
made their way to this home to be reinstalled. So that’s actually a pretty cool and funky
use of a previously existing product. In terms of the plaster that you are seeing
on the wall behind, that plaster is harvested by hand and hand processed and then hand applied,
and that’s a durable finish being in the interior that will last for 20 years.
The micaceous clay that’s in that finish will actually create a luminous effect, and you
can see that by the reflection that’s happening off of that wall surface. So you can really
get very, very creative with your recycled and renewable materials, plus it’s a really
fun Saturday afternoon to go out to the salvage stores and hunt around.
Okay. So let’s look at alternatives. When we are looking at alternatives for a product,
we want to make sure that we are coming up with a lot of different options, and that
way we can value engineer when products may or may not come into budget.
So let’s get into budget a little bit and look at our design fees. So when we start
to create a budget, what you want to do is take a good look at the breakdowns of costs.
So design services are going to be one set of fees. If you are going to do any audits
or assessments, those would be your energy assessments. You would then have a construction
budget. That construction budget is going to take care of your labor, your materials,
and your build-out. And you do want to request different contracts for each of these. And
these types of design fees are something that you negotiate with each person. Design services,
for example, are either billed on an hourly basis or an a per-project basis. So you want
to get a full outline of what all those services are going to be so that you can make the right
decisions for your home. A professional interior designer will also
have references for you for all these different people.
So if you have no idea how much you want to spend on your project — and this is very,
very common. Most people will come in and say we want to do a kitchen remodel or a bathroom
remodel, but they have no idea how much they want to spend or what it’s going to cost.
I suggest to my clients to work backwards, meaning we start at a number that would be
the absolute upper limit that the customer would be comfortable paying for a remodel
at that time, and then we work backwards to find what a comfortable spending range would
be. Sometimes it’s easier to work backwards because you can identify pretty quickly what
you are not willing to spend as opposed to what you are willing to spend.
This is an example here from homeadvisor.com, which I am giving you the link for here. This
is a super resource where you can plug in your ZIP code, and it will give you averages
for your area, and then it will give you a comparable as well for national expenditures
so you can really see where you are. The second link here that I am giving you
is a cost versus value report. This is for remodeling expenditures and how remodeling
expenditures are faring in your particular area as opposed to the national average. So
again, these two resources in combination with taking a look at your own comfort level
with your budget will help you set goals as to what you should be spending or could be
spending. So as we consider remodeling, the areas that
people are investing in their homes most, the top areas for return are typically kitchens
are number one. Master bathrooms, powder rooms, or bathrooms servicing other bedrooms. Long-terms
follow that, and followed by luxury laundry rooms. As I mentioned, those laundry rooms
are typically including mud rooms or even pet wash areas.
So how do we locate an interior designer? Interior designers are going to be rigorously
trained through academic programs, apprenticeship, and examination. And most of these interior
designers will have their listing with the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
Also, local chapters and national chapters. They will have that for the NCIDQ examination
and completed their certification, so you will oftentimes see references there as well.
As well as local organizations. So most states will require that their interior designers
are NCIDQ certified, and so that’s a way to differentiate from those that might be in
a more decoration field. So always interview your interior designers
to make sure that they have their certifications. And what we can do is provide a large range
of services for you. What we would do would be to help you pull together from your initial
thinking and come up with concepts for your space and design the full interior environment,
including alterations and construction of nonstructural elements. We’ll design full
cabinetry, bathrooms, kitchens, and finishes, including all of your paint selections and
fabric. We prepare architectural drawings and specifications, and we can help you source
all of the products. This is another list of interior design sources
where you can find different interior designers in your area. These are locations that will
happen throughout the country. Some will be more active in other areas.
And let’s just step through the different layers of the design process. So the first
process is your predesign phase. Here’s where we are going to include a whole series of
meetings to get together and move through what would be the ideation or the idea-generating
process, explore different products, explore different concepts, and create the schematic
designs. The schematic designs will be color perspectives of your interior environment.
The next phase would be the design phase, and this is where your interior designer will
prepare scaled drawings for you, and that should then give you a very good flavor as
to what that model will look like. Will you also have prospective drawings at this point
and a pretty definitive materials list. And that would then take you into the sign-off
phase. Once you go through defining exactly what’s going to be happening in the remodel,
before moving on to creating construction drawings, you and your interior designer will
sit down and sign off on that process. At that point, then construction drawings and
bidding documents will then be prepared, and that’s going to be a full set of annotated
drawings that have all your dimensions and your notes and all the specifications for
how all those materials are actually going to go into play and where they go.
The final phase would then be the build-out phase, and that’s the actual installation
of the products on-site. So with that, your interior designer can be hired through that
build-out phase to help you manage the project with your contractor and answer valuable questions
during that process. So the biggest thing is to clearly communicate with your interior
designer, going through process, and just remember in the big picture that it’s an adventure,
and at the end, you are going to have a great new space to live in.
>>RON GOLDBERG: Great. So now we have some questions for you from today’s webinar participants.
The first question is we recently purchased a couple new energy-efficient kitchen appliances
and notice that the projected life span of the new appliances is only three to five years.
How does this impact sustainability and the environment when the appliances end up in
landfills?>>MARY GOLDEN: I would be curious to know
what manufacturer they are and what appliances they are.
>>RON GOLDBERG: So if — Chris, if you want to put that into the question box, I’ll ask
another question and we will come back to that in a minute.
Somebody had asked can you recommend any salvage or reclamation yards in the Rochester area?
>>MARY GOLDEN: Yeah, there’s actually a couple. There is a salvage company on South Avenue,
and there is another one that’s just recently moved up to Greece. The actual name is escaping
me. But there was one on University, and that is the one that moved up to the Greece area.
Both of those are going to have a really extensive array. Home Parts I think is the one on South
Avenue. Green House is in Greece. Yeah, that’s the one that moved from University.
>>RON GOLDBERG: We are waiting just to see if Chris wants to post a clarification on
the appliance piece.>>MARY GOLDEN: You know, while we are waiting,
and if that doesn’t come back up, what I would suggest — again, this goes to that early
part of the discussion when I was talking about reading the labels. If you really think
about this entire process, the way that you buy your food and you do the background research
on the longevity — now, certain appliances, like a coffee maker, for example, might have
a lower life expectancy, but your refrigeration systems, your ranges, those kind of items
in particular should have significantly longer life span and warranty. You can also purchase
extended warranties which will help in terms of any kind of repairs that are going to extend
the life. So that’s another piece that you want to take a look at, the manufacturer warranty.>>RON GOLDBERG: There is a question, is a
copy of the presentation being mailed out at some point?
In about a week or less, you will receive an email with a link to the webinar so you
will actually be able to revisit the webinar again.
Another question is, well, how much on average does it cost to hire an interior designer?
Let’s say an average-size bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower?
>>MARY GOLDEN: It’s going to depend on about you are in the country and the fees associated.
So for example, interior designers may have an hourly rate. So the hourly rate can range
anywhere from $90 to $120, depending on who the interior designer is or what the scope
of the project is. Some interior designers for something that small will give you a package
price and tell you it’s going to be X number of dollars.
So the way that we tend to value engineer our services is looking at either an hourly
rate so that every time we are on the job with you, we are on the clock, and there’s
a set of services that have already been predefined in the contract. Or we are looking at the
scope of work and complexity of the project in order to determine how many hours we anticipate
this project taking us, and then that is contracted with the option to continue services above
and beyond that contract.>>RON GOLDBERG: And Chris responded — we’ve
got about another minute left — the washer is LG, the stove is an LG, and the dishwasher
is KitchenAid. They are saying that the computers break down after that period of time.
>>MARY GOLDEN: The manufacturer is saying that? I am surprised that the manufacturer
would say that. I would — my suggestion would be before you go with replacements to contact
customer service for LG, and particularly KitchenAid. They are part of the Whirlpool
corporation, and they tend to be very, very good with their consumer help. So I would
suggest going that route because if there is some kind of defect, there would probably
be some additional support for you.>>RON GOLDBERG: Great. Well, that’s all the
time we have for Q&A. Additional questions can be emailed to [email protected] or tweeted
to @RIT_alumni with a hashtag meRITwebinars, and we will direct your questions to Mary.
Note that all participants will receive an email from us in the next few days with a
link to today’s webinar recording. Many thanks to Mary for being our distinguished speaker
today, and thank you to all our listeners for joining us for today’s webinar.
Our next webinar is scheduled for February 25, where we will present How to Attract Opportunities:
A Guide for Life and Business, with alumna Emily Hart, a 2015 master’s graduate in entrepreneurship
in innovative ventures. Look for invitations to arrive in your email shortly. Thank you
for joining us. Please exit the webinar by simply closing the WebEx window, and please
do let us know what you thought of the webinar through a brief survey which will pop up when
you exit. Thanks, and have a great day.