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Now is the Time to Design Outside the Lines

Happy Spring everyone!!! I don't know about you, but I blinked and we were in March. This year is flying by already and we are full speed ahead!

With the start of a fresh, new month, many people are preparing themselves for the "Spring Forward" time change and, to some, the dreaded Spring Cleaning (insert dramatic music). I know, I know...who wants to think about spring cleaning when there are so many other fun things you can think of doing, right? For instance, you may want to start making plans for Spring Break or maybe you're ready to start working on your poor lawn which, if anything like mine, has suffered from a brutal Winter. However, if you really think about it, getting a jump start on your spring cleaning can really help you get better organized for the rest of your summer and even your year.

In preparation for the Spring time change, we had the pleasure of servicing one of our Houston clients by converting their unorganized, dingy garage into a stylish, highly-functional space. This was a fun, affordable project, but no easy task. With years of dirt, grime and old collectibles, we had a tremendous task on our hands. Nonetheless, we didn't shy away from a challenge. Like most design professionals, my team and I are problem solvers and all of our clients look to us to help them solve and execute the tough problems. As a recognized expert in bringing the best of art and function to living spaces, solving tough problems is something that R J Clifton Designs has been doing well for over 2 years now.

To start, we sat down with our client to discuss the Design Process. The design process is an approach for breaking down a large project into manageable chunks. Big projects can be overwhelming and can scare off even the most knowledgeable person, so we always want to make sure that we explain our process up-front.

Interior Design Process Photo Credit: Greencherry Interior Design

First, we met in the space to decide on the Function (the mother needed extra space to store her overflow of clothes and the daughter needed an extra workspace and storage for DIY type projects). Floor-to-ceiling custom cabinetry was proposed to store most of the household stock, while we also designed a open-concept closet, for the mother's clothes, and a flip-down, storage desk. We also discussed the flooring as a functional and eye-pleasing effect. To accentuate and ground the space, we proposed bringing in a local wall & floor covering manufacturer to create a one-of-a-kind epoxy floor depicting the family lineage.

Next, we discussed the fun part of most design projects...the Aesthetics. Without being too trendy, but definitely not wanting to have just white walls, we collectively came up with a color palette that would easily transcend into the rest of the home. A satin-finish, blue-gray (African Gray by Sherwin Williams) was chosen for the walls and cabinetry, while we accented the trim with a high-gloss of Web Gray by Sherwin Williams. Lighting and hardware was easy...we incorporated a repurposed, contemporary ceiling fan and chose simple, satin nickel hardware.

Garage Finishes

Following the “Pretty Part”, it was on the everyone's least favorite, but very necessary, part of the process...the BUDGET. Not wanting to compromise the integrity of the design, but also not wanting to break the bank, we worked with our clients to source the best, most affordable tradesmen and products. We chose to do custom, built-in cabinets because my clients were tired of spending money year-after-year on pop-up closets. Due to the amount of clothes, the weight would always cause the closets to deteriorate sooner than later. With this decision, they were able to save more money in the long-run. The paint, a donation from a friend, was a great cost-saver and the hardware was purchased in bulk to save costs (Tip: instead of purchasing knobs/pulls individually, when possible, purchase Contractor Packs from your local hardware store). The custom floor was the largest investment, but in the words of our clients “so worth it…” because it was something they created as a family and will last for years to come.

Once all of the above steps were approved, we were on to the Contract Agreement, Project Management and Implementation part of the project (the real fun part of the project!). From start to finish, this project took approximately four (4) weeks to complete, with an additional week before moving any storage containers back into the space (so not to mess up the hardening of the epoxy). We topped it off with a long, support mat in front of the washer & dryer to add some comfort and beauty while doing laundry.

Our clients are now all moved in and ready for Spring. With the big, but much needed project out of the way, they are free to plan a great Spring Break vacation with family!

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