Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care. "If a homeowner wants to demo a deck, well, I am sure they can handle that," says Michael Winn, owner of Winn Design, in Virginia. "But when it comes to interior spaces, I would dissuade them from doing it unless they have done it before." The reason: A reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load-bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing. (For tips on how to do demo right, see our October 2005 feature, "Before You Construct, You Have to Destruct.")

Grant K. Gibson has been designing homes for more than 15 years. Originally from Los Angeles, the 39-year-old designer, who’s now based in San Francisco, takes pride in creating living spaces that speak to the personality, preferences and experiences of his clients. Now, he’s releasing his first book, The Curated Home, which takes readers inside his design process and educates them on how to develop a timeless and curated interior that’ll fulfill their aesthetic tastes for years to come. “It’s not only about practical tips — how to display objects from travels, what to look for when making furniture purchases and the type of paints that work best in a particular room — but also how to think like an interior designer,” Gibson writes in the book’s introduction.


If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you'll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.
Allow your space to continuously change—as your life does. "Remember that your home should always be evolving, just as you are," says Kelly Framel, creative director, stylist and founder of online magazine The Glamourai. "I am constantly picking up new treasures on my travels. Your nest should always be a place of comfort and inspiration, and it's a constant work in progress."

It's exactly what Jenny Cipoletti, founder of fashion, beauty and travel blog Margo & Me, did in her decidedly Parisian office (which is actually in West Hollywood). "Just like when you walk into a cafe in Paris, and you see all the details and the golds, silvers and light blush tones, all of these elements in this space really sing to me," says Cipoletti. This lets you travel to your favorite destination without stepping outside.
Take your bathroom remodeling to the next level! Customized bathrooms are a step beyond standard bathroom with the implementation of personalized cabinets, vanities, and facilities. While stock options are always available, many homeowners find that they need something just slightly bigger, smaller, wider, or in a different color. Some popular options include floating vanities and double-wide sinks. You can also invest in custom cabinets with your choice of wood, made in a specific style. Your opportunity to expand on your custom bathroom depends on your budget and style needs. Cabinets are very advantageous on the bathroom, sometimes even more so than in the kitchen. This is because storage space in the bathroom is always more necessary than homeowners think. Having wide cabinets and drawers with enough space to store linens, toiletries, and emergency supplies is a great way to make your custom bathroom both functional and beautiful. There are certain considerations needed for custom bathroom designs, however. For example, when choosing a type of wood for the cabinets, think about what kind of wood can stand up to moisture. Professionally-installed custom bathroom pieces are your best bet for guaranteeing that your cabinets will last for years.
For those who are thinking of putting their home up for sale five years from now, then it’s important to ensure that the value of your property would increase over time, consider having your home renovated for that purpose. On the other hand, if you’re planning to live in your home for a couple of years, it’s very important to ensure that the design of your bathroom is something you would really love and fit with your style and preferences.

Space planning, which impacts scale, is essential. People often use furniture that is too large or too small for a space. I like to blame a certain retail company for the large-scale furnishings that saturate interiors today. Build around the furniture that you actually have space for. Think about the balance of a space. For larger rooms, consider establishing zones for different activities: a seating area that is conducive to conversation; another area for television viewing; a work area with a desk or table for projects or games. Even though I love symmetry, you can make things feel too contrived when you make everything symmetrical. Think about the visual weight and distribution to balance out a space. Proportion and scale are key to any design.

Selecting a countertop and devising space-right storage to fit your particular bathroom isn’t as difficult as it sounds, thanks to the Sears Home Services team. When you sign up for a consult, a qualified representative will take the necessary measurements and help you select countertops and cabinets in the comfort of your own home. In fact, during the consult, you can choose shower fixtures, flooring, and accessories that suit your style and budget—it’s just like having a bathroom showroom brought to you.
Remodelers can do some amazing things, but they can't read minds. "Let the company supervisor or project lead person know if anything is unsatisfactory so they can deal with the issue," says Jeff Hurst, a Certified Remodeler (CR) and president of Hurst Total Home, Inc., in Kettering, Ohio. "The contractor may not be aware that something is not OK with the owner."
Many homeowners consider obtaining a building permit as an unnecessary headache which can slow down the renovation process, but permits are a necessary part of the process in most cases, which can come back to haunt you if not obtained in the first place. Building permits are necessary to ensure your house remodel meets structural and fire safety requirements and code inspectors in most jurisdictions can make you rip out non-conforming work if not up to snuff. This can create a very expensive headache when looking to sell your home down the road. It’s always advisable to think ahead and ensure the permit process is followed. Check out our DIY home improvement rules for more tips.
A full grand surround turns a conventional shower into a steam shower. A transom installed above the door could be utilized in a way where it would dry the shower every time you close the door. Likewise, placing the fan near the transom can also help in drawing air out of the shower every time you close the door. For those with a steam shower, it’s highly recommended to incorporate a bigger bathroom fan. Don’t forget to check the grout lines as well. Fewer grout joints are recommended because there’s less surface area to absorb moisture.
While the process of decorating your home is thrilling, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Your goal should be to showcase your design aesthetic in a tasteful way, but it’s a given that you'll be faced with everything from an interior that lacks natural light to a layout that’s much smaller than you’d like. So it’s no surprise that these common dilemmas might turn you off from decorating altogether. But instead of viewing them as stumbling blocks, use them as inspiration to design the home of your dreams.
Look at your countertops next. “Limited counter space is always problematic in tiny bathrooms,” Maykut says. Often, you're left with nowhere to set a cup of tea or lay down your curling iron. One creative solution for gaining space is choosing a custom countertop. While most bathroom configurations place the vanity next to the commode, Maykut suggests “extending a narrow ledge of countertop along the wall behind the toilet.” This otherwise wasted space is just right for a supply of tissues or an assortment of toiletries. 
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