Renovation Tips: 5 Questions to Ask your Designer Before You Get Started

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Renovating your home or business is a huge undertaking. Not only is it time-consuming but it is expensive as well. For this reason, there are some questions you will definitely want the answers to before your interior designer gets started.

What Happens if There is a Problem?

Issues are almost guaranteed to occur during the course of your renovation. For example, you may find that a particular wall can’t be moved as expected or the tile you chose is no longer an option. Understanding how these issues will be addressed is important.

How Close to Budget do you Expect Us to Be?

You should always have a little room in your budget for surprises that may surface throughout the renovation. Knowing where you stand at the beginning will help you determine how close you can expect to be when everything is said and done.

What Do You See as the Biggest Challenge?

Knowing where your designer sees the most potential for issues can help prompt you to think about any changes you may need to make. In the end, this will help you anticipate certain issues and have a plan in place to attack the problem head-on.

What Does the Schedule Look Like?

Scheduling is an important part of getting the project finished on time. When you understand the schedule, you will be able to know when to expect completion as well as whether the project has fallen behind.

What if there are Questions?

Communication is always important and you will want to know how to contact your designer when you have questions. On the flip side, they will also need to know how to contact you if they have questions for you to answer.

These are a few of the questions you should ask before you get started with your renovation. Learning their answers will help give you peace of mind that your project is running smoothly and on schedule. To learn more about the renovation process, contact us today.

Designer Cost for Renovating a Restaurant

By Blog, Renovation Resources

What is the designer cost? A restaurant renovation requires careful planning, budgeting, execution. A restaurant renovation is based on the brand. The designer putting ideas and must-haves together has to know the brand inside and out to produce the wanted product. The design process can take a few pressing weeks to a year to complete.

Read More

Coworking Space and Office Renovation for Startups

By Blog, Renovation Resources

In the market for office renovation for startups, shared office space (named coworking space) can sometimes be the key to economical and innovative work environment in the entrepreneur’s office.  What are the keys to designing successful coworking space?  One company answers three questions in their designs.

  1.  “How can the design of a space encourage collaboration and innovation?”
  2.  “How is the community mapped and visually represented in the space?”
  3.  “How can the design of space promote autonomous behavior from its members?”

Not only does the space have to work for a single entrepreneur, it needs to be functional for a group of entrepreneurs working for different startups.  One of the keys to adapting to the needs of the employees is to allow an ever-evolving room for change in the space.

The key in coworking design is to build office space that influences behavior.  To encourage collaboration among workers, sometimes the space can be divided into work areas by merely adapting lighting and heights of ceilings to form ‘rooms’ in an open area.  Innovation can be encouraged by the changeable nature of the space.  For instance, one group might use a white wall as a projection screen, while another might want to post graphics on a wall.  Making the space ones own and innovating within the office environment can encourage creativity and establish ownership of space.

In conclusion, the most important key in coworking space is that entrepreneurs need to adapt space to their own needs.  While design is important to forming certain positive behavior trends in an office, the state of constant flux itself enables an innovative work environment.  According to the same design team,

…Openness provides room for members to take control of shaping and hosting their environment which in turn helps to engender a more collaborative and sharing culture within the space.

For more information on office design for startups, contact us.

Terrific reasons to hire interior designer or a design firm now

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Many persons are unaware of it:  However the name of the game, nowadays, is transparency.  The proficient designer is very adept at bringing the concept of transparency into his or her client’s space–whether that space is residential or corporate.

The uniqueness of providing the client with transparency is the number one reason, persons are wise to make the choice of having a design team create and reorganize their respective spaces:  The idea of bringing the great out-of-doors inside, nowadays, appears rather literal.  The bringing of the outside environment, inside, makes the entire concept of design much more refined.

Residents and corporate personnel function with greater levels of efficiency and well-being when the great out-of-doors or beautiful landscapes are made part of the inside environment.  The space may have been once enclosed; however, is now opened up. The idea of hiring a designer, then, is so the corporate client or the residential consumer may make the best possible use of the idea of transparency.

Opacity and transparency is used in way of making a small space, whether residential or a work environment feel more spacious.  Transparency provides access to a larger space, such as a vineyard or woods that is not part of the inside arrangement.  In example, a wine country residential dweller is able to properly appreciate the mass acreage of his or her vineyard.  The owner of the space is a second generation wine maker.  The design applied makes sense:  since the element of bringing the great out-of-doors vineyard into his or her living arrangement is relative.  Producing wine is what the preceding residential dweller is all about:  a second generation winemaker.  This individual has a strong connection to his or her land and is an agricultural enthusiast.  The person is not a person that requires window coverings or window treatments.  He or she wishes to awaken each morning and look upon his or her vineyards.  A good designer partners with the proper persons and brings the vineyard into the winemaker’s inside space.

Aside from the out-of-doors thinking, an enhancement, used by knowledgeable designers, makes it possible for the end-user to appreciate various interesting items at turning points inside:  Items or art objects are placed at the end of a hallway or somewhere in-between.  The idea is to make the persons traveling by foot, to take notice and pause at these areas, appreciating the items on exhibit.  The slight pause, psychologically, causes the person to move forward down the hallway.  It creates the sense that there are items further along the pathway, causing that individual to feel intrigued.

The designer is well-aware of advances in various materials:  The knowledgeable designer is well-aware of material advances with respect to glass, fabrics and plastics.  The advanced materials allow designers to create something spectacular relative to the end-users inside environment.

There are certain states which limit how much artificial light is allowable in a space:  The designer is adept in making clever use of natural lighting.  He or she makes certain, the natural lighting is used properly, minimizing the natural light used and assuring that the consumer is afforded the proper level of privacy.

In summary, terrific reasons to hire a design expert include:

  • Rediscovery of the great out-of-doors or bringing the outside inside of the interior space;
  • Placing interesting objects in unexpected places, in order that the passer-by wishes to pause, and with a sense of inspiration, continues his or her journey to the point of destination.
  • The expert designer makes use of advanced materials, which he or she is fully aware, in order to create and intensify the elements associated with good design;
  • The qualified design team of today, additionally, makes the best use of natural light.  The preceding reason is yet another good reason to hire the services of an expert designer.  In other words, it is just not about painting a room, and finding the right furniture, it is so much more.

In order that the interested consumer gets the ball rolling, in order to find out his or her best, most unique design options; he or she is encouraged to contact us.

We make it a point, to provide our clients with transparency; function, and aesthetically pleasing environments.  It is, nowadays, very beneficial to embrace the idea of: hire interior designer.

Designing the Office Renovation for Startups

By Blog, Renovation Resources

When engaging in office renovation for startups, different factors come in to play than in other fields of design.  Not only does the startup sector come with different needs in office space, it also demands an entirely different business model.  Success in this sector relies on meeting demands in both of these area.  According to one design company,

“The industry standard is to take almost every client over budget … (our) whole idea is that when you’re not working on commission, your incentive is to get the best deal for your client.”

A pricing model that lets businesses know what they are paying for and holds to a contract’s time and rate guarantees presents an attractive option for startups.  Because their design space can be so novel, a transparent contract becomes almost necessary to acquiring startup business.

The design for a startup can be almost oppositional to a traditional work space.  Often times, designs try to mimic a home-like environment in order to encourage employees to spend as much time at work as possible.  This doesn’t necessarily focus on the traditional types of work space such as desks and office units, instead incorporating relaxing environments.  It’s not atypical to see a design incorporate couches, rest space, and music rooms into the structure of an office.

In terms of work space, designs usually take into account the group work nature of the modern startup.  Meeting and breakout rooms form the bones of the office, but can also be accompanied by large living-type rooms and drink bars for socializing.  The latest craze is inserting hidden rooms behind bookcases or closets for resting.

In the competition for the most qualified employees, office design can swing the weight in the favor of ‘cool’ office space.  Combined with a straightforward pricing model, design companies have the key to recruiting the modern startup.

To learn more about designing for startups, contact us.

Eco-Friendly Interior Design: Tips & Tricks Before You Meet with a Green Designer!

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Eco-friendly, also known as “green,” interior design is an emerging interior design trend that takes the environmental impact of the redesign into account. As more people become conscious of their so-called “carbon footprint,” eco-friendly/green design is becoming more popular. So, what are some things you should keep in mind before you meet with your green interior designer?

  • Think of some things you can “upcycle,” or re-use in a different way. For example, do you want your interior designer to redesign your couch? Some cotton fabric processes can be toxic, so if you have an old set of curtains that could be put to good use, turn them over to your interior designer to have them re-dyed and re-hemmed to fit the couch!
  • Your floor will, most likely, be the first thing that has to get an overhaul. This is especially true if you have carpeting, which is a harbinger for diseases and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Some “green” flooring options include, but are not limited to, reclaimed wood, bamboo, and cork. You can also get an area rug for these new floors made of hemp or wool, which is much more environmentally friendly than wall-to-wall cotton carpeting.
  • Whenever possible, shop locally. Even though you may think you’re paying more for local materials, the reality is, you’re saving money — and the planet — by not paying for transportation costs, such as fuel and oil.

openUU is an interdisciplinary design studio founded in 2011. We encourage people to create within our unique space, and we can even integrate “green design” into the space that works for you. For more information about us and our services, contact us today.

Revolutionize Your Bathroom Renovation

By Blog, Renovation Resources

Your bathroom renovation should be as essential as any other area of your living space. You will discover that there are particulars you may not have considered, yet will make substantial differences.


The traditional seat height has been 15 inches until a few years ago. Now, the trendy “comfort height” of 17-19 inches is all the talk about toilets. You do not have to conform to trends, do what is comfortable for you. The same goes with oblong seats vs round seats. Take into consideration that oblong will take up more space, and are generally a little more in price. For additional information, glance over this quick about home article that reviews what to take into account while toilet shopping.

To Tile or Not to Tile…

Tiling is a great investment that lends itself to creativity with no boundaries. When it comes to the specifics of what sort of tile to use, what size tile to use or how to interchange multiple styles and sizes, you can use a few different resources. Browsing the web is always a convenient resource, such as Daletile’s visualizer, which includes various unique layouts to play with. But going to your local remodeling stores or consulting with an interior designer will prove more useful. Your remodeling stores will have displays that incorporate combinations that can assist with ideas you already have. You can also get an idea of the textures, durability and the endless styles and colors.

If cost is getting away from you, discuss options with the retailer. Incorporating larger tile into the project can be more cost efficient, while still accenting with more detailed trims or backsplashes. If you feel the need to get a glimpse now, here’s an article that explores floor-to-ceiling tile looks, with a few tips and suggestions.


If the vanity is part of the renovation, consider whether you can repurpose it. This will save on cost and allow finances to be distributed elsewhere. This can depend on how you are showcasing your renovation, in essence to how much of a “wow” factor the bathroom tends to be. If you have an interior designer and carpenter, discuss this option with them. A carpenter can fix up or add onto an existing vanity, or make a new one.

Light it Up!

Lighting is everything, everywhere you go! It sets a mood, it provides for functionality and it adds to design and cohesiveness of the area. Take advantage of any natural light you can utilize, but also “layer” lighting. Lumens has some quick technicality lighting suggestions, while HGTV provides “13 Dreamy Bathroom Lighting Ideas.” Lighting options are extensive, with prices starting at under $100 at larger retailers such as Lowes, and ranging through the hundreds and thousands for more sophisticated and original styles. Again, consult with an interior designer to get the most out of your lighting needs, while still staying creative.


Discover the look you desire, in addition to the functionality you have room for and strive for. The assistance of our professional interior designers can ultimately provide you with the most cost-effective approach while getting what you want out of your renovation. Contact us today to maximize your space and budget.

Open Concept Office Renovation: Is It Right for Your Office?

By Blog, Renovation Resources

One of the most popular trends in both home and office renovations is the so-called “open concept.” From HGTV shows to McMansions, from Fortune 500 companies to small mom-and-pop shops, contractors are knocking down walls to create an open space that everyone can enjoy.

But is this “open concept” the right renovation for your office? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the open concept office renovation:

The Pros of Open Concept

  • It’s keeping with the current office environment trends. According to Ken Wilson, a principle architect at Perkins & Will architectural firm, the office culture of the 21st Century focuses less on managerial hierarchy and more on collaboration. With an open concept office renovation, the spirit of collaboration will be encouraged.
  • It’s less expensive to build & furnish. How difficult is it, really, to knock down some walls and put in some big tables? This is especially beneficial for smaller, mom-and-pop type offices that have a limited budget.

The Cons of Open Concept

  • It doesn’t work for every office environment. Some studies suggest that productivity actually decreases in open-concept office environments, because of the noise factor. In addition, these same studies suggest that older, and more introverted, employees prefer to work in a private space, and could actually be deterred from working in an open concept office.
  • The aforementioned noise factor is a concern. When you’re undertaking an open concept office renovation, you need to incorporate “quiet pods” and other private spaces for employees to go into as they need them.

We can help you with your open concept office renovation. Contact us today for a quote and a consultation.

How to Style Your Home’s Interior Design for Long-term Use

By Blog, Renovation Resources

When you want to update your home decor, you may be tempted to jump in and redesign for the current trends and your most recent preferences. However, if you’re looking to stay in your living space for a while, and get the most return on your efforts, you’ll want to upgrade your interior design to get the best long-term investment. Follow these time-tested tips to create a space that will become a long-term haven:

  • Vary dimensions. Create a room with flow, one that keeps the eye moving naturally through the space. To do this, you must be aware of the size and shape of your furnishings; they can’t all be the same. Be sure to have a variety of heights and shapes to your lamps, photos, and more, while sticking to a complementary color/design theme to tie the look together. The varying heights and shapes will create negative space (the area where there’s no embellishment), which is just as important as the areas where you add decor: it will keep from cluttering your room and keep focus on the important design aspects. Being aware of your decor dimensions and heights will create a cohesive, but visually intriguing, look that you’ll never grow tired of.
  • Display embellishments and unique decor in arrangements. Your brightly colored accessories and small decor items shouldn’t be scattered throughout your room; what you may not realize is that similar small items and colors will look best grouped together. For a timeless layout, group similar pieces together to create one dynamic display area. If you haven’t heard the “rule of thirds,” consider this: items will appear balanced and appealing in odd numbers. Group your light-hued candles in one spot on a side table, or place three small photo frames together on a shelf.
  • Create focal points. Each room should be anchored by a focal point to draw the eye immediately in right away; use your statement furniture as the center of the room to design around, or, if in an open-concept floor plan, define your spaces by creating a layout originating from your chosen focal point (or decor item). Typically, in a segmented room, your focal point will be across from the entry, so consider hanging a stunning piece of artwork on the wall, or placing your statement furniture at that end of the room.
  • Design for light. Lighting can make or break a room. Choose the level of lighting and ambiance that you want for each room in advance, and move forward with your lighting choices from there. Natural light is a widely appealing feature, so in rooms with plenty, create a layout for maximum exposure, seating, and views of the light. In other rooms, experiment with layering lamps to vary your decor heights, and to provide multiple options for actual room usage. In living rooms, for example, you’ll want to have various heights of lamps (floors, tables, side-tables), to light the majority of the room while allowing for reading or enjoyment in a variety of ways. Use chandeliers or hanging lights to point to your focal pieces, and watch as your space becomes a classically enjoyable interior.
  • Decorate for your personality. No matter what, you’ll want to love your space. Do you have a photograph you love? A statement piece that speaks to you? Include it! You’ll need an inspiration and mood for each room, so design for your own style and life preferences (for example–inspiration: an exotic elephant statue; mood: worldly, whimsical).

For more expert tips on home interior design and renovations, contact us today.

Bathroom Renovations: What You Should Consider When Getting Started

By Blog, Renovation Resources

If you’re a business owner, or looking to upgrade your residential space, a bathroom renovation can be an involved–but highly necessary–project. With some prep work, a quick checklist, and an understanding of the time and money this will truly take, you’ll be able to plan and update your bathrooms in the way you want!

For homeowners, the average budget for bathroom renovations in 2015 was just over $9,000. The high-end spend was around $20,000 (be aware that for a large, extensive bathroom upgrade, especially for a commercial space, this number could rise even higher). As a rough estimate for your needs, you can begin with $175 to $225 per square foot, as approximated by a principal at Collaborative Design Architects. With these calculations, note that if you plan to be very thrifty and save, your cost may run closer to $100 per square foot–and if you plan to replace counters, floors, tub, and more with extremely high-end materials (the works), you could be looking at over $300 per square foot.

Compare these numbers to your project’s size and scope, and estimate from there to begin to develop a budget.

For time frame, you should be aware that bathroom remodels can take anywhere from one week (for a fast, efficient, and round-the-clock team) to six weeks. This will depend on your contractor and your efficiency in getting set up, so determine what factors you’ll be working with in your situation to assess.

As you go further, think through the details that will make differences for your time and budget:

Materials. Your budget will greatly depend on the materials you use. If you’re going for a luxury look, natural materials for walls and counters, like granite, marble, or teak will impress, but may run your expenses up. For a budget-friendly option, look to materials like laminate for your countertops, to upgrade lightly.

Contractors. Before you choose a contractor, be sure to know your options and do your research; carefully check your contractor’s references to be sure you’ll be getting the best return on your investment. Talk to at least three different contractors to assess a baseline budget, and to see where each falls. Consider, also, the flexibility of your contractor. Will he or she be able to work the hours you need in order to finish your renovation on time? Are you more flexible, and able to work with a longer timeline if it means a smaller budget?

If you plan ahead and know what your non-negotiables are–and what you can be open on–you’ll have the bathroom upgrade of your dreams in a smooth, simpler process. For more information on renovations and redesigns, contact us today.