architects based on the past work they have done; their design
style is just as important as their experience and knowledge.
Above all, “understand your goals and your budget, and
then communicate those desires,” she says. “A good architect
is a good listener, and only when the client has outlined his or
her issues can an architect address them and translate those
wishes into great architecture.”
THE INTERIOR DESIGNER
If Tiburon interior designer Ruth Livingston has her way,
interior designers are working with a client at the very beginning of a remodeling project. “The interior designer will focus
on how the clients live in their space, what activities are taking place and what their specific needs are,” she says. “This
input leads to where the furniture will be placed, which is
valuable input for the architect in choosing the location
for doors and windows.” An avid card player, for instance,
“would need a card table, which may be located near a window, which would determine the window size and height and
subsequently the lighting that would need to be placed over
that table.” For clients who watch a lot of videos or TV, a living
room remodel should account for glare.
A common challenge for couples in a remodel is negotiat-
ing different design aesthetics. Perhaps he loves the feel of a
great Eichler, and she feels more at home in a rustic Stinson
cottage. “It’s important to include everyone’s wishes in the
design concept,” Livingston says, “and one way to do this is to
allocate one room to a spouse that will be completely different
from the rest of the house, but will represent that person’s
own style and be his or her own retreat.”
Technology like CAD virtual programs allows designers to
show what a remodeled space will look like before any work is
done. “It can help clients see how their spaces would look with
different details and different color schemes,” Livingston says.
Whether you’re doing a one-room overhaul or a yearlong
transformation, experts agree, planning early and choosing
an appropriately experienced design team is key. Do your
homework, and you’ll be more than pleased in the end —
happy when it’s over, happy with the results. M
For complete home renovation listings searchable by city
and category, visit marinmagazine.com/homerenovation.
It’s important to ask for eferences and even go on a house tour to see some of the contractor’s past projects.