Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Prep Work

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much, but honestly not much has been going on around here. The hubby and I are sort of in this limbo phase right now while we wait for the house plans to be finalized. Once that's done, we will have to apply for permits, and then once that's done, we apply for financing. It's a long process, and if I had half a brain, I would have started this back in the summer.

Anyhoo, I thought it might be interesting to talk about the prep work the hubby and I had to do to get to this point. I don't know if many of you have worked with a designer before, but this is my first time, and I find it all kinda fascinating. The first thing you need to do is to figure out your own personal sense of style. It took our friends Lance and Will a long time to understand what they really wanted when they first went in to renovate their house. Being boys, they'd never really given much thought to design, so they wound up going to several show rooms and furniture stores just trying to see what appealed to them. Hubby and I were a bit ahead of the game on this because I have subscribed to Country Living/Country Home since I've been married. I already knew that I loved the American Country look, and I particularly loved the old fashioned appeal of old houses- so that definitely gave us a jumping off point.

Once you know what your style is, you have to find a way to get that across to your designer. Now, we had a leg up because our designer is a good friend who has been coming over to our house for years. Karen was very familiar with our taste and always managed to give us the perfect gifts- so I knew she would "get" what we were going for with the new house. Still, there was plenty more work to be done. I went through about 5 years of back issues of my magazines, cutting out anything and everything that looked good to me (floors, kitchens, cabinets, sinks, furniture, colors, etc). I also went through several design books and did the same thing (well, I scanned the books and printed the pages out). I took all these cut outs and pasted them onto paper, and put them in a huge binder divided up into sections (kitchen, bathroom, living room, misc, etc) and then gave that to Karen. The scrapbook is a great reference tool for both of us and once the renovation is finished it will be a great souvenir and "dream book".

But wait- there's more! Not only do you need to scrapbook the new ideas for the house, you also need to catalog what you already have. Hubby and I went around and took pictures and measurements of everything we knew we wanted to keep (furniture, electronics, wall decorations, rugs, etc) and "scrapbooked" those up as well. This will really help Karen when she sits down to design the rooms. She'll have a quick reference of all of our stuff, and it will make it a lot easier for her to work it into the overall design.

I'm not gonna lie, the scrapbooking process was a lot work, but it was "fun" work. It's very cool to look through those books and dream about what your house could be. I also learned some interesting things about myself that I didn't really know before:

- Keeping this house as historically accurate as possible is more important to me than I thought.
- While I have traditionally gravitated towards more of a country/primitive look, my eye kept going to more of an Arts and Crafts/Bungalow style.
- I'm way more girly than I thought, and I like little romantic touches in the home (like frothly little candle sconces).

I know that all the work that Hubby and I did up front to make the scrapbook is going to make the renovation process smoother and it will definitely pay off in the long run. So, if you have any plans to renovate your house, why not start your own scrapbook today? I promise you'll be glad you did it!

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