Aug 07, 2019 | Carpet One Floor & Home
When our design studio was asked to collaborate on a lake home, we were all-in. After all, whole-home interior design and product management is what we are here for. For this project, our clients had established the majority of their design intent with their architect, and we were to be handed the baton to take off with finishes and furnishings to complete this gorgeous lake cottage.
At our first few meetings with the owners, we spent a majority of our time defining the types of users and timeline of how the home will be utilized. Through this dialogue, we learned this lake home was to be a final retirement home for the owners to enjoy along with their grown children and their spouses as well as grandchildren.
In many scenarios, we find owners wanting to downsize their retirement homes without realizing how their grown children’s families will fill the home later on. This family placed a large emphasis on creating a space for their grandchildren to ensure the home would be friendly for little ones during each phase of child-rearing. We came to understand a few main goals of the space:
• Create an entertainment space for family and guests.
• Provide a private space on the lower level for the owners’ grown children and grandchildren.
• Make the home grandchildren-friendly and plan for future growing families.
• Provide a private space on the main level for the owners while keeping in mind aging-in-place design features.
• Use low-maintenance finishes that will withstand the traffic of multiple families and guests.
With the help of the clients’ architecture firm, we laid out a lower-level bar that tied seamlessly into the exterior patio bar, allowing plenty of room to entertain. The bar also provided a space for preparing snacks or warming bottles for the grandchildren. We also assisted in laying out a series of bunk beds in the loft for the little ones to use as they grow older, allowing plenty of extra sleeping and playing space.
The main-floor master bathroom was designed to house a custom tile shower and walk-in therapeutic jetted bathtub. We integrated the tile design in the shower with the bathtub surround to bring the beautiful mosaic marble farther out into the room. The mosaic happens to be the same tile used in the kitchen backsplash—again, tying the finishes together throughout the home.
A natural outcome of the design intent dialogue is to form a budget. The dialogue may not necessarily produce a number but rather an intention—an intention to spend money on certain focal points or high-quality finishes and to spend less money on other areas. We helped weigh these scenarios with the owners and landed on a few cost intentions:
1. A high-performing wood look for the main flooring throughout the home, using a material that is able to withstand sandy feet from the beach and plenty of foot traffic.
2. High-performing painted cabinetry with an easily cleanable surface because painted cabinetry has a slightly more delicate surface.
3. Color accents that carried some of the color throughout.
After our initial meetings, we moved onto the product and research portion of the design phase. This is where finishes are pulled, design palettes are formed, and the interior finishes are dreamed up. As a Carpet One Floor and Home retailer, our expansive showroom and extensive product knowledge make this process easy. We understand what price points we should stay around for larger purchases, such as the main floor covering and cabinetry brand or construction.
Our clients appreciate our showroom options, meaning we can design and then shop at our own showroom. This saves them time searching multiple locations and obtaining multiple bids. At our showroom, we can control the design intent and price shop our own product offering. The design is never sacrificed, but the product price point can be tweaked to ensure the clients are getting everything they need at a price that works for them.
For this project, we chose a Carpet One LVT, knowing it would give us the perfect soft cottage wood look but perform for the owners’ high-traffic demands, all while staying within budget.
The cabinetry was fully customized for this project but without the custom costs. The cabinets have a substantial ⅝-inch furniture-board construction, which provides plenty of strength without the higher costs of plywood construction along with a factory paint surface.
Countertop choices gravitated toward a quartz product, which again allowed us to keep costs in check but provide an easily maintained surface. The exception on the man-made quartz countertops was the outside bar surface, for which we chose a natural quartzite so the sunlight would not affect any resins that make up the body of a manufactured quartz material.
Included in our planning and pricing phase is producing cabinetry drawings and 3-D computer renderings and finishing inspiration boards and sketches of tile and flooring installation. We gather all these details and bring the owners back into the showroom to present all the ideas. The presentation also includes our written scope of work, which details the initial pricing and, usually, a few a la carte pricing options.
During this lake cottage design planning phase, our clients trusted that their team would not lead them astray from some fun finishes, so we didn’t hold back. We landed on a few main finishes with a bold pop of a custom navy-blue pantry wall.
Our design process differs slightly in that we have our more than 10,000-square-foot showroom at our fingertips. We can easily research, source, order, and install any interior finish. This makes our projects much less stressful on the clients and their builder; we are their only contact for all finishes and installation.
Once final designs and pricing are agreed on and paperwork is signed, products are ordered, installation drawings are refined, and installation schedules are prepared. Plenty of site visits happen during this phase, when we take final measurements as well as meet with our installers to review final details.
This phase of project management also shifts our focus from the clients to the installers as we step into the project management portion of our work. We take care of all the phone calls and last-minute questions so our clients can focus on their own work and families and leave their project in our hands. We coordinate deliveries and installation to ensure tradespeople are not working on top of one another so that the project flows seamlessly. We thrive on this dance of product installation, and we know that, when all the interior finishes come from one location coordinated with one designer, the installation is much easier on the clients and the contractors.
At the conclusion of the product installation, we meet with the owners and contractors on-site to do a final walkthrough. This is when we hand the owners their final care and maintenance packet. We go over warranties and explain some basic cabinetry adjustments should they need them. This day is so exciting because the clients often gush about the final outcome and how our team performed for them, which is always rewarding to hear!
I never say a final goodbye to my clients at the last walkthrough appointment. I enjoy my clients so much and get to know their families intimately. I usually see them in town or on the lake or contact them to say congrats on a new grandbaby. That is what makes my projects so enjoyable—the relationships formed during the design and construction process.
Rebecca K. Knutson is the principal interior designer and design studio manager for Floor to Ceiling Carpet One in Fargo, North Dakota. She has fourteen years of experience in the construction industry designing both residential homes and commercial spaces. Rebecca thrives on the complexity of project-managing all aspects of design and construction, from lighting to cabinetry and tile installation and enjoys tackling these multilayer projects alongside her design studio and sales teammates.@FTCC1_Fargo