Remembering Laurie Fraser

She had the most beautiful sparkly eyes.

This is what I remember the most about Laurie. We met at a workshop for the NCIDQ (National Council of Interior Design Qualification) exam. Since we lived close to each other, we became study buddies and we attended trade events together. 

Laurie loved cooking and had prepared delicious meals for us a few times. I would bring tea and/or desserts to share. Interior design brought us together, and food bonded us. 

I will always remember her impeccable style and bright laughs. 

2017 WestWeek – PDC

[Guest Post] Creating a Home Office in the Smallest of Spaces

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Creating a Home Office in the Smallest of Spaces

People are increasingly looking to incorporate an office space within their homes. It may be because their job calls for it or as a way to get the kids to knuckle down to do their homework. Whatever your reason may be, here are some ideas if you’re looking to do the same but only have a small space to work with.

Is It a Shelf, or Is It a Desk?

It can be both. If you have limited space, placing a shelf, preferably streamlined and curved for aesthetic value, under a window is an excellent way of creating a workspace. Add some paint on the wall the width of your desk/shelf to define your workspace, and as it’s by the window, you can place an indoor plant on it, such as a jade plant that thrives in the San Fernando sunshine.

Utilize Every Inch of Space

When creating a home office in a small space, your wall is your best friend. You can make your walls pull double duty by attaching a storage unit with fold-down compartments to save space and provide ample room for a desk and storage. Best of all, when you’ve finished your work, you can fold the unit against the wall.

Hidden Office Space

When is an office not an office? When you can’t see it. Concealing your desk inside a cupboard is an excellent way to help maintain a healthy home/work-life balance. Transform an old or unused cabinet by putting in shelving for storage and a board on runners for a keyboard if you use a PC. Being able to close the door on your place of work at the end of the day makes it easier to switch off. 

Planning and Budgeting for Your Home Office

Make the best use of your space by creating a floor plan. As your home office plans come together, determine which jobs you can do yourself and which require professional services. You can save money by using things you already have around the house. Maybe you have some old pictures in the basement that may look great above your desk, or perhaps you can repurpose an old comfortable chair for use as your desk chair.

Sprucing Up Home Furniture 

If you have clients visiting your home office, you want to impress them, so if any of your furniture has stains that don’t respond to conventional cleaning products, contact an upholstery cleaner. Consult online reviews using sites like Angi before getting a quote and discussing your needs. Once you’ve narrowed the options down to a few companies, insist on several referrals from satisfied customers, and avoid working with cleaners who use all-in-one cleaning tools. In addition, when creating a home office, keep receipts and take before-and-after photos to help quantify your home’s increase in value, particularly important if you’re planning on selling anytime soon.

No Matter How Small

With the right ideas, planning, and budgeting, you can make a space for an office in any room, no matter how small. All you need is a work surface, a comfortable place to sit, and somewhere to store your office supplies.

Guest Author: Alice Robertson

Alice Robertson began her career in the home organization industry as a professional house cleaner. After cleaning and organizing her clients’ homes for years, she decided to open her own home organization business. Over the years, she has built an impressive client list, helping to make spaces in homes and businesses more functional. She recently created as a place to share the great cleaning and organizing advice she has developed over the years.

Design Horror Stories: Working Outside Their Specialties

Designers often have a strong desire to solve problems for their clients. However, instead of consulting experts, some attempt to perform the tasks themselves. You can find contractors and installers playing designer or interior designers playing architect.  

A well-known kitchen designer claimed to have knowledge of architecture. She only measured and put on plans the portions of the building that was to be worked on. She would refer me for producing drawings to obtain building permits. Every single time, I found architectural issues in her design due to the adjacent areas not being considered. Once she was moving a door over the existing under-floor access. Another time I found her new window conflicted with the pipes on the exterior wall. The worst was when she was removing 20 feet of a wall that supports the exterior wall of the upper level. In addition, clients were often not thrilled to find out they had to pay additional for drawings required for building permits. Especially after they had paid a significant amount towards her kitchen design. This designer supposedly charges a high design fee. 

When I was a Kitchen and Bath Designer at a retail store, we often had customers bringing in architectural plans for a cabinet quote. A good portion of these plans of new homes had ill-planned kitchens. It was tricky to tell the customers the designs need to be reworked without throwing their designers/architects under the bus. Kitchen and bath design is not difficult, but there are a lot of details to pay attention to. 

The most common mistake, in my opinion, is hiring someone who can work drafting programs to design and create plans for construction projects. One does not need to be an architect to design homes. However, it is necessary to have architectural education and training, drafting skills and experience, and understanding of building codes and regulations. 

Building projects today can be complex and require multiple experts. A good designer should act as a project coordinator and inform clients at the beginning of the projects what consultants are needed. Clients should understand nobody can know everything. Any professional is happy to provide proof of their expertise and answer questions.   

Design Horror Stories

In the design and building industry, trade professionals often talk about bad clients. However, we seem to avoid discussing behaviors of our colleagues and teammates we find horrifying. I feel it is important to reveal these “horror stories” so we can all improve. 

I will start writing a new series sharing stories from my personal experience. I do not intend to attack my colleagues. My theory is, if we are more aware of possible issues, we can create a better project experience for our clients and teammates.