Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Susan Serra Consultation Notes

As I mentioned yesterday I had a half an hour phone consultation with Susan Serra about my kitchen. The process was incredibly simple and very informative.

The first step was emailing Susan and letting her know that I was interested in retaining her services. Next, she emailed me and told me what she needed and then said that she would need a few days to look over the photos and would email me back and tell me when she was free.

I took about 25 photos of the kitchen and the rooms around it per her instruction and then waited for my email. In the email she instructed me to make a payment for her services via Pay pal and then gave me a few times she was available.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Keeping Room/Eating Area

As I was 95% sure of my choices, I only needed a half hour and it was worth it to speak with Susan because she really takes the time to look at each photo, to get a feel for how you live, and she asks many questions about the following:

*Budget! The number one question.
* How do you want to spend your budget?
* How do you live? Gourmet cooks? Baker?
* Changing Appliances?
* What are the surrounding rooms to the kitchen?
* What color paint do you have in the room and around it?
* Furniture in the room and surrounding areas?
* Floor choices?
*What you are trying to achieve? Statement kitchen? Family kitchen? Main room of the house?
* She discussed materials, where to get them, how to save money, spending your budget on what is important to you, and why your budget is the number one thing! For instance if you are a gourmet cook than appliances is where a great part of your budget goes.

My plan for the kitchen:

* White or off white Cabinetry
* Brushed nickel hardware
* Possible Farm Sink or other sink
*Mahogany Top for the island
*Subway tile back splash
* Change Faucet
*Granite or soap stone on remainder of counters
* Refinish Floors

In my case I had let her know that we were thinking of having the cabinets painted white or off white? She gave me a list of paint colors and manufacturers. She also quizzed me on if we had children, pets, and  how  we were going to use the space. She told me that cabinets and the color is important for how you live, and that in her experience white is hard to keep clean with kids and pets, and she would know because she mentioned that at one point she had white cabinets with small children.

The next step was to discuss the floors. As I mentioned we had some damage to our floors from a Nor'easter. Because the damage was extensive in the kitchen area we needed to have the  floors in the entire downstairs of the house refinished. In addition to the floors we have two staircases which are hardwood, so it was a huge undertaking for refinishing  and it was also going to be expensive ( It was like moving, we had to remove everything from the house, the walls, etc).

Initially we were going to change the color and go a little darker. Our problem was that although we wanted to change the color to something a little darker, our insurance company was not going to pay for the staircases and it was an extra $3000.00 to have the staircases done and honestly we just did not want to spend the money for that.

To make a long story short I loved the fact that Susan agreed with me that the expense was unnecessary, and that the color we have is classic and would be fine. (Nice to know one is not making a mistake and being a cheapskate).

I mentioned that I loved Christopher Peacock but did not want marble and she suggested several choices in granite to get that look. She took the time to explain in detail the pros and cons of each product and if it is suitable to our lifestyle.

I told Susan that  I wanted Subway tiles, and asked her if she thought they were still classic or overdone? She told me that yes, Subway tiles seem to be everywhere but that they are classic and that I could use them but then mix it up and have a more modern look in the way we had them installed.Then she told me where I could get some that are handmade if I wanted to have something a little different that the standard ones from the big box stores.

Next, she asked about me about rugs, and the furniture we have in the room what sort of finishes we have and how to uses fabric and rugs to change the look of the space and add character and to soften all of the wood tones.

I won't go into all of the details but I will tell you again, for me it was worth the money. As I picked the finishes and products I wanted some reassurances that I was not going to be dating my property or making design mistakes. In the end I ended up talking to her for about 45 minutes, and she told me I could email her at a later date if I had more questions.

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