Paula McDonald featured in “Aspire Metro Magazine”


10 Things You Need to Know Before Renovating Your Kitchen or Bath

By ASPIRE Metro magazine on February 26, 2016

10 Things You Need to Know Before Renovating Your Kitchen or Bath

Designer Paula McDonald of Paula McDonald Design Build & Interiors shares her remodeling expertise with ASPIRE Metro.

  1. The process – in Manhattan.
    The red tape is real, but being in the right hands is what matters! The Building, Building Management, and type of ownership (Co-op vs. Condo vs. Brownstone) changes how you get things done as well as the Building approval needed before you pull permits you need to start construction.
  2. Planning/Technical Fillings/Approvals/Permits.
    Planning is everything, and in Manhattan, it’s a maze of choices to finally get to the point of starting construction. This can take 4 months or more before you can begin something. There are different business models as well, different hats worn for architecture, interior design and construction. What suits your needs? We integrate all the parts required as experts from beginning to end from design/architecture/expediting and filing for approvals and permits/construction and interiors. They all need to be present and accounted for to create extraordinary spaces, in the most expeditious way possible.
  3. Define your must haves, likes and dislikes.
    Space or lack of space in Manhattan drives it all. Your wish list will be challenged by the size of your kitchen or bath and knowing that these basic things are required. Where do you hide the microwave? Are you willing to consider small appliance sizes if your galley kitchen is less than 8 feet long? Small spaces are far more difficult and challenging than any other to design and build.
  4. What finishes, materials and design styles do you want?
    It is critical to become knowledgeable with design styles, and materials you might consider. Researching tools online are a fabulous source for the beginning. Also Houzz, Remodelista, Apartment Therapy and others, help focus your preferences as well as the shelter publications. You’ll need that list to facilitate working with expert. We work with our clients to educate and resource this information in the market to make it as easy, as it is fun!
  5. What’s in a well designed/built kitchen?
    A design plan and installation that transcends the “plan” but delivers the functional need and changes required to the existing structure and more!! A well designed/built kitchen is a transformation of the space that requires, in a contemporary design, less to become more. Ultimately the kitchen is as practical and perfect as it can be for the client’s lifestyle, it’s beautiful, and integrated architecturally with the overall space. Every detail is carefully crafted into the end result. The impact of the overall design should transcend the details, including light, color and texture of the space in a way that is cohesive with the spatial integration of the kitchen in the residence.
  6. What’s in a well designed/built bathroom?
    As with kitchens, the devil is in the details. I think there is a simplicity in our current designs that is really difficult to achieve. With space being the largest constraint in most Manhattan residences, storage becomes a critical element as does function. Achieving the “spa” quality of design and feeling for any size bathroom is the key. It’s a tiny oasis to cleanse the spirit, and the goal is to create the environment for being pampered and soothed in the tiniest of bathrooms. Achieving that is THE well designed/built bathroom for us.
  7. Budget and reality.
    You certainly need to research and check references of your selected professionals, and be sure you are comparing apples to apples. The Design Build (our model) is a comprehensive model integrating the various components into one whole. Design fees, Architectural fees, expediting fees, project management and construction contracts are all inclusive. Design Build is different than the traditional process, which requires different parties/contractors and separate management by the client (not integrated).
  8. What few things every kitchen and bath needs?
    Fresh design, timeless sensibilities, integrating smart technologies, creating a key focal point, and connectivity – viscerally and emotionally.
  9. Appliances.
    It’s the most important decision to see what you select in person. Go to the showrooms, and do not rely on online alone. Knowledge from the expert is key here.
  10. Other important points.
    Interior Design Planning and Color Consultations are also key.

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