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How fancy do you want your cake frosting?

It is not the size of a home or the stuff in the home that matters. What really matters it how the space is used, and if the “stuff” has meaning, importance, or serves a purpose. People often get caught up in making homes bigger than they need. Typically homeowners want more than their budget can afford and size does have an impact on budget. Budget defines scope, and scope defines costs.

When construction estimates come in that homeowners think are high it does not mean a contractor is overcharging, it means that certain elements of remodeling and construction are going to cost what they cost and it has be accepted. Let’s use the analogy of making a cake from scratch. The ingredients to make the cake are pretty similar. However, if you choose to use all organic ingredients the price is going to be higher. But the time to make the cake is going to be the same. Meaning building the frame and foundation of a home or addition is going to cost typically the about the same for all contractors.

The next cost factor and price variation is the icing you put on that cake. The icing is the level of finish and material choices: siding, the roof, the windows, trim, finishes, and level of quality for fixtures, finishes, and cabinets. The icing varies because you can use organic butter or cheap Crisco as the basis of the decoration. The butter is going to taste better and be more expensive. If layers of beautiful icing details are incorporated, it takes more time, more materials, and adds to the budget. It takes skilled and experienced bakers to create beautiful fancy cake decoration. This means that the higher-end levels of details will costs more.

Often overlooked in the cake baking process is cost of the front of the house, the person that takes your order, the person that creates your quote, the person that designs the cake just for your special occasion, and then the person that makes sure your cake is made and delivered on time and within your budget. This is part of management and design that is important of the whole experience. Working with an organized and professional baker will make your cake buying experience delightful. On the day of the party or special event you want your cake to be perfect and to share it with the people you love. This analogy well explains the home design, remodeling and construction process.

Does more fancy icing details make the cake taste or function better? No, but it looks more beautiful and pleasing to the eye. Do the fancy details make you feel better about the cake? Probably not. How much fancy icing do you need to make you feel good about the cake, or to be happy with the cake? Find out during the design process so you can create a cake that is uniquely yours.

You should love your home and be happy there. You may be able to love your home with less fancy icing if you plan and design it well. I help you choose the icing details so that your home is ready for your big event, your life, so you can enjoy it and share it with the people in your life.

Invest in your home, invest in your life. Improve your home, improve your life.

Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. Visit her website for contact info.

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