I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing people, and have helped bring their their dream homes to life. During this process, I find that even some of my most prepared clients haven’t considered what their overall project priorities are beforehand.
The four major factors that drive every project are SCOPE (the size of the project and amount of spaces being touched), BUDGET (cheap), QUALITY (good) and TIMELINE (fast). This idea is also referred to as the “Golden Triangle of Project Management.” It’s important to consider all four of these and to understand that it’s very possible to have at least two, but not all four. Yes, you read that right, you can’t have them all. The Struggle is real, but it doesn’t have to be hard if you know what to expect.
For example, let’s say you would love to have a large addition added to the back of your home to increase the size of the kitchen and great room, plus add a mudroom, laundry, and powder bath to the back. This design also allows for some space above the addition to be used for a kids loft space that would be a great bonus room! If you’re envisioning these spaces to look like photos you’ve seen on Instagram with inset cabinetry, beautiful applied molding details, countertop slab material wrapped up onto the full backsplash, herringbone wood floors, and a coffered ceiling detail, then I would assume quality materials, craftsmanship, and finish details are also important to you. If this is true, your timeline or schedule will take a bit longer to allow for quality trades people to incorporate these types of details into the project. It will also cost more money which makes the budget suffer. If the budget is lowest on your list out of the 4 factors then there’s no problem - we’re off to the races!
Let’s say this very same scenario is what you’re wanting, but the budget is very high on your priority list. Let’s pretend you may be using a home loan, and there is a cap cost constraint. If budget is reining much higher, then the quality and incorporated details will need to be simplified in order to use more basic finishes and trades that are used to simple installations rather than tricky details that require more expertise. If you still can’t let go of some of those details you’ve been dreaming of, then we have to cut back on the scope in order to fit this project into your budget. That’s when we might suggest we cut the loft bonus space out of the scope, not touch the upstairs at all, and potentially add on less square footage.
These four factors are vital to understanding how best to serve our client’s by trying to align their practical goals with their design dreams. There is nothing worse than trying to serve someone who expects to have all four, but inevitably ends up disappointed because it wasn’t ever possible in the first place. One part of the diagram can never be changed without affecting at least one of the other three.
If you’d love to talk through these ideas with a designer or contractor to figure out how they apply to your personal goals, set up a consultation with us. We would love to help you figure out how to make the best decisions for YOU & YOUR project!
Have you recently been in the middle of a home project, placed an order and noticed that it’s taking what feels like an eternity for you to receive an email notification with these words “Your shipment has arrived. We will be in touch soon to schedule delivery”? We are living in unprecedented times and we are having to learn to adapt to lots of new changes.
Unfortunately, one of these ‘new changes’ is longer shipping lead times. Items that once took 8-10 weeks to ship, now could take from 18-26 weeks. I know it’s frustrating, but just know that this is something that’s happening with manufacturers all over the country, so you are not alone.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE DELAYS?
Most everyone is now aware there are issues in getting consumer products across virtually every category. Wealth and affluence have no leverage in getting products sooner. If you were unaware of the delays, you were still most likely impacted by them in some form. Even Amazon hasn’t been as predictable with 2-day shipping as they once were, and it’s not completely under their control.
There are many reasons behind the supply chain disruption, mostly Covid related, but not always. Let’s take a closer look.
#1 - Foam Shortage - The foam used for upholstery is currently being rationed due to the supply disruption. In late February this year, the major freeze that occurred in the Gulf Coast caused pipes to freeze that provided the chemicals required for flexible foam production. According to this article from Everchem, “Because foam is light and bulky, it is not efficient to ship very far to the various end-users such as furniture manufacturers, bedding, seating, and other customers. Consequently, the many foam plants are located close to the end-use markets and are spread around North America.”
#2 Textile Production Slowed - Many of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic are also regions that produce a significant amount of the textiles used in interiors including Asian countries Turkey, and India. Due to regional COVID “Stay-at-home” orders, some factories may be shut down at times stopping production.
#3 Shipping Container Gridlock - When factories came to a screeching halt, the flow of shipping containers did too. Containers that arrived in the Americas couldn’t be re-loaded and sent back to Asia. So containers began to pile up. Ports are overwhelmed and can’t keep up with the demand for manufactured goods. Manufacturers are having to wait weeks, if not months, for containers to ship their goods. In March of 2021, a 20,000 cargo ship became lodged in the Suez Canal, making matters worse
#4 Skilled Labor Shortage - In furniture manufacturing, there are specific techniques employed that can take years to master - such as upholstery techniques, sewing skills, pattern making, or spring tying. Furniture manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand for products when employees must quarantine or lose childcare. Many factories producing goods are also short-staffed, as well as labor for loading & unloading shipments.
#5 Wood Shortage - Lumber mills cut back production not anticipating the surge in demand that would come. Now, in a race to catch up on lumber production prices have soared. It is anticipated that prices will level off, but not likely to pre-pandemic levels. We are seeing some decreases in lumber prices, but other products such as hardware, tile, carpet, and lighting have all had price increases that are here to stay.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
How long we experience these delays is anyone’s guess. It’s likely we will continue to see the effects for years.
I encourage clients not to make compromises on quality or getting what you really want, just to save a few week’s time. In the grand scheme of things, we should be sourcing products that our clients will love for decades or even a lifetime. A few extra months, for quality pieces you’ll cherish, are surely worth the wait.
Have Perspective - We are all in this together. We are a globally interconnected web of people, products, and services. What are the things that really matter in the grand scheme of things?
Recognize Privilege - It is a tremendous privilege to be able to enjoy beautiful homes with nice things. When we recognize our privilege to work with an interior designer - and to be an interior designer - the experience will be delightful - not dreadful.
Extend Grace - The skilled workers, the port workers, the truckers, the textile weavers, the millworkers - are all the people who contribute to making our homes more beautiful. Many of these people are still living in communities ravaged by this pandemic and struggling to work and find childcare. Extending a little grace will help us all keep our heads on a little straighter.
This is not to say that the delays aren’t challenging. They most certainly are. But If you don’t laugh then you’ll cry. So we just keep doing our job… eventually the job will get done. I promise.
New Beginnings ...
Okay, so I have a confession to make. I’ve been hiding something from you guys and I’ve got to come clean. Last month, I started working on something new and I’m super excited to share it with you all. Kara Kersten Design officially has a new home. We have moved into our NEW STUDIO SPACE!!
We are located in the heart of downtown Overland Park, KS among other up and coming businesses and over the past few weeks, we have been transitioning into our office little by little. I’m happy to say that our new studio is beginning to feel more and more like home. We are still in the process of getting everything set up just right and very soon, you will be able to come visit us in our new home. Check out the photos below to get an exclusive sneak peek.
Laundry Room Spotlight
The laundry room is a space that is often overlooked but it, like the other frequently used spaces in your home can be designed to be functional and beautiful. The laundry room and the mudroom might be the hardest working spaces in the home besides the kitchen. Why not make them enjoyable to be in? I'm not implying we just make them pretty so we like to be in those spaces (although it doesn't hurt) I'm saying we plan them out specifically to make life easier, more efficient, and feel organized for your way of doing life because THAT definitely makes them enjoyable to be in!
This Laundry room was designed to have an open space in the corner below the countertop for the dog kennel to stay, a rod for hanging clothes that includes a gap for long items to hang, extra long drawers for items such as rolls of wrapping paper for gift/craft storage, and a tall storage closet to hide those things that just don't fit neatly somewhere like a plug-in vacuum & broom. The hunter green cabinetry, brass hardware, and octagon tile flooring are just the cherry on top!
Every year, my family and I host an Oktoberfest and this year was no different. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to dress in traditional German Oktoberfest attire, eat pretzels, drink bier, and enjoy friends. The best part is that the kids always love it. Check out a few of my favorite pictures from the event below.
I cannot believe that summer is officially over and fall is here. It’s already mid September, which means that we are just a few days into this new fall season.
With the onset of fall comes thoughts of bonfires, apple picking, fashion boots and scarves, fall leaves, cozy evenings by the fireplace, autumn breezes and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING!!
Screened-in porches, fire-pits & outdoor fireplace features, covered-patios with heating units, and cozy indoor bars with fireplace nooks for entertaining are the first of past projects that come to mind. These spaces are practical for enjoying year round, but are especially loved during this time of year.
If you, or a friend have been dreaming about your future indoor/outdoor space for cooler months of the year, please don’t hesitate to contact us to book your free 15 minute discovery call.
That being said, I wanted to share a couple of projects with you that capture the true essence of what it’s like to experience all the feels when sharing your home with loved ones during those brisk autumn afternoons or chilly autumn nights in spaces that were designed specifically with that idea in mind.
This outdoor space was inspired by nature and is ideal for enjoying time with family. The covered space is just perfect for watching the Chiefs big win, laughing over a great meal, or cozying up with a good book on the patio near the fire pit. This space doesn’t disappoint.
The homeowner wanted to be sure to extend the home’s entertaining abilities to the exterior while incorporating some of the notable interior architectural elements. Stained woods coupled with stone surfaces and warm tones offset the cool and calming presence of the pool. This space features a trellis above for filtered light, natural quartzite countertops, fireclay frost-resistant tile on the backsplash and tan/gray flagstone for durability on the patio floor.
This modern, outdoor space, features a covered deck that comes equipped with a grill, a fire table, and recessed heating units in the overhead cover, to keep you warm on those cooler nights. There is a solar shade that provides some relief from the sun when it’s too bright. The wood finishes and darker tones offer a modern twist and give the feeling of being in a treehouse. This elevated vantage point reveals picturesque views of the pool and lower level fire pit, accented by the warm tonal value of the changing fall leaves.
The homeowners really LOVE being outside and therefore desired a space that could be used year-round as much as possible without being separated from experiencing the outdoors by a wall. The overhead cover protects everyone enjoying the space from rain or snow during the cooler seasons, but also can offer shade in the warmer months, while the skylight feature provides additional natural lighting within the space. The heating elements make it the perfect place to enjoy a good movie and a glass of wine on a cooler fall evening.
This renovated space very much extends the usable square footage of the home and provides an ideal setting to be enjoyed during any season of the year.
From growing up at the farm:
My great grandmother, Alliene, and great-grandpa, "Poppy" John Davis, raised my grandma at our family farm near Drexel, MO. They have since passed, but the farm remains in our family. I grew up having Thanksgivings, Easter egg hunts, Fourth of July fireworks, and birthday celebrations here. My uncle has since converted an old hay barn into our "Party Barn", and we now bring our kids to enjoy the lower heart rate, and increased freedom they get to experience when you set foot here.
This was a savior during quarantine for us to feel like we had a remote escape with open fresh air. Do you have any favorite places your family escapes to in the fall?
Fall Family Gathering Idea
If you prefer to spend your evenings entertaining instead of reading alone, you can create an entertainment station. Grab all of your favorite board and card games, and add them to a wicker basket. Turn a small bar cart into a serving/snack station by adding your favorite fall snacks and beverages. Place the basket in the family room near the bar cart and you’re all set for an evening of fun with family and friends.
Helpful Tip: For adult game nights, consider adding wine and crackers to the bar cart or coffee and fall-themed cookies.
*** We're Digging this Bar Cart ***
Two solid olive ash box trays are set on a curved, cut-corner, brass metal frame
For more information or to purchase, please contact
Kara Kersten Design at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Client with a story...
When I first met my client, he told me about the history of his home, the family members that worked on it, built it, lived there, and cherished it. He told me about the memories he had as a kid, the parts of the home he wanted to honor, and the longevity he wanted to create with it for future family members to pass on to. This wasn't just a remodel intended for resale, or personal flair! This was a house that was truly a home, and it needed to remain that way.
It started as usual.
We started as we do on each project: with a schematic plan and options to discuss. Once we finalize a set layout, we move on to 3D drawings of key spaces and interior material selections. These drawings help the client visualize the space, and gain trust in us; that we will think through every detail and provide the needed information to make sure the contractor builds & finishes as intended.
It finished with more.
I could say this home project finished as usual, but I think I'd be selling it short. It ended with a thrilled homeowner excited to make the best of every penny spent. More importantly, he was determined to eventually pass it on for the next generations to enjoy, and preserve the historical significance it holds for his family.
EXTERIOR PLANTING DESIGN TIPS:
1. Tips for creating striking planting arrangements
If you've seen this before - it really is true:
ALWAYS GO BY THIS RULE FOR INTERESTING PLANTERS:
1. A thriller for height
2. A couple of fillers for color/texture
3. A spiller for drama/interest
My mom and grandma already basically did this before it was a "pinterest trend." I learned from them, so I guess that's a good thing that we already had the instinct to do this.
2. Colorful plants to add to your planters and pots [we are in zone 6]
Some of my favorite annuals for varying textures, heights, and a rainbow of colors are:
- Coleus (thriller/filler) [lime, lime/magenta, purple, purple/red, red, burnt orange]
- Kangaroo Paw (thriller) [red, orange, & yellow]
- Divine New Guinea, Sun Patients & Impatients (filler) [purple, magenta, pink, orange, white, & red]
- Waterfall & Bonfire Begonias (filler/spiller), Rex, Richmond, Non-stop, Begonias & Double Begonias [orange, red, & white]
- Purple Heart (spiller] [purple]
Favorite Perennials you can add to your planters and pots:
- Dusty Miller (filler) [blue green]
- Blue Fescue Grass (thriller) [blue green]
- Creeping Phlox (filler/spiller) [magenta, pink, lavender, white]
- Hostas (thriller/filler) [lime, green, variegated with white or lime edges, blue/green]
- Wandering Jew (spiller) [purple/green]
- Creeping Jenny (spiller, will spread) [chartreuse green]
3. How to split Hostas
[Best done early spring when they are sticking out of the ground, but haven't leafed out much yet]
- First, dig a circle around the base of the hosta plant
- Pull out the whole root ball and plant you've dug up
- Take a large sharp knife and cut straight through the root bulbs in between stalks
- Re-plant the pieces wherever you'd like
[Depending on how large your hostas are to begin with, you can split the hostas into halves, thirds, quarters, or more for desired fullness]
Hostas are such an easy low-maintenance plant that can almost live anywhere [prefer more shade than sun] and in any soil. They really are one of my favorites because they come in so many different colors and sizes, they are sculptural, and they take such little effort!
During this time at at home, we're seeing lots of your kitchens being used with more home-cooking and family time, bars getting lots of love and attention, and big comfy chairs & seating serving the the whole family well while watching Netflix. We've been hearing more questions from you about home offices, paint colors, and furniture arrangements. So let's dig into your most pressing questions...
1. Making a home office work for you:
The key is in separation of spaces. Separate where you work and relax so that your body automatically switches gears when you switch locations. Just as they say to separate where you sleep and watch TV so that your body is trained to shut off when your head hits the pillow, ease the mental effort of having to switch gears by using separate spaces to train your body to do it for you.
Natural light is really important for our well-being and connection to the outdoors as well. If it's not possible for your desk or work space to be near a window, try putting a daylight bulb in a lamp or two. What you surround yourself with in that space has a big influence as well. Without adding distracting items, maybe hang artwork that inspires you or brighten up the space with lighter colors if the walls are gloomy. A comfy chair (that doesn't put you to sleep or hurt you back) is important, diffusing essential oils or lighting a candle can help, and sounds such as music, a podcast, or nature sounds played on your computer are also great for added focus.
2. Paint Colors
If you're tackling a home project with some paint, many are scared they will make a mistake with choosing a color. I offer virtual paint consultations, and it seems like a wise investment for the time, effort, and money you put into re-painting a room, or especially the exterior of a house. Here are my favorite go-to neutral colors for those that need some generic help:
SW 9166 Drift of Mist
SW 9165 Gossamer Veil
SW 7015 Repose Gray
SW 7065 Argos
SW 7004 Snowbound (whites)
SW 7008 Alabaster (whites)
3. Furniture Arrangements
In times like these, when it feels like groundhog day every day, it's important to change things up a bit in ways that don't add anxiety, but instead add some spice and fun to life. It's so easy to rearrange your existing furniture to see if there's another way to lay things out in a way you like. It's fun, easy, free, and you can involve the family as well. Everyone can have input, and you can view it as an experiment... even if it's just your basement, or your kid's rooms. I used to unleash my creativity in this way all throughout my childhood. Switching up my room was one of the ways I could gain control of my surroundings while also learning how to use the space better. Let your kids have some fun trying out different layouts... you never know, they could become a designer one day too! If you know you need help, and don't know where to start, we also offer virtual furniture consultations as well. Fear not, this is something you can do on your own or with help, but regardless - do it if you know you need it! It can make a world of difference in your appreciation of your everyday space.
Designer: Kara Kersten [Kara Kersten Design], in collaboration with her family during the COVID-19 situation decided to bring all of their strengths & skill sets together to help people feel more happy in their homes.