Meet Interior Designer Heather Huebner

Tips for Remodeling or New Construction

Article by Heather Huebner

Photography by Kate Cooley/Cooley Portraits

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

How long have you been in the interior design industry?

I have been working in the design field for about six years. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in Environmental Design and a Master’s degree in Land Economics and Real Estate. After graduation, I worked in urban redevelopment and decided to take a break when my husband and I started a family. When our youngest son was born, I started helping friends rearrange their furniture and the rest is history. Today I offer full design services including furniture, cabinet design, simple floor plans and finishes for new homes and remodels. I have two designers, Leslie Lonsdale and Cassie Tenney on the team to help with design and project management. I have also been told that I should include marriage counseling on my resume, for clients that cannot seem to agree on what they want for their home.

What kind of projects do you like the best?

I have enjoyed a lot of the projects that I have completed. The ones that I like the most are those where clients allow me to push the boundaries and be a little daring. The trend today is to go with all white. I love a good white but using color in less expected places like a ceiling, cabinetry, wallpaper, or tile is fantastic. I tell clients that I want their guests to say, “I love that! I would not have been brave enough to do that, but I love it!” The best projects are the ones where clients trust me to use their ideas and my creativity to produce the best possible design.

What do you consider challenging and rewarding in your projects?

I often have clients say things like “I have finally learned to trust you, go for it …” Sometimes at the beginning of a project I will have to earn the trust of my client to proceed with the design. At times this is challenging, but eventually they come around and even admit their trust issues in the end!

Tips for remodeling or new construction.

a.     Working with a Contractor

i. Set reasonable expectations of yourself as well as your contractor. There will be times that you do not like your contractor (and that is okay)! There will be times that they do not like you either. Communication is key in design. Having a designer or project manager on your side can help ease the process.

ii. At some point during construction, there will be a time where a quick decision will be necessary. If you, the homeowner or your representative are not there to make it someone else will, to keep the job moving forward.

iii. There will be delays. THERE WILL BE DELAYS. It is impossible to schedule so many moving pieces and parts and have them all work together perfectly. Some things are out of the control of your contractor. You will not like this, and it will probably make you very frustrated. But it is going to happen. Probably more than once.

b. Pre-Construction Planning

i. The more you plan before construction, the better. Walls that will have wallpaper require no texture. Wall sconces will need to be wired into the wall, not the ceiling. Do you want trim around interior doors and windows? What size trim? Will it affect the way a cabinet fits around a doorway? Spending time and money upfront in the planning phase saves a lot more money and time during the construction phase.

ii. When you are designing a new space think about the furniture that will be in the room and plan accordingly. For example, tables need approximately three feet of clearance around them for the chair and a small walk space. Major walk paths in the home should be a minimum of four feet wide. You should have at least three to four feet of walkway between kitchen cabinets or more if there is a refrigerator, dishwasher or range opening into the walk path.

iii. The electrician will most likely install lighting long before you have furniture. It is important to think through what will be in each space so that the lighting can be placed correctly. For instance, if you have a buffet on your dining room wall the table will be slightly off center. If the chandelier is installed in the center of the room it will not be centered on your table.

iv. Plan your kitchen ahead of time and think through exactly how you will use it. When you are making a bowl of cereal where do you go to get the items you need? When you are baking are all your supplies near you? Can you easily reach the spices while stirring the pot on the stove? Is there a way to make the items you use most often located in a convenient space? Before one cabinet is built you should know what is going in it and plan accordingly for those items. You are paying for the cabinets anyway, why not make them work exactly how you want them to?

Building a new home or remodeling can be difficult. Having a professional on your side to walk you through the process can help you save time and money.

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