DAY 31 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Get Help!

Well here we are and we’ve hit every area in our home. We’ve tweaked, updated, decorated, painted, un-organized, cleaned, purged and fixed as much as we could on our own. If there’s still a problem, then it’s time for you to get out of your own way. Time to get some help.

Today your mission is to GET ADVICE. Not from your Dad. Not from your Mom. Not from your BFF. Some legit expert level help.

I myself went round and round on the design of my backyard. I could not “see” it. I felt like I should be able to figure it out given my experiences with fixing up homes. Truth is that landscaping and desert landscape in particular, are not my forte. So, I finally hired a landscape designer to come out and give us some advice. We had him draft a design that we could later follow at our own pace. Sometimes we are too close to the problem and have been in the home so long we just can’t “see” the solutions.

If you are having problems like this in your home, I’m here to help! A lot of this information has come directly from visiting homes like yours! I’ve done consults all over the US via phone (with photos and video) and all over the City of Phoenix. I’ve opened up my design consult schedule for February and I’m ready! Bring me into your home either over the phone or in-person in Phoenix. Click here to read more about consultations and here to see put yourself on my schedule!

I hope you had some fun doing this challenge and that your home is in a better place than when you started! Please share any updates and after photos with us by tagging #updatedontrenovatechallenge on Instagram!

August Design Book Club: Bohemian Modern

I chose this month's book because of the new house I just bought that will be an Airbnb. As with all rentals there is an upfront cost you put into the project, such as repairs and furnishings, that you won't get back immediately like you do in a flip. So, I wanted to choose a book that would help me think outside the box with the decor and on a budget. I think this month's book will do just that.

Bohemian Modern: Imaginative and Affordable Ideas for a Creative and Beautiful Home by Emily Hensen.

It's "easy" to binge purchase a bunch of new furnishings to fill the space for an immediate put together look. However, the cost will be enormous and the result will feel like a showroom rather than an inspired home. I find myself binge window shopping in preparation for furnishing my place, so to combat that I'll shove ALL the creativity from this book into my brain. Amazon will be delivering it in a couple of days and I can't wait to dig in.

If you're joining me in this boho design immersion, I'd love to hear what you think about this book in the comments! And, as usual, I'm open to suggestion for next month's book.

Happy boho obsessing!

July Design Book Club: Surf Shack

It's no secret that I like to devour design books on the regular. I have piles of them. So, I thought I'd share this obsession here since it is an email full of obsessions already. Here is the plan:

  1. I'll announce the book in my Secret Saturday Six Newsletter every month.
  2. The book will be design, architecture or decor related. (Suggestions always welcome!)
  3. You can read along or not. If you don't feel like this month's book is speaking to you, no problem (see below).

When choosing whether you'd like to read the book or not, click through to the book, then click on the photo and scan through some of the pages. Sometimes it's not necessarily the style of the home I'm vibing with, but what I can learn from it such as styling, floorplan and outside the box ideas. The goal for me is to learn and be inspired. So, with that said, I'd suggest to keep an open mind when deciding if you'll be joining or not that month.

I also thought it might be interesting to time the book with the month and season. I'm working on an upcoming project and need a little inspiration for it which is why I chose this book. I've read it but will be rereading it I loved it so much the first time. And so.....

July's book is:

Join me in devouring Surf Shack: Laid Back Living By The Water by Nina Freudenberger! When you're finished, like any good book club, feel free to tell us how you felt about it in the comments below! Happy reading!

FlippinWendy eDesign: How It Works

Have you seen the word eDesign and thought WTF is that anyway? Today I'm letting you in on the whole process. eDesign is a custom design done for a client not in the same location as the designer. The designer never physically steps foot into the client's home. All work is done remotely and the items that go into the design can be purchased easily by the client either locally or online. You may wonder why someone would hire a designer who never steps foot in the space but there are many reasons why. First off the designer can get a very good idea of the space from photos and video. Secondly, if the client identifies with a designers aesthetic and personality, then they will likely be happy with the end result. Thirdly, eDesign is a great way to get top notch design but at budget friendly prices.

Of course hiring a designer who is not in your town may be a little unnerving. To alleviate concerns, I wanted to share with you the design process and answer the most common question that comes up about our services, "What exactly will I get?" 

Side Note: To be clear, I specifically create renovation eDesigns. So, if you're looking for curtains and a new sofa, not going to find it here. Not my bag. I may dabble, but my talents are best focused toward tearing things up and putting them back together.  Now, if you're wanting a new fireplace surround and to open a wall between your kitchen and your living room, now we're talking.

How Does It Work?

We're going to walk you through the entire process step by step. The example we will use is an eDesigns we did for a client in Cincinnati, Ohio. Remember, we are in Phoenix. We never once stepped foot in their house.

Let's begin. To redesign your space, we only need a few things! Those are...

1. Fill Out Questionnaire

The first step is to fill out our questionnaire. From this questionnaire we'll be able to price out your project and send you an estimate. If we need more information we'll reach out to you for that, but do your best to give us ALL the info upfront. There can be a lot steps in this process if we don't keep a tight grip on information flow. So, do your best to spew everything into the questionnaire from the start. We'll also ask for a link to your Pinterest Board(s) so have them ready. If you struggle with this or don't have one, no worries. We'll figure it out later.


Phoenix residents: eDesign is the same for you, however, since I will see your space in person, you are off the hook for #2 & #3!


2. Send Photos + Video

We'll ask you to send us photos from every angle. Make sure you are standing as far back in each corner of the room as you can. Try to get at least 2 walls in the photo. If you have to stand in a closet or doorway to get a wide angled shot of the room, do it. Whatever it takes! Sacrifice yourself for the sake of design! JK don't do that. Just get as much of the room as you can. We also very much appreciate video tours! It helps us get our bearings plus we love your color commentary. Below are examples of before photos from our Cincinnati eDesign client. These photos are shot vertically. The space is small and capturing it all was tough for our client. If possible, we prefer horizontal shots. 


3. Send a Sketch

We'll need a sketch of the current floor plan. The example to the right sent to us by our client is awesome, yet above and beyond what we need. While the details are excellent, a simple hand drawn sketch works just as well. Click on it to see the details.

  1. Start by drawing the outline of the room. It doesn't have to be perfect or to scale. If you want to get fancy, break out that ruler from 3rd grade and use it to make straight lines
  2. Add wall dimensions. Be sure to include dimensions and distances of objects, too. For instance, note the width of a window and its distance from the nearest wall.
  3. Put notes on the side for consideration. Include things like "ductwork here", "window height is 48", 18" from the floor" and "ceiling height is 96". You don't need to be any more accurate than down to a quarter of an inch.

The more detail you provide, the more accurate we can be in our design. Don't worry about it being a perfect drawing. Below is a sketch I did to start a client's kitchen renovation. You can see it is as imperfect as it gets. I forgot to mention in this drawing where the plumbing was, but I remember. I've been there. I haven't been to your house, though. Point those sorts of things out.


Once we've received everything from you, we'll get with you about costs on the project. When you're ready to move forward, we'll schedule an hour of your time to discuss your space. You'll tell us everything about it that makes you want to hurl and how you wish it looked and functioned. We'll come up with a good game plan over the phone so that the first draft of your design is as close as we can get to what you want. We don't want to waste any time stabbing at things in the dark. Having this conversation saves us from many revisions.

After we have our discussion, we'll get to work putting together your dream space! 

What You'll Receive

Your final eDesign package will include the following: 

1. Design Board

Design Board for FlippinWendy eDesign

The design board will be a snapshot of those items or ideas to be used in your space all side by side. We use this to show you how each item will work together in your room. Items included may be: 

  1. Paint colors
  2. Lighting
  3. Plumbing Fixtures
  4. Hardware
  5. Tile choices and patterns
  6. Appliances
  7. Decor and staging ideas to help pull the look together
  8. Inspiration photos

Again, it might be the items listed above.  Each design board varies depending on the client and their needs. Here is a look at a design board I did for a  flipping client recently. You can see an inspiration photo was included in this design board version as well as staging notes.

Design Board for eDesign

Design Schematic

The next thing included will be a design schematic for your space. This will show the general layout and conceptual design layout of the project including scale and placement of objects. Sometimes a sketch is provided for more detail. Present these to your contractor (or engineer/architect depending on the scope of the project) as a design guide.

*** This is NOT a set in stone plan to follow. We get about 95% of the way there, but since we are not in your space and are not architects, we cannot give you a concrete plan. We have 11 years of experience doing renovations, yet we still always defer to specific professionals to check and double check dimensions. It will be up to them to take their own measurements and decide if and where tweaks need to be made. A good contractor and/or cabinet installer will always take their own measurements. They should never rely solely on your or my measurements. 

Shopping List

The third thing you'll receive is a shopping list for everything you'll need to put into the room. The example to the right shows just a portion of the spreadsheet sent to our Cincinnati client. The full spreadsheet includes the following:

  1. Item
  2. Where to buy it + link if available
  3. Description of the item
  4. SKU
  5. Quantity Needed
  6. Price
  7. Total
  8. Total with Tax

The shopping list includes finish materials aka the items that need design attention. For example, we include the tile and grout needed, but do not include building materials such as mortar or backer board needed to install the tie. When getting a price from your contractor, you can give them this list to include in the bid or ask them to price out building materials and labor only. The latter route is our preferred way. We like to watch for things to go on sale and buy them ourselves. Buying things on your own will require you to spend the time acquiring each item and having somewhere to store it. Decide which way is best for your situation.


Once you receive the full eDesign, design board + layout + shopping list, there will be an allowance for up to 2 more revisions. If more revisions are needed after that, we'll invoice at an hourly rate for the additional changes needed. This is why getting it very close the first time is so important. After revisions are complete, final payment is due.


You're set to go! You'll hand the design over to a contractor to begin.* Often times the contractors will tape these to the wall so they have them at their disposal. It makes it super easy to communicate which way the tile should run, how something should look once installed and a good idea of the desired outcome. But we're not done with you yet!

Checking In

With your eDesign you will receive up to 3 communications during your renovation.* We'll set up a phone call or FaceTime chat to walk through your progress and go over any hiccups you may have run into. During demo something often comes up that may change the design. No worries! We'll figure out a solution. We generally figure on speaking with you sometime during demo, in the middle of renovation and towards the end when final finishes are going in. It's up to you to schedule these phone meetings as you need them. You are welcome to have your contractor in on the call if they have questions or need clarification.

* We do not project manage renovations or take calls directly from contractors. During your calls you may certainly ask our opinion about the process and if something is "normal", however we are not responsible for coordinating or managing the contractor or tradesmen on the job. 


If something comes up during your renovation that requires changes not originally foreseen and can't be handled verbally during your call, we'll invoice for those changes at an hourly rate which we will discuss before we start the design.

AFter photo of kitchen eDesign

The End

In the end you'll have a professionally designed space and the after photos to prove it! The best part of all of this is making your before and after photo collage! Obviously. If you like, we can help you find a professional photographer to come capture your space. It truly is the icing on the cake! if you're up to it we'd love to feature your newly renovated space on our website and social media accounts! We love sharing.

If eDesign sounds up your alley, feel free to get started with the first step! Pop quiz: do you remember the first step?