Thoughts from John Barnwell:
When selling a home, I often work with clients to help simplify and depersonalize their space. It is diﬃcult for potential buyers to visualize themselves with their furnishings in a home that is overly cluttered. Placing furniture properly or updating a room with a fresh coat of paint and lighting is an inexpensive solution that will add value to your home.
I have owned six properties in the past 15 years and have always given strong consideration to resale value when making design decisions. I like to keep things simple and timeless. I tend to gravitate toward aesthetics that are classic in nature while keeping architectural details and ﬁnishes reﬁned. My favourite room in my current house is the dining room. The house is over a hundred years old with original wainscoting. When my partner and I moved in our immediate thought was to paint out the wainscoting in order to brighten and modernize the space. However, after placing our red lacquered dining table, unique wall sconces and pieces of art in the room we found our dull dining room became interesting and inviting. The addition of antique demi-lune tables and a bold geometric patterned carpet completed the look. Frequently, dramatic changes can be achieved in rooms with proper design planning.
Renovating a new home can be overwhelming. I’m a ﬁrm believer in honouring your past by reclaiming pieces of furniture whenever applicable. For example, a recent couple wanted to dispose of a sofa that had been in their family for years. The sofa was well built but dated. I recommended we change the fabric and update the style. They were not only thrilled with the ﬁnished product, but also ecstatic by the thousands of dollars saved. If you are planning on living in your home for 5 years or more, I believe it’s important to make design decisions that are tailored to your speciﬁc needs. For instance, if you are an empty nester and you would like to convert a 3-bedroom house into a 2-bedroom house and use the extra space to create a fantastic master suite, you shouldn’t hesitate. It can always be converted back by the new owner.
People often feel that a designer can be cost prohibitive however, it can actually save you money. I have been hired on a number of occasions by homeowners who started to renovate and make decisions on their own only to feel frustrated and defeated. Mistakes can be costly! Understanding the client’s vision is paramount throughout the design process. Designers have access to many resources not available to the general public.
At J.R. Barnwell Design Inc. we take on all types of projects. Some clients may simply want a few hours of consultation to hang artwork or to source furniture, while other clients hire us to work with their architect when embarking on a full scale renovation.