Spring home chores

Area designers serve up sage advice

Matt Whittmeyer

When  spring  comes  around,  the cleaning  and  home  repair  season  is  in full swing. Along with spring cleaning, homeowners  might  also  choose  to  do some renovations.

The   key   to   any   design   project, whether  indoor  or  outdoor,  comes down  to  effective  planning, according to  Rochester-based  designers. Often, homeowners  might  underestimate  the cost of their budget, or find they don’t require the help of an interior designer.

“If you got it all figured out, you don’t need  to  hire  interior  designers  to  tell them  you’re  doing  a  great  job,” says Jason Longo, principal designer at JDL Desgin. But this doesn’t always happen, and  Longo  tends  to  hear  from  people having  “done  their  homework  and they’re calling after they’ve given up.”

“I  never  thought  it  would, but  the access to choice is now creating design confusion. And  that  design  confusion creates job security,” says Longo, refering to  design  websites  like  Pinterest  and Houzz  providing  too  many  creative options.

Longo also says that many homeowners seek the services of interior decorators for  outdoor  furnishings  and  styles “because people do, at least in Rochester, want to enjoy their time outdoors, albeit for twenty-five minutes a year.”

However, spring is also a good time of the year for renovating the interior of a home, according to Fran Springer.

Springer,  an  interior  designer  with more  than  thirty  years  of  professional experience, finds  the  spring  and  fall seasons to be her busiest for “any type of renovation or new construction.”

Her guidelines when designing a home include the use of natural light.

“I  tend  to  design  with  natural  light. If  there’s  as  much  natural  light  as  you can get in a space, I would look at the components of the project and try and figure out a creative way to allow” the addition of daylight, she says.

Another important element to consider is  the  use  of  color  in  a  room.  For Springer, choosing the right color comes down to “the eye of the beholder.”

“So there are people who just want to go white on white or cream on cream. Just to keep it light and gray. And then there are those who really, really like the dark colors.”

Springer adds that many of her clients prefer “green and blue neutrals,” which she  views  as  refreshing, or  colors  of nature. These colors, she says, using the Restoration  Hardware  palette  as  an example of the types of colors her clients are interested in, demonstrate the use of relative neutrals, “because what creates the ambiance of the hue, of the color, is the neutrality.”

While  Springer  has  found  more  use for  neutral  colors  and  natural  light  in her  designs, Longo  experienced  more opposition to neutral color tones from several clients. This largely comes from the surrounding Rochester climate and environment, although, “we  still  get  a fair amount of gray and grayish-beige everywhere."

However, there are homeowners who have  a  simple, two-word  rule  when  it comes  to  redesigning  the  interior  of their home: “no gray.”

“I do have a few clients who refuse to have that color as the primary color in their house, because they’re like, ‘look outside.’”

He also adds that he avoids having gray walls  anywhere  in  his  own  home. “It’s  a smorgasbord of color.”

However, Longo  also  makes  clear  that his  particular  color  preferences  are  not necessarily  relevant  when  it  comes  to working with a client. “My job is not to say, ‘I don’t like pink walls,’ or, ‘I don’t like purple walls.’ I can tell you why that might not work from a professional standpoint and tell you why it might not work from a design standpoint, but at the end of the day this is where you live, this is your house, and you need to make sure that you’re the driver.”

Patrick  Harney  is  a  freelance  reporter  who covers the economy, education and local events in the Monroe and Ontario Counties. Follow him on Twitter at: @patrickharneyw1

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