Sponsor spotlight: Smart moves for your renovation

Are you feeling the urge to update your space, but maybe don’t know where to begin or don’t understand the potential complications or costs of your ideas? As an interior designer and founder of www.rbbydesign.com, I’ll share some important, potentially cost-saving considerations for your renovation:

1. Layout

Does the current layout function as is? Does it support your wants and needs? If possible, maintain wall locations and major built-in elements to save on demolition and labor costs. For example, any wall revision or removal requires structural analysis to ensure nothing is load-bearing or must be addressed accordingly. There are times when such changes drastically improve the design potential for a space. An interior designer generates floor-plan studies to evaluate these options. I also encourage supplemental 3D studies with photo-realistic renderings and VR to fully experience the possibilities for a space.

Bathroom plumbing remains in the same vicinity in this master suite remodel, but walk-in closet relocated behind bed to generate space for a master bathroom for two.

2. Plumbing and Service Zones

Always consider existing plumbing locations for kitchen and bathroom renovations. For the most efficient and cost-effective solutions, try to work with existing plumbing locations. While shifting plumbing for a sink within the same wall cavity seems fairly simple, moving a toilet, for example, presents more of an undertaking. Adding plumbing in exterior, rated, or otherwise narrower wall construction proves more difficult and costly with additional building-code requirements.

If deviating from existing plumbing locations, make sure you are working with an interior design professional that has a proper understanding of the building codes. There are minimum clearances or distances even in residential settings. You want to engage with a designer that presents design options which are realistic before you fall in love with their concepts.

In addition to plumbing, consider how a renovation affects the HVAC layout and requirements. If you plan to move a kitchen or bathroom to a new area in the home, fans and venting must be addressed and can quickly add cost and even require additional soffits in the ceiling to conceal new ducts. Try to keep kitchens and bathrooms within existing service zones.

While new fixtures are within the existing plumbing zone, additional fixtures and shift in location presents a more functional and spacious design.

3. Working with Existing Elements

I always assess the design potential in the existing space when envisioning a change. Sometimes, there is very little worth salvaging, but perhaps something can be reused or revamped in an innovative, creative fashion for the new space. Also consider reuse for another purpose and to limit your contribution to the landfill. Can any furniture carry over to the new space? Sometimes, a client’s construction budget might warrant reusing furniture temporarily and budgeting for that scope in phase II. Another tip – it’s best to envision the larger picture for the entire residence and consider any future potential renovations. That can be key to smart budgeting.

A custom walk-in closet that responds to challenging ceilings and soffits.

I highly recommend engaging a licensed general contractor early on to work alongside your interior designer to address any project-specific complications, ensure code compliance, and help evaluate costs for any proposed changes to a space. The most successful projects are often the ones with superb communication and collaboration between the interior designer, contractor, and client. Having worked with various contractors and consultants on various scales of projects, I have formed working relationships with many individuals that I would recommend for different project types, thereby helping to ensure a project’s success.

By Rachael Bauer, Interior Designer

If you want to discuss your renovation, contact Rachael Bauer for a free design consultation at




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