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  • #973121
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi
    Im a regular contributor of a small segment (350 words) for a newsletter – other than my own. Its affiliated with houses/renovations – so my piece can be about design, renovations, tips or decorating.

    I love writing however Im best when Im responding to a question or giving people ideas etc.

    So with a deadline approaching … Im staring down the barrel of writers block!

    Im looking for the types of things the general public would be intereted in reading about?

    Any ideas, requests or inspiration would be soooo good right now!

    #1059840
    AgentMail
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    Having just done some renovations… okay painting but thats as far as I go, we were able to completely change the look of one room by using a set of wall vinyls. what other options for creating a feature in a room are there other than your basic different coloured feature wall?

    Hope this helps :)

    #1059841
    VehicleMods
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    I could give you some pointers about choosing contractors carefully. We are just finishing off a kitchen renovation after paying a $9k deposit in August last year. The company went into receivership, got out then got flooded in the Brisbane Floods. We are very lucky to have most of our kitchen installed now and there are now public warnings about dealing with the company we chose.

    The moral of the story is “Choose Wisely” and check people out very carefully. In our case, a 30 year track record meant nothing….

    I’d have some suitable high res photos if your mag wants you to provide materials.

    #1059842
    RaspberryBlack
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    Hi there,

    Well personally I’d be interested in how to upgrade outdated kitchens for a small budget :) Like blendings or whatever might be out there. Updating other stuff like worn sofas with a sewn throw or how to color walls creatively (without making it all look like a complete disaster ^^) would also be interesting to me. There is probably a lot out there about that already but in my opinion that stuff often looks like my grandmothers handycraft club and leaves me with the feeling you always have to pay a fortune for the really stylish stuff; but I love that small grade between “personal touch” and “cool and stylish”. Anyone who who could lead me there would be my personal hero :D
    What newsletter is it by the way? Sounds interesting.

    Cheers,
    Tina

    #1059843
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi Tina
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my cry for topic ideas. Its interesting to read about the things that interest you.

    To date Ive steered clear of the ‘cheap kitchen make over with awesome results’ article.

    While its true as you say that there is a lot of writing out there already on that topic (and the same for bathrooms) I personally feel that its a bit out of integrity to really advocate the idea that cheap and great are achieveable.

    Not that its not, its just that like most things you only really get what you pay for and its challenging for people to set their hopes, dreams and aspirations in direct alignment with their budget. That is in part why as you mention the results you’ve seen look like a grand mothers handy craft.

    So in essence Ive definately gonna be a failure in the personal hero stakes for you, however the sweetnes of honesty outlasts the distaste of shattered illusions!

    Thanks again for your support it was very helpful in reminding me of what is wanted ‘out there’. Im toying with the idea of doing workshops for people on tight budgets to cover that area.

    the news letter btw is [URL=”http://http://www.loanmarket.com.au/newsletter/”]http://http://www.loanmarket.com.au/newsletter/[/URL]

    Thanks again :)

    RaspberryBlack, post: 73820 wrote:
    Hi there,

    Well personally I’d be interested in how to upgrade outdated kitchens for a small budget :) Like blendings or whatever might be out there. Updating other stuff like worn sofas with a sewn throw or how to color walls creatively (without making it all look like a complete disaster ^^) would also be interesting to me. There is probably a lot out there about that already but in my opinion that stuff often looks like my grandmothers handycraft club and leaves me with the feeling you always have to pay a fortune for the really stylish stuff; but I love that small grade between “personal touch” and “cool and stylish”. Anyone who who could lead me there would be my personal hero :D
    What newsletter is it by the way? Sounds interesting.

    Cheers,
    Tina

    #1059844
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi Rod
    Thanks for your comments, it sounds like you have had a rough run with getting your new kitchen, some of it human made some natural disaster.

    Its very tricky when an established business gets into trouble, as we always tend to believe that if they’ve been in business for ages then they must be ok…how many people thought the same about Lloyds Bank or Anset?

    However your comments are true, good, professional, reliable and ethical trades and manufactures are worth gold.

    That is a big part of the value that I bring to my clients and projects. Ive gone through the pain of sorting the best from the rest and have put considerable energy, effort and time into establishing the relationships we have with our esteemed suppliers and trades people.

    I consider them the life blood of my business and am happy to save I regularly have clients ring me up just to tell me how great the guys are!

    I hope the enjoyment of your new kitchen will erase the awful process of getting it.

    Thanks for the offer of images of your project, I appreciate it however we feel it only right to use images of projects we have been directly involved or responsible for.

    Thanks again for your imput Im going to add your idea to the bucket

    Cheers :)

    VehicleMods, post: 73817 wrote:
    I could give you some pointers about choosing contractors carefully. We are just finishing off a kitchen renovation after paying a $9k deposit in August last year. The company went into receivership, got out then got flooded in the Brisbane Floods. We are very lucky to have most of our kitchen installed now and there are now public warnings about dealing with the company we chose.

    The moral of the story is “Choose Wisely” and check people out very carefully. In our case, a 30 year track record meant nothing….

    I’d have some suitable high res photos if your mag wants you to provide materials.

    #1059845
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi
    Thanks for your suggestion – its a good one.

    You’re right there are sooooo many good options for changing the materials on walls that get largely over looked in favour for the simple albeit of abused painted feature wall.

    One of my favourite treatments is to upholster a wall or two.

    Im going to go with that for this months article

    Thanks for the gem

    Alex :)

    AgentMail, post: 73815 wrote:
    Having just done some renovations… okay painting but thats as far as I go, we were able to completely change the look of one room by using a set of wall vinyls. what other options for creating a feature in a room are there other than your basic different coloured feature wall?

    Hope this helps :)

    #1059846
    Keeta Nova
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    • Total posts: 294
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    Alex,

    I wrote an article on Small Homes a while back, it might give you some inspiration.

    http://www.keetanova.com.au/writer.htm

    BTW I love your website.

    Cheers,
    Keeta

    #1059847
    RaspberryBlack
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    Alex Honey: Int Design, post: 73885 wrote:
    Not that its not, its just that like most things you only really get what you pay for and its challenging for people to set their hopes, dreams and aspirations in direct alignment with their budget. That is in part why as you mention the results you’ve seen look like a grand mothers handy craft.

    Hi Alex,

    now you really got me thinking. The “you get what you pay for”-thing (or ‘who pays peanuts will get monkeys’ in my field ;) ) is something I think about a lot. How to tell people that a good logo can’t be made for $300 when all they see is a pretty graphic and not if it’s really addressing their customers and if it’s conveying the right values? Of course they don’t have to know, that’s why designers exist who have studied for years. But from the fact they don’t completely understand what is necessary for a logo that really works comes the hope that something good is possible in less time/with less money. I think a lot about how to tell them where the differences are.

    And now I’m stepping fullspeed into the same pitfall in a field I don’t have any knowledge in thinking “there must be something out there, it’s just a matter of creativity.” In fact I’m still not convinced that there aren’t any possibilities out there, although I really should know better…

    So if you can’t quite convince me right now I’m probably just being stubborn? Maybe I don’t want you (or anyone) to tell me I can’t have what I want; and in consequence, that I’m wrong thinking I could get very good value for little money—which I certainly am, so why is it so hard to accept it? Well I know people don’t like to hear things they just don’t want to hear, but I never concluded that this has anything to do whith the value-money thing, because everyone knows you only get what you pay for, right?

    So now I’m thinking really hard about how to convince myself that I can’t have a stunning kitchen without investing the appropriate amount of money… If I find out how to do that, maybe I find a way to convince potential clients that good design/code can’t be cheap as chips.

    Thanks a lot for that input Alex!
    Cheers,
    Tina

    #1059848
    Past-Member
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    re ‘you get what you pay for’

    It’s not just about the money, but the time and considerations and research.

    Just over two years ago we finally had a complete kitchen refurbishment in our very old home. As it is in the centre of our home and ‘all roads lead to it’, it was imperative that the person I worked with knew what I wanted to achieve and could also add some creativity of their own.

    We changed an old 40-50s kitchen into something that would take pride of place anywhere, but it was not cheap. We chose the best appliances we could afford also. We were determined that it would be good because it is the central hub and I can see it constantly from my home office.

    The results were amazing. The owner came back with drawings, which I then asked modifications to, then did the whole refurbishment including a new ceiling with inset lighting and a new garden window. Everything was about balance, storage, space, light and workability. More than two years later it still looks brand new and everything works beautifully.

    The research planning stage was imperative, and being able to talk through other aspects and details was so important. The kitchen builder even mentioned that I needed to change my choice of door cabinet inlay in order to match an existing cabinet in the dining room. And they were correct.

    The point of this is story is that, like in logo design, the research and considerations were the reason that the kitchen ended up so beautiful and practical and long lasting. To hurry it through would have meant we would have been left with something second-rate and not suited to our requirements. Instead we ended up with something we were thrilled with and still enjoy to this day. (Photo attached.)

    #1059849
    VehicleMods
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    Geez, I thought for a while we were all waxing Off topic

    With any project you need to seek professional advice and push the boundaries, open up your horizons and knock down any walls or blockages

    DSC_7400.jpg

    Begin with the end in mind, start from the beginning:

    DSC_7465.jpg
    Umm thats not me by the way…

    Stand guard for any distractions that take you off the task:

    DSC_7478.jpg

    And the rewards will be there at the end of the day:

    DSC_7550.jpg

    Now if this forum allowed me to post more than 4 photos, I would have been able to expand on this train of thought a bit further as I had to skip a few steps.

    In relation to Graphic design though, I used to own a printing business and employ graphic artists who won industry awards for me so I can emphathise with you. I recall a conversation with Chris, the owner a local design house where his client was told by a major bureau that the reason the logo was shoddy was the client had not paid for enough thinking time! Chris reckoned he was lucky if he had a chance to think in the car between clients!

    Anyway, I think a lot of people today living in this instant throw away society don’t appreciate quality. One sales tip that worked for me (for printing in general) was to sell from the top down. eg. “Yes, I can understand why you like that sample we printed, to do what you would like adds an additional $X for the production processes involved, is that a problem for you?” Most printers would say “Oh no that is hard to do, we’ll just do it this way”.

    One I worked this out, it was amazing to see how many people would be prepared to pay the extra. Maybe you can adapt these ideas to your sales presentations and I am sure you can relate to Chris’s story!

    One thing though I will mention that whether you like it or not, you operate in a global market and you are competing with every other designer in the world because of the internet. I hate to say it, but I can buy graphic design at $12 per hour or less so savvy buyers will see the rates you have to charge in this country as being outlandish! The good news for you is I have not bought any design at these prices! (but I did buy a basic logo for $50 from an online automated service when I kicked off). Whether we like it or not, we all compete in the global economy…

    #1059850
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi
    Interesting input.

    I personally don’t buy into the ‘global’ market theory with my business – I guess it may be different with graphic design.

    The market I’m in is the one I’m marketing too…anyone else wont be interested or reached.

    My experience is almost the opposite of your up sell suggestion. I’m often
    talking with clients about a new kitchen while they’re pointing to magazine pictures of $50k plus kitchens at that same time as telling me that $15k is their max budget.

    Its an interesting journey from that point.

    I offer fixed price design services so its up to me to back myself as to how effecient, accurate and on target Iam with my design ‘thinking time’

    The images of your kitchen project are interesting if you used a designer.

    Thanks for the food for thought. I’ll get back to my design thinking time now!

    leMods;74028]Geez, I thought for a while we were all waxing Off topic

    With any project you need to seek professional advice and push the boundaries, open up your horizons and knock down any walls or blockages

    DSC_7400.jpg

    Begin with the end in mind, start from the beginning:

    DSC_7465.jpg
    Umm thats not me by the way…

    Stand guard for any distractions that take you off the task:

    DSC_7478.jpg

    And the rewards will be there at the end of the day:

    DSC_7550.jpg

    Now if this forum allowed me to post more than 4 photos, I would have been able to expand on this train of thought a bit further as I had to skip a few steps.

    In relation to Graphic design though, I used to own a printing business and employ graphic artists who won industry awards for me so I can emphathise with you. I recall a conversation with Chris, the owner a local design house where his client was told by a major bureau that the reason the logo was shoddy was the client had not paid for enough thinking time! Chris reckoned he was lucky if he had a chance to think in the car between clients!

    Anyway, I think a lot of people today living in this instant throw away society don’t appreciate quality. One sales tip that worked for me (for printing in general) was to sell from the top down. eg. “Yes, I can understand why you like that sample we printed, to do what you would like adds an additional $X for the production processes involved, is that a problem for you?” Most printers would say “Oh no that is hard to do, we’ll just do it this way”.

    One I worked this out, it was amazing to see how many people would be prepared to pay the extra. Maybe you can adapt these ideas to your sales presentations and I am sure you can relate to Chris’s story!

    One thing though I will mention that whether you like it or not, you operate in a global market and you are competing with every other designer in the world because of the internet. I hate to say it, but I can buy graphic design at $12 per hour or less so savvy buyers will see the rates you have to charge in this country as being outlandish! The good news for you is I have not bought any design at these prices! (but I did buy a basic logo for $50 from an online automated service when I kicked off). Whether we like it or not, we all compete in the global economy…

    #1059851
    VehicleMods
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    Alex Honey: Int Design, post: 74201 wrote:
    Hi
    Interesting input.

    I personally don’t buy into the ‘global’ market theory with my business – I guess it may be different with graphic design.

    The market I’m in is the one I’m marketing too…anyone else wont be interested or reached.

    My experience is almost the opposite of your up sell suggestion. I’m often
    talking with clients about a new kitchen while they’re pointing to magazine pictures of $50k plus kitchens at that same time as telling me that $15k is their max budget.

    Its an interesting journey from that point.

    I offer fixed price design services so its up to me to back myself as to how effecient, accurate and on target Iam with my design ‘thinking time’

    The images of your kitchen project are interesting if you used a designer.

    Thanks for the food for thought. I’ll get back to my design thinking time now!

    Well, I have to say we were a bit like your average client. The kitchen was done by designer. I put a budget on paper of $25k, my wife hoped for $15k and while the kitchen was about right on my budget, but then there were appliances, a wall or two to knock down, new laundry and appliances, new shower and toilet, 70 m2 of tiles, a most awesome new stairwell and AV wall from this:

    DSC_7493.jpg

    To this:

    DSC_7590.jpg
    (It ooks a lot nicer now it’s painted but I wish the builder would come back with the stainless steel rail).

    So all in all, our project is in the $50k+. The designer opened up our eyes to knocking out the wall and wanted to take out a second one which we did not go along with as it would have limited the storage in the kitchen. We love the result and we have found it very workable.. and therefore a testament to good design.

    I think each business is different in terms of the impact of the global economy and while my business is aimed at the Australian market, I have shipped orders all over the world and after two export orders on the weekend, I am thinking about better ecommerce support for exports.

    In your business, I think you are somewhat insulated from the global economy but I know there is a lot of kitchens in this country manufactured in China so your industry is not exempt. It is hard to design a living space without being on site.

    I see IT, graphic design and other IP based/ service industries as being more exposed to global competition than others.

    #1059852
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Its interesting to read that a designer was responsible for your kitchen, were they independent or working for the the kitchen company and did they select the finishes?

    Im always interested to see ‘real life’ examples, especially as there is usually a distinct difference between the results of a home owners selection and what I would expect to see coming from a design professional.

    I agree to being somewhat removed from the global economy, as you say there are plenty of kitchens shipped in from China etc, however Im not in the business of selling kitchens, so Im insulated from that, thankfully.

    Cheers

    VehicleMods, post: 74204 wrote:
    Well, I have to say we were a bit like your average client. The kitchen was done by designer. I put a budget on paper of $25k, my wife hoped for $15k and while the kitchen was about right on my budget, but then there were appliances, a wall or two to knock down, new laundry and appliances, new shower and toilet, 70 m2 of tiles, a most awesome new stairwell and AV wall from this:

    DSC_7493.jpg

    To this:

    DSC_7590.jpg
    (It ooks a lot nicer now it’s painted but I wish the builder would come back with the stainless steel rail).

    So all in all, our project is in the $50k+. The designer opened up our eyes to knocking out the wall and wanted to take out a second one which we did not go along with as it would have limited the storage in the kitchen. We love the result and we have found it very workable.. and therefore a testament to good design.

    I think each business is different in terms of the impact of the global economy and while my business is aimed at the Australian market, I have shipped orders all over the world and after two export orders on the weekend, I am thinking about better ecommerce support for exports.

    In your business, I think you are somewhat insulated from the global economy but I know there is a lot of kitchens in this country manufactured in China so your industry is not exempt. It is hard to design a living space without being on site.

    I see IT, graphic design and other IP based/ service industries as being more exposed to global competition than others.

    #1059853
    Alex Honey: Int Design
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    Hi Karen

    Its great to hear that you had a positive and rewarding experience and process with your new kitchen.

    Many people have a similar experience when they hold the intention of having something that is intrinsically good, when adequate time is allowed and when consistency is valued over compromise.

    The results are always a reflection of these things, which is why your kitchen continues to add value and enjoyment to your life – as opposed to not being quite right or dating faster than a speeding bullet.

    It also sound fortunate that your kitchen manufacture had enough design skills to deliver what you wanted. Unfortunately it isn’t always case of a good manufacturer being great on the design side of things.

    I know I wouldn’t put my hand up to make or build your kitchen – only nail the design and finishes side of things!

    Its sad too that often the ‘designer’ working for kitchen companies are unable for various reasons to deliver anything but standard styles and cookie cutter designs. That makes it a bit of a mine field for people who go to kitchen companies looking for design.

    So its wonderful to know you got a great combo.

    I often think its interesting that no one expects a baby to be delivered in less than 9 months from conception – sure sometimes they arrive sooner, but the expectation is that it will take nine months. Why is it then that so many people are dead set on building an entire house in a third of that time?

    I’m buoyed by hearing your happy story – thanks its encouraging.

    Karen, post: 73996 wrote:
    re ‘you get what you pay for’

    It’s not just about the money, but the time and considerations and research.

    Just over two years ago we finally had a complete kitchen refurbishment in our very old home. As it is in the center of our home and ‘all roads lead to it’, it was imperative that the person I worked with knew what I wanted to achieve and could also add some creativity of their own.

    We changed an old 40-50s kitchen into something that would take pride of place anywhere, but it was not cheap. We chose the best appliances we could afford also. We were determined that it would be good because it is the central hub and I can see it constantly from my home office.

    The results were amazing. The owner came back with drawings, which I then asked modifications to, then did the whole refurbishment including a new ceiling with inset lighting and a new garden window. Everything was about balance, storage, space, light and workability. More than two years later it still looks brand new and everything works beautifully.

    The research planning stage was imperative, and being able to talk through other aspects and details was so important. The kitchen builder even mentioned that I needed to change my choice of door cabinet inlay in order to match an existing cabinet in the dining room. And they were correct.

    The point of this is story is that, like in logo design, the research and considerations were the reason that the kitchen ended up so beautiful and practical and long lasting. To hurry it through would have meant we would have been left with something second-rate and not suited to our requirements. Instead we ended up with something we were thrilled with and still enjoy to this day. (Photo attached.)

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