Alisa Hofmann

My “Cheap” Mistake

I recently made a mistake when I tried to “save money”. A few weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago for a small business education class with other kitchen and bath design companies to learn techniques to run Design Set Match more efficiently. Not being a frequent flier, I simply did what has worked well for me in the past. I went to one of the travel websites and then a couple of others to discover that they’ve been bought up by the same company and are essentially all the same site now. Ok, so I didn’t see as much variety as I have before, but the rates looked reasonable.

A previous homeowner "saved" money by adding multiple pipes to raise this shower head

A previous homeowner "saved" money by adding multiple pipes to raise this shower head

The trouble is what I didn’t see coming. I booked a cheap flight on a “young” airline. I’ve done this before without any trouble from other airlines. Sure, I usually sit towards the back in economy, but that's not a big deal, I almost always get a window seat. Then I went on to select my hotel room. It was a little more than the cheap hotels, but it was within walking distance to the Häfele showroom where the training classes were to take place. I even upgraded because I didn’t want to be in a “dorm style room”. I felt good, paid for the trip, and was all set.

Not so fast, I immediately got an email from the airline about their “bare fare” to discover that they charge extra for everything! Ok, so I need to pay for a meal, that's pretty typical, I prefer the airport restaurants… wait, now I need pay for my carry-on luggage too, it's a basic essential for a 4-night 5-day trip! So I fork it over… select a seat? Forget that, it is additional money for even the farthest back seat! If I was flying with my family I would have needed to do it though (to be able to sit together), so I opted for a “random” seat. There’s more… or I should say less. They don’t even provide the most basic human necessity of water on this 4.5 hour flight without charging for it! And just to grind in the nickel-and-dime insult they have billboard advertisements on the interior walls and they have a long-winded flight attendant trying to “sell” their MasterCard at the end of the flight to get a discount on the food they just charged an arm and a leg for! Ok, rant over. 

What does this mean for remodeling? What can a homeowner like yourself take away from this? Learn from my mistake. Ask questions

1960's Blind Lazy Susan

1960's Blind Lazy Susan

When a contractor, cabinet company or plumbing shop says they can do your kitchen for less what does “less” mean? What are they removing to make it a “bare fare” like my flight? Often with cabinets they haven’t paid attention to the details of functions that have been painstakingly poured over by you and your kitchen or bath designer. 

Häfele Lemans Blind Corner Solution

Häfele Lemans Blind Corner Solution

Homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area trust me as their kitchen and bath designer to review their orders before they spend $20,000+ on cabinetry or $150,000+ on their remodel. I often find that from the outside cabinets or other items “look the same”. What they’re actually being sold isn’t a solution to the problems that brought them into me in the first place. Lower cost cabinets usually function like their 1960’s cabinets do now. My clients will continue to lose pantry items in the back of the corner cabinet or deep pantry only to discover them years after they’ve expired. Or they’d be purchasing plumbing fixtures like a Toto wall-mounted toilet with the Geberit in-wall tank through an online retailer only to discover their plumber hasn’t installed one before and needs to spend hours on the phone with customer service because he thinks its “broken” and he can’t get a local manufacturer’s representative to talk him through the process which will prevent leaks in your walls. And worst of all is getting a general contractor who doesn’t meet expectations. They usually are unlicensed, have poor communication during construction, draw out construction longer than expected (even if there are no unforeseen circumstances) are careless with other rooms of your home and nickel-and-dime you because “they didn’t plan to install crown moulding” or the “wall-mounted toilet took more time to install than I had planned”.

Homeowner beware. Ask questions, get detailed written agreements spelling out what will actually be done, get a written construction schedule. It's worth the savings in valuable time and stress to pay a little more for the proper management and quality materials your trusted remodeling professionals will provide.

There's a difference between "frugal" and "cheap". Don’t make a “cheap” mistake of your own.

Best Of Houzz 2015 Award!

 

ALISA HOFMANN & DESIGN SET MATCH of OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA Receives

Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

 

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

 

OAKLAND, CA, January 22, 2015 DESIGN SET MATCH of Oakland, CA has been awarded Best Of Houzz for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 5 year old design firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. 

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as Houzzers. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a Best Of Houzz 2015 badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professionals work to learn even more about that business popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community. 

We work with homeowners who are busy professionals working long days or running their kids to multiple activities and don't have hours to spend in showrooms. They have tried working with architects and are overwhelmed when they are sent to select materials on their own, or they are frustrated when they can't read their drawings or visualize their new kitchen and bath remodel. Usually they are trying to make responsible investment decisions but are secretly worried they may make choices they decide they don’t like until it is too late. We start with an initial conversation for about five to ten minutes and we schedule a complimentary consultation to see if we are a good match for each other. If it makes sense, we arrange to do a schematic design where we measure and remodel the kitchen or bathroom on the computer with photorealistic renderings to help us imagine the transformation before investing thousands of dollars and months in a construction zone. We work as a team with the general contractor in the design process and construction preparation to complete the necessary drawings for pulling permits as well as continued conversations and visits during construction for adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances. We have the honor of hiring a professional to photograph to document these fantastic home metamorphoses.


Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project, said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. Were delighted to recognize Alisa Hofmann & Design Set Match among our Best Of professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.

Follow DESIGN SET MATCH on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/designsetmatch/  

About Alisa Hofmann

From childhood I have always been fascinated with homes of all shapes, sizes, and styles. I found that I was also disappointed when visiting a historic home that had been poorly remodeled by a well-meaning do-it-yourself homeowner who, with a little design guidance, could have a room that functioned and didn't stick out like a sore thumb. When I discovered there was a career I could choose that would appease my fascination as well as improve the life of a family and a building, I knew interior design was the right choice for me.

Sustainable design was being rediscovered and taught practically while I was in school but has only more recently become mainstream in everyday living. I am not a step-in-and-design-it-for-you person. While there are certain design elements and placements that must be just so, I prefer to work side by side with homeowners to guide in their decision making process. With so many choices in the showrooms it is easy to get overwhelmed. As your designer, I help guide your decisions step by step so that you can focus on what will work best for you and your family and not all of the other distracting eye-candy.

While many homeowners may be adept in construction, I highly recommend choosing contractors and specialty installers who are licensed, bonded and insured, and are professionals certified through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and Build It Green (BIG). My goal is, as should be yours, to have the best experience possible. This comes often not through the cheapest bidder on a project, but through companies and individuals who listen, work as a team, document all processes, and desire to provide you with a service that will interrupt your home life as little as possible.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit www.houzz.com