Kitchen

Ugly House, Chapter 3: Being My Own Client Isn't Easy 

What is a new homeowner to do when they inherit existing conditions that are “illegal”? In some cases, Design Teams can help homeowners convince the Building Department to “grandfather” or accept weird situations. These are usually minor infractions and/or not connected with a remodel directly. One case of “grandfathering” Design Set Match assisted was in regard to rebuilding a carriage house on the back of a lot in Alameda. The agreement with the Building Department was that the building could...

Read More

Learning Styles Drive Design

Learning Styles Drive Design

It's common for homeowners to have trouble visualizing the impact a remodel will have on their daily life. It can be difficult to see past the ugly, outdated and broken cabinets, dirty grout, dull lighting and cramped spaces they've lived with for years. It's even more difficult for a new homeowner to fully understand how they will function in their kitchen or bathroom because they haven't moved in to fully experience the space.

Read More

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

 

Muppet Theory

Last week at All Soul's Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, I listened to a sermon referencing Muppet Theory, based on the article published by Slate, in relation with the workings of the Holy Spirit . I started wondering "what kind of Muppet am I". Do I bring chaos or order as I interact with people?

Okay, I admit it, I took the Zimbio quiz previously via Facebook and it thought I was Gonzo. Yes, that lovable blue creature with the hooked nose who is somehow in a relationship with Camila the chicken. In general I'd say he brings chaos to the Muppet stage. Out of curiosity I retook the quiz and I was now the very organized stage manager Scooter. Oddly enough, all of this actually makes sense. 

Gonzo

Gonzo

As a kitchen and bath designer I bring both chaos and order to the lives of homeowners and contractors on a daily basis. Remodeling one's home is inherently going to bring chaos by losing the use of one or more room and simply moving out so as not to live in a construction zone is stressful. 

Designing a fresh new space also brings chaos. Some things I am continually balancing in my mind include: Can I relocate plumbing? Can I relocate walls? How can I increase storage and function in a small space without changing the walls? What new and efficient technologies can I introduce and what will be the impact on the budget and installation? So how do I find balance and relieve the remodeling stress for both the homeowner and their contractor? Through listening, checklists, documentation and clear communication.

Scooter

Scooter

I was recently working with two different clients who happened to work with the same architect and both found that he didn't provide adequate assistance in moving their project along so that the general contractor could provide an accurate budget and start construction with-in their timeline. Each had decided that they would take his incomplete materials list and "go shopping" on their own and both were quickly overwhelmed.

One, happens to be a personal friend, and started telling me her story and how stressful it was with her frequent travel schedule and her husband's long work hours. We quickly pulled together a plan to accomplish selecting the items she would need so that she could provide all of the necessary details and pricing to her contractor before she hopped onto the next plane. My other client let her contractor know the circles she was moving in without the results she was hoping for. He referred her to me, as we have worked together on previous projects. 

Decision making is often more difficult than we imagine. As we worked together to narrow down the possible options, through a process of elimination of style, taste, cost and comparison, their shoulders relaxed, their disposition was more cheery and over all, they had a better experience than they had ever imagined. And the bonus was that their contractors had less "work" to do to prepare their final budget and construction schedules because we were able to provide them detailed information and ready to purchase quotes.

Order brings a sense of peace to the chaos that is remodeling. This is the balance that a professional designer can bring, and maybe a Muppett too.

New Office!

Jack London Kitchen and Bath Gallery

Jack London Kitchen and Bath Gallery

I am excited to announce that I am moving in with my favorite plumbing showroom, Jack London Kitchen and Bath Gallery! 2500 Embarcadero St., Suite F, Oakland, CA 94606 where I will be holding office hours from 10 am - 4:30 M-F by appointment.

As of Monday June 16th, I will have my office in the loft area of this fantastic showroom. Stop by and say "hello" or make an appointment and I can do what I do best as the "Sherlock of Design" by turning the overwhelming choices into an enjoyable experience in selecting what is just right for their function needs, style and budget while having fun.