Welcome to another episode of the Schloegel Design Remodel Podcast. Today I have Lindsay Brungardt of Schloegel Design Remodel. She is a designer here and will share a few tricks to designing spaces for multi-uses.
How did you get into Design?
Well, it’s always been something I’ve been interested in since I was a kid. I didn’t discover it as a career until I was in college, and I went to a career fair they had, and that’s when I discovered it. And I saw some of the plans that the students had been doing and some rendering they had, they had been doing, and I just fell in love.
What do you love the most about working in design?
Oh, I love the creative aspect of it. And I love meeting many fun, different, and incredible people. Every project I work on is different. Variety is the spice of life.
Do you have any rules or things that you make sure you apply to everything that you work on? Is there a Lindsay trademark in your design?
Not necessarily. There are guidelines I would say that I have in my head. Whenever I’m working with someone, I try to take inspiration from the client. Sometimes there isn’t any, or the client doesn’t have something in mind already, so I try to pull from the house’s architectural style or have the same element in different parts of the room to tie things together.
Have you seen any shifts in design requests or types of design since Covid?
Yeah, I feel like more people are looking for workspaces in their houses. A lot more basements because they need somewhere to get away. There are a lot of attic finishes; I think people are looking for more space to get away from everything else in the house.
There’s a shortage of homes in the market, so people are also not looking to buy, and now interest rates are high, so they’re not looking to move. How do they make the most of the house they’re in?
So, attics, basements, nooks, crannies. They say this house would be perfect if we could have a space for my desk.
What questions do you ask to get those ideas out of a client?
Well, that’s just it. You have to ask lots of questions. What are you doing during the day? Where are you working? Do you use a laptop? Do you move around during the day? Would this be of any use to you? I see there are lots of papers sitting here on the counter. Do you need a spot to put those?
And then, just from experience, seeing things that could be improved. Do you use a laptop versus a standard pc?
How do you hide all the cords? How do you handle all that in your design?
You must make sure you’re planning for that from the beginning. It would be best to have plenty of outlets, so you don’t have cords running across the room. Or a long way. We can put holes in the countertop to put your cords through. We put things behind cabinet doors. So, if you open the doors, you see your countertop appliances or your computer.
Multipurpose unit rooms with children involved will have toys everywhere, and everything will always be a mess. If children are involved, lots of storage is always vital, lots of baskets, and doors to hide things.
Do you ever see things that a client doesn’t know they need? How do you get them there?
Usually, clients who don’t have a design architecture background are thinking of or trying to think of a way to improve their space. And they usually have blinders on just because they don’t have the experience to know any other way. So, they’re thinking of one way, and our job is to come in and observe and listen to them. We often have another suggestion for how something could work better. Maybe they think they need additional space, but if we lay the space out more functionally, they don’t need that addition.
Let’s talk about some of the projects that you’ve recently completed or currently working on; I can think of several multi-functional spaces you’ve done. There is one where you turned a space into a desk, a mud room, and a pantry.
This client had grown up in this house; it was her childhood home. She and her husband recently bought it. They have three kids that she homeschools. A space in the middle of their house was used as a pantry. There were shelves, but they also had cat food, school supplies, etc. Lots of mishmashes of different things in there. They wanted to turn it into a much more functional space where she could sit and plan her lessons for the kids. They also wanted to store some pantry items where their kids could quickly grab snacks.
They also wanted this space to serve as a mudroom. The space is kind of adjacent to their garage space. So they can drop their backpacks, shoes, and coats off when they come in from the garage. And then, they also wanted to add a powder bath.
So, we took their laundry room and cut it in half. Half of it was turned into a powder bath, and the other half went into this new mudroom, laundry room, and desk space.
But how did you make that work? Did you define each area, or how did you fit it in? Because you go in there, and it’s functional.
Yeah, absolutely. We didn’t necessarily divide it up with walls. There is a wall in the middle where the washer and dryer sit, but other than that, it’s divided up with cabinetry. The front cabinets are the planning space. The cabinets on the long wall are the mudroom and pantry functions. And then, around the corner from the mudroom are the washer and dryer.
So, we took each function and put it in a different area of this open-through cabinetry. Each location makes sense because you’ve got your laundry closer to the mudroom area. So, you contain the dirt. And the pantry’s closer to the desk.
I love the little design choices too. The backsplash and the charming and tiny cat door.
How about the one where you did this on a wall with built-in shelves? How did you accomplish storage in that? How did you make it look like it belonged there?
Well, I had to start by asking questions. What kind of things are you going to store in this cabinetry? What do you not have room for now that you wish you could put away? What are you going to be doing in this room? Do you want it to look like it blends in and was here from the beginning, or do you want it to look like a big new furniture piece? So, start by asking lots of questions, seeing precisely what they had. In this case, the clients are big piano players. They had lots of piano books, music books, and general books. Some of them they wanted to display, and some of them they wanted to hide away.
They wanted the shelves to be more of a built-in look. Something that looked like it had been there from the very beginning. We took inspiration from the rest of the house, the trim they had in their house, which was pretty traditional. We matched the trim color they already had and painted the cabinets. It looks like the house was built with these shelves there.
Are there any current things you love in design?
I love that stains are returning a little more, especially in kitchens. We’re seeing less white cabinetry and more stains, especially lighter, lighter-colored stains.
The blue is going out a little bit, I would say, but green is coming in, and I happen to love green. Blue is a timeless color, but we have seen a lot of blues, so it’s fun to see a changeup.
It is in color, and I think what I enjoy the most is coming and going of different things. It’s not the same all the time. White kitchens will always be a thing, but other colors are coming in now, including warm wood tones.
Why it’s important to maybe work with a designer, or what things to consider?
The experience you get when you do it right is worth much more. Remodeling can go so many different ways. We’ve heard stories from people who have had horrible experiences, and others have had great experiences too.
It’s crucial to think precisely about who you’re working with when you get into remodeling, especially when it’s a big project. Do your research before you make that big spend on your home.