Our Blog

5 Reasons Why Mosaik Design Uses Design-Build

writing why
(Source: emagic)

We here at Mosaik use a design-build approach in our work, butwhat does that actually mean?

Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. You might select design-build to achieve the best value while meeting schedule, cost and quality goals.

Design-build encompasses all projects from commercial to residential, including new build and remodeling. Nearly 40% of non-residential design and construction is created with this approach.

bathroom remodel closet

Before starting Mosaik Design, I owned another design-build firm and witnessed how successful the design-build method was with clients firsthand. So, when I started Mosaik Design it was a natural progression as design and construction are two important pieces that make up the greater whole or “mosaic.”

(For more behind-the-scenes details about how I started the company, check out a recent interview I did with Jessica Rust at Cake PDX. I talk about our early beginnings, the advice I wish I’d listened to, and where I get my inspiration. And if you’re a Portland entrepreneur and aren’t reading Cake PDX, you should be!)

remodeled bathroom

To illustrate the “design-build” method, we recently completed a small TV Lift project that illustrates this approach perfectly.

Our client wanted a beautiful, functional way to hide the TV in her family room.  So I began with the design first, which involved sourcing the correct mechanism for the lift and engineering niches into the wall to hide the cable box and misc. TV accessories.  We also discussed the mirror size, frame and strategy to mount it to the mechanism.  This took many conversations with the “build” side of our company as to what was feasible and what the cost would be in the end. This communication is very important as it heads off mistakes and upcharges down the road. When you have both disciplines within the same company, this communication and problem-solving is usually one of the driving principles.

The result is a remote-controlled unit with a gorgeous mirror attached that gently slides down when the TV is in use and back up when it’s not. It is both pretty and functional.

In this and other projects, the design-build strategy takes advantage of the overlap between the two major phases of your remodel, ultimately saving you time and money.

Why is a Design-Build firm the best choice for your next construction project?

1. Save time.

According to the Design-Build Institute of America, the delivery speed of a design-build project is one-third faster than projects completed through traditional contracting, including less chance of deadline extensions. Design-build helps you avoid the time-consuming process of getting multiple bids on every phase of a project.

2. Save money.

The cost of a design-build project is more than 6% less than a traditional project whereby first a designer is engaged and then a separate contractor with subs is brought in to build the original vision.

Additionally, design-build helps prevent additional costs being added on during the project due to better communication and commitment to your budget.

3. Decrease headaches.

Owners have a decreased administrative and management burden due to the single point of responsibility contract. Owners can focus on the project’s original intention and inception rather than managing disparate contracts with multiple points of contact.

4. Reduce litigation.

The integrated design-build team reduces the two primary types of construction litigation — cost overruns and construction defect — that come from lack of communication between the designer and contractor.

With design-build, contractors and designers work together to implement a plan to budget specifications so overages are not pushed to the owner. Contractors do not have to wait on a Request for Information (RFI) from the designer who is not on-site regularly when a question of construction protocol or design disparity arises, increasing timelines or resulting in an incorrect application of the design.

5. Increase innovation.

Owners benefit from an multidisciplinary team of architects, project managers and contractors working in concert. This cross-pollination of training and expertise brings best practices on all fronts, contributing to a project’s success.

Think a design-build approach is right for you? Call us at 503-726-2222 or send me a quick message today and let’s start talking about what you envision for your home!

And for more interior design news and inspiration, sign up for our newsletter.

10 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

For many, a huge kitchen is the stuff daydreams are made of. If only I had an 8-foot kitchen island with a second sink, you sigh dreamily. Food would definitely taste better if you made it in a spacious kitchen with a 10-foot ceiling and sun streaming in enormous windows, right?

But physically increasing your kitchen’s square footage isn’t always an option. Thankfully, as a kitchen and bath designer, I have learned a few tricks along the way to enlarge the look and feel of your kitchen without knocking out any walls.

I can’t guarantee you won’t bump elbows with your significant other anymore, but keep reading and I’ll see what I can do to give you a little more breathing room.

1. Lighten up.

As I wrote back in January in “9 Ways to Make a Small Room Look Bigger,” dark colors almost always make rooms feel smaller. Switch up that maroon or navy for a creamy white, soft warm gray or light gray-blue.  I always recommend using at least a satin finish because it is easier to clean and reflects plenty of light.

white paint to make kitchen feel larger

(Source: 66US)

2. Try different tile.

Put your backsplash to work reflecting light, not just water. Light-colored tile, metallics, or glass tiles can almost serve as mini-mirrors and help increase the light in the room.

reflective tile backsplash to shine and bounce light

(Source: Homebunch)

reflective tile backsplash kitchen

(Source: HGTV)

3. Change your kitchen cabinets.

Deep mahogany is classy for sure, but painting your cabinets off-white can trick the eye into thinking your kitchen is roomier (or match cabinet color with wall paint color so the eye glides smoothly over them). Glass doors instead of wood will open up the space as well. Or remove the cabinet doors altogether for a more open look.

exposed shelving in kitchen

(Source: Pinterest)

4. Maximize your lighting.

If a chandelier or pendant light is too low or large, it can obscure views out the window or of your fellow diners. Make sure your kitchen light is appropriately sized for your kitchen. And if you have dark drapes, by all means, switch them out for lighter, more sheer ones or skip them altogether. (In that case, window film can provide privacy without sacrificing natural light.) Undercabinet lighting can brighten up preparation spaces as well.

5. Get food out of sight.

Storage can be at a premium in tiny kitchens, but a little creativity can maximize your space and get all those spices, oils, and produce off of your counter. Changing cabinet doors to pull-out drawers can give you access to dramatically more space and help you tuck more tupperware out of the way.

Or store your sundries on a thin rolling shelf that hides between your fridge and sink. Magnetized spice holders can get your spices off the counter and onto the fridge, clearing up room for cooking.

pull-out kitchen storage for small kitchen

(Source: Classy Clutter)

creative storage in small kitchen

(Source: One Lucky Pickle)

6. Go for slim furniture.

Look for open table legs, translucent materials, and armless chairs. They reveal more of your space as you scan the room.

see through furniture in tiny kitchen

(Source: BHG)

7. Be strategic with your floor.

High-contrast colors will make your kitchen look smaller, so ditch the bright kitchen rug for one that’s a closer shade to your wood or tile. Try not to break up the visual flow of the floor; long lines and large tiles are better than small grids. (This is true in bathrooms, too — check out my post on making small bathrooms look bigger.)

8. Think upwards.

Vertical space is your secret weapon. Get things off the floors and counters with high shelving, a magnetic knife strip instead of a block on the counter, and pegboards for pots and pans.

small kitchens need vertical storage solutions

(Source: Nest Design Studio)

exposed vertical shelving in kitchen

(Source: Barn Light Electric Company)

9. Downsize your appliances.

Swapping a family-size coffeemaker for a modest french press is one way to save big on space. If your appliances are old and bulky, take the opportunity to upgrade to a sleek, small, European model instead. Or embrace the liberating feeling that comes with decluttering and get rid of an unused kitchen gadget altogether.

european-style appliances for small kitchen

(Source: Tumblr)

10. Make it movable.

Get a cutting board you can place over your sink during meal prep, or create a pull-out cutting board. Consider a rolling cart for your mixing bowls and cookie sheets that can be whisked out of the way.

small kitchen storage with hidden cutting board

(Source: Tumblr)

One last bonus tip: Make your kitchen your own. Little photos and pretty drawer pulls can personalize your cooking space and make you happy to be there, even if it isn’t as palatial as you’d like.

How do you make your kitchen seem bigger? What’d I miss? Let me know in the comments.

Recently Featured on Houzz!


We were recently featured on Houzz with 8 Ways to Bring Summer Fun Indoors!

Houzz Interior Design Tips: Making Your First Ideabook

Last month I wrote about how you can use Pinterest to develop an interior design style. I hope your boards have been helpful in guiding collaboration with an interior designer. This month, I want to talk about how you can use Houzz to refine your design process. This post will help you turn your inspirational Pinterest images into a manageable interior design project.

Like Pinterest, the goal is to get a clear sense of what you like. Houzz interior design lets us be more granular with budget, room size, room style and other design factors. The website allows to be more specific and realistic than you were on Pinterest.

Feel free to use the platforms in tandem – as we’ll advise here – or separately, depending on your affinity for one site or the other. It’s up to you.

The important is making the collaboration process easier for you and your design and remodeling professional. And to have fun.

Here’s how to get started.

Say you’ve found this image on Pinterest:

pinterest image unrealistic bathroom

First of all, it’s a fabulous bathroom. You have great taste.

Unfortunately, you notice, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to apply this design in your home. It doesn’t look like it would work with the shape of your master bathroom. What can you do? Do you move forward anyway, paying thousands of extra dollars to bend your bathtub to your will?

I suggest breaking your inspiration image into components, like you did when you created Boards on Pinterest. You can then take these components and search for them on Houzz. Using the Houzz search tools you can narrow down your choices even further to get results relevant to your specific needs.

So, if I were to break this image into different components, I might list:

  • Black and white tile with contrasting grout
  • Exposed brick tub
  • Glass partial divider

That’s when it’s time to log into Houzz and see what you can find.

A search for “exposed brick tub” in Houzz returns the following results:

houzz results

You’ll notice on the left that you can sort by room, style, location, budget and size. Being as true to your project specifications with help you when you bring in an interior designer.

Let’s say out of the results for “exposed brick tub” and “exposed stone tub” you like these three images.

Image One: A chic industrial shower with a claw foot tub and exposed brick accent wall.

Image Two: Tub lined with stone. Moss rock dry stacked on back wall.

Image Three: Stock trough tub in a bathroom with hardwood floors and exposed brick back wall.

What do you do now?

Next, you’ll want to add your images to an Ideabook. Ideabooks are like Pinterest Boards. Creating and adding to them is just as intuitive once you know where to look. This tutorial on Houzz takes you through the steps of creating your first Ideabook. It’s called Inside Houzz: How to Create and Use Ideabooks.

You may choose to create several Ideabooks for the same room. It can be helpful for an interior designer to look at a single Ideabook on layout, another on colors, etc.

Pinterest and Houzz are similar in a lot of ways. However, some people find the learning curve on Houzz to be steeper than Pinterest or other social media platforms. In many ways, it’s less intuitive. There’s a lot more going on. This makes it a powerful tool, but also a little intimidating.

Don’t be afraid to dig into Houzz’s wide array of tools.

In addition to boasting a massive collection of interior design images, Houzz also offers a user base of 2 million+ professionals who are eager to answer your questions. If you find something you like but aren’t sure what it’s called, where to find it, or how much it costs to install, just ask.

My personal favorite area of Houzz are its long form Ideabook articles. There’s an excellent collection of Ideabooks called Working with Pros. These posts discuss the ins-and-outs about working with interior designers, architects, builders, decorators and other professionals. It can be helpful to read posts about the type of professional you’ll be hiring before you begin a project. They’ll appreciate how knowledgeable you are about their profession, and you’ll be able to fluently talk shop, avoiding misunderstandings. Both of these things lead to an easier, more productive project for all involved.

Whether you decide to use Pinterest, Houzz, or just your personal design intuition to guide an interior design project, you deserve the best in service and results. The process should be one of exciting self-exploration that leads to beautiful results in your home. The tips from these blog posts can help guide you from point A to point B.

Do you prefer to use Houzz or Pinterest to curate an interior design look? Let us know in the comments.

Pinterest Interior Design: Using the Online Tool to Develop Your Style

The best interior design projects are ones that lead you to a greater understanding of your personal style and how to achieve it.

It’s similar to other creative processes. A great personal stylist will not only teach you what shapes and colors look best on you, they’ll also take the time to get to know what makes you unique and how to infuse your personality into everything you put on your body.

Clothing is a public projection of who we are. When we venture outside in a particular outfit, we’re sending a message to the public. Our homes are more private spaces. We have a chance to send more personal, intimate messages about who we are and how we choose to spend our time.

Granting such intimate creative control to a stranger can be intimidating.

By first taking the time to understand your personal style and get specific about what you want, you can help yourself and the designer working with you create a home that’s beautiful and well-organized – a seamless expression of self.

The internet makes it easy to access millions of unique images for any given interior design style. Two tools that some of my clients use to organize these images and get a better sense of their personal style are Houzz and Pinterest.

This post will show you how to use Pinterest to curate a creative ‘brief’ – including fixtures, colors, materials, and furniture you like – to help guide your interior designer. In a future post, I’ll provide instructions on replicating this explorative process using Houzz. This process is only two steps (with an optional third step), and will take you between 2 – 3 hours.

The most important part of this process is that it’s supposed to be fun. Grab a glass of wine, put on some of your favorite upbeat music, and log in to Pinterest.

pinterest interior design work station web

Step 1: Look Around

You’re loosened up – wine in hand, Beyonce crooning in your headphones. You have Pinterest open. Now what?

You’re on a hunt for images that look like home. You’re scouting for photos that make your heart beat a little faster. That plant! Those pendant lights! That sink!

Now is not the time to think about budget, size constraints, or other logistics. You can work with the designer to figure those things out later. For this process, tuck your inner critic away and dream big.

A few things to think about…

If you’ve never signed into Pinterest, this video tutorial about getting around the website may help you get started.

If you have an existing Pinterest interior design board, you can work from those or create a new board or set of boards specifically for your interior design project. At this point, you want to be collecting as many images as you can. Having a large set of images will be helpful in future steps. There are two great places to look for pins that are similar to images you’ve already pinned: the Also on These Boards and Related Pins sections.

To access these sections, first click into a pin that you like, and scroll down. You’ll see the Also on These Boards section first, and the Related Pins section after that.

getting around pinerest

Time: 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes

Step 2: Get Organized

Once you’ve spent an hour or two collecting all of your favorite images into a single board, you’ll want to organize them. Turn your critical thinking skills back on and take a look over the images you’ve collected. How might you group them?

You may notice that a specific pattern or color palette emerges. Make these into their own boards. Maybe a type of furniture – like a love seat – appears in many of your images. Group these into their own board as well.

Other ways to group images include:

  • By mood or style (cozy, dramatic, minimal, stark)
  • By material (copper, wood, lucite)
  • By a unique feature (skylight, tall ceiling, textured wall paper, light fixture)
  • By texture (smooth, matte, patterned, fur, antiqued leather)
  • By fixture (mason jar pendant lights, chrome faucet handles)

Look through your set of images, pick a few groups that you think capture the components of the room that make the interiors so lovely to you, and start making boards. Repin the images from your large group of photos into these smaller, curated boards.

Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

using pinterest interior design

Step 3: Find More of What You Love (Optional)

When you see the patterns in your aesthetic and have organized them into boards, you can refine your Pinterest search to look for more of what you love.

This is especially helpful for boards that are a little sparse. Giving your interior designer lots of options will help them find something that will suit your space and budget. Don’t be afraid to go a bit overboard. It’s their job to help you pare down your vision into the best thing for your space.

Time: 30 minutes

Let us know if you’ve used this process or something similar to prepare for working with an interior designer. We’d love to hear your experience in the comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Next Posts

Erin on Google+ | Mosaik Design & Remodeling
0112 Southwest Hamilton Street Portland, OR 97239 | (503) 726-2222