Six Tips for a Smart, Happy Home Remodel

The designers at Kimberly Timmons Interiors gave us their savviest advice for creating a successful refresh
Sbp 0149on20 Drapery Rod

This room in a Morrison mountain home, went from dull to open and airy with a “wow” focal point: a custom fireplace wall. | Photos by Susie Brenner

When doing a home remodel, the designers at Kimberly Timmons Interiors (KTI) start by doing a walk-through and getting a client’s entire wish list, says Nikki Holt, KTI’s residential studio design director. Typically, the firm will go in and take a house down to the exterior walls, reworking the entire interior layout.

Nikki 2

Nikki Holt shares design tips for a successful reno. | Portrait by Kylie Fitts/Oase Co

“The biggest difference between a new build and a remodel is that a remodel is like working with a puzzle,” Holt says. “How can you get spaces to flow and function in completely different ways than their original design intent? It can turn into quite a fun design challenge!” Here are Holt’s top tips for executing a successful remodel.

Sbp 005520

Classical elements, including custom trim work and a coastal-inspired grass-cloth wallcovering, create a welcoming ambiance.

1. Hire an experienced general contractor

“You can spend good money on a great design firm, but if you don’t have a skilled professional builder to bring their vision to life, you’ll en dup with a completely different result,” Holt says. A good builder will provide an accurate bid up front, a solid timeline, and seamless service throughout.

2. Go classic on the main architectural elements

Choose classic designs for “big ticket” items, like cabinetry, flooring or fireplace design, advises Holt, and save trendy for easily changeable areas like wall coverings, paint color, lighting and furniture. “Having that classic backdrop allows you to continually evolve the space for years to come without having to rip things out,” she says.

Sbp 0370uncropped

The renovation of this Morrison home brought in subtle seaside charm with shiplap walls, natural materials and soft, sheer drapes.

3. Build in a few “wow” focal points

Avoid the urge to overload your remodel with too many “wow” moments. “It really takes away from the overall design when you try to throw in too many focal points,” says Holt. “Pare down to a few—a grand staircase, an amazing fireplace design or a really funky powder room—or go really big in the kitchen and leave the rest as neutral complements to those focal features.”

4. If it’s a sizable home remodel, move out during construction

“If clients stay in the house, they will be living in a construction zone and will see every little hiccup that happens—things that we take care of,” says Holt. “We advise they find a short-term rental. It makes life so much easier.”

Sbp 0392 1

The Morrison homeowners said goodbye to an old deck-mount tub and hello to a new, but still classical, freestanding soaker.

5. Consider using commercial-grade materials

“At KTI, we use high-end commercial-grade materials all the time for busy families with kids. A lot of people think these materials will be corporate or stuffy, but there are such great commercial products now. They might be a little more money up front, but they will last a family a lifetime.”

6. Don’t forget about the exterior

“It’s the first thing people see when they’re entering your home, and having a disconnect between the exterior and interior will feel odd,” says Holt. “When they flow seamlessly together, your home will really stand out.”

Categories: Interiors