Sustainability and environmental consciousness are ubiquitous in our world today, and there are some very real ways that these aspects of design and specifications can positively impact a client’s budgetary concerns. Being aware of available rebates in your area can return some of the dollars a client’s desires are costing. For example, www.energystar.gov and www.epa.gov are two sites that provide information on local rebates for energy-saving appliances, and on the ROI of water- or energy-saving products. Some of our manufacturers have done this homework for us and, if not, we can do the homework to help our clients fit that budget.
Beyond this, we have opportunities to consider reuse of existing parts and pieces of the space. I am amazed at the sources I am finding around the country for obtaining recycled items as part of the overall project, and for disposing of unwanted items that may still have value. Again, we need to do our homework.
Color can be used to make a statement with minimal cost, and in the midst of economic stress, colors can also offer hope and comfort at home and in our kitchens and baths. Color forecasters are predicting shades of gray to be strong, along with the expected neutrals that never go away. Look for purple in softer levels to calm us and in more intense shades to add luxury and fun; yellows to brighten our attitude, and blues – from spa to deep shades.
Recall Michelle Obama in her purple dress on the campaign trail, and how it has usurped red as the new color for the “power tie.” Yellow, with its ability to add life to any space, is also gaining ground, in shades from bright sunlight to mustard. A look at laundry appliances confirms the uplift that color can bring to a space. The fact that we can make such a strong statement with minimal expense makes color an essential tool in the budget-wise kitchen or bath.
Hopefully, we all love what we do. Even so, there is a bottom line. In tough times, the balance seems to tip to an emphasis on the dollars and not the passion. Now, while the going is tougher, hopefully these ideas on approach, attitude and design will help swing the balance back to equal parts passion and profit.