Robin Garceau: Start Your New Year With A Design Plan!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


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Looking back on 2016, did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Or are you saying to yourself.. “I wanted to get this done but never did. Time just got away from me.” 

Whether it be your home or office, create a Design Plan now for 2017. Avoiding rush decisions could alleviate stressful situations and costly mistakes; scrambling at the last minute because your contractor “needs a decision tomorrow” for paint and tile or your party is in 4 weeks but you haven’t ordered your furniture yet. 

Allow yourself the time to enjoy it. Make educated and thoughtful design decisions, so when you step into that room, you feel the way it was intended to make you feel:  Happy. Relaxed. Full of Life.  

It could take up to 6 months to line up painters, contractors and choosing & ordering custom furniture and window treatments.  If you want your project completed by the beginning of this summer, start now.   If you’re thinking of the holidays, start no later than July.  Make a plan & stick to it.  It’s easier than you may think.  Focus, get organized and follow these steps:


1.  Make A List of Your Design Goals and what it entails.

    For example:  This year I want to:

Renovate the family and dining rooms.

  • I want the family room to be inviting, lively and functional.
  • I need to seat 12 people in the dining room and want it to be dressy but not too ornate.
  • New paint color & wallpaper
  • Create floor plan, decide which furniture to keep and what to replace.
  • New window treatments and area rugs
  • New overhead lighting & lamps


Update the kitchen:

  • I want it to be bright and pleasant.
  • New appliances
  • Replace or paint cabinetry?
  • New flooring and backsplash
  • New counter stools and kitchen dining set


Create a functional and attractive office space:

  • I want an office that I enjoy walking into every day
  • A new desk that makes a statement
  • Functional but beautiful file & storage cabinets
  • New paint color
  • New Window Treatments


2.  Create A Budget for Each Project

There have been so many times a client will tell me they don’t have a budget.  It is one of the biggest mistakes starting a project.  It leads to wasted time and frustration. Even if you do not have an exact budget,  what is your realistic threshold? $10,000, $50,000, $100,000?  For instance, you want to replace the appliances in your kitchen but you don’t have a budget.  You walk into an appliance store and fall in love with this amazing stove.  It’s exactly what you were thinking so you continue to work with the salesperson to put together your appliance package.  Based on your initial choice, they, in turn, choose coordinating appliances - same quality and price point.  You love the choices and are excited to get started.  Then you realize the stove you love is $10,000.  In your mind you were thinking $10,000 would include everything so the last 3 hours you just spent in the appliance store was a waste of time.  There are an enormous number of choices out there.  It’s impossible for you to know everything.  By having a general idea of your threshold,  your designer or salesperson can guide you toward thoughtful design decisions right from the beginning.  


3.  Create A List:

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What type of services do you need to complete your project?  Interior Designer, Painter, Contractor? If you do not know any, start by asking friends and family for referrals.  You can also look at websites such as  Many industry professionals have profiles with photography of their work and testimonials. Create your list of business names and all contact information including phone numbers & emails.  Make note of when and who you called.  When meeting with them, ask to view some of their work, for client referrals as well as what their time schedule, contracts and fees are.  If you like what you see and hear, schedule them to start the project.  


4.  Get Organized.

Purchase a multi-file folder and box to hold paperwork and samples such as paint charts, fabrics and finishes.  Have a notebook for any details discussed during meetings.  Date each page!  Once you start making final decisions, discard unnecessary product samples.  Label each finalized choice with the word “FINAL” and the room where it is going.  After making a final choice, do not second guess it. Love it and move on to the next item on your list.

The easy part is to say you want to start your project.  The hard part is to create a plan and stick to it.  Once you do, things will fall into place. Feel confident you are doing everything to create a beautiful room you will love living in!


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Robin Garceau is among RI’s most prominent interior designers.  Her signature style of sophisticated & fresh design brings an elevated level of subtle luxury to client’s homes and offices.

A native Rhode Islander with more than 20 years in the design field, Robin specializes in comprehensive upscale projects. She also received her real estate license in 2011 and has worked with builders, real estate developers, business owners & homeowners to develop a broad and extensive knowledge of living & office spaces. Robin is part of the team at Lila Delman Real Estate International, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhode Island College’s Fine Arts Program and is a longstanding member of the Interior Design Society & RI Association of Realtors.

Robin can be reached at 401-743-4889 and on her website,


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Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor has 15 plus years of experience in the field of interior design. She is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 and 2013 Gold Awards for residential interior design. She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island. Find her on twitter at @ktidnet, visit her website at or check her out on Facebook at


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