Getting the Details Right On Your Remodel | With Katie Fore

Getting the Details Right On Your Remodel | With Katie Fore

Katie Fore of The Elevated Stag joins the show.  We discuss the importance of getting the details right when remodeling your home.  Making sure you have enough of the furniture, fixtures and accents to not only complete your project but deal with unforeseen issues that might come up after completion, and wallpaper making a comeback.


Troy: Welcome to Real Estate Insights with Troy Schlicker.

Today I am joined by Katie four of the elevated steak. How's it going today, Katie?

Katie: Hey Troy. It's going great. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Troy: Good to have you back again. A lot of things, we're already into mid-February who knows about the time this actually broadcast. It might be a little bit later, although I think I'm trying to get this one posted back up pretty quick. It's always interesting every once in a while, when you record a podcast.

And you mentioned something that's happening right then and there, like the weather. Oh, remember the freeze. And then if you don't actually record, you don't actually release the podcast for two weeks later and it's 86 degrees out. You're like, what's going on? What's this guy talking about? Like that doesn't build any trust.

This realtor has no idea what the temperature is. I is outside. Those are always fun things. But how have things been going in your.

Katie: Pretty good. We're staying pretty busy and just trying to wrap up a few projects. I'm about to get started on a couple of other ones, so good things happening.

Troy: Awesome. It's always gotta be fun to start some new projects and finish, like that's the finish and starts probably the most exciting components of the work.

Katie: Yeah, it's exciting to get to see something come to fruition and see your client's vision come to life. And then it's also really fun cuz when you start a new project, everything's different and new and just, each client has their own idea of what they want. And so all new materials, everything's brand new.

We get to start over from.

Troy: Nice. And that's a perfect segue about materials cuz we were having a little conversation off camera about a topic that I think is really relevant that sometimes people don't necessarily think about initially when they're getting their home updated or remodeled or different things about ordering materials and how.

maybe tricky, might be a little bit too much, too strong of a word, but it's not necessarily the easiest process of Hey, measure my room, go to a web, go to Amazon or Home and just order, order the products. You were mentioning some of the stories you've had recently in your condominium building about stuff not being available because people didn't order enough to have.

Katie: Yes. It happens quite often and homeowners will often try to tackle projects themselves, which is great. More power to you. But what I will say is that oftentimes, if they haven't been through that process before, there's a lot of things in the background that we as designers and people in the construction world have to think about that goes into the actual construction and the design.

For example, I have a lot of clients that will order their own plumbing fix. and they don't think into account that they need the right valves that go with those fixtures. And a lot of times if you order something, say off or just go to Home Depot, they don't necessarily include the valves that you'll need for install.

And so that's the one thing that the plumber needs. Who's the first person to really be doing anything in your bathroom? After demo is he needs to get everything plumbed. And if you don't have the right valves, then you have to wait. To come in. And sometimes those can be back ordered or it may take another week to get in just from shipping.

So there's a lot of little things, the details that you don't know until you've been through it enough times. And we have been through it enough times that we just make sure to have a checklist of everything that needs to be ordered. Square footage and tiles, for example, making sure that you have proper square footage, but also enough waste factors so that you're not running out of.

based on the cuts that are needed to make for the design that they're trying to achieve. There's a lot of things like that people just don't think about. They're like, oh, I have 25 square feet of tiles, so I order 25 square feet. But then really you need 37 square feet of overage based on the cuts and everything else.

And towels break in shipment. There's just a lot of those types of things that happen in the construction world that cause the delays that we tend to see

Troy: Yeah. And the other thing too that we were talking about is, I don't know if it's necessarily just based off of, trying to. always have new products, right? Like a flooring company or design company that's making the products, depending on what it is, right? If it's stone, that's gonna be unique because every cut of stone and stuff's a little bit different.

Or quartz countertops, those kind of things. But for flooring companies as well, like they go through different styles. And so someone that's ordering flooring like, Hey, let me order some flooring and then have it. For next year when I want to do a remodel they might not have any more of that flooring available next year when you actually get around to the remodel that you've been storing the material in your garage for the last year.

And so now if you're short that material like you are started into a project that you can't finish without starting back from scratch,

Katie: Yeah, a hundred percent. And even then sometimes they'll have different dial lots and. The lot that you ordered from a year ago, even if they have the same tile, it may change slightly. It's like a pair of jeans, if you order from the same person or excuse me, the same company, and you have, oh, I ordered page jeans in size 27, and the next page jeans that I order in size 27 is not guaranteed to be the exact same

Troy: Sure.

Katie: even if it's from the same manufacturer and it says it's the same style.

Troy: Yeah. Vader. And another thing, what you talking about that brought up to me a specific client who had bought a home that really loved the hardwood floor that the previous owner had put into the living room and they wanted to extend it. To the dining room and to an office that currently had a different type of flooring and they had to go around because you couldn't get it from the manufacturer anymore.

They had to like search Home Depots throughout the state of Texas or Home Depots or some flooring company throughout the state of Texas and were able to scrounge together just enough of the flooring to finish it out that way. Otherwise, they were gonna have to. , leave it the way it was, or do some kind of complimentary flooring or do new flooring in the entire place because they didn't have enough.

And again, obviously it's because the previous owner didn't care about redoing the flooring in those areas. It wasn't like they were just gonna stock up in case someone else down the road wanted to. But it's something to think about when you are remodeling two, like you're not, most of us can't afford to do a whole house remodel at the at one fell.

And so understanding that I shouldn't just order something for the living room. Now, you should have still an idea of how you want the whole house to look, even if it's gonna be a full year, two year, three year project that you do in steps, because you wanna make sure that flows together perfectly when it's done, instead of having those dial lots or patterns and stuff be a little.

Katie: Yeah, for sure. And it's also worth considering that even if people don't wanna put together some kind of really in-depth house manual with paint colors and shes, and all the specs on their different flooring and counter top materials and some people do this and they choose to do that and it's great, especially for the home buyers that come after them.

But most often owners aren't going to be thinking about the people buying. After the fact. But it is helpful when you have repairs that are needing to be done over the years. Obviously water damage is pretty prevalent in Texas and having leaks and it's a dishwasher or a washing machine and maybe you only have to repair a part of the floor and not the entire thing.

It's always advisable to have. Extra on hand. So even when you're buying a house to ask the existing owners if they know what materials were used in the home, or if they have extra boxes of the material, it's really great to have that stuff on hand. Or at least to have the information.

So that should that be an issue down the road that you can you can access it.

Troy: That's one of the great things about being a real estate agent here in Texas is so many of the clients that we get to work with are in the tech and engineering field. So they're very detail

Katie: Have spreadsheets

Troy: Yeah, exactly right. Like here it's, here's the warranties, here's the contacts for this, here's the, what we used for that.

I actually, it'd be, you'd probably find it pretty funny. Few of the different spreadsheets that I've had from clients about all that kind of stuff, and, but, It. One, it makes it super easy for yourself if you're living in a place long term. It's probably not gonna make or break why a buyer buys your home because you were that organized that way.

But being that organized usually does show up in a lot of the other details about the home, about it being kept up well and stuff, which can make a difference for sure. And when looking at a home if you have flooring that was done three years apart, that is a little. Not, again, not that same die lot and stuff.

It are, it is sometimes the little details that will impact a person's decision when they're deciding to buy a home. For sure.

Katie: And I, it's, that crosses over I think, in a lot of ways. And, I was always told to look at a man's shoes and a woman's fingernails. When you look at a man's shoes, if they're in good shape and they're in good condition, then you know that he probably takes care of a lot of other things.

And the same thing goes for. Ladies' hands. I know we all get busy. We don't have time to do a lot of these, these things. And that's not always an indicator of how somebody behaves in the rest of their life. But it is a good indicator that the person who does upkeep those things probably upkeep other areas of their life as well.

And the same goes for home ownership. When you're buying a home, as you, I'm sure talk to your clients. If you've seen somebody and their actions show that they've taken really good care of their home, then that's a really good in. For your client to purchase because you know that it's been well cared for.

Troy: Yeah. And it definitely 100% has an impact when people start to look at the inspection kind of stuff, right? If they know, if not that you're ever gonna have a clean inspection. It doesn't, clean inspection doesn't exist. Even on new construction, you're not gonna have perfectly clean. Impossible.

But but seeing the details that someone can see about you, to your point, give you insights into the details you can't see about a home or about a person. And so that's why the details matter.

Katie: Absolutely.

Troy: So obviously you guys do, the whole home stuff, but also instead of, tearing everything down, it might just be doing a remodel, spruce it up, trying to get.

New things for people, what is, you have a fa. If you could only choose one store here in Austin to use as your go-to store for pieces to put into people's homes, what would that be?

Katie: Ooh, that's tough. I think that for the general population, the store that probably has the most mix that I think would accommodate just about any style would probably be Pottery Barn or c Creighton Barrel. And they're both under the same. , wheelhouse. I think those two stores tend to have just about everything.

If you needed to furnish a home from top to bottom and didn't wanna spend, restoration hardware prices. But one is something that that looked really nice and would be of, good quality. I think those two stores are really great on that. I think CB two is an outlier.

Pottery Barn and c Creighton Barrel, and they have a little bit more modern edge to their decor. I get a lot of my furniture from CB two. But I think those are probably the best. A new one that's come into town fairly recently is room and board. And room and board has some really great stuff, especially for my guys.

I think that's a, they have a little bit more kind of masculine spin on their furniture. But good quality and I think a great price point.

Troy: Nice. Going back to the, having different ru or different flooring and some different design stuff, one of the trends that seems to be coming up. , I the term maximalist where it's just a lot of different colors, a lot of different designs in a home, in a space. And so what are your thoughts on not necessarily making a home quite as uniform, do you think that is something that is gonna start to be more of a trend of Hey, this one room. Not all over the place, but it can feel that way if you're used to a more modern, sleek finish of stuff. But potentially designing even different parts of the house to have different kind of,

Katie: Have their own

Troy: yeah, a little bit.

Katie: Yeah, I definitely think, powder baths have always been that, that unique you. Punch. Something exciting when people walk in. People put really crazy wallpaper and really fun fixtures and that tends to be a little different than the rest of the home. I think we are starting to see more of that in other aspects.

Office. The home office has made a huge comeback with Covid and people want to make that space their own and make it unique. So I think that's where we're starting to see a lot more of what you're saying. Like the maximalist, you'll have really dark wall colors, make it really moody feeling bright accents, floor coverings that really.

Speaking to the person's personality. So I think, yeah, we're seeing that. I don't know if it's gonna stay, forever. And I think a lot of people still really prefer to have a more minimalist vibe, especially for home sales, because when I go in and do some of my staging walkthroughs, I'm basically telling them what they need to eliminate and pair down on

Troy: Always. There's, you always have more stuff in there. We're, again, very fortunate that we have as much stuff as we do, but you always have more stuff in there than you need, and you want it to feel more open because then it'll let someone else feel like they can bring all of their stuff into the new space.

And if you have way too many things in there it'll feel more crowded and less spacious than it is a lot of times.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely.

Troy: do, and it is interesting on that front. I agree, like I'm definitely much more of a kind of modern minimalist versus too much crazy stuff. But I do think that again, with the market being a little, being slower than it's been the last couple of years, that sometimes having.

that personality in the home might be the difference between someone being like we could buy this home, but it's like a lot of other homes to like, oh, this home really has a personality that feels like it should be our home type of thing. And could I could see that potentially driving some buyers to actually make the decision to purchase because they have a better connection with.

Katie: Yeah. And I think we might have talked a little bit about this before, but having. . I think light fixtures make a big difference. Having some fun and really like vibrant styles of light fixtures over the island or in the living room, something that's wow factor. Those seem to make a big difference.

Countertops, countertops for a while we had white kitchens with white countertops, and now I think we're starting to see more playful colors in the kitchen and the countertops and the cabinet colors. That speaks to, I think, the next generation of buyer for sure.

Troy: I actually got to tour a house near near Barton Creek that was a farm H farmhouse style, and the ceiling fan in the living room was basically a windmill, just tilted.

Tilted up for that. So like the you would see a windmill with the slats the way it was tilted as the fan in the living room, which was a really cool design

Katie: That's awesome. Yeah.

Troy: it's very interesting. I had a question and now I have forgotten what I was gonna say. Specifically. If you got the opportunity to design a space or a home for your. , what design style would you choose and why?

Katie: I have always been drawn to mid-century modern, but. A spin on a mid-century modern. I do the modern look. I like unique pieces

Troy: So first off, explain. First off, explain mid-century modern for those of us who aren't interior design.

Katie: So mid-century modern is going to be, it's, based in the seventies. Style. You have a lot of mid-century homes in Austin, the pancake rock homes that you see the single level almost ranch style. And you walk in and they have a big kind of open entryway and then they'll have transom windows a lot of times.

And there's just a feel, it's like a mood. You have tezo floors in the mid-century homes. They just have this. Olives and greens and burnt oranges and more earth tone feel, and the walnut furniture the pieces, a lot of the times in the mid-century furnishings, whether they're chairs or sideboards, are gonna be made with more of that walnut finish.

So it has a really nice kind of cozy and warm feel to it. But I think it can get overdone. I think that there, it's been around for a long time. I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon, but it's definitely. Had its day where people carried it a little too far. So I like to have a modern twist with a little bit of the mid-century vibes.

And just something that's clean and cozy without, modern can get a little bit too cold sometimes if you go too modern. So I think I like the marriage of both of those styles.

Troy: remember what I was gonna ask and it was cuz you had talked about wallpaper and.

Katie: Oh

Troy: as someone who grew up as some, I saw on your Instagram I think it was just a wall, right? A lot of people are doing it now for accent walls instead of necessarily wallpapering a whole room. Although I'm sure there's plenty of that going on too, as someone who growing up had to like paint, scrape through four layers of wallpaper.

In one of the rooms of the houses that we lived in to get to the wall that we could finally paint. I have maybe a little bit of PS P S T D when it comes to wallpaper, so it's going to be a little I don't, haven't quite jumped on board with where it's going, but it's definitely a thing and to some degree it's a relatively inexpensive, I'm sure there's a lot of expensive wallpaper as well too, but it's a relatively simple and straightforward.

to add some color and personality to a room that again, whi, which for the longest time we had these very modern, sterile, almost looking condos in homes. But and as we're transitioning away from, it's a way to maybe add accent wall wallpaper wise that kind of offsets that a.

Katie: Yeah. It can be very expensive. There are definitely, you can spend $10,000 on one wall. The installation process can be a little bit daunting because there are very few installers that are left that can really do f. A good install on the wallpaper. Now of course there's selfs stick wallpaper, right?

People can get the wallpaper and do it themselves. There's different kinds. There's pasted, pre pasted and then ones that you have to add the paste who to the wall. So it can get a little bit tricky. But for small spaces I think it's fun and it's not that difficult if you have to get it removed.

, if you're doing an entire room, that's a commitment for sure. And you wanna make sure you're either gonna be in the house for a long time, , or you do something that's gonna appeal to the masses when you're going to sell. But I, yeah, that accent wall actually was done in my home. And it's not wallpaper, it's plaster.

So that's another avenue that if somebody wanted to do something different that looks like a wallpaper. Maybe they can't find one that they like, which in my case, I spent months and rents looking for the perfect wallpaper and I couldn't find one. So I brought my my friend who is an artist in, and she did an incredible job making up that beautiful accent wall for me.

Troy: That's awesome. Yeah. You're seeing. . You do see occasionally artists do that. That obviously is probably less common, but even for the last few years you've seen, they now have like tile brick that, to make it put brick up on a wall. Even just regular tile people, have been doing more of that.

I saw a crazy fireplaces, a super expensive home where they had almost counters, size sheets of granite. I dunno if it was granite specifically, but as. Sheets to put up on this huge fireplace to be the surround for that. And so there's, which is again, not cheap. Not something that everyone's likely gonna be able to afford, but a definitely unique statement piece that is ki is one of a kind since, the marble and the, or the granite's gonna be one.

Katie: Yeah, I think using different materials has become more prevalent, like you're saying, people using tile on the walls in different areas outside of kitchens and bathrooms. The like. There's some really cool wood. Textured wood tiles that you can use as well. And some of these are actually very easy to put on the wall.

 As much as like peel and stick. There's some really cool new things out there that I wish when I was younger. And I used to like, decorate my apartment and do different things that I had access to. peel and stick wallpaper didn't really even become

Troy: No, like

Katie: until recent, so

Troy: it was absent from existence. It felt like for a decade and a half or something.

Katie: Yeah I added peel and stick wallpaper to my first office back, out of college. I was so excited to find it at Target. And I found like strips and I had to buy five rolls. But I did it and it looked awesome, and I was so excited to be able to do that. So it is fun. It's a fun project.

And if you like to do, diy the peel and stick wallpaper's great. It's just, there's not as many options out there as some of the, the nicer paper that they have as far as the wallpaper's concerned,

Troy: Yeah. And like I say, Those are again, not custom, but close to that. Like they're run, a lot of smaller orders of it and to make it and to some degree custom cuz they don't want everyone's house to be the same wallpaper the way it would've been, say in the seventies or eighties, it was like, oh, here's the wallpaper that everyone uses the same way, like there's.

Katie: Floral.

Troy: Yeah, there's like the meme out there of like the old, the si, the six different types of plate designs that were in the, seven seventies, eighties, and nineties. Which one of these six did you have? And the people want people while they wanna still have the, you like the general style and theme of a home.

Like other people, whether it's mid-century or modern or that they wanna have it still feel a little bit personal by having, again, different kinds of wallpaper, different kinds. Tile different, pieces that make their home just a little, yeah. Have that personal touch.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely.

Troy: The one thing I was gonna say about, you were talking about like different, how people are incorporating different things in different parts of the home.

The one thing I can, other thing I can not get behind yet, I don't pst from it, but are the people who put like the smaller. Either, three by three tiles or even the 12 by 12 tiles, and use that as like kitchen countertops and then with grout in it. Like for me, that's just that's great.

You can't not everyone can afford to put granite countertop on. That's fine. Just do for Micah. There's nothing wrong with, for Micah, I grew up with

My whole life. That's perfectly fine. It's better than having a bunch of 12 by 12 squares with grout in it. But that's maybe just my person.

Katie: So that actually brings up a good point because I think people think that. like a quartz. Granite has actually been pushed to the side for a while and quartz has become the big player in countertop materials and there are so many countertop yards in Austin that have extra slabs that are either returned from a customer project or are like off cuts from customer projects.

So if somebody has a small powder, And they have x, x, y, z size in this slab that would fit their powder bath. They can just find a fabricator and they can get a really good deal on a smaller piece versus having to buy an entire slab. And there's actually a company called Countertop Smart.

I use them for smaller pieces to find remnant pieces across the city. They go to every, Courts and granite yard that they can take pictures of all of these and then they put them on their website.

Troy: Okay.

Katie: So instead of you having to set up appointments and go and see all these different places, you can narrow the focus down really easily online, find the color that you want, find the species that you want, and then you can say, Hey I wanna come and pick up or look at this particular piece, and they can hold it for you for a reserved period of time where, The time to go and review.

And then if you want it, then you just pay for it. And then you just have to find a fabricator that's good, that can install it for you. But it's a lot more affordable than most people think. And just like we were talking about earlier, as a designer and being in this space, like we talk about this stuff all the time, but I forget sometimes that, that just average, everyday homeowner doesn't understand or know that these things exist out there.

And so I'm glad to have found them. I have a lot of different fabricators that I work with now that also have extra remnants, so I'll typically go to them first because I have those relationships. But if they don't, the countertop Smart is really a great way to, to start that process.

Troy: That's, yeah, that's, I'd say even as a real estate agent, I would've had no idea about that specifically. So there's always. A wealth of knowledge that you can get by going to an expert that you don't even realize you're missing out on in a lot of

Katie: and they're a local company. The guys that own it are young guys. They hustle. They really try to make everybody happy with what they do. So I definitely recommend recommend them.

Troy: That's cool. It seems like a perfect place to end the podcast, cause I know everyone who is listening is either already on their phone searching them, so that way they.

Katie: Yeah

Troy: what options they got going on there and is are busy figuring out their next step in updating and remodeling their home.

Katie: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me on again, and I look forward to the next one.

Troy: No, it's always great chatting with you. Have a good one.

Katie: All right, thanks, Troy.

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