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Roomations | Katie Miller

Katie Miller, LEED AP, is co-founder of Roomations.com, a website that provides homeowners convenient online access to custom interior design services. Katie has worked in the affordable housing field and at notable design firms Rossetti and HKS. She holds a Master of Architecture and MBA from the University of Michigan.

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future house

The Future of the Home Industry

There are two trends which are converging in the home improvement industry: an aging baby boomer population and a young population with a preference for urban, walkable environments. Urban homes, green or "healthy" homes, smaller homes and walkable neighborhoods with strong public transportation are attractive to both groups. Additionally, we will see an increase in so-called universal design in residential homes. Universal design is design that takes into consideration the fact that some individuals have mobility challenges, as is the case for disabled or aging individuals. For example, homes that can be accessed fully without having to go up and down stairs to get into the home or move around inside the home.
project pride

Getting Started in Home Improvement

For those interested in their own interior design practices, first get an education at a top interior design school - University of Cincinnati and Michigan State are two great programs in the Midwest - and really throw yourself into your academic design work so you have a stellar portfolio and solid design software skills when you graduate. 3D modeling programs like Revit and SketchUp are essential in today's design practice. Landing your first job at a firm will be tough and really hinges on the quality of your portfolio standing out above the rest. People skills and your ability to network are also things that will make you stand out (and help you succeed throughout your career). When you have built up the skills needed to start your own practice (including knowing how to set your fees and understanding contracts), I recommend you begin initially with freelance work while you still have a job with an employer, provided they allow "moonlighting". That will enable you to build up enough of a client base to then make the jump to being a full time solo practitioner. Also consider becoming an active member of the Roomations Designer Network to get design work online (a.k.a. "e-decorating") and set up a profile on Houzz so people searching for a designer in your area can find you.
within the law

Working Within the Law

One law to work around when remodeling your home is zoning regulations. This type of rule often applies when making additions in residential areas. For example, if you are raising your roof or extending the length of your home to add square footage, the law may require a variance approval for you to continue your project. A variance can be expensive and also put construction on hold until granted. There are also types of building codes that can get in the way of rehabbing your home. For example, if a homeowner wants to change the layout of their historic home, believe it or not state regulations can prevent these changes to maintain the history and character of the home. Although these laws can take time to work around, it is often worth the wait of approval instead of moving out of a dream home.
upcycling

Upcycling, Recycling and Removing Old Junk

My co-founder, Jessica, and I came up with a great list of things to throw-out, give away or re-purpose when working on our own spring cleaning project. The whole time we kept asking the question - "What do we do with this?" Here's our answers for what to do with each type of thing you don't really need, but still have in your house: 1. T-SHIRTS FROM SCHOOLS, TRIPS, JOBS, PARTIES, VOLUNTEER EVENTS, ETC. It seems every time we attend a volunteer event, a school play or a celebration at work, it comes with a T-shirt. I’m not sure why all these groups have not caught on that these T-shirts inevitably end up in the basement. Sometimes we have sentimental value attached to these shirts: because we were in the school play, or planned that big event at work. But you know what, keep the memories and the pictures, not the t-shirt. THROW OUT! 2. GIFTS FROM EX’S: These also sometimes have sentimental value attached to them. But if it is a trinket that used to sit on your dresser and is now in a box..it is time to get rid. SALVATION ARMY! 3. THINGS THAT ARE USEFUL, BUT YOU USE INFREQUENTLY: I had a bunch of fold-out arm chairs with beer holders that are great for BBQ's or outdoor events. But I’d be OK to sit on a blanket on the floor, and haven’t needed to bring my own chair to a BBQ…ever. GIVE TO A WANTING FRIEND. 4. NICE THINGS LIKE A SUIT THAT YOU WORE ONCE FOR THAT INTERVIEW OR THAT WEDDING: If your office is business casual, or you don’t have an afternoon wedding in the foreseeable future, give it to a group that can use it. CAREER GEAR or DONATEMYDRESS. 5. SPORTS GEAR: Remember how popular roller blades were in the 90's? I had roller blades that I used to use a lot, but pretty much had traded blading in for biking a long time ago. Let’s get real – I will never use my roller blades again. PLAY IT AGAIN SPORTS. 6. GUITAR HERO: While this is a nice thing to have, it was in my basement. That says it all. CRAIGSLIST.

Awards

Future Home Industry: Home Expert Awards

There are two trends which are converging in the home improvement industry: an aging baby boomer population and a young population with a preference for urban, walkable environments. Urban homes, green or "healthy" homes, smaller homes and walkable neighborhoods with strong public transportation are attractive to both groups. Additionally, we will see an increase in so-called universal design in residential homes. Universal design is design that takes into consideration the fact that some individuals have mobility challenges, as is the case for disabled or aging individuals. For example, homes that can be accessed fully without having to go up and down stairs to get into the home or move around inside the home