interview with julie carlson

There's nothing quite like jumping back into work! Literally hours after we touched down inToronto I ran off to meet Julie Carlson, one of the founders of design site Remodelista. She has a new book out that I think hands down is one of the best I have read in awhile. The advice is practical, well researched and required reading for anyone renovating a house. With sections on everything from Where to Spend and Where to Save (Spend on: good lighting, your sofa, and solid wood doors. Save on: fancy technology, secondary rooms (like powder rooms) and luxury woods.), and a chart specifically dedicated to what to buy and what not to buy at Ikea - (children's furniture is in while plumbing and mattresses are out) it is loaded with good advice.

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In addition, the photos are drool worthy. My book is already dog eared with post-it notes and turned down corners of ideas that are inspiring me.

A few highlights from my conversation....

From the start we wanted to be service oriented. Back when we started Remodelista in 2007 most of the blogs were simply posting pretty interiors. We really wanted to give people a source book for where to find the 10 best white paints or the perfect leather cabinet hardware.

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My best renovation tip is to hire an architect. While this is a big expense it also offers the biggest  payback especially if the project cost is over $25 000, building permits are needed or if you are moving walls or reorganizing spaces.

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Finish the job you started. The bedside tables in our master bedroom were never completely finished and as a result they continue to bother me. Take the extra steps at the end of a project to finish everything off including final paint touch-ups.

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Use basic affordable materials like white subway tile, white pine and plywood to keep your renovation within budget. Use the extra money for custom millwork or cabinetry.

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I'd love to publish another book solely on kitchen renovating. While this book features a number of stunning kitchen renovations (including Julianne Moore's) I'd like to dedicate an entire book to it.