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Room to Grow
By Tammy Minn - Inland Empire Magazine, April 2001

Bathroom RemodelRedlands homeowner Susan Gonzales wanted her small bathroom to appear larger. She enlisted the aid of professional designers who took her one-room vision and expanded it to a palette of possiblities for the entire house.

ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING THINGS ABOUT BEING A HOMEOWNER IS BEING ABLE TO decide what to do with all that square footage. Even if you live in an older home, incorporating a new look can be exhilarating.

"After losing my husband, I realized it was time for me to do something different. I guess you could say it was part of my grieving process. I knew that I needed to make this my home. It was no longer our home. As in any marriage, we had opposite views when it came to our likes and dislikes. I decided it was time for me to do something for myself," says Susan Gonzales of Redlands.

It all started with a small bathroom. She wanted to make the room appear larger, but didn't know where to start. That's when she decided to meet with Ruth Chafin, president of Interior Network, Inc.

After Chafin and one of her designers, Antoinette Ball, visited with Gonzales for a while, it was apparent that her wants were more than just redoing a bathroom.

"Our philosophy is to make a plan and work a plan," Chafin says. "Had we totally gone with Susan's initial idea of just redoing the bathroom, we would have run the chance of a lot of bruises along the way. What we did, even though Susan's only concern at the time was making a tiny bathroom appear larger, was develop a design concept for the whole interior of the home. We identified how the space could function. We identified what color and materials could be used. Then we asked Susan if this was the home she wanted to live with. If you really listen to what your clients say, you start to learn additional issues they have in regard to their space."

Because the home is small (1,700 square feet), Gonzales wanted a look that was light and airy, and she thought a light ambiance was the solution.

"Usually people stay within certain perimeters because they don't have the knowledge," Chafin says. "For instance, they may think beige is neutral and is a color they can do anything with. But other colors can be just as neutral when you have a plan and know how things connect. A designer's job is to listen, not only with their ears, but also with their eyes and their heart.


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