There is something about the New Year that makes me feel refreshed and inspired. And there’s just nothing quite as motivating as changing up your surroundings so that is becomes a source of daily inspiration. I just finished a home renovation project that went over budget and behind schedule. It was a harrowing experience to put it mildly and left me wondering how to do it differently next time. So when I had the opportunity to sit down with Jamie and Morgan Molitor of Constuction2Style and pick their brain I was thrilled! They are a husband and wife team who turned their DIY blog into a full-service interior residential design and remodeling team. They handle everything from remodeling to styling. Keep reading to lear how to Makeover Your Home on a Budget with These Tips from Jamie and Morgan Molitor from Construction2Style.
Makeover Your Home on a Budget with These Tips from Jamie and Morgan Molitor from Construction2Style:
You both have so many talents, from construction to design, and have mastered what Georgia calls ‘manually literacy’. Where did you both get your skills?
Well, we both grew up in entrepreneurial spirited families and were raised working in our parents’ businesses at really young ages. I grew up in the restaurant and hospitality industry, and Jamie grew up in a tool and die polishing company. While we both may not have enjoyed it then, we’re beyond thankful to have grown up getting our hands dirty early on and learning what it means to work your butt off for your family and your dreams.
Jamie also went to school for carpentry and I have a background in visual merchandising and marketing. We both have a DIY mentality. If something intrigues us, we go figure it out and do it. We are firm believers that if you want to do or be something, you can. The world is at our fingertips with the internet. There are so many tutorials and educated people to connect with about whatever you want to learn or who you want to be if you are fearless and have the motivation and ambition, it’s yours.
Check out this amazing before and after:
Where do you each find your inspiration for your work?
First, we always try to surround ourselves with like-minded creatives that are doing work 100x better than us, whether that is the people we follow online or the ones we hang out with. We are also complete opposites. Jamie gets his creative juices really flowing by playing around and spending time in his workshop alone. While I, on the other hand, get over energized and inspired when hanging with goal diggers.
We both are big believers that you are only as good as those you hang out with. We once heard in a podcast, “never be the smartest one at the table,” and that is something we live by. Sometimes, it can be a little scary, but since doing this, we’ve only grown.
I always laugh because Jamie is more motivated by every project we finish. I always finish our projects thinking I couldn’t be happier and then there’s Jamie never happy enough. But he always says, it pushes him to be better and work towards something else…always wanting to take his craftsmanship to the next level.
On top of all these things we’re constantly scouring Instagram, Pinterest, and we have our core blogs that we read and podcasts that we listen to for daily inspiration.
Describe your building and design style in 5 words or fewer.
Eclectic Craftsman. Is that a thing?
Every one of our projects is so different. We never work with the same person and we never renovate the same home. There are so many fun tiles, furniture, paint colors that we’re actually always in awe of people who can just stick with one style. How can you not want to explore them all?! Lucky for us, all of our clients have such different lifestyles and design styles, that it makes it fun for us to dabble.
Jamie is a true craftsman and so dang talented. Nothing motivates him more than when a client completely trusts him and lets him do his thing. He loves a good challenge and spending time putting his true craftsman skills to work on our projects, especially the finishing details that most people would often overlook. Something as simple as putting a coffered ceiling up, or some wainscotting on the wall, or the details in the custom built-in or trim work.
What do you love about your job?
Nothing beats working together for one common purpose and goal. We’re a team, and although we might not always be on the same page, at the end of the day we always have one another’s back and remind one another of our purpose in life. We know exactly what we’re working towards, which is a pretty cool thing to do alongside your hubby. It makes us talk more, laugh things off more, and hug it out more.
Running our own schedules and choosing the projects and the clients we want to work with every day is a pretty close second. Not a lot of people get to do that and we don’t take it for granted.
What is the first thing people must know or do to prepare before they begin making changes to their home?
It’s going to get messy (everywhere), it might be a little stressful and (probably) even emotional. Get in the right mindset. Trust your contractor.
There are a lot of decisions that have to be made from a lot of different people. The city, the inspectors, designers, engineers, contractors, and homeowners. And you have to trust that they all have one common end goal in mind, to make a beautiful and safe space. This can often get stressful and if you don’t fully trust your contractor from the get-go, no matter what happens, it’s not going to go well. Get to know your contractor before you hire them and hire someone you love and trust.
Likewise, we always get to know our clients and listen to our gut. If they seem a little high strung, or even something as simple as the husband and wife talking to one another disrespectfully, we run as fast as we can. In all of the best experiences we’ve had with clients, they have had the mentality of being able to adapt, they’re respectful, they’re flexible, and they trust us. When remodeling, you never know what you will uncover, so if you give yourself and your contractor a little grace, and trust that you both have the same end goal in mind, it’ll help make for a stress-free experience.
Check out this amazing before and after:
What is one design hack someone could implement in their home to make it look refreshed without actually spending any money?
Shop your own home and rearrange your furniture. We’re rearranging the rooms in our house and bringing new pieces from other rooms weekly.
Placing furniture in a new layout (or from another room) and swapping pieces will give your home a different look that will re-inspire you. That chair you had in your bedroom? Bring it down to the living room, take the throw pillows from your living room and put them in the guest bedroom. Those frames you have in your living room, bring them into your dining room or when was the last time you updated them? Instead of portraits swap them out with some of your favorite postcards or cards you’ve gotten… or even your child’s artwork they brought home from school that you have no clue what to do with.
Sometimes all you need is just a little refresh.
If someone has only a small budget to allocate to one thing in their home to make it feel rejuvenated, what would you recommend they do?
Paint your walls and put up some curtains.
Painting is such a simple thing for you to DIY. And it can make a world of a difference and clean up a room. Whether that’s painting a room a completely different color or giving your current walls a refresh, it will make it feel brand new in no time.
Curtains are something that is also often overlooked. You can find inexpensive curtains off Amazon or Overstock. Just remember to hang them tall and wide, and it’ll make your room feel so much larger than it is.
What are 5-7 essentials for a well-designed room?
Most importantly, we always tell our readers and clients to make sure that it is functional and personal. We sometimes forget the personal touch and that is the most important part if you ask me. Forget the trends, do you. Make sure that your space is a reflection of your story.
- Flow – Have a good flow of your space. You want your eye to draw from one point to another and be inviting to your guests. You want them to have a walkway and feel pushed to sit on that big comfy couch or stay behind the island and not get in your kitchen space. You also want the colors and decor to flow from one room to the other and draw your eye to focal points around the room.
- Balance – You want to make sure everything is proportionally balanced. For example, when styling bookshelves you might want one large and tall object on one side and then over on the other. You wouldn’t want to put all of the large objects on one shelf and the small ones on the other. You want to make sure that the furniture and decor have balance. Whenever styling, we start with a blank slate and then put a few objects in, step back and look it over, and put another few objects in, and repeat. If you don’t like it move it. That way it’s less overwhelming and you’ll gradually get the balance that you need in a room. Same goes for furniture. You don’t want two oversized couches in a tiny space. Make sure all of your furniture and decor is proportionally balanced for space.
- Functional – Make sure what you’re putting in your space has a purpose. Our motto, if it has no purpose, get rid of it! This is the best way to declutter. If it’s not personable or useful, donate it. That’s our rule of thumb.
- Comfort – A lot of times we buy furniture because it’s cute, but it’s hard as nails. I’ll never understand that. If it’s not comfortable, don’t buy it. And yes, sometimes, comfort costs a little more, but it’ll be worth every penny because you’ll never want to separate from it.
- Personable – Most importantly, be and do you. Whether that’s having decor from your travels, your grandma’s dishes, or family portraits, make sure that the pieces in your home tell a story. We often get so caught up in the trends we forget our personal touch and the style we once loved. Personal touches make for great conversations when entertaining too.
What should people look for and consider when purchasing the right piece of furniture or decor to add to their home?
Scale and proportion are key when it comes to purchasing furniture and decor to style your home. A large sofa in a small room will make it feel cramped, but when it fits the space, it will feel natural and homey. A tiny piece of art on a large wall looks like you forgot something, but a large statement art piece or gallery wall looks thought out and well designed.
Let’s talk about paint colors. There are so many! What should one consider their space before choosing a color? And does the brand of paint really matter?
Agreed! You don’t even realize how many whites there are until you’re choosing a white paint color. Who would have known there are hundreds of whites?!
When choosing a paint color, it’s important to test the color during various parts of the day because it may look different in the morning light versus evening sunset. Testing it out with your furniture and bringing samples home with you from the store is key to making sure it works with your space.
We’ve had so many trial and errors with paint colors we now have our go-to colors for every shade. If you are new to paint colors, I recommend you take suggestions from home improvement blogs or designers. They already know their colors and it’ll save you a major headache. Paints have a lot of different undertones so although a paint might look gray to you, once it’s home and in your house, it might look purple or blue. Save yourself the time and get advice from someone who’s designed homes over and over again.
We always use the same brands because we love and trust them. We know they make good colors and good products. If you don’t go with a good brand you might be painting your walls 3-4 times instead of just 1-2. So we do believe that the brands and products you use will save you time and money in the end. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams never disappoint.
Now, what about lighting? It seems like it can make or break a space. What tips would you recommend people consider for their home?
Absolutely! Choosing lighting fixtures is so much fun, but often overwhelming. There are so many cool options out there. When choosing your lighting, first think about the clearance and how long it can hang. Then you can think about the scale of the room, so you know if you’re looking for pendants, sconces, flush mount, etc. We love large pendants over islands and sconces alongside mirrors in bathrooms. Determining the size of the island will help you determine the size of your pendants. Make sure that they are evenly proportioned and are in the middle of the island, and when in doubt, less is more.
What design concepts or trends are you loving right now?
Way too many! Ha! But that’s the fun part about working with different clients that all have different styles. We are, however, really digging the handcrafted tile bandwagon. Something as simple as handcrafted subway tile and factory made is night and day when it comes to making or breaking the design of your kitchen. Yes, you’re paying more, but you’ll never get tired of an imperfect (no two alike), handmade tile and it will always be a wow factor in your home. We have been incorporating Mercury Mosaics tiles into our recent projects and they never disappoint.
We often hear that people’s home should “reflect their story.” What advice do you have for someone who doesn’t have a clear idea of what their “story” is yet or how they want to communicate that in their home?
A lot of times people get caught up in trying to figure out what their style is, or what they want it to be. We also get caught up in wanting our home, or even our life, to look like someone else’s, so we constantly tell our clients not to overcomplicate it. Stick to what lights your soul on fire. When we show them a certain tile or paint color, we always look to see if their eyes light up.
When working with our clients, we put together mood boards that not only show the selections of what we’re going to put in their home but also sources of inspiration, whether it’s from street style, nature, fashion, another kitchen, etc. We also always encourage our readers to create these sources of inspiration for themselves too. Start browsing magazines and when something grabs your attention, pull it out and add it to your mood board. Don’t think about why or even if it goes with the style. Just put it on there if it tugs at you. Once you’re done, and you’re looking over your overall source for inspiration I bet it’ll all make you happy and put a big smile on your face. It might not all go together, which is okay because that is what we call eclectic and what your designer and contractor is for…haha!
What are your favorite sources for finding pieces that are unique and have character?
We are really into going to local maker pop up shops. We always leave feeling inspired and walk away with hidden gems that no one has. When we finish remodeling a space, we always finish it off by styling with local Minnesota maker items as much as we can. Whether we’ve found them at shows or Instagram, we love supporting and using other makers one of a kind piece.
Are there any go-to design elements that you use to help make a beautiful space feel more personal?
We love pictures. Nothing makes space feel more personal and tells a story more than personal photographs. And we love a good gallery wall. It’s such a simple way to tell your story. From family, friends, or journeys you’ve taken, cards you’ve gotten, you can never have too many photos in your home.
What project are you most excited about on the horizon?
Wet bathrooms. In 2018, we’re seeing a shift from spa-like bathrooms to more wet bathrooms focusing on large double headed showers, tile from floor to ceiling and wall to wall and bathtubs in the showers. Wall jets are also becoming more popular. And we’re in the design selection process with a client who’s incorporating all of this into their master bathroom remodel. We can’t wait to show you guys what we do to their space!