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Reese and Shawn had diametrically opposing views on how to renovate their home, and it was damaging their relationship. Reese felt he needed a larger and more productive home office, while Shawn sought to have a larger home with a new stylish look with an eye for entertaining her business clients. They each had a specific budget in mind for their remodeling plans, and these amounts were quite different. By the time Ginny and the Harris’ met, they had all but given up on finding a solution, and the impasse was having a negative effect on their relationship. In fact, at their first meeting, frustration and emotion spilled over and Ginny got quite an earful.

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Ginny determined that there were three distinct factors to be addressed: Clarification of Reese and Shawn’s visions for the home and the living space; Determining a clear budget with agreement from both sides; Resolution of the differences that led to the personal breakdown resulting from the remodeling project. Ginny determined to tackle each issue separately, and more importantly determine a way to present her solutions to them so they would be easily understood as balanced, yet with an exciting design solution. Ginny returned later with a presentation that included a redesign concept founded on joyful living space principles, and a creative and functional architectural solution to meeting the living and work requirements for the couple. They was thrilled to see how their unique goals could each be integrated into one solution. The all-important budget discussion took a balanced look at the realities of spending goals, and concluded with an amount in between the couple’s initial individual spending estimates.

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“Wow! Thanks to Ginny, I came to realize that Shawn’s need for an attractive, well organized home that was not about social climbing. I learned how it would assist her productivity at work, and her joy at home. She needed a ‘sanctuary’ to come home to.”

–Reese Harris, Carlsbad, CA

“Ginny completely changed my orientation toward Reese’s needs, and helped me realize how fabulous our home could be even with a smaller budget. I enjoyed the whole process immensely!”

–Shawn Harris, Carlsbad, CA

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Bryce and Linnea purchased a vacation home in a Sunapee, N.H. in need of extensive renovation. Their vision was a post and beam home, which they accomplished by replacing the center core of the house and renovating the remaining structure.

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Ginny recommended several strategic layout and design changes from the builders plan to best integrate the original “wings” and create a very livable home, including: moving the children’s bedrooms upstairs and the master suite down for safety, privacy and quiet; leaving the kitchen in its original location to save money and to facilitate better access to a screened porch; reducing the size of the stone fireplace to keep the visual focus in the living room at eye and seating height rather than upward toward the cathedral ceiling; locating furniture for optimal flow and function; and designing a comprehensive electrical plan to facilitate lighting ease and atmosphere.

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“We wanted a home that fit its NH environment inside and out – while serving as a home to a young family of five with the capability to be an accommodating host to large gatherings of friends and family.  It does all of that and more – in no small part as the result of Ginny’s contributions to the design and build process.
 
Ginny has a unique talent and ability to internally visualize how her clients will actually “live” in the home – therefore imparting 1) a reality test to the overall design and build process; and 2) a consistent and disciplined emphasis on utility. While at the same time applying an astute eye on maintaining the desired aesthetics and style/”finish” of the home.”

–Bryce May, Fairfield, CT

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A Washington D.C. couple hired Ginny to explore ways to use their new brownstone in the most efficient way. They had more needs than space, so thinking about how to use each room in creative, non-traditional ways, was essential.

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The second floor posed the greatest challenge and opportunity. Ginny encouraged them to use a guest room as an “intimate sleeping space” and a second smaller guestroom as a large walk-in closet/dressing room. This enable the sun drenched master bedroom to be used as a combination home office, den and guestroom (guests would be very infrequent).

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“With ideas in hand, the couple set out to work with a local contractor and interior designer to implement their final plans. “We are…having fun with the renovation. You helped launch us in the right direction…”

–P.D., Washington, D.C.

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Pat needed assistance rethinking the layout of a cottage she was having built in a retirement community. As aspects of the original concept were not compatible with her lifestyle, she asked Ginny to design modifications to better meet her needs.

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The most important changes Pat needed were: separation from her guest area, a centralized kitchen, and a large laundry room. The following drawings show the original plan with the new concept created by Ginny in January 2012.

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“How good of you to work up changes to the “cottage”, and what great and do-able suggestions they are! The builder liked them as well and may integrate them into other cottages as well. Thank you for your support!”

–Pat Webb, Lake Toxaway, N.C.

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Ted and Susan hired Ginny several times over an 8-year period to advise them on their extensive farmhouse renovation. The home was renovated by section, as each was to fulfill a different purpose; a large family home, a mother-in-law apartment and a guest/rental apartment for skiers.

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The main challenge of this renovation was to stay within budget despite extensive needs. Each space was carefully thought through for optimal use and aesthetic. The timing of each renovation was strategically considered to make the process affordable, provide fastest relief and honor the historic flavor of the building and surrounding community.

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“You have such a lovely way of listening and really “getting” what people need.  You don’t judge.  You make people feel safe which is particularly important when people are talking about their living spaces.”

–Susan Laskaris, Warren, VT

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Ellie owned two adjoining condominiums that she received permission to fully integrate into one home. Additionally, she found a brand new kitchen at a local architectural salvage business, which she purchased without knowing the actual dimensions of her current kitchen layout. Creative space planning was needed to give her the function she wanted without the finished residence looking like two units. The new kitchen needed to be integrated as cost effectively as possible, and included modifying lovely granite countertops.

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Ginny helped Ellie think through all aspects of the renovation, which actually took place over several years. The kitchen came last, and with Ginny’s urging included removing a supporting wall and adding a structural “I” beam. This opened the space up to beautifully accommodate the elegant, new kitchen.

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“Through her knowledge of design, Feng Shui, energy flow, proportion, furniture arrangement, organization/clutter management, room function, interpersonal relationships, personality and lifestyle, Ginny has crafted a unique approach to helping people transform their living spaces to support their goals in life. My work with her was enormously empowering not just in terms of having a home that expresses and supports who I am, but also extending beyond in truly having the life I want!”

–Ellie Byers, Shelburne, VT

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A couple hired Ginny to begin a pre-design process. As a result of exploring an ideal design for their retirement home, an important conversation about their current residence emerged. They concluded that their current residence only needed minor updating, and with three college-bound children, they were best to stay put.

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Kim and Ginny integrated Feng Shui concepts as they strategized changes to her current home. Lengthy discussions about her home office lead Kim to rent office space outside the home. During the pre-design discussions, Ginny helped Jeff and Kim understand the drawbacks to their sharing an office, given the nature of their respective careers. She helped them see that the romantic vision of sharing an office in retirement was incompatible with being productive.

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“Ginny helped me fall in love with my home all over again. With a precise and non-judgmental expertise, Ginny showed me the strengths of my home, and then immediately gave me very specific ideas for enhancing it with sensitivity towards cost, effort and my ultimate satisfaction.”

–Jeff & Kim Dannies, Williston, VT

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Jim and Sue were dissatisfied with the overall appearance of their main floor, and in particular did not like the difficulty they had creating an alluring and attractive seating arrangement in their living room. One could enter the room from three of four corners, resulting in the room functioning more as a hallway
than as a destination for gathering.

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Ginny addressed the design issue by assisting in the selection of hardwood floors, new furnishings and paint colors. As well, she evaluated the triple entrance issue. The stairs to the second floor ended with a landing opening to both the living room on one side and the dining room on the other. She recommended closing off the stairs to the living room side at banister height, creating an inviting living room, yet maintaining the openness that the family preferred.

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“We started off with a living room that felt more like a hallway. The furniture never fit quite right in this room and the family rarely used this space. Ginny suggested doing a half-wall to close in the room, and installing hardwood flooring in place of the wall-to-wall carpeting. By making these few changes, Ginny was able to transform the living room that no one used to living area that is welcoming to all.”

–Jim and Sue Gears, Shelburne, VT

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M.L. hired Ginny to bring design and Feng Shui expertise to an existing home office. The nature of M.L.’s business was changing, and she now needed to welcome clients into the space where previously she had only worked alone.

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Ginny offered design solutions that addressed the change in office use. However, she engaged M.L. in a conversation about the implications of mixing one’s personal and professional spaces. Through this conversation, the client came to realize that an investment in separate office space, far apart from her home, was needed. Only in this manner could she fully ensure the privacy of her home, family and clients, while projecting the professional image she desired.

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“I thoroughly enjoyed our time together …Your eye is incredible! …You helped my husband and I sort through design issues in a way we could never have accomplished without your assistance…A brilliant finale!”

–M.L., Shelburne, VT

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This client is the owner of the Design/Build firm of Perkins and Smith, with whom Ginny has collaborated on several projects.

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“What I have enjoyed about working with you has been your open nature and willingness to work in a collaborative environment. I experience projects working best when ideas are discussed and explored with out individual egos dominating the process. You have always been able to assess a project with an open mind and help distill the needs and desires of the client down to a clear and concrete form. This skill helps insure that the client’s dreams desires and needs are fully manifested in a project. I have found your ability to work with clients during the pre design process especially helpful. Often clients feel a need for a change, but are not sure where to start. You have a knack for helping people sort through their space, organizational, aesthetic, and financial needs, which is an important precursor to any design or construction project. In fact, often that process helps clients discover that what will really help them is significantly different than their initial concept of need.”

–Lawrence Smith, South Burlington, VT

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Terri hired Ginny to construct a design review of plans for a new addition (to accommodate the preschool that Terri operated in her home) and a reconfigured master bedroom.

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Ginny began by asking Terri to fully explain how she came to decide upon a new addition to resolve her space needs. During these discussions, Terri revealed her concerns about the cost of an addition, and the loss of her most favorite “room”: her morning porch. Taking this all into consideration, Ginny proceeded to redesign the existing interior space. In so doing, Terri was able to have an enlarged entryway, storage for the preschool function, a more functional master bedroom, and the morning porch was saved. All this was done at far less cost than the expense of a new addition. Specifically, in the master bedroom, the renovation allowed the bed to be placed in the “command position,” and optimized space and flow in this room. Finally, she assisted Terri in rearranging and de-cluttering her living room, integrating principals of Feng Shui.

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“Ginny Rowland listened and HEARD the essence of my home and business needs, loves and wishes. By careful listening, she helped me to save thousands of dollars. Instead of creating a larger room out of the porch that I so love, Ginny came up with simple yet very functional solutions to all my issues. The result is that I still have my favorite porch and a business space that functions well. Many of the modifications were so simple, but I was completely blind to them. For instance, the simple changing of the swing of a door widened the entrance space substantially. I now have a space that functions well for me and is an affordable investment. Thank you, Ginny, for the gift of your listening!”

–Terri Petrie, Shelburne, VT

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Jane and Jimmy hired Ginny to design a new addition, an updated kitchen and a larger bedroom for their son for their charming home, a converted post and beam barn.

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Thinking they needed to add on to the existing structure, Ginny helped Jane and Jimmy understand that more space would not solve the central issue: the current open floor plan of the first floor needed to be broken up. She recommended that a separate library-style room be created within the existing space, and then “flipped” the floor plan. By reversing the floor plan, the part of the interior that had a cathedral ceiling was changed. This solution not only provided Jane and Jimmy with the spaces they needed without building an addition, but interior exposure to sunlight was also more appropriately allocated among the functional areas of the home. A covered porch was the only external construction needed.

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“It’s been said ‘you have to live in a house to know it.’ We’ve lived in our too-small house for nine years and were convinced an addition was the only way to create the space we needed. When Ginny looked at our project, she saw what we did not: adding on would not address the way we live now, nor would it work well for us in the future. Instead, Ginny reconfigured the existing floor plan to make it work for us, not against us. It is an affordable, inventive and practical solution. And, it’s a plan that only Ginny’s astute yet non-judgmental eye, and well-honed craft, could have created. We are grateful.”

–Jane Kirby and Jimmy Swift, Charlotte, VT