There will be a lot of superlative use in this review. But I absolutely cannot recommend Laura and her team enough. She overwhelmed each and every expectation I had. Months after completion of this project, I am still blissfully happy with the results.
We chose this house because it was way under market value, and it had the footprint I wanted. It was built in 1986, and had never been updated since. The appliances and build materials were all original and breaking down, and the configuration was poor. My “triangle” for sink/stove/refrigerator was spread out so that running laps around the kitchen was necessary to get anything done. We wanted an open concept from the dining room (which would become an office) to kitchen, to living room, and the entryway tile and wallpaper needed to come out. The bathroom also needed new flooring, a new sink, toilet and faucet. Essentially, we needed the entire first floor redone and opened up. (I'm so glad the walls could come down. I didn't even know for sure until inspection if we could do away with them!) We needed gas lines moved, all electrical moved, and plumbing reconfigured. We went down to the studs.
Laura made the planning process exciting and easy. Picture sitting down with a great friend and talking about everything you want! She did everything to perfection, BUT I am realizing looking at the photos how many requests I really hit her with: window seat, dog "garage," pantry cabinet, side-mounted sink in the island, moving the utilities, the "BREAKFAST NOOK CONCEPT," the bin drawers, the cookie sheet drawer, the touch faucet, the refrigerated drawers and the dining room to office plan... our wonderful designer listened to all of it and made it real. Then of course she gave me the opportunity to choose all the materials: granite, tiles, flooring, paint, island legs, lighting locations and fixtures, water fixtures, cabinet fixtures, custom cabinet colors (and she even came over and helped me wear and distress it herself, spending hours on the process with me) and she guided me through all of it. She shopped with me, and budgeted with me. (Then I chose all the furniture and treatments, but she was available, had I chosen to hire her for that as well.) So somehow, it's all stuff I could never have done on my own - and yet it's all unquestionably "me." Laura had an innate understanding for MY style, and chose lighting fixtures, materials, hardware and appliances that were exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. Her understanding of what I wanted was total, from structure to finishes. She never lost sight of my goals.
Laura worked within my budget (I suspect, at some cost to her). We spent just over $100,000, which was exactly what I communicated my budget to be. She gave me an entirely new first floor for this cost. She budgeted in everything: labor, design, demolition, fees, permits, materials, hardware, and appliances. There were NO surprises along the way. She never collected until I was happy. She found ways to get me what I wanted while still staying in my budget. She NEVER, NEVER tried to “upsell” me on anything whatsoever in order to increase the project scale. She reused materials whenever possible, and guided me when it was not possible. In addition, she handles all of the “red tape.” I signed my contract, and she handled everything else. Every step of the process with her was a huge relief. Have you read, “get your designer’s estimate, then double it?” That absolutely did not happen here. I also feel that the value for the scope of this kitchen, living room, bathroom and dining room project was absolutely excellent for what we accomplished. We only got this close to the budget because prior to the start of the project, we acquired water damage and had to add the lighting and the living room ceiling to the project. (She still stayed under budget.)
Importantly, Laura handled the lion’s share of this project for two weeks while we were out of the country. We weren’t even here! She and her team (electrician, painter, cabinet maker, demo guys, flooring installation, gas, heating and a/c, tile and backsplash, etc.) worked late into the nights many times (we know because of the Ring app) to get everything done by each of her deadlines, our deadlines, and the inspection deadlines. When we came home, everything “ugly” or loud had been done - and most of the work was complete. How’s that for trust?
Laura’s team of contractors, artisans and employees are the best (I think so because of the results, and from observing them on my return), but make no mistake - this lady is the one in charge. I was home one day while the cabinet maker/countertop installer were having a discussion about how to fit the side-mount sink in the island (a novel placement based on my request) and Laura grabbed a measuring tape and handled the issue immediately. Her knowledge base is of the highest level and she conducted the project with absolute expertise. Her direction was the heart and soul of this project. Don’t be fooled by her light and easy manner - she had the scope of this project in hand from the broadest scope to the finest detail. Her blueprints and plans are precise and seasoned by experience. I am so impressed by her.
The photos (most of which were taken by Laura’s photographer) say it all. Silver Leaf didn’t give me a gorgeous first floor, they gave me a brand new way to live, work and play. She gave me my “dream space,” in a way that is functional and approachable for our everyday lives. I almost feel guilty for being so content in the time of quarantine! I would never use another designer to plan and execute my projects. We will see her again for the upstairs space...