How To Integrate Interior Design Into Your Purchase Strategy

Luxury real estate agent Jon Granston breaks down buying a home into three processes: home search, purchase, and design. The design process is usually not a step buyers associate with their real estate agent, and oftentimes intentions of a design update or remodel gets pushed aside or forgotten about after you move into the home.

You can easily fall into the trappings of living in a house that doesn’t meet your original goals, desires, or lifestyle needs.

Don’t let time—or your dream home—slip through your fingertips. To maximize the value, function, and pleasure of your house, find an agent who has a team to help you develop an interior design strategy.

Whether you are purchasing a home for your primary residence, rental income or an investment property, think about the following topics and discuss with your real estate agent as you define your purchase strategy:

  • When to enlist an interior designer
  • Form follows function
  • Identify design goals
  • Finessing the finishing touches

When To Enlist an Interior Designer

Jon begins the conversation about aesthetics with his clients during the house search phase.

“Generally, I try to guide clients to architectural styles that they like. We tend to take more of a macro-approach, understanding that you can change the look with remodeling or minor cosmetic changes.”

Since design and style generally materialize as the search is conducted, Jon brings Solana Beach interior designer Kari Arendsen into the fold early on.

Many buyers don’t know exactly how to express what they like or what they want. With Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors on your luxury real estate team, you have an artistic and critical eye working with you from the beginning to help ensure the final results meet your every expectation.

Form Follows Function

Kari’s design approach changes depending on the intended function and shelf-life of a house. If your purchase is not for long-term homeownership, the design strategy shifts to align with how the house will be used.

Purchase for Primary Residence

When purchasing a home for your primary residence, Kari focuses solely on the client’s lifestyle and creating a space for optimal well-being. From the first conceptual meetings to the complete transformation, Kari and her team are committed to bringing the collaborative vision to life.

Purchase for Resale

Purchasing a home for resale changes the game a bit. Designs and renovations are driven by the budgetary goals, the intent of the home or space, and proven strategies to increase home value and appeal. Kari urges clients in this sphere to focus less on a precise style and more on the integral nature of the home itself to provide quality, timeless design that can appeal to a much broader demographic.

Purchase for Rent

Purchasing a home that will become a rental property requires an altogether different strategy. Designs and renovations aim to leave a lasting impression on the renter through unique amenities, and quality specifications. Kari focuses on incorporating highly functional, durable, resilient, and budget-compatible modifications.

Identify Your Design Goals to Enhance Your Purchase Strategy

Clear and open communication between the designer and the buyer are essential for a successful remodel. When budgetary goals are defined and appropriately distributed within the project to meet your needs, Kari can help you keep a handle on stress and keep an eye on the finish line.

To set the groundwork for a smooth renovation, Kari uses an extensive client questionnaire that is structured to reveal a deeper understanding of your daily life, needs, and lifestyle goals.

Some design goals Kari and her team aim to identify immediately include:

  • Timeframe
  • Budget
  • Function
  • Resale
  • Style

This questionnaire can serve as a blueprint to achieving a design and style that are literally made just for you.

Finessing the Finishing Touches

For long-term homeowners, Kari and her design team specialize in carefully blending your likes with your functional needs, and can integrate your intent with the soul of the home.

Once your budgetary goals are established, a custom-tailored plan is created that incorporates both function and style. Careful attention to the planning phase is essential to maintaining a cohesive design. From that point, if the project is completed in phases, Kari can help establish a progression for implementation that makes sense for your life and your budget.

“Whenever possible, it always makes more sense to complete the project in its entirety at once vs. staggering it out over time.”
–KAScreen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.25.05 AM

However, an experienced designer knows this is not always possible. Therefore, having a clearly categorized and defined budget allows Kari to redistribute funds in different areas if unexpected challenges arise during a project’s progress.

For example, if your carpentry bid came in higher than expected and you don’t want to compromise on the carpentry, money can then be pulled from different areas of the budget to accommodate.

Get Your Interior Designer Involved Now

Leaving design considerations until the end of the buying process can negatively impact your goals. Consider the design process while conducting your house search and making your purchase. A team approach can help ensure you find the house you need at the price you want.

Watch what happens when a designer and real estate agent collaborate.

And don’t miss out on the rest of the series of content Kari and Jon created:

By | 2016-03-08T19:12:16+00:00 February 17th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

How The Home Buying Process Changes – Primary, Rental or Investment


With such a diverse group of clients and client lifestyles, luxury real estate agent Jon Granston knows that “one-size-fits-all” approach to buying a home in Del Mar, Solana Beach and beyond is not the best formula for success. When delivering advice to home buyers, he believes finding an agent who takes the time to carefully listen to your individual goals—and openly communicate with you throughout the process— is essential for minimizing stress.

Solana Beach Interior Designer Kari Arendsen with Intimate Living Interiors frequently partners with Jon and his clients to form a cohesive team custom-tailored to your unique needs that can help you stay positive from home search through renovation.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.25.44 AM3 Tips for Finding Your Dream Home, Rental or Investment Property

  1. Base your strategy on your goals
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Understand the shelf-life of the house

Let Your Goals Define Your Strategy

For Jon, most conversations about searching for a home begin with one important question: what is you maximum final price?

Your maximum price—taking into account any necessary remodeling costs—will begin to direct Jon toward which houses might be a good fit for you.

Other factors that begin to guide your home search can include:

  • Location
  • Lifestyle needs
  • Desired Amenities
  • Walkability
  • Remodeling costs

Ask the Right Questions

Jon typically begins with a series of basic, yet important questions to narrow down the search and speed up the search process:

  • Where do you want to live?
  • What features and amenities are most important to you?
  • What styles/aesthetics do you prefer?
  • Are there any styles/aesthetics you dislike?
  • How are you planning on using the home?
  • How long do you plan on owning the home?
  • What other assets do you own?
  • How does this purchase fit into your long-term financial goals?

“I always ask my clients to think about what is important to them in a home—and what features would positively impact their lifestyle.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.23.44 AM

As you begin to answer these questions, you quickly discover how the answers become interrelated. For example, location can be easily driven by pricing, school preferences, and lifestyle needs. With your particular matrix of priorities and desires in mind, you and your real estate team won’t waste any time looking at houses that would never work for you.


Timing is Everything to Succeed in Home Buying

Timing can be the most important factor for limiting the risk of your investment. For instance, if you are looking for a house to live in during a transitional period—for example, 2 or 3 years—Jon leads the search for your new home toward areas with higher appreciation, higher rental rates, and easier exit strategies.

These same guidelines apply to investment properties: increasing resale value rises to the top of the priority list.

Jon can help you create a rental history on the property, narrow the search to houses that are likely to hit estimated profit goals, or find a property that is currently listed under market value.

“Understanding the shelf-life of the home is vital to making a smart purchase.”
– JG

Meanwhile, Arendsen can make remodeling suggestions that will broaden the house’s appeal to future buyers.

Remember: Long-term primary home purchases are less impacted by the ups and downs of the financial and real estate markets. If you plan on settling in, the natural ups and downs will not affect your day-to-day life or your feelings of security—you are already where you want to be.

Don’t Miss Part 2 – How Design Can Enhance Your Strategy

To find a great deal on a house requires an all-encompassing real estate strategy. The home search, purchasing, and remodeling strategies need to be customized to fit your end goals—and Jon and Kari’s team approach can increase your resources to design and execute these strategies, ultimately resulting in an improved lifestyle and greater value, regardless of whether you are purchasing a home for your primary residence, a rental, or an investment property.

Next week, we’ll launch part 2 of this post: How to Integrate Interior Design into Your Purchase Strategy

In the meantime, check out the Interior Design and Real Estate Collab video created by Jon and Kari.

By | 2016-03-08T19:14:42+00:00 February 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

13303 Tiverton | Carmel Valley

Del Mar Highlands Gem Will Move Quickly

Luxurious Amenities | Community Perks | Proximity to Schools & Beaches

The three bedroom townhome is in the Cambria complex of Del Mar Highlands, on the corner unit of this conveniently located community. Proximity to highly-rated Del Mar schools, shopping and beaches means you’ll have all the essentials at your fingertips.

This newly renovated and upgraded townhome makes for a turn-key opportunity, designed to provide any family with beach adventures and the coveted coastal lifestyle. Residents will also enjoy the luxury amenities that accompany the community, including a resort-style pool and spa, and tennis courts.

Don’t wait on this property: it will go quickly. If you are interested in seeing the home, please contact me to schedule a showing.

By | 2017-03-17T19:47:24+00:00 February 5th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

3 Steps to Stay Positive During the Home Renovation Process

Intimate Living Interiors Interior Design

When people think of buying or selling a house, they typically get a real estate agent involved. However, luxury real estate agent Jon Granston knows in most circumstances, there is more to a successful purchase or sale than simply finding the right house or buyer and negotiating the price. Home renovation can be an essential component to buying a home under market value or selling a house for top dollar.

Common Buyer Renovation Goals:

  • Increase home value
  • Maximize space
  • Tailor rooms to suit lifestyle needs

Common Seller Renovation Goals:

  • Increase resale value
  • Improve curb appeal
  • Create a blank palette to broaden buyer interest

Regardless of your goals as you begin the renovation process, following the steps below and reaching out to an experienced team with a real estate agent and interior designer will help you achieve your goals and stay positive throughout the entire process.

Luxury Real Estate Interior Design Combo

Step One: Design Your Real Estate Team

Granston emphasizes a logical approach to real estate that keeps a focus on your personal aims while keeping real estate stress in check. While Granston can use his knowledge and expertise in the San Diego area housing market, he also knows when to pull in some extra help when it comes to the finishing touches, and who to call.

“If clients are spending multi-million dollars on a home, having the interior of the home professionally designed is a must.”

– Jon Granston

Complimenting Granston’s stress-reducing real estate strategies, Solana Beach based  interior designer, Kari Arendsen with Intimate Living Interiors, will work with you and Granston to knock out renovations quickly and smoothly. Together, they create a team that can focus on finding the right house or buyer for you while providing you full support through the renovation process.

Step Two: Design Your Dream Home

For buyers, Granston will typically introduce you to Arendsen once you have found a home you are excited about. Depending on the scope of the project, Arendsen can step in with her creative team and critical eye either before you make an offer or once you are in escrow.

Since most buyers purchase a vacant home that could use some updating and furnishing, Arendsen can take the pressure off. You are not in this alone. By listening carefully to your unique wish list, Arendsen can transform an empty house into a home that will meet all your lifestyle needs and dreams.

Designer’s Top 10 Renovation Stressors Revealed

Regardless of the scope of the project and skill of your design team, these stressors have a good chance of arising. Arendsen helps you prepare for them now, before renovations begin.

Top 10 Home Design and Renovation Stressors:

  1. Losing normal function of select areas in your home
  2. Lack of privacy: having a trustworthy, pleasant, and tidy crew is imperative
  3. The ¾ mark: at this stage of completion, you are typically fully invested financially, but have yet to see the final design
  4. Unforeseen site issues and change orders
  5. Changes in design due to unforeseen circumstances
  6. Delays in scheduling due to these unforeseen changes
  7. Delays and/or backorders in materials (tile, windows, door hardware, furniture)
  8. Sudden scheduling conflicts that lead to a day with no productivity
  9. Outside opinions and unsolicited advice from friends or neighbors
  10. Too many project leads or site managers

“Having one main point-person to manage communication is critical. It keeps the design cohesive and accurate, the schedule current, budget on point, and can prevent costly mistakes.”

– Kari Arendsen

Kari Arendsen Solana Beach Interior Design

Step Three: Combat Stress with Design & Construction Milestones

The timeline for your home renovation will depend on the extent and scope of work. By providing both buyers and sellers with a Preliminary Design/Construction Schedule, Arendsen can set clear expectations, show you how the project should progress, and give you an estimate of the time each phase should take to complete. When you understand the milestones of a home renovation project, you gain a realistic idea of how the process will impact you and your family—but you can also clearly recognize the benchmarks of progress.

“Is a completely stress-free redesign really in the cards? Not typically. But clear expectations and prompt communication can go a long way.”

– Kari Arendsen

2 Bonus Tips to Win the Home Redesign Challenge

Arendsen often shows her clients a sample video of the renovation process before the real construction begins. Oftentimes, this visual reminder of all that goes into a redesign is helpful for managing your stress levels and expectations.

Arendsen leaves homeowners with two practical tips to improve your experience during renovation:

  • Whenever possible, move out of the home during construction
  • When staying in the home during renovation, make some changes so you can minimize the impact; for example, set up a temporary nursery as far from the work site as possible

Final Thought:

Communication and clear expectations are two major keys to prevent and manage stress. And most importantly, keep in mind that your real estate team is there to support you through the unforeseen challenges along with the successes.

See Jon and Kari in Action

Be sure to stay tuned for more from this collaborative content series from Jon and Kari. In future articles, your real estate and design team will discuss:

  • Budgeting for design projects and how they differ for rentals, primary homes and investment properties
  • Latest Trends in Real Estate and Interior Design
  • How to Spot a Trend versus a Timeless Design Element
  • And much more

Learn more about the collaboration between real estate and interior design: the video with Arendsen’s Intimate Living Interiors and Jon showcases this process and demonstrates the need for a customized approach to your real estate and design needs.

By | 2016-03-08T20:55:34+00:00 February 3rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

How to Stay Positive: Advice for Home Buyers & Sellers

Transparency is the key to alleviating the majority of stress,” according to luxury real estate agent Jon Granston. He takes the time to thoroughly run through the entire transaction process with his clients and explain best practices that have consistently led to success. By giving you a heads up about the parts of the process that typically go smoothly and the parts that can present challenges, Granston can help you establish clear expectations about the trajectory of buying or selling a house.


By | 2016-03-10T18:33:28+00:00 January 27th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments