what that pinterest picture isn't telling you
we all love pinterest. I was a little late to the game, but jumped on board relatively recently and I’m obsessed with it, to say the least. I’m so bummed I missed out on scrolling through and admiring the renovations and creative ways people are designing in order to add some dope inspiration to inject into my projects. but hey, at least I got there.
but, pinterest, we’ve got a problem.
unlike other forms of social media, pinterest is basically a search engine. it focuses primarily on inspiration for decor, blogging, recipes, diys, etc. a search engine curated for creatives, if you will.
when it comes to sharing your “inspiration” pictures for your home update with your designer or builder and expecting a recreation is the equivalent of showing your hairdresser a picture of jennifer aniston and expecting to walk out of the salon looking like rachel. unfortunately, that magic just doesn’t exist.
when you see an image on pinterest, instagram, houzz, or another social media site that you think would suit your space perfectly, reel in your expectations after dream-boating a little, and bring yourself back down to earth before midnight texting your designer.
most often when a client approaches me with an image they’d like to recreate, it’s with a viral image they found on pinterest - the pinterest effect. the thing about viral images is that they’ve gone viral for a reason; there’s something new & extraordinary about the content, and it’s not generally something that is easily recreatable - or attainable. all too often, these images are of remodels pulled from architectural digest or elle decor. sometimes, they’re just a very well remodeled space.
but what aren’t those pictures telling you, causing you to set your expectations too high, your designer’s heart rate to skyrocket, and your contractor to facepalm?
the big one: cost. it doesn’t matter who you are, cost is always a consideration. no one is looking starry-eyed at gwenyth paltrow’s home expecting it to be cheap, but they’re looking at it and expecting it to be recreatable on their budget. they know that beautiful picture on pinterest will be expensive, they just don’t know how expensive. despite what you may read, you will not get a truly remodeled bathroom for under $3000 + almost double for labor, minimum. I don’t know any single non-designer that hasn’t almost fallen over after hearing that their materials are only going to cost a fraction of what the labor is, in almost all cases.
renovations are a nightmare. sure, that picture is edited all nice and pretty, but there is a larger than likely chance that the image you’re seeing is the result of months and months of planning, labor, and complete and utter heartache. I liked how transparent elsie from a beautiful mess was regarding her bathroom remodel when she admitted that it took about 2 years for the project to come to completion, after hitting multiple roadblocks and having to scrap the project to start from scratch more than once. this isn’t far off from average.
not only does the labor take forever, but it may take even longer to find someone who can even do it. oftentimes, contractors - the good ones - may have up to or longer than a 6 month waiting list, just to get started.
the picture you have in mind of your newly remodeled bath is going to be completely different once it comes to life. you can use all of the materials, but it will never be exactly the same due to structural constraints. even with a full gut remodel, there are places where plumbing can and cannot go, doorway considerations, ceiling heights that make that rainhead unfeasible; all sorts of unforeseen roadblocks.
the bumps & bruises
any edited or professionally photographed space is going to be extremely well staged, cleaned and polished prior to shooting in order to showcase it in its very best light. this means virtually no sign of life: no used towels, no laundry hampers, no dirty dishes, fluffed pillows, no dog hair; it’s an unrealistic way of life for anyone. instead of looking at that pristine image, try to picture a space that has you in it. picture your muddy floors, your shampoo bottles, your dirty clothes; contextualize the picture around your lifestyle before you daze too far off into that immaculate daydream.
as we’ve all experienced with our own selfies and portrait mode photos, photography can absolutely affect the space you’re in. if you’re looking at a dingy, dark photograph of a space next to a well photographed, lighted, and edited image of a designer space, it’s a guarantee you’ll be drawn to the latter, because design is highly visual and completely contextual. we’re all accustomed to the editing and “f*ck your beauty standards” thing when it comes to models and people, but when it comes to homes or anything else, we’re all still novices.
a room is going to look completely different with things placed inside instead of being empty. people are often upset with the look of their space one it’s completed because it didn’t suit their vision in that it’s missing the flowers, bath salts, towels, etc. that they saw in that pinterest picture. basically, it’s missing that touch of them. think of a home that’s being staged to be sold: the things are there to make the space look its best, but once it’s empty, the space feels cold and though the bones are the same, it looks drastically different than it did with those high-end, luxury furnishings.
setting the right expectations for your remodel from the start will definitely prevent any post-completion dissatisfaction people often face because of over-set expectations.
even so, we’re not going to stop drooling over pinterest any time soon. in fact, we’re going to start recreating those room images for you, in a cost-effective, feasible manner, maybe with some twists and advice to help you circumvent a renovation hole in a new segment we call: unraveling pinterest! at least, that’s what we’re calling it for now - title subject (and likely) to change.
have you ever fallen victim to the pinterest effect and had your heart broken by an unrealistic home image? let us know in the comments!
x - mk