Collecting and Organizing Ideas

Several years ago we decided to time our home addition for 2009 so we could save money for a period of time and also take advantage of the end of the Presidential election cycle (Jim works in politics). By having this time frame in mind for a couple of years, we were able to take our time and work through the planning process without feeling rushed.

Over the past few years, we collected ideas from magazines. My ideas were mostly for designs and Jim's were mostly for systems. I collected our favorite magazine clippings and web printouts in a large loose leaf binder using clear page covers. This makes adding and removing ideas easier. Our favorite magazines for ideas are Renovation Style, This Old House, and BH&G. Better Homes & Gardens has a great website with loads of ideas. Renovation Center is also a great site and is the home to many of the BH&G sister publications. I highly recommend it.

Looking back through my collection of clippings, I now have a clearer idea of what I like and don't like. My style is a slightly contemporary traditional style. For example, I generally prefer painted trim work and cabinets, medium stained wood floors, and warm gold tones for the walls. Although I didn't think that I would want black counter tops, most of the kitchens that I have clipped have white cabinets with black counter tops so I'm clearly attracted to that style!

In addition to the idea book, we have a plastic file folder with 10 or so dividers where we keep brochures, business cards, and other information we have collected throughout this process.

Both sets of ideas came in handy during our initial discussions with our architect...