Irene Designs, LLC received Superior Customer Service honorable mention at Connecticut BBB’s Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on November 10, 2016.  The Superior Customer Service Award honors a business that demonstrates a daily commitment to providing excellent customer service and ethics in dealing with customers.

The award was presented at Connecticut BBB’s Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet in Aria of Prospect, CT.

On the photo:

Paulette Scarpetti, CT BBB President/SEO, presents the award to Irene Samson, the Owner of Irene Designs, LLC.

“I am honored to receive this Award.  Both Gene and I have been in remodeling business over 20 years following just one simple rule:

 Treat other people the way you yourself would like to be treated and don’t do things you don’t want to be done to you.

 One can never go wrong following just this rule of thumb.  This rule automatically includes all the rest: be polite, be on time, treat customers and your team members with respect, provide quality work, protect customer’s home, clean after the end of the day, keep your promise, maintain good communication, take responsibilities for your mistakes, etc. The list can go on and on. But whatever else comes up, is just yet another manifestation of the above.”

                                                                                                                                                      /Irene Samson/

With so many businesses on the market, it is not an easy task to choose the right contractor for your renovation project. You can start looking online or asking around. Word of mouth is always the best and the safest way to go. If you have to look online, there are certain criteria to keep in mind besides general rating and number of years the company has been in business. We all know that being found on the first page online doesn’t necessarily mean being the best in the industry.

Here are some guidelines that might be helpful to homeowners in their search for reliable Design and Remodeling Contractor:

1. First and foremost, you need to get clear on what you are getting for a design. Ask the company how they usually work with their clients to determine their needs and goals. Customer oriented remodeler will always start with asking multiple questions about your project and about your motivation to do the remodeling.

Consider it a good sign if you will be asked to put your thoughts together in the form of “Wish List” or “Hate List”. That means that your Contractor is willing to listen and to focus on your needs rather than making it yet another routine job.

Nowadays there is a great online source of inspiration and design ideas named Houzz. You can create your profile for free and put together your own Idea Book by adding the photos you like with just one click of your mouse. This Idea Book can easily be shared with your Designer so that both of you can collaborate. Watch out if your Designer doesn’t sound enthusiastic once you offered this type of communication.

2. Find out how many options of preliminary plans your Design and Build Company usually offers for a discussion. Seek a specific answer whether you will be given just a couple of plans or at least several options (which most remodeling projects usually contain within their potential).

3. Most people are not visual enough to get a clear vision of the future space by just looking at floor plans. If your Designer is willing to take time and create a 3D renderings for you, you will be able to make a well informed decision and to have a piece of mind during the renovation.

3D design often becomes a MUST when the floor plan needs to be changed. You don’t need this “oops…” factor down the road.

4. Ask, how many revisions you might have before you get to the plan you really like. It is OK if your Designer will offer to go by the hour for every additional revision. You will still benefit from that.

5. Find out if you will maintain your freedom to choose materials, fixtures and appliances. Some Design/Build Companies require that everything is purchased through them. It usually means that your choice is somewhat limited and your interests are not the main priority. You might be getting a “cookie cutter” while paying more.

6. Your best option would be if you can get personal design assistance to select and to coordinate fixtures, finishing and appliances. You might need to be paying your Designer for design consulting by the hour. Some Design/Build Companies offer such service as complimentary with a signed contract to do the work.

7. It is very important that your Designer stays with you during entire renovation process. There are often unforeseen changes that need to be made to the original plan after demolition is done. You don’t want to be left alone to make important decisions about those changes. And you don’t want to leave those decisions solely upon the Builder without your Designer taking care about aesthetics and functionality.

8. Before signing up with the Design/Build Company ask for references. Most companies will have nice websites with great testimonials by former clients. This all can be well and good, but ask for some real people to talk to via e-mail or on the phone. If the company is not new to the market and really does a great work, you will be given those references with no hesitation. The very fact that your Builder has no problems with your request, is a good sign. You don’t have to call everyone on the list. Contact just one or two people if you want.

And, there is always a Better Business Bureau website to check about the business. Even if the Company is not affiliated with BBB, there will be a record of any complaint or dispute made by consumers against that business. It only takes a few minutes to check it out.

Happy remodeling!

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years on the heels of popular home improvement shows and publications. And, for certain small projects, a DIY project can be rewarding and fun, if you are prepared and have the proper skills. But before you start knocking down walls and taking out wiring, ask yourself the following questions:

• Do you have a clear idea of what you want your project to look like?
• Do you have the time to complete this project (be realistic!)?
• Have you ever undertaken a project like this before?
• Do you know everything you will need (materials, tools, etc.) to complete the project?
• Are you familiar with the applicable building codes and permits?
• Do you enjoy physical labor?
• Do you have all the tools you will need?
• Do you have the necessary skills for this project?
• If not, do you have the time and resources to learn these skills?
• Where will you obtain the necessary materials?
• If you cannot complete the project according to your original schedule, are you (and your family) prepared to handle the resulting inconvenience?
• Will you need assistance with this project? If so, who will assist you? Do they have the time and skills required for this project?
• Do you understand all the safety issues associated with this project?
• Are you familiar with the architecture and structural makeup of your home (i.e., how knocking down one wall will affect the rest of the structure)?
• Have you considered the hidden costs associated with doing it yourself – time, tools, and the possibility that you may actually decrease the value of your house if the result isn’t up to professional standards?
It is easy to look at the cost of hiring a professional home remodeler and think only of labor and materials. But remember that a professional remodeler offers you an important service – years of experience, the right tools, a network of suppliers and subcontractors, and an in-depth understanding of legal regulations, cost estimating, scheduling, and the latest construction techniques and materials.

Tip # 1. Don’t rush into renovation

Do your homework first! Take time to analyze your existing problems in order to outline your remodeling goals. Think of the details. Try to envision how your ideal space should look. Get ideas. Browse some magazines, visit showrooms, talk to professionals. Choose some options you believe will work for you.

Tip # 2. Consider hiring a professional to review your ideas and to finalize your plans

You will be better off having a professional consultant who will come to your home to finalize your remodeling concept. In many cases you will benefit from making professional scaled drawings done. Experienced professional will translate your ideas into scaled floor plans and 3D renderings. It is important that you can fully visualize your future space before starting the construction! That beautiful concept you saw in magazine, might not look the same in your particular situation. Or it might be not the most cost effective way to achieve your remodeling goals. There can be other options available which you didn’t even consider!

Having a solid set of plans will allow you to compare estimates from different contractors more accurately since all of the contractors will be bidding on the same scope of work. Otherwise, you simply are not comparing apples to apples.

During the renovation, there will be no room for disappointments and costly change orders, because your ideas have been translated into plans and drawings that contractors can follow.

Tip # 3. Prepare for remodeling

Once you know exactly what you do, start getting ready. Pulling a permit from your Town can take several days.
To reduce your waiting time during construction, purchase some materials/fixtures/appliances you want to use. Some tiles or tub you liked, might need a few weeks to arrive. Make sure you have discussed your selections with the contractor and he has approved all the specs.
Stock everything you purchased in your garage and clear the area you will be remodeling.
It is now time to start the demolition.

Tip # 4 Consider having a general contractor

Many customers are on a tight budget and, trying to save some money, they split the work between different contractors and sign separate agreements with each of them. It often looks like a good deal but it can extend the construction process and make it more stressful. To make things worse, it might also void some warranties on the job, because no one would take full responsibility with the other parties involved. If something goes wrong you will have no one to blame.

If you still want to hold all the strings in your hands, be prepared to take frequent hours off work to meet with your contractors. Be ready to coordinate their schedules, sequence of work and act as an intermediary between them. You will be the one to be present for deliveries and installations. Final result? It will depend on how lucky you are. Yes, you may save some bucks here and there but you may also get yourself into costly change orders if you make a mistake or miss something.

Even DIY options are sometimes questionable. Some demolition work requires special skills (like removal of old wallpaper). If you do it wrong you will damage the sheetrock underneath which will result in additional repair or even replacement.

The bottom line is, hiring a professional is often the best way to save money, avoid unnecessary stress and to get the job done right and in a timely manner.


Irene Designs, LLC of Manchester, CT

Awarded Best of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

Hartford, CT, January 14, 2016Irene Designs, LLC of Manchester, CT has won “Best of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Irene Designs, LLC was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“We are working hard to make every project a success. Our goal is to not just meet your expectations but to exceed them”, said Irene Samson, the owner of the business.

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Irene Designs, LLC, voted one of our “Best of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Irene Designs, LLC on Houzz

About Irene Designs, LLC
Irene Designs is a full service design/remodeling company owned and operated by a full-fledged Interior Designer with over 20 years of experience. This is what makes the business unique and appreciated by customers. Every project is carefully planned to bring out its most potential. Irene closely monitors the construction working with her team members to preserve the concept and to take care of fine details. Every customer is offered a complimentary design assistance during the entire renovation. All this makes a big difference in the final outcome. Irene Designs’ standards are above average. It contributes to growing popularity of the company on the local market in CT.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

# # #

Modern Trends in Bathroom Remodeling

Today’s busy lifestyle craves for a bathroom that is your energy booster by day, and sanctuary by night. It is a place, where in the morning you can take a much needed wake up shower, comfortably get ready, reflect on the upcoming day and leave ready to take on the day’s challenges. You also want your bathroom to be the place where you can relax after a stressful day, take a long shower or a soak in a tub, to the tunes of a favorite melody and twinkle of candles.

The key to a bathroom like this is to ensure that it is functional, comfortable and is correctly planned.
More and more people are turning to professional designers to ensure that their bathroom is everything they ever dreamed of. So what are the hottest trends in bathroom remodel?

• Jet tubs are being removed or replaced with soaking tubs or free standing tubs.
• Showers are getting bigger and more functional, with recessed storage added for necessities and benches for seating
• Regular shower heads are being replaced with rain head showerheads or double shower heads
• Tiles used in showers are getting larger
• The most sought after colors for tile are neutral with emphasis on natural stone (limestone, slate, etc.)
• Shower curtains give way to glass enclosures to visually enlarge the bathroom
• More light is added to the bathroom. It is no longer just about the vanity or ceiling light. More and more customers add mood lighting, recessed lights, color changing shower heads, night lights, etc. And how about adding some lighting in the shower enclosure so you never find yourself wondering if you got all those hairs while shaving?
• Those ugly heating baseboards are replaced with radiant heated floors and stylish towel warmers. I absolutely love towel warmers – they not only decrease the moisture content in your bathroom making sure the air stays dry, but they also eliminate the problem of cold, wet, smelly towels. There is nothing better than getting out of the shower and grabbing a nice warm towel.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to come.