I love Revuu.com and I’m very excited that the founder, Khristine Holterman, stopped by The Report this week for a chat!
Robin: What was your inspiration for creating Revuu?
Khristine: I created Revuu.com after a lengthy remodel/renovation of a 100+ year old home. My initial inspiration was the lack of information/reviews of high end windows and doors. Instead of asking everyone I knew what they thought of the products they had installed, I was hoping to find a single source of information culled from actual users for any product you would use in a remodel. When I realized nothing like this existed, I decided to create my own site. I’ve found that often the best source of knowledge is other users. So, the goal of Revuu.com is to consolidate user reviews into one online community where homeowners can share their experiences and insight.
R: What makes Revuu unique?
K: It’s the only site that offers unbiased consumer reviews of all high end products in one location. It is simple to set up a free account and access hundreds of products, or add your own to the site.
R: For appliances and renovation, does quality always mean more expensive?
K: Unfortunately, even the most expensive appliances no longer seem to last as long as they used to. Even if they do make it to the 10-year milestone usually it's not without several service calls and expensive repairs. It really depends on the manufacturer, where the product is made and how diligent you are at making sure you stick to the service schedule- particularly for high-end refrigerators.
R: What’s your favorite part of renovating a home?
K: I love the process of change: watching a room or an entire house be resurrected from neglect or age, or changing up styles and function to better suit one's lifestyle. I also love the process of conceiving a story board, it's so much fun to see options and different ideas. I enjoy perusing design books, websites, Pinterest, stores and following designers on Instagram to get ideas.
R: What are your tips for hiring an interior decorator or contractor?
K: Make sure you see the work the designer or contractor has completed- in person – and always check multiple references! You also want to be certain the professional is open to your ideas and doesn't have a cookie-cutter approach to their projects. If you see an obvious trend with a designer, (for example every house they do has the same color scheme) it's likely they are a one-trick pony. Interview them and make sure your personalities mesh because they often spend more time with you during a renovation than anyone else in your life!
R: What design project are you most proud of?
K: I'm very proud of the renovation of our home. It was quite a process restoring an early 1900s house and making it function in the 21st century. We stayed true to the interior architecture and tried not to destroy anything of significance (such as fireplace mantels and moulding). While it would have been easier and more practical to tear the house down, in the end we feel good about restoring a piece of history.
R: What is typically the most difficult room in a home to renovate?
K: I don't know that there is one room that's hard for everyone to renovate, but for me it's always been the master bedroom. It seems to be the last space I spent time thinking about and now I am trying to finish it – four years after we moved in! In our other houses it was the same: I saved the master bedroom as my last project and by the time it was completed, we moved.
R: What room in a home would you say is the most important to renovate first?
K: The kitchen is where we spend most of our time now. It is where we eat, study, work, talk and our first stop when we get home. So, making sure your kitchen functions in all these capacities makes it a critical room to renovate first.
R: What are the hottest paint color trends for this summer?
K: Pantone's colors of the year are Rose Quartz (a pink) and Serenity (a lighter blue). I see both of them appearing in design spreads. However I also see bright greens, deep blues and oranges making their statement in summer interiors. Florals, while not one color, are creeping back into the scene (the 80s are back!).
R: Where does wallpaper make the biggest impact in a home?
K: Wallpaper makes the most impact in small rooms: powder rooms, offices, small bedrooms or on the back of shelves. Grass cloth is back in a big way and can look amazing in dining rooms and formal rooms.
R: What’s your #1 tip for making house guests feel comfortable?
K: A guest house! When we renovated, the old barn/garage was turned into a pool house with plenty of space for guests. I've found guests like to feel like they aren't imposing and having their own space makes them comfortable (ok, sometimes too comfortable…we have non-stop guests most of the summer!). However, even without a lot of space you can make guests feel comfortable by making it easy for them to co-exist with you while they are visiting. Coffee, snacks, a comfortable place to sleep and some home-cooked meals with good wine, are usually the key to making guests happy.
R: Besides the typical fridge/stove/dish washer, what other kitchen appliances are worth splurging on?
K: The warming drawer is my favorite appliance. With a big family often coming and going at irregular intervals, having the warming drawer makes it easy for me to keep dinners warm until the kids are home.
R: What are some fun ways to make outdoor spaces more livable?
K: A firepit or fireplace always makes an outdoor space inviting – especially with our chilly Northern California evenings. I also stock up on Mexican siesta blankets and drape them over seating to use as the temperature drops. I love globe lights (when done tastefully) and comfortable sofas are also a nice way to make an outdoor space more welcoming. Nice outdoor plant and flower arrangements also help. Making sure your outdoor furniture is comfortable and durable enough to endure many years is key. Revuu.com has several reviews of high end outdoor furniture (and we are always looking for more reviews so please add yours!).
R: How did you discover your personal design style?
K: I am a slow learner when it came to design! It was the last thing I cared about for most of my life until we started renovating our first property 16 years ago, and suddenly I had to make decisions. I discovered my personal style through trial and error (I made a lot of mistakes), over time and by learning to keep a keen eye open for ideas when we travel. I honestly feel like travel, be it domestically or internationally, is the best way to become inspired. I also have friends with amazing taste who made me realize how fun design can be, and how it really can reflect you as a person. As I've learned to be more observant in terms of design and detail, I've developed some sense of style. It continues to evolve and that's what is so great about decorating – you can change things up over time as your style and interests change.
More About Khristine Holterman
After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in publishing before changing careers and completing her M.S. in Nutrition from Boston University. After 16 years as a nutrition researcher and consultant and a few home remodels, she decided to switch her focus from nutrition and launch Revuu.com. She lives in Northern California with her family.