MSA Podcast – Episode #6

I had the great pleasure of an interview with Bobby Tone, owner of Studio B Elements, who has dual degrees in interior design and architecture and founded her design business almost 15 years ago. She now focuses most of her work on residential renovations for clients.

When she meets a new client, “first, I give them a little bit of an education on the design process and how I work and I want to get into their heads. Like what do they want, what are their desires, what are their needs, what kind of style are they going with, what is their budget? I just really need to get to know them because the sooner I can get into their heads and understand what they’re wanting at the end, then I can design that environment for them so they can walk in to the house every day and they’re happy.”

I was thrilled to hear that Bobby loves to work with architects because they’re such a strong “support system.” She enjoys developing the conceptual design and plans and then honing the details from there. Bobby appreciates that architects can tackle the technical drawings, particularly on larger projects when structural changes and engineering are involved. She enjoys working on everything from lighting schemes to wall texture, from windows to fireplaces, to determining what kind of water heaters a client will use. Thanks to her background in architecture, she can go deeper and share her understanding of structural issues, flooring, grout and more with clients.

As far as trends, she appreciates the simplicity of open floor plans for communication and overall flow. These allow for easier upkeep and better usage of square footage while keeping families connected.  Bobby concluded that “I love to take apart a house that really needs some tender loving care and create a wonderful, custom environment for my clients.”

Client Question: What does remodeling cost per square foot?

I hear this question a lot and people generally think I will give than a specific dollar amount that they can then multiply based on their potential project and think “Oh, there’s my budget.” However, that is only one piece of the remodeling puzzle.

Typically, with an addition, you are blending the old and the new, which often involves blending and remodeling the old to go with the new. When I provide a number estimate, I am talking about the addition, but you need to add more on for the remodel. When it comes to new construction, projects generally run between $250-350 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the site. What you’re adding on will influence the price as well – bathrooms, for example, entail plumbing and electrical, so the price will be higher than that of an updated great room.

If you have questions about a specific project or anything in general, you can find me at


More on the San Luis Obispo County ADU Ordinance

We revisited the San Luis Obispo County ADU ordinance, which will determine how and when residents can add an accessory dwelling unit. I continue to receive questions about this and will continue to offer the latest updates on my podcast and newsletter. You can learn more at

“Why Almost Every DIY Show is Wrong about Home Remodeling!”

I know that it is still hard to walk into an architect’s office cold so I created a free report titled “Why Almost Every DIY Show is Wrong About Home Remodeling!” It walks you step-by-step through the initial process of home remodeling or new construction.  I have added a link in the show notes to get your free copy.  You can also go to our website

In Summary

Thanks again to Bobby Tone from Studio B Elements for her time and insights. We also covered ADUs and costs related to home-remodeling projects. You can always reach out with questions at or leave a review on iTunes.

Looking Ahead

In the next episode, we will discuss the latest in the home-remodeling market, continue to stay on top of the ADU ordinance, discuss an interesting project we are enjoying working on right now and answer more of your questions! Until then, thanks for your curiosity, your interest and your time.


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