Renovation Tips from an Interior Designer
The hot season for renovations starts in early spring. Just for you my blog followers, here are a few tips that I feel are essential when you are considering a renovation or remodel. Now before I get started I need to make it clear so my contractor friends don’t get offended, I love you guys …. I am not a contractor BUT I have seen enough and gone through enough with renovations to help steer you away from “renovation nightmare”.
I mean seriously, there are so many gosh darn nightmares out there that there are shows being produced to highlight the unfortunate situation that some home owners experience.
Not all renovations are a nightmare nor do they need to be , be prepared, plan for it and be engaged. So here we go….
Do your homework.
I have worked with some of the greatest crews in the city and I know there are many more out there that are just as stellar. How do I know that ? Well I ask alot of questions and you should too. Never take one person’s word on a recommendation. Why, maybe the contractor did their bathroom and it was an awesome experience but your home is a heritage home ( your friend’s was not) and you want your first floor redone, big difference. Ask the contractor to show you some of their work; the job you are considering, have they completed a similar renovation to yours? Get some examples of their work , how did they handle the challenges when they surfaced? Are they insured? Ask questions , do your homework, it is important.
Plan out the timeline and get S#H% on paper.
Renovations take a long time, trust me this is not like HGTV, not even close. Sit down with your designer and contractor and work through a timeline together, understand and identify where key decision points will be required. With my interior design service I also provide a project management / plan service. I also won’t do any renovation or remodel without conceptual and construction diagrams, I also provide this service. Why do I do all of this ? My motto, you can never over plan a renovation and I seriously mean that. I have to develop a space plan with the contractor, identify where all the electrical outlets will be, plumbing etc, gosh if I don’t do this how can I put that 7 ft soaker tub in a space that will only hold a 5 ft tub. As a designer I need to know, when does all the flooring have to be on site? I then work backwards ensuring my client’s have their choices made and products are ordered and on site when the contractor requires it. Hey I don’t want to be the one thrown under the bus and delay the project. I want to be the gal that ensures her client has checked off the boxes and the supplier is well aware of our deadline. S@H* happens but your can plan well in advance so you are not wading through it ever other day. Happy Client, Happy Life
Don’t under estimate the cost.
If you can find the tree where money grows… let me know will you. Renovations cost money, more money than you budgeted, I guarantee that. I tell my clients to take their budget and add 20 % contingency to it. Just as a safety net . I often get asked, how much will this renovation cost, I always defer to the contractor, they are the experts. I know my typical cost to do a bathroom, kitchen etc but I will never speak to the cost associated with a contractor. Don’t be afraid to get a few estimates from different contractors. These trades are not cheap, nor should they be, they are skilled professionals and many have gone to school to be trained. They don’t work for free and a good one is worth his/her weight in gold.
Know your scope and it’s return value.
Many homeowners are convinced that the only way to increase the value of their home is to spend alot of money on high-end finishes and expensive home remodels. But home renovations rarely, if ever, offer a $1 for $1 return. In fact, sometimes the simplest or least expensive updates can give the best returns.
For instance, data shows re-insulating your attic can recoup as much as 117% on the reno dollars you spent, while you can expect a 92% recoup on the cost of replacing your garage door and a 91% recoup on the cost of replacing your front, entry door.
In 2017, the top three reno projects across Canada were: bathroom remodels, basement renovations and the installation of a new deck.
Homeowners have to take some responsibility.
Maybe this is not a tip more of a strong suggestion. I would never allow my client to think or feel they should just hand over the keys to the contractor and or myself as a designer. I schedule recurring meetings with my client, I keep them informed, touchbase on issues and or needs and I never allow them to be isolated from the contractor. When I am involved we are a team. If I am not involved then my best piece of advice is don’t take your eye off the ball, stay engaged.
I hope the above brief tips have provided some guidance and food for thought before that first sledge hammer swings. Not everyone hires a designer ( but they should) … but everyone hires a contractor so if you ever need advice on some of the great folks in this city, shoot me a message and I would be more than happy to give you a few names for your consideration.
“Renovation nightmare” be gone, the space of your dreams can be a reality, just be prepared, plan and engage.