Renovating your home can be an exciting experience, whether you’ve found a great house that needs extensive updates, are excited to remodel your current home or are forced to remodel due to unforeseen circumstances like a flood. Regardless, proper research needs to be done before taking on a renovation. Here we will share some of our own tips for a successful home remodel.
1). Plan-Plan-Plan: A good plan that’s been thought over several times is the best way to start. Changes may come up along the way, but a solid plan saves you time, money and frustration. Talk with friends and family to discover what they did right and what they did wrong in their own home renovations. This can be invaluable in your renovation planning.
2). Get help: For the project shown at the top of this page, we had worked with the clients for years, so we were very aware of their needs, preferences and budget. However, not everyone is in the position to hire a designer. If you plan on doing some of the small or uncomplicated work yourself but want to rely on a contractor for the detailed and more complicated work, be sure you are completely aware of your capabilities. A good contractor or a skilled salesperson at a cabinet showroom or appliance store can also offer a lot of guidance. Use your experts!
This said, using an interior designer is greatly beneficial when remodeling your home. A good designer collaborates with the contractor and architect, and helps walk the homeowner through each stage of the remodel process. The designer can inform the client of what to expect and can assist with important selections specific to hardware finishes, lighting fixtures and numerous furnishings.
3). Do your homework: You can do a lot of the leg work yourself and then bring a designer in to consult, review, fine-tune and add the finishing touches. For the project shown above, the client served as the general contractor (GC) and managed the project, while Pamela helped design the kitchen and pick the materials and surfaces. Danna, our managing designer, designed the layout for the adjacent living area. Danna also selected new furnishings and window treatments, and helped the homeowner find a rug and wallpaper for the living room shelves. This level of client involvement really made the project a team effort.
4). Run the numbers: If the sum scares you, you might as well know that before you start. Things usually cost more than you think. Plan for that. Consider creative ways to pay. There are some attractive loans out there and some good programs for home improvement, so educate yourself on the financial side before you start.
Also consider where homeowners usually reap the strongest return on investment (ROI) for home remodels. If you plan to stay in your home for at least a few years more, it is a good idea to know which room(s) will add the most value to your home. An updated kitchen will not only enhance the beauty of your interior, but you may find yourself cooking more often as well as entertaining family and friends more frequently. If done properly, an updated kitchen with modern, energy efficient appliances, new cabinets and counter tops, new floors and a new paint job will help you recoup a majority of your remodeling costs.
5). Schedule realistically: Just as things usually cost more than you think, they also typically take longer. We like to have essential and long lead-time items chosen and ordered well in advance of tearing out your first floor! When remodeling a home, the timeline is often the most difficult task. Your contractor can help you with the planning, demolition, electrical, plumbing, etc. An interior designer can help you with the selection of paint, cabinets, flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting and appliances. The interior designer also works with the contractor on what part of the project to begin first. Should you start in the kitchen, the powder room or the living room? What are you going to do while the construction is taking place? Are you able to stay in the home or will you need to live elsewhere until the remodel is complete? Keep in mind that the sub-contractors on the job may be working on a couple of projects at the same time. If products are not available when the sub-contractors are available, your home remodel may be delayed. Depending on the size and type of project, permits may need to be drawn, which could take additional time to be returned with approval. A great interior designer can help navigate these waters by coordinating with all the parties involved.
Renovating a historic home?
The tips shared above come into play even more with historic renovation or historic preservation. Remodeling historic homes can bring up repairs that were not initially considered. In any construction project you should expect a portion of the budget to go toward “issues” that may arise and they will. With historic homes, those issues may be even greater than expected. Pay special attention to water damage, improper electrical wiring, floor damage and roof leaks. Consult with a professional on remedying those issues. Historic homes tend to have smaller rooms and/or have a floor plan that is “choppy”. Luckily, an interior designer can work with a contractor to design a floor plan that’s truly functional for your family and allows you to enjoy the charm of a historic home.
Behind-the-Scenes during a Kitchen Remodel
A kitchen remodel we finished early this year has made cooking and eating together as a family much more comfortable for one of our clients. They planned this remodel for a long time and did everything right to ensure it came together perfectly for them. We don’t yet have after photos of the kitchen, but we are chomping at the bit to take them. In the interim, here is a before photo as well as some construction shots and design plans.
Below is a photograph of the same kitchen that’s shown above, although the photo below shows our “in-progress” stage. It really is coming along nicely with a superb cooking, dining and gathering area for this family. We love the island cabinetry in cavalry blue!
Of course, a remodel is sometimes necessary due to natural circumstances such as a flood or fire. After such hardship, our interior design team shows great initiative in renovating a home to make it a special place to live and prosper again. We recently completed a remodel of a flooded home that turned out beautifully. The clients had lived in their new home only about one year before the flood wreaked havoc on the dwelling. Interestingly, in that short amount of time, the couple realized their home needed some other changes to make it function best for them. Below are photos of the home, taken down to the studs, during the remodel.
As shown in the photo below, a new sofa replaced the former one in the living area and the rugs were professionally cleaned and dried so they didn’t have to be replaced. New paint was applied after the baseboards and walls were replaced. Belongings that could be saved and re-used in the home were. Despite the tragedy of flooding, this family has happily returned to their home with many of their favorite items from before and plenty of new touches from the renovation.
If you are thinking about remodeling a single room in your home or an entire floor, remember there are many important decisions that need to be made and an interior designer is a useful partner to have on your team. A good designer helps move your home remodeling project along and points out things you may miss. For such an important investment, trust an interior designer who will transform your interiors beautifully, while guiding you on the common pitfalls to avoid in a home remodel. If you’ve remodeled a home, what was your experience like and which tips would you share with others? Which resources did you find to be most helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments box below. We want to hear from you!