October 18, 2021

Renovation 101!

Planning A Renovation

I grew up with renovation and feel like planning a renovation is a part of me. My parents bought a 1906 English Tudor home back in the mid 50’s. Their first addition was a garage. Conveniently the roof of the garage was a cement patio. I remember riding my tricycle around the perimeter as fast as I could go. But then they decided to turn the patio into (you guessed it) a room! I can’t recall exactly where it went from there, but I remember feeling like our contractors were family members. There was always something being renovated or added. So, I guess it’s not a surprise that I chose a profession that has renovation or change at its core. I like change and love watching rooms and homes transform into their newer and more usable updated versions.

Less Stressful Renovation.

I’m not sure it’s possible. There’s a constant stream of strangers in your home, you must move things around, it’s dusty, expensive, and there are always surprises – or challenges to figure out along the way. Even the best laid plans are subject to change. So you’ve got to be flexible. This is a process.

First, think about what you’re willing to invest. That’s right. This is an investment, not an expense.

The contractor should be one of your first searches. This is someone you’ll be practically living with for at least 3 months so make sure they are qualified and come with some good recommendations. This is the part of the investment you should not compromise on. This should be a person who is able to give you a detailed quote in a written proposal (not an email or text). They will be guiding you and if they are serving as the general contractor (GC), they will be responsible for getting subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, masons, roofers, etc.) there in a timely fashion. This will keep the project moving forward. Sometimes the contractor and the GC are 2 separate people. This can cost more but it also takes you out of the position of having to know what comes next and making sure it’s happening. I am very lucky to have wonderful tradespeople working on my renovations. They are all excellent at their crafts and I enjoy having them in my own home.

Find out who is responsible for doing each piece of the renovation.

This can be tricky. Never assume the contractor is a tile person or willing to get the shower ready for tile etc. The mason may not want to do plaster. If you know these things are going to be required, be specific up front. Line up the right tradesperson who is expert in their field.

Jobs electricians and plumbers do can be obvious. What may not be obvious to a homeowner is when these steps must be completed to move on to the next part of the renovation.

For the indecisive…

I highly recommend working with a home designer, architect, or an interior designer to help pull everything together. There is a certain amount of design fatigue that happens if you don’t have someone to help you visualize and facilitate ideas. A designer can offer you two or three choices that can help you move forward with more confidence. For instance, a home designer helped me visualize what I wanted my new sunroom to look like by creating 3D renderings. I was so excited to see my ideas come to life.

I have never regretted splurging on high visibility items.. If you really want the Baldwin door knobs, marble, built-in coffee maker, go for it. You will be using them every day. They will make you happy.

Think of your family when planning a renovation.

Finally, it’s best to do a renovation to suit your family’s needs, not just for resale. Styles, taste, and trends are always changing. Do what you love.

For me, the most fun thing about renovating is the process: the people you meet along the way that help a unique design element come true; the people that are proud of their work and their contribution to your home. I also highly recommend seeing and touching materials in person. If you must use the internet, request samples.

Now I’m coming down the home stretch of my own renovation. I won’t miss all the workers showing up at 8:00 am, the dust, mess, the distractions, noise etc. I will miss the creative part. I’m already thinking about my next project. I know in a few weeks the room will feel like it’s always been part of our home –can’t wait!

All the Best,

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