Remodeling 101

Our new series, Remodeling 101, focuses on the basics. You've been daydreaming for years (or months) about finishing your basement, or adding on to your kitchen, or transforming your master bath, and now you are ready. You have the funds, the time, the right impetus to get moving on your dream. Now what should you do? You are probably already doing the first thing:

1. Research

In this internet age, there are so many resources at the click of the button. Don't miss out on the best places to brainstorm for ideas on the web.

  • Pinterest is practically a household name. Pins contain a mix of personal stories, blogs, DIY tips, and copycat looks to help you imitate designer looks. Pinterest allows you to save pictures you find anywhere across the web all in one convenient place. 
  • Design-driven sites like HGTV or Southern Living contain massive storehouses of pictures, along with helpful designer written articles.
  • Of course, for actual reviews of appliances, you can't pass up the big box websites or even Amazon! 
  • An up-and-comer in home design and planning is Houzz. Some homeowners may not have tapped into this because it is more focused than Pinterest. No recipes here. But, if you are looking for loads of photographs of actual work done for real homeowners, advice from actual pros involved in the projects -- then you should check Houzz out. How should you use Houzz? Create a profile and start searching through photos using keywords, generic ones such as "bathroom" or even specific ones like "Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter." You collect pictures that pique your interest in Ideabooks. Houzz also helps you connect with professionals, ask them questions, source materials, colors, and appliances. It even contains forums where you can crowdsource your design dilemmas. 

It's important to spend time on this research step, but equally important is getting out of research mode and putting some legs onto your ideas. 

2. Shop Around

This step will take you from your computer and into the real world. First, if you are not going the DIY route, decide what kind of help you need. An architect? A designer? A design/build firm that will handle it all?  Your goal in choosing a contractor is tapping into his or her expertise in the field. How can this person make my dream into reality?  Use their experience to refine your ideas into a plan.  Next, it is time to go shopping. Ask your designer for samples. Go to a showroom or a design center with a plan.  There is no substitute for hands-on, in person shopping for the most important aspects of your project. Virtual reality can only go so far. 

A smoothly run renovation project relies on the decisions you make before the project starts.

3. Decide

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost

Now that you've researched & shopped, you are ready to make some decisions. BEFORE you start your project. If flexibility needs to be built in to the project, great, but a smoothly run renovation project relies on the decisions you make before the project starts. Love that paint color, you think? Don't wait until the painters have painted one whole wall to fully commit to it. If you need more time to make your decisions, or you feel like you are missing some information that would help you decide, talk to your contractor. Talk to your decision-making team, but make that team a small group that works well together. Your project will flourish, instead of feeling continually road-blocked and stymied. Those points of decision can indeed feel momentous, but procrastinating won't make them any easier. In a remodeling project, making good choices will make "all of the difference."

Ready to consult with an expert and get started on your dream renovation? Let's get the conversation started.