By Tilu Arora | Interior Designer
You may have heard horror stories about problematic remodels, such as budgets spiraling out of control or sites left half-finished. But is this the reality? On the contrary, remodeling your home nowadays is actually easier than ever before due to the amount of information available at the click of your mouse.
Whether you are performing a smaller remodel, such as moving interior walls or reorganizing interior spaces, or even if your project involves large-scale construction, the beginning steps are the same.
1. Develop Your Inspiration
One of the most basic steps to follow is to develop a solid idea of the style that appeals to you the most. You can either bookmark pages of style inspirations in books or magazines, or save reference photos on Pinterest. There are many websites like Houzz that offer excellent remodeling stories and accompanying photos. Many times, you can quickly find design solutions and sources for your inspirations online.
2. Organize Your Thoughts
Organizing your thoughts and ideas is the next major step. If you are planning to work with an architect, lay out your ideal plan beforehand and really visualize how you would use the space on a daily basis. Oftentimes, homeowners cannot compose a clear idea of what they want, or they are simply not design-savvy. It is especially important in these situations to work with an interior designer who can help you define your preferences.
Once you have your design inspiration nailed down, it is very important to stay on track with the style you have chosen. With the amount of materials and choices available in today’s markets, it is very easy to get distracted and incorporate other materials and design features that do not work well together.
3. Consider Professional Help
Even if you have a well-developed personal aesthetic, you should always consider consulting with a designer or a project manager. Many homeowners think they can design or run a project themselves to save money. However, inexperience can lead to mistakes that quickly become expensive, and many remodelers (especially first-timers) who decide to work on their own get stuck with undesirable outcomes.
Having the assistance of a designer or a project manager will help you sidestep these issues. For best results, meet and interview designers who have completed projects matching your taste. Also, make sure you and your chosen designer have developed rapport as you may be working together over a long period of time.
Even if you have to compensate in other areas to keep project costs within budget, hiring a professional will pay off in the long run. DeLeon Realty fully grasps the importance of professional design assistance; that is why we provide free access to our interior designers for our clients.
If you choose to manage the project yourself, it will certainly be an enjoyable and rewarding process, but it also takes a certain type of person. You have to be organized, calm under pressure, strategic, and confident—not to mention being able to afford the time to plan, coordinate, and oversee the work.
4. Put It on Paper
Draw a layout of your furniture on paper. This step seems a bit premature, but it really makes construction and coordination much easier for all parties involved. Among other things, it helps the electrician, the security, and the cable vendors to see where they need to provide outlets, switches, and internet or TV connections.
Accordingly, having a lighting plan will help to establish the location of recessed lights and other lighting fixtures. Be specific about what kind of lighting you desire, including the sizes, types of bulbs, and intended functions (such as accent or task lighting). Having a ceiling layout will also help if you are planning on installing surround sound so that lights and speakers can be aligned successfully on the ceiling.
If you plan to build any custom cabinets, have a rough set of plans completed either by you or by your designer before shopping for a cabinet-maker. These cabinet drawings should incorporate as many desired details as possible, such as soft-close mechanisms, handle styles, and numbers of drawers and cupboards. Additionally, pre-deciding the construction of the interior of the cabinetry will help you receive a clear estimate and keep your budget on track.
5. Finalize All Features
Waiting until the latter stages of the project to finalize your remodeling details can increase pricing. For instance, if the remodel involves redoing kitchen cabinetry, it is very important to select all appliances and fixtures upfront. This will help confirm the dimensions in the cabinet drawings, ensuring the kitchen is laid out perfectly.
Other important details that need to be pre-planned include plumbing fixtures. This involves deciding if the bathroom will have a tub and/or a shower, a single sink, double sinks, and storage options.
Flooring and roofing options should also be decided early. Do you want wood, tile, stone, or carpet? Or, do you want a combination of flooring materials? If your home needs a new roof, make sure the style and the type of roof are established before the work begins. Homeowners often go back and forth between types of roofing, like composite shingle versus metal or tile, even after the remodel is underway. This indecision can entail costly delays and even halt work altogether since different roofing materials require different structural calculations.
If the remodel involves changing exterior doors and windows, these need to be selected ahead of time. Usually, these elements can be easily decided by referencing the style you chose to stick with at the beginning. Having an elevation of the exterior will also help in choosing window sizes and positions. At this point, it is also ideal to determine if the home will feature stucco, siding, or other exterior materials and details.
In short, incurring even a few weeks of delay to lay everything out and finalize all details will be worth it. Tying up these loose ends at the beginning can potentially save thousands of dollars later, not to mention avoiding hours of aggravation and extensive delays to the project.
At DeLeon Realty, our designers assume the work of our clients throughout the entire remodeling process, including comparatively shopping for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE), performing all design labor, and personally managing each project. These services alone save our clients invaluable time and thousands of dollars. At the same time, each home is transformed into a turn-key residence that our clients usually want to move back into, forgetting that their newly remodeled spaces may win them many thousands of dollars over asking.