Starting A Renovation

Telephone and Clock in the Shelf

When remodeling what should you do first?

There are so many factors and nuances when starting a renovation so how do you get started? Do you get started with planning your budget or planning on what you want to do?

I believe renovating is a kind of goal-setting process. I don’t remember where I saw the quote but someone once said “you have to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there“. This is exactly what happens when you have no idea where to start.

Every well-thought-out renovation and the happy client starts with a plan. Where do you plan to be in five or 10 years? Do you plan to still be living in the same location or on the other side of the world? Do you plan to have kids or have your kids already moved out? Maybe these plans don’t involve a family, it’s all about you. Once you know who is and who is not affected by your renovation plans then you can decide on what is the most important area to touch to make the biggest impact on your budget.

If you know that the existing house just won’t cut it anymore and you really like the area or can’t afford to move, and you’re planning a major renovation, it’s a really good thing you thought of it now instead of renovating half the house and then realizing you’d really rather have the staircase on the other side of the house for more space.

Do you need a designer or a contractor?

These are also fantastic questions that will depend on what your ultimate goal is.

  • Does having all the kinks and details worked out and simplified matter to you?
  • Do you want to be involved or have nothing to do with the design process?
  • How much do you want to be hands-on with this renovation?

I know everyone expects that the Tile Guy will just show up and he already knows what to do I mean after all he has 20 years’ experience but is that really the way it happens, of course not.

As a client, the trades always prefer to work with another trade so the communication regardless of whether they think they’re good or bad always seems lacking to the customer. Also like flowing water, trades like to go through the path of least resistance or the easiest route so in the middle of marking out the tile guy convinces you to work with a pattern that’s not the best looking but it is the easiest for him to install.

Now it looks OK but after everything is finished you wonder if the edges of the tile could’ve been finished better maybe there’s some sort of edging for the tiles? You start thinking, “…was this an option when we got started? Why didn’t he mention it?”

He didn’t mention it because you never asked. And this happens with every trade, all of them. Also, you find the plumber comes when he has an opening in his schedule not when you need him.

construction site viewed from roof top two men working

How long does a full renovation take?

You thought your friend’s renovation took a few months so why is yours taking so long it seems never-ending. The contractor is the one responsible for managing the trades, keeping you on schedule and of course dealing with the headaches and challenges that come up on the way.

Nothing is more frustrating than having to leave work in the middle of the day because your electrician has a question that you thought you already answered three days ago.

Do you need to hire a designer for home renovation?

Design work can be similar. Hiring a designer can sometimes seem painful in the beginning because you’re paying for a service that may cost more but in the end makes the process easier, while resulting in a finished product you are more than happy with. Is it worth it? Of course, it is! 

Whenever a client finishes her renovation and says if I was going to do something different next time or I would do this instead that means they probably didn’t work with a designer or someone who cared about the finer details. All the little details matter and it’s the designer’s job to make sure that the tile ends in the right place, that the hardwood starts somewhere else and the stain colour on the stairs matches the floor, the stair railing style is appropriate for the trim and styling of the house so it doesn’t look out of place. And of course that everything has cohesive colours as well as a design style so the whole place doesn’t crash. We all know what we like and independently these styles are stunning but together sometimes they just don’t want to work together this is where the designer comes in.

This might seem like a headache and if you don’t know what you’re doing it can be. Answer these questions and you will know which direction is right for you. Don’t forget once you get started, stay started and have full trust and communication with your professionals and partners involved and you’ll find this process can actually be a lot of fun.