4 Remodeling Tips for Homeowners

With the 2009 Northwest Natural Street of Dreams launching, it is back to my clients that have so patiently shared my time over the past two a half months. I am currently working on three remodeling projects with clients: the rooms include a master suite with bath, a hall bath, and a light commercial client for a salon. My clients are all very different and have been making some great selections with a little guidance and direction from me. I love to see their personal styles reflected in their choices.

If you are working on a residential remodel in your own home, I have some tips for you. I find these are immensely helpful for my clients embarking on a home improvement or remodeling project.

Start with an inspiration

I have said this before when addressing decorating projects, but it is also equally important in remodeling and new build projects. I find starting with the counter surface is a great start. Do you want granite, quartz, tile, recycled glass or concrete, for example? What colors and patterns speak to you? For example, if you select a granite with movement and warm undertones, those white cabinets you liked might not be a the best choice – or maybe now they are a good choice. If you have a strong opinion about your cabinet or back splash style and color by all means start there. Piece by piece, making selections will narrow down other choices.

If you plan to work with a interior designer, start tearing out pages from magazines that inspire you, and print photos from Internet searches. Don’t worry if they are different styles and looks. A good designer can find the common thread. Beware of a designer that leads you to a specific style that doesn’t feel like you, and pressures you to conform to it. A great designer can make any style and color palette look amazing. The interior designer or decorator may help you adjust colors to be most pleasing, or recommend new textures and patterns you wouldn’t have considered, but it will still be the look you want.

You are the boss. You deserve to get exactly what you want.

Be reasonable about your budget

The average small bathroom remodel is $16,000 from start to finish. This includes surfaces, cabinets, hardware, faucets, and accessories. This information is easily found online. Don’t fool yourself that you can get it done for less, or choose a contractor that tells you they can do it for much less than this average. You risk a project not being done to your satisfaction, late schedules, unfinished work, and more out of pocket expense than you planned. It is just not worth it.

Beware especially of a contractor who wants to start work before all decisions are made for the room you are remodeling. If you need a referral for a design/build remodeling firm that I partner with in design, please email me for a recommendation.

Don’t skip the floor plan

You should draft a floor plan in the proposed remodeled space. Functionality in design is the most important thing. Does your existing dining table fit the new space? Is there clearance for walkway after your furniture is placed? Do you need storage? Is it enough storage and is it the kind you need? Where is the sofa going to go? Do you want to read by the fire? Are the cabinets tall enough for your 6’2″ husband? Is there enough room in your closet for your shoes? Do you need to wire for audio visual during the remodel so you don’t have to do it later? Do you need a floor plug for floating furniture that will need a lamp? Please don’t skip going over your needs for the room or laying out a floor plan. I have actually seen expensive remodels that don’t meet the functional needs of a client that spent thousands. Don’t be that homeowner.

Make good partnerships

I recommend to my clients to use a design/build model for remodeling. The difference? A design/build remodeling firm meets with you and understands all of your function and style needs. They sign a small design retainer and spend 4-5 weeks helping you plan your remodeling project. They help you make selections with their designer for surfaces, cabinets, hardware and colors. They draw up detailed layout plans for your review, and add every detail to the construction agreement. Next they do construction walk through with all of the contractors including tile contractors, drywall contractors, electricians, audio visual professionals and so on. They set timelines for the work to be conducted based on the whole integrative team. They don’t start deconstruction or construction until every detail is ironed out. Then they sign the construction agreement with you. What is the benefit to you? They hit target on the budget. They hit target on the schedule. You like the process and don’t have a nasty contractor story to share with your friends at dinner parties and therapy.

If you want an integrative, stress free, fun remodeling process – follow these steps.

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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