Pro Tips | Planning for a Renovation

We’ve been doing more and more renovations recently. Some are small, single bathroom updates, while others are large. Renovations are hard. Period. They’re hard on everyone involved because they are never convenient, never cheap, and never without issues. They are usually so exciting at the end, though! A brand new room in your house…and most likely a room you’ve disliked or wanted to change for a while, is now brand new! Who wouldn’t be happy?! But there are ways to help prepare yourself for the process of enduring a renovation that we want to share. Whether you hire people to do the work or do it yourself, you will always need to be involved in a big way, so here’s what you need to know!

IF you choose to hire someone to help with the work, be sure to do your research! And remember, price shouldn’t be the first concern. We are strong believers in the “you get what you pay for” mentality and people should be compensated fairly for their time…or else, they’ll try to cut corners (to save money on the back end). So get all the info on the people you are hiring—examples of previous work, a clear and mutual understanding of timeline, a detailed scope of work and even a rating on how well you feel that they communicate. Don’t get us wrong, there is a certain level of trust you need to have in your contractor, however, there is also a certain level of communication you should have with them. Be sure you feel comfortable with how they communicate because that one element will be key to a successful renovation!

Have the money talk very early on. Discuss your budget with your contractor, designer, or project manager so that they know where things need to be. If they express concern about how much you are wanting to spend, listen to their concerns. A tight budget can make for more issues and it may be worth it in the end to either adjust your scope of work or wait until you have enough money to fairly cover the costs involved. Do research in advance as well so that you have a good idea of what you think it should be. You don’t want to get scammed by someone over estimating costs but you do need to trust their professional opinion if the conversation goes that direction. We always advise clients to have a 20% cushion for any sort of construction. There WILL be unexpected items that pop up that WILL cost money. Save yourself the headache and have the money available.

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Get out! If you are doing a major renovation, move out! For the sake of your mental health, your marriage, and your kids’ sanity, remove yourself from the stress of living in a construction zone because it’s HARD. It’s loud and dirty and distracting and puts everyone in a bad mood. It also adds a whole new level of stress to the entire process that could be avoided. If you’re just doing a small one bedroom remodel and can live in another part of the house during the construction process, that’s a little easier. But if you’re doing any major updates to your home, be sure NOT to be there.

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We understand things can change, but it is always best to have as many of the major decisions made BEFORE construction begins. Issues may arise that require you to change your selection, but the least amount of decisions you need to make under pressure and stress, the better. Select colors and tile and make layout decisions when you have a clear brain. Stressed brain doesn’t always make the best choices.

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Finally, understand that your involvement is required, not matter what. A renovation is almost never a one man job. Multiple people are involved and even if there’s a project manager who is supposed to be overseeing everything for you, your involvement matters too. You don’t want to turn into a micromanager but you don’t want to be in good communication with the people involved so that there’s no guessing on anyone’s part. For this reason, some of your budget decisions should also involve time….not just money. Consider your daily schedule and plan for the time you’ll need to take out of your day to be involved in this project. It will require it.

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Ultimately, look forward to the finished product. Keep the end in sight so you don’t forget what you’re working towards. If you have nothing to be excited about, you’ll quickly become negative which will only delay the process. Positivity and encouragement always makes for a smoother work place.

The Truth About | Home Renovations

One thing that goes hand-in-hand with interior design is the work renovation.  We have clients call us all the time for remodel design...typically in their kitchen or bathroom.  We walk into so many homes and see dated finishes, poorly configured workspaces, and unhappy clients who just want it to be right.  The hard part is...that's just the beginning. Many people live in their homes for a very long time before they decide to remodel so they're already frustrated and they want to see instant results.  And if there's one thing we CAN promise you when it comes to home renovations...there are never instant result.  It is always a process.  A long, tedious process.  The end is always worth it.  But sometimes, it's hard to remember that while they're living in construction.  We found this article on Houzz and wanted to share it with you because everything in it is so true.  Renovations are hard.  Really hard.  If you're ready for it, great!  You'll be happy in the end, but there are some things you need to be prepared for BEFORE you get started.

Get ready to live outside of your "norm" for a while.  Renovations...or any kind of home construction will leave you with unusable areas of your own home.  This will disrupt life for you as you know it.  Some people can roll with the punches and go with the flow while others need their routines to function.  So it's important to ask yourself what kind of person are you and how will you deal.  Think of what you need to do to function if your garage is occupied for months or if you can't plug your coffee maker in for a few weeks.  You may think, oh, I won't care!  That's no big deal... But trust us.  It wears on you after a while and the more prepared you are for it, the happier you'll be in the end.

Say goodbye to that clean house loved so much.  Construction = dust.  Construction = contractors = dirt.  Many reputable contractors try to be as clean as possible while they're in your home but some dirt is just unavoidable.  Not to mention that disturbing things causes dust to rise....  and the worst part...it takes much longer to settle than it does to spread.  So be prepared for dirt for a while.  Even a few months after construction ends, be prepared for it.

Throw that timeline out the window.  Many clients ask us how long we estimate that work will take once construction has begun.  Full disclosure.  We have NO idea.  We can guess...or tell you how long it SHOULD take, but that doesn't always translate into reality.  There are so many variables with construction including vendors, shipping, product, contractors, your schedule, other jobs that people may be juggling...it's a lot of give and take and there are often delays.  This can be hard and we get it, but it's pretty much uncontrollable.  Tell yourself, you've got all the time in the world once demo begins and then be pleasantly surprised when it doesn't take that long. :)

Overall, living through home renovations is a complete emotional rollercoaster.  You will be out of your comfort zone and you will wonder if you ever should've done this to yourself.  The answer is yes.  The product is always worth the pain and we're sure you'll love your new home once everything is done!

Bathroom Fact Sheet: Important information for the renovation enthusiast

We all try to do a little DIY fixer-upper every now and then.  For some of us that means painting a room on our own (and even picking the color ourselves).  For others, that means taking on an entire room renovation on their own.  And while we appreciate your enthusiasm for design (because we've got it too), there are a few things you may want to tuck in your "tool belt" when you start considering a bathroom reno.

One of the biggest mistakes many people make is height--hanging items at the right height.  This is probably because we're all different heights ourselves, so the height that we're comfortable looking at varies.  There are rules about height, and what's appropriate in a bathroom, so let's discuss them!

Most vanities are typically 32"-34" heigh.  If you're wondering which height is best for you, look at your own height.  For taller individuals, go with a taller vanity and for shorter individuals, go with something shorter.  Once you've determined your vanity height, though, your mirror height should be considered.  When determining this, there are a couple of things to take into account.

First of all, how large is your mirror?  If your mirror is very large in scale and goes almost all the way to the ceiling, there's probably not a lot of room for error when hanging it.  However, if your mirror is smaller and will have a lot of wall space surrounding it, the number one thing to remember is that you want it to be "connected" visually to the vanity.  It doesn't need to hang smack dab in the center of wall space.  If you do that, the mirror will most likely appear to be "floating" and feel completely disconnected.  An easy rule to follow is that the center of the mirror should be right around 60"-66".  Unless you have an unusually short vanity, this will make it so the mirror is a part of the vanity space and not just something that's hanging on the wall.  The goal is to make it so a part of the vanity overlaps with a part of the mirror, so if a little of the faucet is in front of the mirror, that's a good thing!

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While vanities are pretty standard heights, you may have a bathroom with a "make-up station" where someone would be sitting at the counter.  In these cases, the counter top height needs to drop down.  Usually a counter height of anywhere from 24"-28" is good and allows the person using the space to get items off of the counter comfortably.

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If you have a walk-in shower and are including a seating area/bench for shaving, trust us when we say, lower is better!  Since you will most likely be using the space to either prop your foot up to shave or sit down to shave, you'll want to make sure the height works for both uses.  A bench height of anywhere from 16"-18" is a safe range.

The last thing that often goes into a shower is a niche.  Walk-in showers especially, have these because we need somewhere to set all of those product bottles!  I don't know about you, but I always get frustrated when niches are too high.  Nobody wants shampoo bottles tumbling onto their heads!  If you're including a shower niche in your bathroom remodel, keep it safe!  Place your niche at the 46"-48" mark.  Then it's right at grabbing height.

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Good luck on your next bathroom remodel!  If you don't want to worry about heights, you can always call us!