As a design/remodel firm we sometimes like to refer to ourselves as part-time marriage counselors. This is not because we know anything about that wonderful profession – we will leave that to the experts. However, a home renovation can be one of the most stressful things a family can go through. Why? Because we are tearing up the home that you come back to at the end of the day to decompress. We are disrupting your daily activities and all of that can build aggravation. Not to mention you are probably also stressing out during the design process making sure that you are creating the perfect space for you and your family. Not to worry – we are here to help.
Work With Professionals
You may be on the fence about doing the work yourself or hiring someone like us for your home renovation. We recommend that you ask yourself some questions about what you plan to do to see what works better for your needs. Do you know a lot about the industry and residential code? Do you want to coordinate the entire project and all of the sub-contractors yourself? If your answers are “no” we highly recommend seeking out a professional. Look to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and find someone who works in your area. Talk to a few contractors and see what they offer and what their average costs and timelines are like. We also recommend seeing if they have any NARI Certifications which means they are very knowledgable. A follow-up question would be to see if they know residential design. We suggest you look into the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) for more on that. You can also search for a designer who has an NKBA Certification. Some companies, like us, have certified professionals in both, which make for a perfect turnkey solution. The less you have to do yourself, the easier the entire process will be for you.
Budget Your Needs
Financial stress can be a whole other level of stress during a home renovation. There is sometimes a disconnect between what you want to and are able to invest and how much the project is going to cost. Determine what makes sense for your family and your home. Some reports state that a kitchen remodel should only cost about 15% of your home value while others say that it can be up to 25% total. This can vary by location – more populous cities like Dallas, Texas (where we are) tend to sit on the higher investment end of the spectrum. Master bathrooms also tend to cost more than anticipated, and while there are reasons bathrooms are expensive, your home size and construction can drive those costs some. If you don’t plan on staying in the home for at least 5-7 years, you may want to scale back a project and consider the return on investment more. But, if you are staying 10+ years, then doing what you want is important. And don’t be afraid to wait and save. Price increases happen every year, but at a minimal percent that waiting 12 months to start your remodel won’t add that much, and you’ll have more money to work with.
Share The Burden
You alone aren’t always the only person using the space you are remodeling. If it’s a master bath, there may be two of you constantly in and out, so you both should be involved. Another bathroom, that you may never actually use, can be easier to manage and you can rely more on your designer. Ask the kids for input on their own bathrooms – you would be surprised how many preteens love being able to get involved and tell us that they prefer a certain color, or need more cabinet storage. Likewise, kitchens can be a whole family activity to design. Kids always love having input with their parents’ decisions and can help bring your family closer during a stressful time. It also gets everyone more excited about seeing the final result. Do you have others that use the kitchen often like friends and family members, or do you have help come in often to help with entertaining? Have them write down 2-3 things that bother them about your current space. These may be things you haven’t thought about yet!
Plan, Plan, Plan
If you are working with others, consider your timeline. Some designers and remodelers spend more time upfront in the design process than others. This can be beneficial because there aren’t fast decisions being made in the field. What we suggest – and what we do – is selecting all materials prior to demo day. This makes the construction part flow smoothly because everything has already been ordered and ready for install! We also suggest finding someone who will provide you with some sort of project plan. Discuss how long a normal kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel can take, and try to get a schedule. We provide a Gantt chart to all of our clients and although some things may move around, it’s pretty spot on week by week. This also helps you understand what’s happening at different stages of the project. You can see the demo, but from that point to cabinet install it looks like nothing is getting done. Seeing it on a calendar or even chatting with your project manager can help ease that stress. These tools help you follow what’s actually happening each day, even if it doesn’t look like much.