What You Need to Know Before You Begin
Like many Peninsula baby boomers, my husband and I looked at our Menlo Park home, where we’ve lived since 2005, and decided that this was where we wanted to stay. Although our house was functional with a solid floor plan, it was also 60 years old, and there were some infrastructural details we needed to fix as well as a few areas we wanted to freshen up in the process.
I embarked upon this adventure not only to renovate my own home, but also to go through the experience in order to provide more valuable advice to my clients. And I learned a lot! Here are some of my important takeaways:
You need a designer — even if you have excellent taste.
You may know exactly what you like, from lighting fixtures to countertops, but what you may not realize is that all of those beautiful individual things may not work together to create a harmonious whole. Like the two friends you love but who can’t stand to be in the same room together. A good designer can help you incorporate your favorite choices into a consistent aesthetic.
Stay in close communication with your contractor and cross check all work in progress.
On a big project, you might assume you can leave some of the seemingly smaller decisions up to your contractor. Don’t. Stay involved in the day-to-day decisions and go to the site as often as you can to ensure the execution matches the plan – every day is not too often. You want to avoid re-work at all costs.
Beware of “scope creep.”
It’s conventional wisdom that when you embark on a remodel, you can expect it to cost twice as much and take twice as long as you originally expected. That wasn’t exactly true for us, but our timeframe and budget both increased as we decided to do more, and chose higher-end materials than we initially planned in order to make sure the whole house felt consistent. It’s easy to get caught up in the “while we’re at it, we might as well” syndrome so have reserves ready – some amount is likely to be needed.
Make sure you and your spouse/partner are on the same page.
You always hear about couples who end up divorced after going through a big remodeling or custom build project. After we decided on a general plan and budget, my husband and I agreed that I would take control of the process and make all the decisions. We stayed with that plan, and I’m delighted to report that we are still together, living happily under our pricey new roof.
If you are considering a remodel and would like to hear more, please give me a call. I’m happy to discuss!