Sue from Portland, Oregon asks;
“What are some of your suggestions, when starting to think about a major home renovation?”
Well, this is a question that can get a wide range of answers! I’d start with do research in regards to your style on the project you are wanting to do. Go on sites like, Houzz and start looking at what style you’re drawn to. Save them to “ideabooks”, so when you are ready to start contacting contractors you have a solid foundation for your style.
Go to home shows and trade shows and talk with designers and associates. If you feel pressured or like you don’t “click” with whoever the representative is, don’t waste your time, or theirs. You are likely to not go with them and their firm and you will end up frustrated and discouraged.
Make sure you are meeting with designers. If you’re meeting with a sales associate they aren’t going to be able to help you with the design and functionality of your space. You need a designer. Make sure you meet the designer and/or general contractor for your project BEFORE you sign anything, you need to know you will get along with them as they will be your point of contacts for your renovation. Hear what the the designer and contractor have to say, after all this is their profession, for a reason!
DO NOT EXPECT WHAT YOU SEE ON HGTV or any other TV channel or show of the sorts! The shows on these networks are for entertainment! Yes, they can be good for design inspiration and ideas, but when it comes to how a renovation ACTUALLY works, those shows are not a good source of guidance! They are for ENTERTAINMENT ONLY! If you set your expectations to that of a TV show, you WILL be disappointed, frustrated, and extremely annoyed with whichever firm you choose!
It’s not IF, its WHEN something “goes wrong” or according to the plan. Even in newer homes there will be “surprises” behind the walls. It never fails! Be prepared mentally and financially for that/those moment(s). Wether it’s being able to “come up” with the additional funds to fix the issue, or sacrificing a more expensive design element to compensate for the issue, you need to be flexible and willing to adjust some of your expectations. AT THE SAME TIME, if your designer or contractor is NOT willing to work with you in finding a solution you are comfortable with, that is a bad sign. You should be able to rely on your designer or contractor to come up with some solution ideas that YOU will ultimately be comfortable with.
The customer is not always right. Yes, I said it! Now, I know this one might get some eye rolls, but it’s true. Going off of the above tip, when an issue comes up on your project, you do not always have the best solution, and saying “I want ‘X’ and you better figure a way to make it work…OR ELSE” is not a good way to handle this stressful situation. Experienced Designers and Contractors have been through any issue and surprise you can think of and more, and will help you find a way to work though it. You have to listen and be willing to take their advice. Think of it this way; I’m not going to think I know how to fix my broken transmission, because I am not a mechanic. I am going to go to someone who is experienced in cars and transmissions for guidance.
OK, this will be my last one for this post; Keep an open mind! When going into a home renovation, keep your mind open for suggestions and recommendations. Ultimately it’s your home and you will be the one living with the final product, but theres ALWAYS something you didn’t think of or didn’t know, and that’s ok and frankly when the fun begins! If there is something you’ve always dreamed of having in your kitchen, make sure you inform your designer or contractor of that importance and that they take that seriously.
Stay tuned for more blog posts and insights from us here at Skandia!