Home Renovation Advice from Paul
Many times I get asked for design and planning advice when someone is looking at doing some home improvements. Here’s what tell people:
Know your purpose – why do you want to renovate? Are there specific problems you want to resolve? Most of the time the desire to renovate starts with a practical issue. Like: you are tired of sharing the sink every morning and have come to the conclusion that your bathroom is just too small; perhaps your kitchen cupboards are stuffed and you never seem to have enough space; or maybe your kids toys are spread all over the living room and you desperately need a place for them to play.
Pre Renovation Evaluation Before starting any home improvement project its important to know the current condition of your home. Have a look at the structure, the systems and the overall general condition of your home. Set up a time to walk around with your renovator and make note of repairs and maintenance that needs to be done within the short and long term i.e. immediately, within 2 years, 5 years and 10 years. It may not be fun but it’s best to exchange some wish-lost home improvements for important work that needs to be done to maintain the value of your home and avoid major costs down the road.
In business these days the focus is on building and utilizing your strengths. The same holds true for your home. By working with the strengths of your home you will save time and money. For example – have a peak under your carpets you may just find some beautiful old hardwood flooring just waiting to be refinished and brought back to life. Scrap, sand and refinish trim and moulding instead of replacing it. Replace cabinet doors or maybe even just the hardware rather than installing brand new cabinets. Turn wasted and unsaid space into something you can use – like a large landing at the top of the stairs into an office or reading area.
K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly! Creative ideas are great but complex designs can mean complicated and expensive renovations. Whether you want to put an addition on your home, change up the look of your roof or move interior walls to reconfigure your living space, begin by consulting with a professional contractor. We can give you the heads up on design and construction costs and help you find ways to achieve the same results more economically. A simple design often allows you to achieve the same goals with less money.
Invest rather than Spend It’s easy to get caught up in just the ‘cost’ of a renovation – don’t. Renovations are an investment in your home. Realize they are – ‘Home Improvements’. When you stop to think about the time, energy and expense of maintaining something thats not working you will realize that a well planned out renovation reduces and in some cases eliminates future costs.
Don’t Pinch Pennies When you cut corners to save a few bucks you may not get what you really want. There are ways to stretch a budget -or- modify a plan to get what you want. Perhaps your dream is bigger than your budget – its OK to scale back a little while maintaining the most important parts of your plan -or- you may just want to adjust your timing. Most projects can be broken into phases allow you to catch your breath and replenish your budget. It’s best to not compromise on quality but to do less and do it properly.
Keep it Legit Be sure to check your local bylaws and inquire about permits. It’s a good idea to do this early on, before you get too attached a plan or design. You and your contractor need to know local regulations ahead of the final design. i.e. Height restrictions, setbacks, septic requirements, etc.
Consider the Big Picture Step back and look at your street and the other homes in your neighbourhood. Focus on making changes and additions that blend in. This will add the greatest value to your home and insure happy, peaceful neighbours. If you are set on a design that is different, think about how it can be done in such a way as to complement your neighbouring homes.
Don’t be too Trendy Styles and tends come and go but your home is a long term game. Keep comfort, ease of living and personal enjoyment your highest priorities. It’s fun to explore options and new possibilities but then get real and design your home renovation in a way that is right for you and your family.