Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Renovation

You’ve made the decision to renovate, put your financing in order and are now ready to go. Now what? Whether you’re in for a gut renovation or just trying to redecorate, there’s a lot more to designing a property than you might think. Here’s the top 10 most common blunders new homeowners make that you can avoid.

1. Starting renovations too soon.

If possible, live in your house for a while before making any plans to overhaul. Learn its flow, where the groceries land, where the laundry wants to go, how the sun hits it, where the high traffic areas and bottlenecks are. All of this will inform your choices when you make your plans to change things.

2. Not hiring a designer from the start.

You are about to spend more than you ever thought possible, and it might as well be properly designed with a cohesive color scheme, design aesthetic and functional floor plan. Interior designers typically either charge by the hour or take a percentage of the overall job (say, 10 percent). At Peacock & Owl we charge a flat fee based on the total number of hours we think it’s going to take get you to where you want a go, times our hourly rate. No one likes surprises and in our experience this model sets the stage for a more positive working relationship with our clients.

3. Waiting too long to consult a General Contractor.

Ask a contractor to look at plans in the schematic stage, rather than at detailed finished plans. This way you can find out if your project is in the right budget ballpark before falling in love with a plan. At Peacock & Owl, we work in partnership with our General Contractor and always involve him in the early stages to run design ideas by him/gauge potential costs, areas to save and identify any structural issues that might exist.

4. Hiring a professional that’s not a good fit.

Just because someone is a good designer doesn’t mean he or she will be a good fit for you. Listening skills and curiosity are crucial. Do they understand who you are, how you live and what you want your home to feel like when you’re living in it? Are your personalities a good fit? You’re going to spend a lot of time with your designer over the course of your project and it’s important that you like him or her and trust their professional abilities.

5. Going for the lowest bid.

Good professional help is worth the money in terms of a Designer as well as a General Contractor. Be willing to pay for both and be wary of the one who’s cheap and available right away.

6. Expecting everything to go according to plan.

Renovations can result in unforeseen events. As much as we try to anticipate in advance, who knows what’s behind a wall you’re opening up? New construction is more controlled but that does not always mean smooth sailing. Be prepared for the unexpected. We all hope and pray everything goes according to plan however nothing ever does.

7. Underestimating costs.

While we strive not to, most jobs will cost more and take longer than you expect, so always add 20 percent to what you think a project will total when budgeting. If you don’t have the funds, cut the job back. If you happen to beat these projections, then your surprises are happy ones.

8. Making too many changes along the way.

Changes that seem simple to you may require a lot of work on the back end, so be sure you check with your designer or builder on even slight adjustments. Moving a sink from the left of the counter to the center while only a few inches can require plumbing to be relocated and cost several hundred dollars.

9. Skimping on quality.

Spend good money on things you touch and use every day like door hardware, doors, faucets, appliances, kitchen cabinets and flooring. The tactile experience sends a daily reminder to you and your guests about the solidity and quality of your home. And, it’s always better to purchase these items once vs. twice.

10. Splurging where you should save.

On the flip side. Don’t get locked into the idea that the biggest items should cost the most. Tile for example comes in a wide range of price points. Porcelain for example can be very cost effective and allow you to achieve your design aspirations in other areas like statement lighting vs. investing in marble.

Posted in