Six Steps to take the guesswork out of your next renovation.
Taking on a home improvement project in your home can be quite overwhelming. From selection of materials to hiring the right crew to do the work, every decision matters. When the project demands a team of designers and contractors, how do you choose the right ones? Who does what? And how do you manage the whole undertaking? Below are some basic steps that we recommend you follow to make the process as streamlined and organized as possible.
Step One: Make a Wish List
The first thing we recommend for all of our clients is to make a wish list of what you’d like done in your home. Think of this as getting on paper all of the ideas you have in your head. Be descriptive and even include inspiration images. Run through the list and make note of what is a must-have and what is a nice-to-have. This will help your design team create the space you want with clarity.
Step Two: Hire a Designer First
All bias aside, we suggest working with a designer before hiring a contractor. The designer will be able to work up a fully detailed scope of work for the project that includes both form and function for the space. They will dial down on budget and design a project custom for you and won’t settle for a cookie-cutter plan. Before any works takes place, your designer will make sure your vision will come to life in a cohesive manner. Designers are gifted in seeing the end product before it even starts and can bring your ideas to life.
Step Three: Interview and Hire a Licensed General Contractor
One of the biggest mistakes home owners make when hiring a contractor is looking at price and price alone. There is truth to the saying, “You get what you pay for”, yes, but also take special note to their estimates. A contractor bid may be higher but may account for a higher contingency or they may have a more detailed list of materials. Saving a little upfront on the contractor will not be worth issues that arise post-construction. Hiring a more experienced and sometimes more expensive general contractor is well worth the investment. Talk to your designer to see if they have preferred contractors. Make sure any contractor working in your home is licensed and insured and is highly regarded in the industry.
Step Four: Know the Difference Between the Roles
A contractor is hired to build, and a designer is hired to design. While there is some overlap in the services they provide, they approach the projects from two different viewpoints. The designer will help select the exhaustive list of materials from flooring to furniture to fixtures and the contractor will hire and manage the best crew to get those items done in the right order. A good design and contractor team are experts in each other’s fields but a master of their own.
Step Five: Know When to Use an Architect
While many projects do not need an architect, it is important to know when you need one.
- Structural changes
- Relocating or adding plumbing or gas lines
- Renovation of historical or landmark property
- Required plans for city, co-op or building
Step Six: Work Together as a Team
No matter the size of the project or your design team, it is imperative that they all work together as a cohesive unit. Typically, the designer leads the project to ensure your vision is brought to life. The designer will convey to the contractor (and architect if needed) the desired outcome for the client. It is then the job of the contractor to do the physical work of the project in a timely manner adhering to all local codes and regulations. Your designer will step in to help solve any concerns or issues that arise.
The collaboration of your design team (designer, contractor and architect) is the most effective way to make sure you end up with a space that not only looks beautiful, but also functions really well for years to come.
Ready to start your next home improvement project? Contact us today!