Friday, January 30, 2009

remodel fever...

images: country living, dwell & cottage living magazines, design within reach, waterworks

I have been known to catch it fairly regularly. It takes different forms every time. There's the, "I'm ripping this outdated paneling down with my own hands in the middle of the night" scenario to the "how do I get a professional to re-wire my electrical?" I've been to both parties on more than one occasion and I've come through the other side. I've never regretted taking on a project and there are always new experiences each time, but certain truths remain the same:

1) If you're going to hire a professional don't pick someone randomly from a business card on a bulletin board.

Choose your expert the way you would a doctor or real estate professional, referral. Ask family and friends that have hired one and know what to expect. Minimizing the "surprise" factor as much as possible will help tremendously since there are plenty of unexpected surprises that will pop up along the way during the remodel. Also, get everything in writing. You need to trust anyone that is going to be in your home.

2) Have a plan. One that includes:

-What you can really afford in a budget. No, REALLY what you can afford. The more specific and brutally honest you are with yourself, the more money and time you will save in this process.
-How much time are you able to commit to the remodel.
-A folder of magazine cut outs, design book ideas & vendor/retailer spec sheets of all the items you're interested in and what price point you know they are available in.
-Know what you want and what you DON'T.
-Know your style & lifestyle.
(What do you like and how do you really live. What you like sometimes doesn't work well with how you go about your daily life. You may want all all white kitchen with white carrera marble, but if you have a large active family that you're always picking up after--that may not be for you).

3) Think of tackling this project just like buying a car.

You wouldn't walk into a dealer without doing your homework, the same goes with taking on a makeover. Even if you are tackling the job yourself, you're still going to have to go to a hardware/paint store, a retailer and/or lumber yard, flooring/appliance/stone showroom. The more info you have the better prepared you will be to get the best price and the best materials that are right for your style and your lifestyle.

4) Take it easy. No matter how well you plan, sometimes the unexpected comes up. You don't know what you'll find once you take down the 70's paneling in the dining room or pull up all the carpeting in your living room.

5) Have a cushion in your budget and time frame for the unexpected.

6) Have FUN!

Keep you eye and mind ion the prize. The results will be worth everything you're putting into this and the more invested you are in the process, the greater the feeling when you're done.

-angelo surmeils


Kat said...

You nailed this one. Probably the most important is giving yourself both a time and money cushion, things will NOT go exactly as planned, and there are ALWAYS surprises! And yes, keep telling yourself that it will be worth it in the end and that no, you will not be washing dishes in the bathtub and eating out every night forever! Kathy

The Raggedy Girl said...

Thank you for the great guidelines. I want to find a painter to redo my kitchen cabinets and I will not hire one until I see his work. Also I love love love that sink,
Smiles from :>) Roberta Anne

The Bliss Journey said...

Angelo, Well said. I have had many clients call me in after they try to do it on their own. They don't realize how overwelming it can be.

pve design said...

We are going to embark on a remodel and I hope I do not get sick or a fever during this sick process. With these tips, I may not even have to call the design doctor.
tee hee.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just come to my house and do whatever you want. THAT, would be the best thing ever.

mrsben said...

Thank you so much for these tips Angelo as have plans in the making to upgrade/remodel.

It is a daunting task as I am also trying to concentrate on the spaces/features where I hope to get the best return on my investment as well have a home that "I" love.

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