Home Remodeling Project Design Strategy

How to Find Your Renovation Team

Who Will Help You Build Your Vision?

Before you meet with a professional, know what you want to accomplish. Is your goal to tear out your entire kitchen and start fresh? Are you looking for less costly upgrades, perhaps replacing cabinet fronts and a tired backsplash? Do you want to remodel your whole house?

Some homeowners know only that their current home isn’t working for them but they aren’t sure how to fix it. If you are in this group, you will probably want to work with a design or building professional. This pro will help you develop a construction plan that fits your budget, meets local building safety codes and reflects your personal style.

How to Select Your First Team Member

When hiring your first design team member, you can start with a builder, architect, designer, design-build firm or remodeler. Each profession has its special emphasis, but there can be some overlap in services too

In very general terms:

Architects and interior designers create concepts and draw plans. They also may offer construction management services, involving consulting and coordinating with the various agencies overseeing your project, and manage the bidding process when you search for the right contractor.

Design-build firms offer both design and building services, some with in-house architects, others by contracting out the design work.

General contractors build the plans.

Landscape architects create designs and plans for outdoor spaces.

Rules for which pros can draft plans vary by state (and in some states by county or municipality) and with the size and type of project. The professionals you contact can explain the rules in your area.

The survey also showed that architects and designers were valued for helping clients integrate their personal style into the design. Homeowners appreciated architects for understanding and complying with local building codes, and interior designers for finding the right products or materials.

Have a Design Dilemma? Talk Amongst Yourselves

The structural bearing for the house was collapsing, and if she didn’t find someone to address the problem immediately, she would be in trouble. Stuck on the problem, Marusa began browsing the Discussions forum, where she frequently posts and comments in the Design Dilemmas section

He found that the structural bearing was, indeed, collapsing. So he jacked up the corner and installed new framing, fixing the problem. Marusa then asked if he could look at some other problems. He’s now going down there two to three days a month to rebuild a section of her house.

The Discussions page is a place where homeowners share their remodeling experience, find professionals to hire, help other homeowners solve problems and brainstorm design ideas. It’s also where pros find clients, network, offer advice and hone their problem-solving skills. And the feedback can be generous and ongoing

Personalize your Discussions Page

Each topic on has a Follow button; click it to add the topic to your Discussions home page. By selecting the topics you find most interesting, you can customize your experience to better suit your needs and interests. The latest posts in the topics you are following will appear on your Discussions page.

You can also filter posts by activity level. For example, highlight one of your topics and then play with the Activity choices. You can see the most popular discussions or you can switch to see what’s new, which posts haven’t been commented on yet or which posts have been featured.

What to Know Before Beginning a Bathroom Project

Design professionals, who field the same questions from clients day after day, know that a little upfront knowledge on the part of homeowners goes a long way in smoothing the construction process.

Minimalism (Almost) Never Comes Cheap

“Clean, sleek lines” is what my clients ask for. Think single sheets of material, no seams, no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful minimalist look, the detail in the build needs to be precise.

Specifying no cabinetry handles often means pricey opening mechanisms or hand-cut cabinetry. No seams in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge tiles that take two tilers to lay (doubling the labor cost), or porcelain sheets that can be cut and installed only by a stonemason — onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.

You Will Need a Good Tiler

Unless you’ve done tiling before, and done it well, don’t try to do it yourself. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that look good only when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting, it cannot be unseen.

A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.

Ways to Get a Luxe Bathroom Look for Less

Although we all love to drool over images of gorgeous designer bathrooms, we may not have the budget to go all-out when the time comes to spruce up our own washrooms. But that doesn’t mean your remodel has to be generic and uninspired.

Grout Color

Tiling all or most of your wall surface gives it a nice polished look, but the costs can really add up. White ceramic subway tiles are the most affordable option at most big-box stores, but the finished look can sometimes seem a little flat. Make your installation stand out by using a dark or colored grout, like in the bathroom shown here. Because guess what? Gray grout costs the same as white.

Larger-Format Tiles

Another idea is to search for an out-of-the-box dimension rather than the typical 3-by-6-inch format. Tile sizes like 2 by 9 inches or 4 by 8 inches will make your bathroom stand out from the rest.

Trim Accents

Or consider giving your standard tile a punch by splurging a bit on trim pieces as accents. These will give your room an interesting, graphic element, but the small quantity needed won’t break the bank.

Tile Rug

Most bathroom designers will tell you that if you want to splurge on any one part of the renovation, it should be the floor, because it has the biggest impact. Instead of laying a pricey stone mosaic everywhere, you can save by designing a “rug” with just a few square feet of something eye catching, and using large-format field tiles in a coordinating stone around it.

A Pro Organizer on What to Consider Before You Remodel

Remodeling is an opportunity to create a space that reflects your personal style — but just as important, it’s an opportunity to incorporate better functionality for your everyday living. As a professional organizer, I’ve seen homes that were aesthetically gorgeous but just didn’t flow well for my clients’ needs. This can happen when family needs change or when a home’s layout simply isn’t maximized for productivity and efficiency.

For the most successful remodel, you’ll want to consider how you live now and how you’d like to live ideally. After all, remodeling is a chance to set new, more organized habits. Why not create a home that will make implementing your new habits easier?

How Do You Use Your Spaces?

Consider the routines of your household members. How do you currently use your spaces? What isn’t working? For example, if you are a no-shoes-indoors household and shoes tend to pile up near your home’s entrance, consider having an attractive built-in added to the front entry or the garage (or wherever you enter the house) to store shoes

Similarly, if you have children, consider where they do their homework. If you want them to be in common areas near you as they work, you may want to plan for work surfaces with storage nearby for their supplies. That way, you can prevent the “I’m still using it” clutter that can linger for days.

Also consider where you will work. Dedicating a space for important papers, basic office supplies, electronics chargers and equipment, checkbooks, and thank-you cards will help keep you organized. How frequently do you lay out paperwork and work on your laptop? If you often work from home — even if that work consists of managing other family members’ schedules and papers — an ergonomically designed workspace could boost your productivity and be better for your body than working from the couch. If your work at home is limited to paying a few bills online, perhaps you don’t need a dedicated work surface. However, I still recommend planning space for keeping your office supplies and files organized in one location