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
Design-build firms offer both design and
building services, some with in-house architects, others by contracting out the
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
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
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
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
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
What to Know Before Beginning a Bathroom
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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