What to Know Before Starting a Home Renovation

No matter how hard you try to plan, there are always lessons to be learned from a renovation project. If this is your first rodeo, you have come to the right place! Before you mood-board the daylights out of your home reno project, let’s discuss all the eye-watering things that can go on during a reno project and what you can do to prepare for these things so they do not happen.

Live in the Space

Everyone says it, but you should really live in the space for a few months before you make big decisions. See how you function in the space, what rooms you use most, find out where the light comes in and where you might need additional lighting.

When you are thinking of the electrical plan, in addition to lighting, you may want to add in some outlets where you may use your phone or laptop. These are practical and boring things but really make life easier.

Start thinking too about where you want to splurge verses where you want to save money in your reno. Maybe you want a beautiful kitchen countertop but could save with remanent pieces of stone in the bathrooms.

Make the Decisions First

When we are designing a home remodel, we have all the decisions made before we even begin construction.  This not only helps with budget but it also keeps the project on schedule. There is nothing worse than waiting on a fixture or tile that your contractor is needing to continue the project. OR…your painter announcing that he needs every paint color for the house TODAY!

Once we have the design complete and approved by the client, we get to work on the construction documents and spec sheets. This VERY in-depth “bible” leaves no question asked about what the game plan is for the project going forward. Here is a list that the construction docs include:

CAD drawings of: floor plans, tile layout, millwork, cabinetry, elevations of the walls, and lighting plans
Hardware selections
Plumbing Fixtures
Paint Colors with Sheen (and where)
Tile Selections
Lighting Selections
Countertop Material
Furniture and Mirror Selections
Any Architectural Additions

The Cost

Once you have all the decisions made, you are now at the point of getting bids from contractors. They should give you a pretty good idea on an estimate for the project but always allot 20% more for unknowns.

Just know…you’ll spend the most money on things you can’t see; new roof, electrical, HVAC, structural elements, and all the essentials before you even get to the fun stuff. Keep in mind, removal of debris and permits are all costs that are often overlooked. Just remember to budget these in when you are doing the numbers. (Don’t forget to budget in for furniture!)

Order the Items

Once you have made the five billion decisions…it is best to just get things ordered. Sometimes items can be months out and you don’t want to be spending additional money on express delivery. Also, with the crazy influx of prices these days, ordering early on can ensure you may not catch one of these inflation swings.

It is a marathon

I’d also advise anyone renovating that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It takes a load of patience to endure a renovation. Be kind to your family and tradesmen on site. Know that it will take longer (always) then expected. Enjoy the journey and know the end result will be worth it.

P.S…also know that the renovation process is always ongoing. Once you get one thing complete…you will then want to update the exterior, the landscaping…always something. 🙂


And if this process seems too daunting…this is why you hire an interior designer to take care of everything for you 😉


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