Bakersfield Magazine: When To Remodel

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Standing in a room and visualizing its potential is a fun thing to do and transforming a space to that new vision is a very rewarding and uplifting experience. However, unless you are well prepared for what is to come, you will be jeopardizing the design, budget and schedule. Whether you are doing the work yourself or hiring a professional company, remodeling is a process, and it shouldn’t be rushed. Though it will be impossible to cover all the challenges of remodeling in one page, the following list can be used as a general guide.

1) Purpose of the remodel: why are you remodeling?
While it sounds very simple and easy to answer, establishing the purpose is the starting point of any remodel. Will you be selling your house in the next year, five or ten years? Is a senior family member moving in with you and are meeting their mobility needs?  Or do you simply need an updated look because you are bored with the existing space? Understanding the purpose of the remodel will help map out the design concept, the timeline, and the budget, all of which are the core elements for a successful remodel.

2) The final look: what is your design concept?
Now that you have determined the purpose of your remodel, what is the style that you are going for, what are the design elements that should be kept, and what are the ones that should be added or replaced? One common approach that I have seen people take is that they implement construction as they go without a direction or a specific design that they are following, so they end up with nice counters, nice backsplash, nice floors etc., but these finishes do not go well together. Merging existing elements with new ones take a lot of thought and planning. Even if you were only doing your kitchen this year, and the rest of the house in a couple of years, having a design plan for the whole area ahead of time is key to a clean and continuous look.

3) Budget: how much will it cost?
Everyone has a budget that they would like to stay within, but it will be hard to determine the cost of your remodel without going through Step 1 and 2. Once you have a design plan, you will be able to set your budget to fit your vision. Questions that will help with this step would be: How can we achieve the desired outcome at this budget? What can we keep from the design that will maintain its integrity, and what can we change that will not affect the desired look?

4) Time:  when is the best time to remodel? 
The right timing will make a difference in the flow of the construction. If you have young children and cannot go without a kitchen for a couple of weeks, timing the construction during a vacation might be the right decision. Remodeling brings a lot of dust into your home, so if you suffer from any breathing problems, you might also want to plan to be away during that time.

5) Implementing: do you have all the materials?
Now that you have figured the design, approved the budget and scheduled it, it is now time to implement. Order all of the materials prior to starting. Some items could take over twelve weeks to arrive, you do not want to demolish the bathroom then wait weeks for the tub to arrive. Good project management that includes regular meetings with all parties involved will ensure that all trades are coordinated according to the scope of work, and that the parties adhere to the time and budget.  Missing this step will slow down the project and throw off your schedule.

6) Change of plans: what do we do now?
Changes will occur and unplanned events arise during any construction. How we respond to them will affect how smooth the project will continue. It is impossible to be sure what is behind the walls until demolition day, and some decisions will affect your design, budget and schedule. It is imperative to be open to other design solutions as well as keeping a contingency budget set aside for these unplanned expenses. When faced with this situation, check what choices you have and how much cost and time delay it will incur. Make sure that any decisions you make will not deviate from the final design.

7) Patience: I thought this was going to be fun, why am I feeling the blues?
It is not easy going through a remodel, especially while living in the house. Having your belongings out of place and construction workers in and out of your house will strip you from having any privacy or any sense of control.  This is when most people tend to lose patience and that has a direct effect on the project outcome. If you know your remodel will take a long time organize your life accordingly and move in to other areas of your home where it will be easy to find items that you need on a daily basis or a place where you can get some privacy in the midst of all the chaos.

Every project is unique and will bring its own challenges. There is no list that will cover every situation; however, flexibility, great communications, and teamwork are instrumental to keeping your project moving as planned.