If you are renovating your home, you are walking a fine line between the enthusiasm that such a project brings, the horror stories your friends tell you and the overwhelming feeling while facing the many choices you need to make.
Realistic expectations go a long way. There is nothing but common sense that will make your project a success. Here are my top five pointers:
- Aim to be 90% pleased
Nothing is 100%, this is not school, nor a test. Given the many physical and emotional components of renovation, it is more important to reach overall contentment than linger over the 3 details that have not worked out the way you want them.
- Design for yourself, not the market
People like differences, don’t build sameness. Something that everyone likes, does not exist. You may have all the items on the typical real estate list and still not sell and wonder why. Many tend to strip spaces of personality out of fear of narrowing the market. By doing the opposite and targeting your audience better you will not only sell, but most likely get more than what you think.
- Select a good team
Do your homework and understand who you need to work with and why, what is the difference between the design phase and the execution phase, what responsibilities lie with whom at all steps. If you choose one specialist to do the job of another, you should do so with all consequences in mind otherwise you will compromise one or many parts of the project without realizing it until too late.
- Set up a clear communication stream between team members
The more heads you have around the table looking at changes and adjustments during construction, the more versions of the same conversation you’re going to get. For a typical renovation, on average, you have more than 50 people work on your home, including consultants, contractors, workers and suppliers. Everyone misunderstands. This is a fact. You can reduce misunderstandings by centralizing the information and management of the project either in the hands of the designer, the architect or the contractor. If you think you can do it, keep in mind that for a professional, this task covers 5 to 15 hours of time per week for the entire duration of construction; should you do it, it will take longer and you will make mistakes. Do you have this time and energy? What is the value of this time to you? It may be better to leverage it out.
- Make the decisions needed along the way and stick to them
Changing your mind and second guessing works against your project and your budget all the time. It is the worst you can do. It’s good to take your time on important decisions and weigh all your options. Once you decide, stick to it.