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Introducing Morph Experts: A weekly blog feature where a "Morph Expert" answers some tough questions about their field. Everything home related - real estate, leasing, construction, and design!
Tips to help you enjoy your remodeling experience:
by Morph Expert: Kari Nelson
Remodeling is exciting. Remodeling is stressful. Remodeling can be nerve-racking and it can be really fun. It can be a little bit of everything. It is important to remember this when starting your project. You will likely feel a wide range of emotions throughout the process. That being said, there are a few ways to make the entire experience more enjoyable. And trust me – if it’s enjoyable for the client, then it’s enjoyable for the designer, and for the builder. We are all in it together! Here are a few tips that you, the client, can do to help make your remodel experience a positive one.
Begin thinking about your project well before you actually want to start construction. If a client comes to a designer and says “I want to have my kitchen remodel complete in 6 weeks,” the designer will likely cringe a little and then try to make it happen. Rushing the design and construction process can lead to unnecessary oversights. By giving both the designer and builder time to establish what you want, get the bid prepared, and organize all of the materials before construction, you will all start the process on the right foot.
Make a list of Priorities:
Sit down and start a list of priorities right away. Have a column for “Need”, “Want”, and “Would Like”. This list will fluctuate a bit throughout the design process, but 9 times out of 10, your original list of priorities will remain important to you. Of course, with many of these items, there will be a dollar sign attached to them. You will likely have to make adjustments to fit your budget.
With every project, there is going to be an aspect of Quality, Quantity, and Price. Generally speaking, you can choose which of the two are most important to you. Unfortunately, you often don’t get to have all three. For example, you can have a lot of really nice items (Quality & Quantity), but then you will have to pay for it (Price). You can choose to have a few of your selections be high end and still maintain a moderate budget (Quality & Price), but the quality may be sacrificed on some of the items (Quantity). And so on. It is up to you which two items will guide you in the decision making process.
Establish a Budget Range:
The emphasis is on the word “range”. It is unrealistic to walk into a remodel project thinking “I would like to spend X amount of dollars on this”. There are hundreds of small decisions that go into a remodel project (many of which you won’t have to worry about, as your designer will make these decisions instinctively), and each of these decisions affects the budget. It would be miraculous (and perhaps somewhat suspicious) if your budget was $50,000 and the bid came in at $49,999. Have a range – it is more realistic, and it will help you to incorporate your list of priorities more effectively. Also, be open with your designer about your budget range. It will help them design your project to fit your budget from the onset. But remember, your budget will directly affect the quantitative and qualitative items in your project, so be reasonable. A small budget does not simply just mean you will have to pay less for your remodel project.
Your builder should probably tell you the following items at the start of the project:
- “The construction will temporarily affect your lifestyle.”
- “There will be days when no one is working.”
- “You will have to pay for changes.”
- “Mistakes may be made, but they will be corrected.”
- “By the end of the project, all of the small details will be addressed, but for a time, it will look like they were neglected.”
(This is an actual progress photo of one of our projects. It looks unfinished, and that's because it is! Quality work takes time.)
If you find a designer that you like and a builder that you like (or better yet, a design-builder that you like!), trust them to give you a final product that you feel great about. It is important to be aware of the progress, and to make sure that things are being built as you were expecting, but a lot of it won’t become visible until the very end. And remember, as I said at the beginning, “We are all in it together!” Everyone wants an end result that meets the client’s priorities and budget, and looks beautiful. With a little patience, your remodel can be a wonderful experience!
By Morph Expert: Kari Nelson, Designer & Project Manager.
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