When you spend 8 months designing and renovating your dream home you learn a lot about every aspect of a process that is considered to be one of the most stressful experiences a person can endure. It ranks right up there with giving birth and death. And if you are experiencing it with a partner it could mean “Splitsville”.
Surviving any renovation project can be summed up in one word “Partnerships”. Regardless of the size or scale of the project, you have to make decisions and to live with the successes or failures of those choices. Picking the right partners for this journey makes all the difference.
I love the way the renovation of my Morrocroft home turned out but it didn’t happen without lots of partners. Here’s what I learned …
Do your homework. Long before you start talking to designers and contractors do lots of research. With sites like Pinterest and Houzz there’s no excuse for not knowing what you want your project to look like when it is completed. There are ways to get the look and quality you desire without breaking the bank. I t just takes more creativity, planning and flexibility.
Create a project scrapbook online or in a folder. Include all the ideas that you like – even if there are just small little details that catch your attention. Soon you will see your style starting to emerge. You’ll have a clear vision you can share with your team.
Money vs Stress. Financial stress is not worth a new bathroom. Shop around and research the true cost of materials and labor, then do a “Business Plan”. Every project exceeds budget by at least 20%. Be prepared. If you’re working with an older home anticipate structural and code issues. Set the money aside and keep a tight rein on your spending. This doesn’t mean you have to “cheap out” just stay on budget.
Build your team. Select contractors, designers and suppliers that will listen to you. If you are intimidated by your designer or contractor then you’re teaming up with the wrong person. Your team has to be willing to work with you to accomplish your goals. They bring experience to the project but it is your house and it has to reflect your style. If your team consists of your spouse or partner, make sure you both understand the meaning of “compromise”. It also helps to agree on who has better taste and style when it comes to home décor.
Set a Work Calendar. Once your project starts it should move along everyday! There is no excuse for a project to sit unattended. Demand your team to keep their commitments and stick to the agreed work schedule. Remember it’s you that is living without a bathroom or kitchen, not them.
Learn to say No as Quickly as you say Yes. Indecision leads to costly delays and change orders. Stick to your plan. Don’t let yourself be talked into accepting poor quality, sloppy workmanship or MIA contractors.