October 20, 2018

Renovation 101:Ten Tips

By Sharon McCormick

Taking on a renovation project, whether it’s one room or half the house, is a big step.  Not many people have the experience and know-how to handle a renovation on their own, and even the idea of getting started can be overwhelming!  If your plans involve more than just a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture, these ten tips for a smooth and worry-free renovation can go a long way toward preserving your sanity and helping you achieve the renovation of your dreams!

1.  Don’t go it alone!  Renovations that involve a complete overhaul of a room, especially if plumbing and/or electricity is involved, often call for the experience of a professional.  Even the process of coordinating colors, choosing hardware, and selecting custom furniture can be immeasurably improved by relying on a decorator.  A trained eye and experienced hand prevents problems that the average DIYer can’t foresee and will ensure your home meets building codes and can pass an inspection.

2.  On a related note, do your research before hiring a decorator and/or contractor.  Ask for references and don’t be shy about following through with them.  Talk to other people who have recently completed a renovation and find out what they loved, or hated, about the professionals they worked with.  An internet search can be time-saving and helpful, but keep in mind that people seem to be more likely to go online to complain than to gush happily!  It’s vital to trust the person you hire to oversee your renovation.  He or she will be spending a lot of time in your home.

3.  Know your budget and stick to it.  Don’t be upsold to improvements you don’t need and can’t afford.  It’s also very important to set aside an additional 30% of the cost of the project to cover unexpected expenses or problems.

4.  Get everything in writing up front, before the work begins.  Establish clearly which details are included in all of the costs and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  For example, does the cost of the painting include ceilings and trim?  Does the cost of the kitchen counter include the back splash?  Make certain everything is clear from the start and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

5.  If your renovation plans involve any digging, call your utility companies to have any underground lines clearly marked.  If you don’t do this and lines are damaged, the resulting repairs will be your financial responsibility.

6.  Go over all sketches and designs to make sure your vision of the final product matches what the decorator or contractor has in mind.  Don’t assume that the trim will be the same material as the kitchen counters or that the kitchen island will be made from the same material as the cabinets.  Look carefully at color swatches and samples and be honest about your preferences and lifestyle.  This will help keep everyone focused on the same goal.

7.  Think carefully about where you want electrical outlets and phone jacks to be placed.  Plan these things around furniture and appliances and don’t simply assume the electrician knows exactly where you want them.  If you aren’t sure yourself, ask your designer or contractor to help you best plan for the placement of outlets.

8.  Make sure you ask the painter to leave you with leftover paint or samples for future touch-ups.  It’s also good to keep a file with specific paint colors and manufacturers just in case you need to purchase more.

9.  Love the light!  Consider updating or expanding windows, adding a skylight, or installing additional light fixtures.  Extra light is very welcoming in a room and goes a lot way toward transforming the mood of a space.Art tatto home renovation

10.  Last, but not least, do it right the first time!  Avoid shortcuts and cheap fixes which almost always show or wear out quickly.  You don’t need to be extravagant and go for top-of-the-line everything, renovation is only worth doing if you do it right.  To get the most of your money, time, and effort, you want results that will last and bring you years of happiness.  Work with your designer or contractor to achieve quality results within your budget and avoid the temptation to do more or save money by using inferior methods or products.

Sharon McCormick Design is an internationally recognized interior design firm, with projects completed in Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Washington D.C., Indiana and Finland. Sharon creates elegant interiors for discerning clients who appreciate beauty, quality and comfort. Whether a project is a new home, renovation or redecoration, attention to detail is a key element of the firm’s luxury design service.

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