The reno plan: How to organize a renovation project

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A renovation journey.

Join us for a continuing series as we bring a relatively untouched, tired-looking 1960s builder’s-box bungalow into the 21st century.

. . . . .

By Jenny Kennedy

When the renovation bug strikes, it inspires an almost feverish creative impulse to thumb through the latest design magazines for ideas and dream of the possibilities your new space will hold. Paint chips, tile boards and flooring samples pile high in the back of the SUV, all with the hope they will coordinate with your vision for a jaw-dropping result.

At some point, confusion sets in, and it’s time to organize the jumble and form a solid renovation plan that is not only practical, but beautiful too. So, where do we begin?

Where to start

Moving past the magazine clippings and Pinterest collections is difficult for many homeowners because, at this point, everything feels like a possibility. However, every home is unique and requires careful planning to work within its parameters.

Swimming in endless piles of brochures and samples is easy, but you’ll remain indecisive and frustrated without direction. Instead, you need a real sense of what you need, how you will accomplish it, and what it will look like after, all based on your goals.

Begin with these steps:

  1. Coordinate your must-haves and favourite interior design photos. (Make sure all decision-makers have their say.)
  2. Next, list what you need the space to do, including how it is not currently functioning for you and your family.
  3. Finally, determine the maximum amount you can spend on your renovation.

These steps represent the fundamental questions design professionals will ask you as you begin looking for products. The best way to have a smooth experience and desirable result are to get help.

Hiring an interior designer

Using the services of an interior designer connects your space with their creative yet practical knowledge to make your dream space come true. But it is more than just picking samples out over coffee.

Hiring a professional interior designer helps establish your renovation's foundations, from the floorplan to the paint colours. Liaising directly with the general contractor (GC) they can work out every project detail according to specifications, your goals, and building codes.

While you can find excellent designers in retail stores, finding one who can handle professional architectural drawings is preferable. These drawings can then be passed along to the GC for additional costing and project discovery.

Once you have the “bones” in place, you can begin selecting interior finishes like cabinetry, flooring and lighting. The more details you have, the more in-depth information your GC will have to quote you. Instead of wandering aimlessly through stores, your designer can guide you and save considerable time and headaches.

Hiring a general contractor

While you may think you can handle hiring and organizing different trades or even handling some of the construction yourself, you will spend more time, effort and likely cost than if you enlisted the services of a professional general contractor.

Consider them your project manager, handling everything from hiring and scheduling to product coordination. Further, the GC oversees quality control to ensure everything meets inspection and building code standards.

For instance, they already have their go-to, quality trades on speed dial who are more reliable than most. In addition, the GC, in cooperation with your designer, will handle all the nuances of demolition, product delivery, installation and finishing.

You have the added benefit of less time spent living in a renovation zone and worrying over scheduling the different trades accordingly. Instead, you can watch your space transform into your vision with expert precision and care. Furthermore, your GC and designer can quickly resolve any issues that arise.

Living with construction

There aren’t many people who enjoy living in a construction zone. Aside from dust and noise, there are interruptions, unknown people on site and planning around pets. So, as you prepare for a start date, consider how you want to manage your life during the renovation. Whether staying put, extending a visit with the in-laws, or coordinating a holiday to be away, making accommodations for your family is a worthwhile step.

The final result of a well-planned renovation is perfectly coordinated interior finishes installed with precision according to your vision and within budget. As a result, you have less chance of error or “good enough” finishing, so you can thoroughly enjoy your new space and offer genuine recommendations to your friends and family.

In conclusion

Going from a wish list to a completed project is rarely a straight line; however, there are fewer rocky moments and more smiling faces with professional help and a solid plan. Finally, your room can become an influence for others and finds its way onto their inspiration boards.

Photo by Pedro Miranda on Unsplash

Jenny Kennedy of Kennedy Literary Agency is the author of “Launch Into Interior Design” and provides written marketing for the design-build industry.

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Ready Set Reno
A Renovation Journey. Join us for a continuing series as we bring a relatively untouched, tired-looking 1960's builder's-box bungalow into the 21st century.