Having been in the design and build industry for more than just a hot second, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. There is no question that the design and build or renovation process is incredibly exciting and the magic of seeing a client’s vision coming to life never gets old. That said, if you go about things the wrong way, what should be a fun experience can get incredibly stressful real quick. Having done countless projects that range from light renos to full-on gut jobs and new builds, we’ve come to realize what works, what doesn’t and what to avoid entirely. So if you’re entertaining the idea of making some changes in your home, we suggest glossing over our key mistakes to avoid prior to diving in…
Some of the biggest challenges we’ve run into in the past have had to do with budget. More specifically, it’s important to ensure that the scope of the project and your budget align before you begin, as it is always easier to cut down on scope beforehand than during construction. This way we can ensure that all the work that is being done, is done properly and is of the best quality. To avoid these problems down the road, we like to plan properly so that we can account for everything (things like materials, labor and finishes) in advance so that you don’t get surprise bills or need to short-cut at the finish line. In addition to the budget and scope aligning it’s also important that all parties involved see eye-to-eye on budget. Anyone in this industry has undoubtedly witnessed a domestic or two over the price of wallpaper, light fixtures and the like. The point is, if your project is a team effort with a spouse, family member, partner or what have you, it is an important step to discuss priorities and the best ways for the budget to be allocated.
We cannot stress the importance of planning in advance enough. Planning properly means avoiding mistakes, delays and a whole lot of angst! We like to create project schedules and work-back schedules that outline all the nitty gritty details. On these schedules you will find things such as; when trades need to be booked, when materials and fixtures need to be ordered and so forth. This way we can guarantee that everything will be completed on time, properly and in the correct order. This also allows us to give our clients realistic expectations. After all, this isn’t HGTV! Things take a bit longer than most viewers think.
Things like framing, drywall, plumbing rough ins and so on are fundamentally important and, when they’re not done right, can create problems that will snowball throughout the project. For that reason, we always schedule in inspection check points for each and every phase.
To summarize, we like to reference an old adage, the unattainable triangle! Traditionally, the saying states that you can’t have all three but can pick any two. For us, it’s not impossible to have all three but it is a matter of aligning on priorities and finding the right balance. Being realistic about budget, planning ahead and triple checking things along the way will lead to the best end result.
Although the above are our top 3 most important mistakes to avoid, there are of course countless other considerations. Here are a few that have come up in recent conversations…
Narrow Down Your Vision
For optimal efficiency it is helpful if you have some kind of vision or at least an idea of your aesthetic preferences before hand. Although we of course come to the table with our own ideas, meeting with clients that have magazine clippings, Pinterest boards and so forth helps us hone in on the direction and scope of the project quickly.
Keep an Open Mind
It’s important to keep an open mind, trust the experts, and be willing to take a few “risks” or make selections that are a bit outside of your comfort zone. It’s these decisions that often lead to the most striking results.
Consider Location & Lifestyle
Be honest about your lifestyle and locations when selecting finishes! Mosaic tile entrances, for example, are popular because they can be strikingly beautiful but they tend to require more cleaning and maintenance. For that reason, we like to ask our clients to think about a couple of things before proceeding with these types of features. Questions such as; how much traffic does this space see, who is going to be using this space etc. are all worth considering. For features such as open-concept showers, for example, location within the home is incredibly important. As a drafty-er choice of shower, we typically advise against installing them in basements.
Do Your Own Research
There is a lot of misinformation out there and terms that get tossed around and used incorrectly. When selecting, hardwood, tiles, faucets and the like, we always recommend speaking with industry professionals, going straight to the source and asking a lot of questions. This way you can make an informed decision. For example, so many clients will initially ask for Caesarstone, not knowing that it is a brand versus a material. Whatever the category, there are always options and a wide range of prices so it’s worthwhile to do some digging ask a lot of questions.
Evaluate the Design & Build Firm Before You Hire
Regardless of which design and build company you decide to work with, do some investigation before you commit. We recommend browsing their websites and looking through their portfolios to see a variety of styles and materials, as this is an indication of capability and their access to suppliers. Further to diversity of work, it’s essential to make sure whoever you hire has the right credentials, as we covered in a previous post.
Still have questions? Get in touch! We would love to hear from you.