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One of the best parts of my job as a designer is being able to share the wisdom Iíve accumulated from all my previous project work. I love to be able to advise new clients about what they can expect. It helps ease the pain when things go wrong. It can also work to create excitement when things are going as planned because clients see progress that follow your guidelines.

Renovations are never easy and always come with some complications. I believe that sharing some of the real life ups and downs can help. Today Iím sharing all my tips for anticipating the highs and lows of a renovation project.


1/ DO Hire Your Team As Early As Possible

Having a great team assembled before the start date is one way to guarantee things will start off on the right foot. A renovation requires a lot of people and some of them will have lengthy waitlists to work with them. Donít get caught off guard and disappointed by procrastinating on getting your team assembled.

2/ DO Create a Budget Before You Begin

Thereís just a world of options when it comes to sourcing materials. If you donít have an accurate budget when the design and construction begins, youíll be constantly overwhelmed.

If your designer doesnít know your budget theyíll start sourcing without any guidelines. That means you could potentially be paying them to go back to the drawing board because their recommendations donít fit your budget. Have an honest discussion early and be transparent about what you can afford to spend. Want to learn more about creating a budget for your renovation? Read this post.

3/ DO Expect Delays and Extended Timelines

Most clients need time to consider a design and the revisions before they sign off. Between the time that I present ideas to you and when you approve the design can sometimes be weeks and yes, even months. The longer the gap between presentation and approval, the more likely it is that items will now be out of stock or worse, discontinued. Itís a normal and expected part of the industry. Inventory moves quickly so being quick with your approvals is beneficial.

While I donít want my clients to feel rushed I do encourage them to look at the big picture and not become overly focused on each individual item. Remember that each product is a part of the whole and try to focus just on the individual product.

4/ DO Be Flexible When Somethingís Out of Stock

When you do run across out of stock items itís best to be flexible. Itís often easier and less time consuming to resource an item rather than to put things on hold while waiting for out of stock items to return.

Itís not uncommon for a ďback in stockĒ date to be pushed again and again and you may wait for several months with still no sign of a restock. Your designer likely has a few design scenarios that can be used in place of the missing item. Be open to exploring new options and things can get back on track quickly.

5/ DO Allow for Sudden and Hidden Costs

Itís impossible to truly know what will be revealed during a renovation. While your team will work hard to project costs including hidden surprises, itís not possible to account for everything. When walls come down there are often surprises. Plan for a contingency fund to help get you through these instances.


1/ DONíT Underestimate the Stress This Will Cause

Renovations are stressful. Youíve been displaced and your home isnít really your home during this time. Understand that stress is a normal part of the process. Try to have perspective and know that it wonít last.

If at all possible I like to encourage my clients to not live at home during a kitchen renovation. If moving out isnít an option just remember that your team is working hard to finish on time. Youíll soon be back in your brand new home.

2/ DONíT Lose Sight of the Vision

As a designer, one of the biggest challenges in a renovation is a clientís cold feet. This occurs when a design has been approved but then clients suddenly begin questioning themselves. I realize itís scary to commit to a design when thereís so much beauty to explore within the world of interior design.

Try to stay focused on what you loved initially and avoid flip flopping from style to style. And remember that part of your designerís job is to explore your needs, lifestyle, budget and preferences and create a design just for you. Keep the vision in mind and just trust the process.

3/ DONíT Obsess About Cost of Individual Items

Budgets are always evolving and changing throughout the renovation process. Part of the job of your team is to bring your project to life and on budget. We often use the high/low method. While something may seem excessively expensive it might also be an integral part of the design. The cost will be offset by many lower priced items to balance out the budget.

When you worry about the cost of each line item it can cause sacrifices in materials that will make the design come to life. Try to focus on the overall budget and ask for confirmation that the entire design is still on budget.

4/ DONíT Follow Too Many Trends

Trends only last about 10 years. You donít want to have a home thatís built around too many trends or youíll have a very dated home within 10 years.

I do love to incorporate some of todayís trends into my projects but I try to focus on the trends that have some reference in history. That means that while they may be popular at the moment they also have a classic appeal. That means you wonít feel the need to replace dated materials in just a few years.

A perfect example of this in todayís roundup of trends is marble. While itís certainly having a moment in design itís also been used in homes for thousands of years. Even when itís not trending, it wonít ever look dated.

5/ DONíT Have a Rigid Viewpoint

Stay committed to the design vision but realize that sometimes things need to change. For instance, it may be discovered that the wall you want to remove is actually a load bearing wall. Unless you want to incur the major expense and additional time itís often better to regroup and create a solution that doesnít include removing the wall.

Unexpected changes need to be made so donít be unwilling to explore new options.

I hope that helped to shed some light on the renovation process and the best practices for a successful project.

If youíre contemplating a renovation of your own and would like to learn more about my services, contact me here. Iíd love to chat with you about how I can help.

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