Renovating a house can be a difficult and intimidating process. Your mind and your pinterest boards may be flooded with ideas for your new home design, but where do you even start with the home renovation process? Should you get a contractor first? Do you need to move out or can you live there while renovating? How much is this going to cost and what should you know before getting started?! Today for Inside Design, I interviewed Christine Craig of Designology Studio who’s sharing with us her best home renovation tips.
Christine practically grew up on job sites since her grandfather owned a stone mason company and her Uncle & Cousin both owned construction companies. She dabbled in Interior Design as an assistant for a few years before starting her own company in 2003. Christine has found that she works best as a liaison between clients and contractors. She speaks the language of contractors and knows what to look for on a job site. But she also has an eye design and can help clients get the look and feel they want in their home. For that reason, Christine is sharing with us the ins and outs of the construction industry and some costly mistakes you should avoid!
Top Mistakes People Make When Renovating + Home Renovation Tips
Not Doing Enough Homework
The first of Christine’s home renovation tips is to do your homework – especially if you’re buying a “new” old home to fix up. Home Inspectors really only look at the surface so don’t just go with what they say. Check outside – look for cracks in the foundation, trees that may have large root systems which can damage plumbing, and make sure to inspect the roof as well. These can all be expensive problems to fix and may be reasons you should walk away from a sale. Inside the home you should look for rot, water damage, discoloring in walls, movement in flooring, and inconsistent carpentry work.
Not Having a Proper Plan
Christine says that the #1 mistake people make when renovating is not having a proper plan in place. This is what a good Interior Designer will help you do. Hire them first to help you get your plan in place. If you have kids or are living in the space while renovating, it’s important to have all the details figured out first and then hire a contractor to do the work. Things that really kill the budget and add stress are all the little things Contractors have to go back and fix afterward. If you have a proper plan in place first, you’ll save yourself time and money.
Designing for Looks over Function
You want all those pretty pictures you see on Pinterest to become a reality in your home. But make sure you design for function first, and looks second. There’s no point in it looking pretty if it doesn’t work for you and your family. If you’re renovating a kitchen or bath, you’ll want to make sure to consult a designer to help you with picking the correct finishes and ensuring a layout that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing!
Crazy Internet Searching
Sensory overload is a real thing. There are a lot of great homes and design ideas out there but you can’t have them all in your home. Once you have a plan in place, stop the crazy internet searching! Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of changes that will quickly add stress and cost to your project.
Going with the Lowest Bid
Christine advises that you do things in threes. When picking a designer or contractor to work with, meet with at least three different potential fits. You want to make sure that for design and construction, you’re working with people that you connect with and see eye-to-eye with. They are, after all, working on your home! Also, Christine warns against just choosing the lowest bid you receive of your estimates. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Not Putting Things in Writing
Christine puts everything in writing. If she meets with a client, contractor, or both, she sends a follow up e-mail to sum up what was discussed. This ensures everyone is on the same page, prevents miscommunication, and deters conflict down the road. Remember, you, your contractor, and your designer are all on the same team. You have a common goal of renovating your home. But you’re all human and can make mistakes. Putting things in writing helps you keep a written record as the project progresses so you all can reference it easily.
HGTV makes it look so easy and perfect, don’t they? In as little as an hour, you see a house or room renovated from top to bottom. Finishes are picked out and construction happens. There may be one or two hiccups, but there’s not a ton of drama going on – at least that we see. But reality is, nothing is ever perfect. You’re just seeing the magic – and editing – of television! Expect for there to be a few bumps in the road. Have a portion of your budget set aside at the start of the project to cover these “bumps”. And also, make a getaway plan. If renovations are taking longer than expected or stressing your family to the max – take a quick weekend getaway to visit family or stay at a local BNB. Take the week or weekend off from renovating and just enjoy being a family!
Not Getting a Second Opinion
The last of Christine’s home renovation tips is to get a second opinion – especially if you are trying to save money by doing it yourself. If you can’t afford to work with a Designer throughout the whole design process, see if you can work with one for less to review your plans before starting construction. They can point out costly mistakes like tile that may be too slick for a bathroom floor or a kitchen layout that isn’t cohesive for cooking and entertaining. Spending a few dollars on a designer will be an investment that will save you time, money, and stress down the road!
Have you done a home renovation before? Share a tip or a lesson learned below so others can benefit from your experience!
Christine Craig is the founder and lead designer of Designology Studio – a full service boutique interior and exterior design company with a focus on remodels, new builds, and project management. She and her team enjoy working on all different types of projects, big and small. Christine and Designology Studio strive to carefully design projects to enhance functionality and aesthetics. Follow Christine and Designology Studio on Facebook or Instagram.
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