• Courtney Otte

So You Want to Remodel? What to Expect...

I always relate any design or construction project to giving birth. Seriously. And it's not just because I am a momma to a nearly 2 year old. Hang in here with me 'guys'.. there's a lot of important correlation.

At first you're in bliss at the idea of a brand new remodeled kitchen, possibly in shock if it's your significant others idea instead of yours. But if it is your idea you're glowing with the idea of hosting instagram worthy dinner parties and baking decadent macaroons with your new marble like quartz countertops.

Then you start asking around to different contractors about what its going to cost and you might find yourself in a bit of shock as you baffle at the price (if this is your first time).

Finally you overcome that shock and decide to go for it. And you're in bliss again as you start to envision the pieces of your brand new kitchen coming together.

And then you're overcome with 'morning sickness' or overwhelm as you actually start to wrap your head around how you're going to make this all happen.

If you're smart, you've reached out for help to an interior design professional who can help you design a smart and beautiful space. But beyond that, this professional is helping you navigate the project, and helping to create a project 'road map' that outlines the functionality of the space and all the important details and decisions to the project - Details similar to a 'birth plan.'

Finally you have your plan together and you're feeling pretty good about this whole thing. You have regular meetings with your contractor and designer. Your design professional is providing you with 'Check ups' through the project to make sure there are no concerns with the project as the contractor implements our detailed and outlined plan.

This is the honeymoon phase. You're thrilled now that you're fully committed to this thing, and things are starting to happen. Walls are starting to come down, and firm decisions are starting to be made. Yes! Including that beautiful marble like quartz you will be baking those macaroons on! Progress is happening!

And then things feel like they're coming to a lull, things don't feel like they're happening fast enough. The third trimester. The momentum of the project isn't as high as what it was when you first started, and quite frankly you're just ready for this thing to wrap up. After all, you're tired of washing your dinner dishes in your make shift kitchen (Eh-hem, the bathroom tub). Frustration of carrying this heavy disruptive load of remodeling is starting to get to you. You find yourself often irritated with your contractor (mayybe even designer from time to time) that something didn't go quite as planned, or a sub didn't show up for a few days. Bumps in the road, they do happen along this journey. But rest assured, everyone is doing the best they can to make this thing happen!

But then you're reminded that we are SO close, even if it does not seem like it. And we've come so far since we first started this journey. Soon enough the cabinets will go in, and the countertops will be installed, followed by that gorgeous backsplash we picked out together. And there's one final push until this project is a wrap!

Finally, our vision has come to fruition and you couldn't be more ecstatic! All that hard work everyone put into the project is really starting to show off, and you couldn't be happier to finally have a brand new kitchen.

Okay after all that, #amiright?! The illustration above totally relates to a design or construction project! There are so many up's and downs that go into it.

Below are a few KEY and important expectations and tips as you venture towards a remodel or design project:

Have a plan first:

Clients often wonder if they should work with a designer first or a contractor first. And 9 times out of 10, the answer is to first work with a designer who can put a detailed plan together for you. This plan will help you in several aspects of the project, most importantly in the beginning, it will allow you to have a true cost estimate as to what the project will actually cost you.

No more surprise 'extra expenses' Opps, we picked out a $12/ square foot tile backsplash that you fell in love with instead of the contractors budgeted allowance of $5/ square foot per tile. If we have all our ducks in a row from the beginning, you're going to know a true cost estimate.

Be realistic about budgets:

Trust me when I say I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and all your remodeling dreams could come true without regards to budget. And while some of us design professionals might be deemed 'miracle worker' from time to time as we make things happen, we are simply not magicians.

If you want all the 'works' but don't want to pay for it, there is realistically no way for that to happen. Somethings gotta give - there's no such thing as a remodelers budget with champagne taste on a beer budget. We can either give you exactly what you want, but it's going to cost, or we can discuss the budget ahead of time and identify areas that you could compromise on.

At the end of the day, the price is what the price is - please do not ask your contractor OR expect your contractor to 'cut' their own profits out so you can get what you want. They are hardworking people, often over worked, and earning every penny they make for their families. There is no room to 'cut' cost if you're not willing to give something up. Maybe you don't need that pot filler in the kitchen after-all?

Be realistic about timelines:

While I love me some 'Property Brothers' HGTV is notorious for setting us up for unrealistic expectations. What seems to happen instantaneously in a one hour show, projects simply do not happen that quickly. To add to that, the construction industry is overwhelmed - it's not that you're working with an unorganized contractor or lazy trades, it's simply that the construction industry is simply overwhelmed with projects. How the industry got here is a whole other story for another time!

A realistic expectation for a kitchen remodel would look more similar to the following:

- 30 - 40 days for design planning with an interior design professional - even allot for a wait time of up to 30 days before your designer can even start on designing your project

- Up to 30 days for contractor estimating and bidding if you choose to bid the project out

- Once construction has begun, expect up to 2 months of remodeling with a really quick and efficient contractor, or even longer with a contractor who isn't quite as efficient. I've even seen 4 months.

Talk about these expectations with your contractor - don't push them to give you the answer you 'want to hear' ask them to give you a realistic answer so you don't find yourself frustrated in the end.

In summary, you can expect up to a 6 month process from start to finish.

Communication is Key:

As is for any successful project, relationship, you name it. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Don't wear your team down by being over bearing, but talk about a communication plan with your project team. If you want to know weekly updates from your contractor or designer, say so! Ask how your designer and contractor best communicate key information out to you as the client and amongst their trades. Set project goals and check points with your contractor and designer.

Things Will Come Up:

It's inevitable that something unplanned is going to happen during the project, it's just the nature of the beast. No one likes these surprises, or wants them to happen! The quartz slab came in cracked in half, or the office admin forgot to order the hardware, or maybe a team member had a personal issue come up that is beyond their control, but it put a dent in the schedule. We are all human, and humans make mistakes. But we are all striving for a common goal: to have a successful project and for a happy client. Have grace with your team and they will do everything they can to keep the project on track.

I hope you found this post informational and enlightening as you begin to plan for your next remodel project! If you find yourself overwhelmed thinking about how to make a remodel project happen, it's time to chat with us! We would love to schedule a free phone call to discuss our process with you!