We could be bias, but isn’t it everyones dream to start from scratch by taking down walls and rebuilding according to their Pinterest Board? Maybe that’s just us! Nevertheless, we know first hand that renovations are a huge part of our industry - and also one of the longest processes. When it comes to renovations, we all definitely hope for a smooth process. Yet, unexpected surprises and curveballs are almost always going to pop up in unavoidable scenarios; many of these things are unpreventable when renovating an old home. For instance, finding things like water damage, old electrical, or asbestos... you get the picture. However, some delays and setbacks during the renovation process can be easily avoided with advanced planning. Which, for obvious reasons, we would highly suggest doing based on our personal & client experiences.
As we're about to enter our busy season (fall is always chaotic in the best way), we thought we'd share our professional opinion on this process - especially if you you're planning on updating your home soon! If that’s the case, feel free to click the Inquiry Form button to get started with us as we're accepting new clients over the next few months. Without rambling on too much more, we'll get right into the important stuff : here are some of our tips and tricks for planning your home renovation to assure that your process goes as smoothly as we all hope for :)
1. REACH OUT EARLY
THIS is a big one, and one of the most important when working with trades and designers. Although we truly appreciate every single opportunity offered to us through our inquiry forms, the honest truth is that we can’t take on every client due to unrealistic standards regarding a start date. For example, although many people would love to inquire and start demolition within a month - unless you get lucky - that’s almost never possible. We have many projects on the go, and simply can’t begin our process that quickly. We highly suggest reaching out months prior to when your renovation begins for a few reasons:
Our Design Process Takes Time - From the time of you reaching out to the time that we book a Discovery Call with you can take a few weeks based on our schedules and how they work together. After this point, it often takes a week or two for our team to decide what service works best for your project and to create and sign contracts with you. In addition - and if needed - conceptual design boards often take us 3-4 weeks to create and present to you, while also considering revisions. This means that by the time we start your project, it can take a few months to get the process rolling and orders to be placed.
Delays are OH So Frustrating - Although much of the world has gone back to normal after the Covid shift, delays are still highly prominent in our industry. Items like tiles, light fixtures, faucets/hardware, and furniture are still frequently delayed or backordered which can lead for very frustrating and dragged out delays that most people aren’t anticipating. This means that any necessary items needed for your renovation should be ordered far before you need them to ensure a smooth install, instead of waiting in-between contractor visits for items to be delivered or back in stock.
Believe us, every single project we take on is SO exciting - so much so that we would love to blink and have the project complete to see the final reveal just as quickly. Although this is not possible, we promise the renovation process will feel so much quicker if things like the above are thought through well ahead of time.
2. SET YOUR GOALS & PRIORITIES EARLY ON
When planning for your home renovation, there’s obviously many important things to consider. And if they're not so obvious, we're happy to share! We will want as much detail on your project as possible, so be prepared for us to ask, 'what are your goals for the project?' Consider the following:
What are your Aesthetic Goals?: Create a Pinterest Board, look at tons of inspiration, and provide that to your designer to help solidify your ideas. This helps to make sure that the long awaited process will be worth the wait and the 'after' is exactly what you imagined.
What are your Functional Goals?: Consider features in your home that are functionally working for you right now and what definitely isn’t! Think about what your space is used for and making sure that you can functionally get the most out your design for your personal needs. Although projects can certainly be done over time and in stages - a large renovation is often something that you want to do once and not again for a very long time. Make sure the space is exactly what works for you. This is something we would love to help you with if you're unsure yourself!
Set Your Budget: After considering the two above, understand how your budget and how your goals will aline. Is it possible to create a newly functioning home that meets all of your needs while also meeting your aesthetic goals with your set budget? If not, it may be best to do your renovation in stages or to re-think your budget. We'll explain more about this point below in a bit more detail for you!
Our goal as Designers is to assure that your completed renovation leaves you with no regrets about your decisions. We want to make sure that you find yourself completely content and above ecstatic with the finished result. In addition, all of the above help your Contractors and Designers to better understand your project and will therefore make the project a lot more seamless for you - you will thank yourself later on!
3. TRULY CONSIDER MONEY
Although we slightly touched on this point above, this one - for obvious reasons - it deserves it’s own spotlight. Money quite literally is the key to what will make or break your renovation process. The unfortunate truth is if you don’t have the money, some of your above goals may not be possible. Now, this doesn’t mean they won’t happen, but that you may have to do some re-thinking regarding timeline or scaling back in some areas. Considering money in renovation creates multiple sub-points to keep in mind:
Firstly, having realistic expectations regarding budget is a big consideration. Many of us don't know the average pricing of steps during renovation - that's completely normal! Receiving quotes from Contractors and planning meetings prior to starting your project will help you to better understand this. It will also help you to be prepared to have a better understand of expectations when it comes to pricing and what your set goals will total.
Secondly, always expect the unexpected during a home project! Us and any other designer would highly suggest having a contingency fund set aside for emergency, unpredicted situations. This is an aspect that many people don’t consider, which often results in a project going over budget or often leaves a project incomplete in the way the homeowner didn't anticipate. We are huge fans of spreadsheets at SK as we find it to be so much easier to keep track of all of the above in Excel. However, this isn't something you have to put together on your own but instead something we can work together with you to help create this.
We also want to stress that money and renovations is not the only way to create a beautiful home! If a renovation is completely off the table for your budget, that's okay - we offer many other services at a smaller price-point that will help to make your home feel personalized, well-thought out and complete.
4. EXPECT TO BE OUT OF THE HOUSE
The above photos say it all - a Renovation is a lot of work! This point can depend on the scale of renovation. As unrealistic as this one could be for some, we highly suggest getting out of your home during a large renovation process. Of course, many people live through renovations and they haven’t seemed to mind. But from our personal client experience, many people wish they hadn’t lived through the process. It's important to consider the noise during the process and the constant traffic of trades. Also, keeping in mind that dust travels regardless of your location in the house. Even if the renovation is a few rooms on the main floor, expect to have to cover up your furniture upstairs to assure that it stays dust-free during the process. Of course, this is situational and different for small renovations. For instance, if you so happen to be renovating one singular area (like your ensuite), we would suggest a smaller move - like relocating your bedroom for the time being for all of the above reasons.
5. KNOW YOUR TIMELINE & EXPECT TO ADD ON DELAYS
As all of these points intertwine, we’ve slightly touched on this point above when discussing the importance of ‘reaching out early.’ Although this point is similar, it’s different in the sense of your personal planning and the completion of your goals, rather than considering our process breakdown. For example, knowing when you would like your project to be complete. It is fair to say that this does often coincide with when your first reach out and if this goal is manageable. Of course, the sooner you reach out, the sooner your contractor can tell you if your timeline goal is realistic and manageable. Prior to setting this timeline goal, it would be incredibly helpful to do some research - whether this means talking to contractors for estimations or reading some additional designer blogs based on their experience with delays. This will allow you to better understand a realistic timeline and know how much time to allow for delays.
A home renovation is a process that takes lots of planning and patience. But it’s always worth it to reminisce on how you made your house feel like home, and the memories you created along the way. This process is something that we love to be a part of! It’s always a beautiful thing - creating a space that perfectly suits you and your families needs and that will hold your life’s treasured moments. We’re always so honoured to be a part of this personal process and too often create some lifetime friendship within our clients. We hope that these tips and tricks helped you if you're considering taking the step to improve your home. Remember that we’re always happy to take the pressure off your hands if those steps go further. Talk to you soon -