Preparing for a Renovation

The duration of the pandemic has surely left many of us in a love/hate relationship with our homes. It has hopefully been a place of sanctuary and safety in the chaos of the last few years; acting as more than just the place we unwind and recoup from the business of everyday life. For some, home was ready to take on the burden of being everything from school to office, playground to restaurant, and everything in between. For others, it may have spurred the desire to prioritize home with an upcoming renovation over any future travel plans or a new car. If you’re considering planning or beginning to tackle a home renovation here are some helpful tips to think about.

What is or isn’t working?

Start by identifying the good, the bad, & the ugly – or at least dated. It’s easy to say, “things need to change”, but being specific in identifying what is and isn’t working for you can make the next steps more fruitful and cost effective. When we begin with prospective clients, we help with this process; deciphering what our clients are looking for using preliminary questionnaires and consultations to get the best view of their renovation or custom home project. When those initial steps are completed, we then identify any potential issues & design opportunities by conducting a site visit. This is a wonderful time to have fresh eyes on a home and our chance to understand how our clients like to live and use their space. Often, this allows us to identify site conditions that will inform our design planning and offer potential suggestions clients may not have considered or thought was even possible.Our project Big Blue Sky is a great example of this. This beautiful cottage home on Lake Simcoe became our client’s oasis. The initial desire for this home renovation was to just focus on the main floor. However, after speaking with the client more in depth and assessing the working budget we proposed spending strategically on bigger impact items that would better maximize the existing structure. An increase in the roofline, expanded addition, and large retractable glass doors completely changed the home and its function – giving our clients something spectacular to continue enjoying and building memories.

Money Talks . . .

Budgets in any renovation or construction projects are an important factor – arguably the most important. You don’t want to exceed what you can afford but you also want to make sure you’re getting everything from your wish list. With so many moving parts we see budgets as an item to be revisited to ensure they remain on track and in line with our design intent. Typically, this means assembling and reassessing our budgets at crucial times in the project phases. The first begins once we have completed the schematic design. This is the point where new floorplans and visuals are generated with client feedback to propose a new space plan that ensures a project maximizes its potential. Once all parties are content a preliminary construction budget can be developed.  We account for materials, finishes, labour costs and more. Our second reevaluation occurs during the design development phase. Actual pricing for finish selections and products are obtained and fitted into the initial budget providing a more accurate financial picture. Our third budget assessment occurs at the time of construction documents when bids from trades are received. By continuing to assess the budget, we are able to provide a more accurate picture for our clients of project costs and manage the financial undertakings of a design project.

Finding the perfect materials & finishes

The point in every home renovation project that really gets people excited, and sometimes flustered, is the task of picking all the materials and finishes needed to complete a project. With so many decisions to make in such a short amount of time it’s the part of any project where the budget can quickly get away from you. It’s important to make selections that inspire you but are practical in their application. This is a conversation we are always having with our clients; ensuring their vision and wants are not compromised by choices that will become burdensome in their cost or long-term maintenance.  When we begin new projects we always discuss and hone in on the style and taste of our clients using different tools. Flashcards, digital renderings, and preliminary perspective of projects ensure we are capturing and presenting our clients design preferences into tangible reference tools for feedback. By doing this, the dialogue remains collaborative, informative, and productive; ensuring a final design goal is clear to everyone involved.

Where does the time go?

You may think time gets the better of anyone in a renovation; and truthfully it can without the correct planning and knowledge. When we undertake a project, timelines become equally as important as budgets or construction drawings; in fact, each element help informs the other. Lead times on products, availability of trades, and a refined understanding of the sequence of construction shapes a timeline more concretely with each element solidified. By planning and beginning to select some of the previously mentioned items, a project timeline begins to form a framework of its own. That in tandem with a professional’s knowledge can find the opportunities to not only stay on track but perhaps speed up the process and save time. Our projects are constantly involved in requiring municipal approval and the varying processes that takes. For our clients, that saves time having to learn or navigate the process themselves ensuring submissions for permits are timely, variances -if any – are managed effectively, and inspections take place without issue. All these elements contribute to an efficient timeline that doesn’t find itself halted by process or a lack of preparation and know-how.

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Call us for a no-obligation consultation to discuss what you have in mind.