As we start to shift our gazes toward the new beginnings that a new year and a new decade bring (yes, already!), we’re contemplating all things “fresh” at home. Maybe 2020 is the year you finally commit to the renovation you’ve been dreaming about for years … or at least get the ball rolling. We chatted with a few of Nashville’s most talented builders and architects to give us the honest scoop around renovations — particularly what you need to know before you get started. What do we need to do? How can we prepare? Scroll down for the tips you should know before you start a renovation.
Senior Partner, Allard Ward Architects
How can a client prepare for a renovation?
We suggest clients begin collecting images of spaces and things they might want to incorporate in their renovation. We strongly suggest clients prepare a “wish list” of things the renovation should include. The list will certainly include big things, like needing another bedroom or additional bathrooms. It should also include simple, less obvious things such as a better flow for entertaining, an easier way to let the dog out, or more storage for sports gear.
Establishing renovation priorities is also very helpful. A comprehensive “wish list” should include everything, but it is good to separate the critical “needs” from the more flexible “wants.” We love the process of reinventing a house, and we also enjoy helping clients figure out simple solutions to everyday problems.
What is your best piece of advice for someone looking to renovate their home next year?
Go house hunting! We encourage clients to look at other houses in their price range. It is a great way to determine features they like and helps evaluate what YOUR home needs. Understanding what is available and what things cost is critical to undertaking a thoughtful and economically sound renovation project. The take away: a greater appreciation for the attributes of their home and the financial value of a successful renovation.
President of Trace Ventures
What is the one thing you wish every client knew before a renovation?
There WILL be hiccups. It’s how the hiccups are managed and dealt with that makes the difference between a great remodeling experience and a disaster.
Derek Van Mol
Founder, Van Mol Restoration
How can a client prepare for a renovation?
Preparation for a renovation is key for a smooth transition into projects of all sizes. Preparation does not just entail the physical act of storing tentatively displaced items in boxes. In fact, the mindset for renovation is essential also. Regardless of which room (or rooms) are targeted, a client needs to prepare mentally to avoid feelings of upheaval. A contractor, or small group of contractors, could be in your home for a significant amount of time. Sharing personal space that is usually sacred for family members can wear on even the most patient of homeowners.
The solution? Have a plan on the front end for how and where you will be living during this process. It will make life easier during every phase of renovation, from pre-race all the way to the finish line. If the project is large in scope, have a plan for relocating entirely for all or part of the process. If a kitchen is being remodeled, plan for and set up a temporary kitchen in another room. We always try to “quarantine” the space for dust control and construction debris as well, to create a barrier between our client’s personal space and the construction zone. When the contractor and client have an open dialogue and a plan with the same goals in mind, the renovation is not only smooth but even enjoyable — being able to visualize the outcome.
I always encourage clients to also treat themselves to the nicer bottle of wine or an occasional dinner out during renovation, when possible. Renovation growing pains are temporary. The outcome will be worth it and could last a lifetime.
Co-founder, Hammond & Brandt
What is one thing you wish every client knew before a renovation?
Hiring the right contractor is, by far, the most important decision someone makes when remodeling a home. A renovation doesn’t have to be the “nightmare” that everyone assumes it will be. A professional remodeler provides accurate estimates related to both the cost of the project as well as the expected duration of the project. The best projects are the ones that the clients have put a great deal of thought into, and have most of their decisions and selections made on the front end. Don’t get in a rush to get started — take your time during the pre-construction phase to get the plans and scope as detailed as possible, and the project will go much smoother and faster once construction begins. Then, you can relax and enjoy watching it all come together!