What type of remodeling design client are you?
Maybe you've assembled a carefully organized folder of photos, sample plans, and ideal fixtures and finishes. Or perhaps you just want your living room and kitchen to flow together better, but aren't sure how to get there. Either is OK, and both will have different remodeling design needs says Bill Shaw, owner of a design/build firm in Houston.
Establish a remodeling design need/want/wish list
Whether you're a home remodeling design expert or a novice, there's a common place to start, Shaw says. Create three lists: needs, wants, and wishes. "Needs are the things that must be resolved or addressed, or the project won't happen -- the core reason for the home remodel," Shaw says. The key about needs is that they aren't cost sensitive.
Wants and wishes, on the other hand, are where reality and dreams start to separate. "When we talk about budget versus what we want to do, typically most of my clients are not aligned," Shaw says. "To help them decide, I tell them that if they give me their core needs then I can give them an idea of what budget will work. Then we'll address wants and wishes as options, so we can decide what their package is."
While wants and wishes are more cost sensitive, as the project develops there may be some items on those lists that are more cost effective to do right away rather than later.
Get inspired by remodeling design -- in a realistic way
Online inspiration boards are great -- up to a point. The problem is when you can't afford what you've fallen in love with, or when the ideas won't work in your spaces -- that overpowering chandelier in a home with 9-foot ceilings, for example. One tool that Shaw encourages homeowners to ask about when approaching remodeling design is 3D modeling. "It really helps clients who may not be able to visualize it, so there's not that letdown during construction, when you're looking at a set of one-dimension drawings, and expectations and assumptions are not aligned," he says
Understand remodeling design services and budgets
Every person involved in remodeling design brings something different to the table, and it's up to you to understand those services and how they're provided. And don't make the mistake of hiring based on the low bid, too. "Don't make the mistake of hiring based just on cost," Shaw says. "Quality is important, too."
Shaw suggests interviewing companies, putting a list of questions together, and doing your homework. Figure out what's important to you, what criteria you have, and how you can use the interview process to understand how remodeling design team members can help meet that criteria.
Realize, too, that there's no standard for what things cost. A kitchen project in one area of the country may be completely different in budget from what yours will be, and variables differ, too -- hidden problems in a home, for example, or deals you may find on fixtures or appliances.