First time remodeling? If you’re feeling a little nervous or scared you’re not alone. An investment of this magnitude comes with a lot of questions and the desire to make sure your money is well spent. Just like the process of searching for and buying a home, remodeling your space also comes with a flurry of highs and lows. The feelings, thoughts and emotions a homeowner experiences is often translated into the common metaphor of “the remodeling roller coaster,” and it could not be more spot on. Like any disruption to your routine, the process of remodeling requires patience, flexibility and some periodic reminders that change is good.
After a decade and a half of remodeling in Seattle, we know the ups and downs homeowners face as they navigate a remodel. Some phases of remodeling are exciting and some can seem daunting. Preparing yourself and your family is all about setting expectations for the phases to come. A remodel not only increases the value of your home, but also brings joy to your life through increased beauty and functionality. The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, surveying more than 2,000 homeowners, found that 77% of people feel a major sense of accomplishment when the remodel is completed and 75% have a greater desire to be in their home afterwards. Those are some good indications that remodeling is often a good choice for those who feel inclined to pursue a change. Below is our version of the roller coaster, based off of builder and expert David Lupberger’s original chart and the remodeling process illustrated through a design-build kitchen remodel we completed last year.
The short story: spending money and seeing raw lumber is not everyone’s cup of tea. Designing your remodel is fun, signing a contract is scary, seeing framing go up is exciting, and then it’s all a little less gratifying until the big payoff of a finished space. In the end, your high is hopefully as high as can be! So why the big dips?
The long story: a well-done remodel, with the proper inspections, takes money and time. Your emotions are more positive in the beginning when you’re choosing the fun stuff: layout, flooring, cabinets, fixtures, etc. Let’s not forget, at this point your home is still intact! Unfortunately, your outlook is likely to dip when you find out the total price.
Just like buying a car, you may need to concede a few bells and whistles to reach your ideal cost to remodel. Unless you just won the lottery, you’re probably going to do what we like to call “value-engineering” in order to choose options that fit within your budget. That moonroof and leather interior package may not be within your car budget. Similarly, that custom cabinetry and designer tile may need to be swapped out for more cost-effective options. When you work with a design-build team, the designer is much more likely to be able to give realistic pricing as s/he designs. Only being presented options that fall within your budget can prevent a lot of heartache, while keeping your eye on the bottom line.
After design you’ll be signing a contract. Let’s be honest: no one likes contracts. We try to make ours as simple to digest as possible, while protecting the rights of our company and the homeowner. While signing on the dotted line may be exciting for some, the majority of people find it to be daunting knowing that first check will need to be cut soon thereafter.
Not to worry though, for every low there is a high. After making your initial payment, the deconstruction of your home will begin. Removing those dated cabinets and odd-colored walls will feel like you’ve just lifted a big weight off your shoulders. The blank slate may be the first time you can truly picture your new space, and that’s a beautiful thing.
What follows is normally the hardest part of a remodel. During take-down, it’s possible new discoveries could be made that will increase cost to the overall project (rot, repairs, remediation, etc). Also keep in mind that at this phase, there are many moving targets. Subcontractor and shipping scheduling is complex, and there are bound to be a few delays. Sometimes the construction calendar your contractor presents will include contingency for these delays, but sometimes they’re longer than expected. Getting the right parts in the hands of tradesmen, such as electricians and plumbers, at the right time is multifaceted. At this point in your remodel it is most important for you to trust your contractor. Know that s/he is working on making your project run smoothly and is doing the best they can. With a little luck, there won’t be many snafus to worry about and your contractor will communicate effectively with you every step of the way.
After the drywall goes up, your mood will improve dramatically. The walls will be painted. All the fun items you picked out during design will start being installed. The funky tile, the sleek cabinet pulls, the shiny new appliances—your space will finally take shape! It’s all more exciting from here. You made it through the toughest part of remodeling for most homeowners, and now you get to see the design come together a little more each day.
Upon move-in you’re going to feel like the lows were absolutely worth the highs, and that’s the life lesson. The best things in life involve change and healthy mix of highs and lows. It is our job as a contractor to prepare you for those moments and be a consistent source of security. Hopefully, knowing this natural ebb and flow ahead of time will help you through your own remodel.
To see all after photos of the featured project, go to Scandinavian Kitchen & Bath.