Whether you have a detailed notebook of your ideas, or a vague list of what you might like, the first step of a remodel is the decision to start investigating options. Walk around your house and get all your wishes and dreams down on paper, and then call on a professional to help flesh out the designs.
They will be able to give solid advice on what is possible, and will have ideas you may not have considered for materials, space usage, cost saving ideas, and the technical aspects of bringing your dream to reality.
Financially, start out with a realistic amount that you are able to spend, perhaps by consulting your financial institution prior to meeting with a contractor. Then you can expand or contract your wish list when you actually see quotes from the contractor or designer. Be sure there is a contingency fund built into the budget!
In some cases you will need architectural floor plans, permit applications, and formal drawings unless the work is more cosmetic in nature. Allow time for these processes to be completed.
Be sure the initial written agreement with the contractor includes a clear description of the scope of work, a project time line, and the payment schedule. Allow time for the contractor to schedule his subcontractors as work progresses. There may be pauses in the schedule, but that doesn’t mean things are not progressing. Some materials need considerable lead time to be prepared.
Talk over items that you may wish to do yourself to save costs, like daily worksite cleanup, perhaps painting, staining, and in particular selecting and shopping for fixtures and some of the materials.
Tour the target areas with the contractor to discuss the potential and the true scope of the project. Be clear about anything you want saved or removed, and anything you may want to recycle or reuse in another area of your home.
There will be delays and unexpected challenges that could not be predicted beforehand. Yes, frustrating, but just accept the fact that the unexpected will happen, and come up with creative solutions at the time.
While a remodel can be stressful and inconvenient, the end result will be worth the effort made to get there. Designing the changes is the first step toward a refreshed, updated look for your home.