Did you know that May is National Home Improvement Month?
Investing in home improvement is important. Smart remodeling projects can increase the value of your house – and refreshing your design and décor always feels great!
Whether you’ve got a big or small home renovation in mind, it pays to be thorough and prepared.
With a few simple steps you can get the home of your dreams, while staying on time and on budget. Here’s how to get started:
- Get the facts. Create a folder to store all your information. Write down all the key points of the project on the folder, including the name of the space, estimated timeline, budget range, and the key components of what you’d like to achieve. For example “Kitchen, Summer 2011. $20-$30,000. Reface cabinets, install granite countertops, replace appliances, add new flooring and lighting.”
- Look for inspiration. Collect photographs of designs or products that catch your eye, and note what you like about them. Houzz.com is an amazing digital resource for this. Take your time in this process, and vary between looking in stores, catalogs and online. Grab samples of finishes and paint colors whenever possible.
- Track the details. Create three lists: “must haves”, “If budget allows” and “things to research further”. This will help you keep the details of your project focused when comparing quotes and talking to contractors. It will also help you determine value when comparing quotes.
- Choose wisely. Make a list of qualities you need in a contractor. Surf the web, ask friends for recommendations, and then choose three to five potential candidates to come for a consultation and estimate. Do your homework before scheduling these meetings to save yourself time and headaches after the fact. You might want to make notes during each consult about what you did and didn’t like about the company, and note any red flags. Make sure to have any of your final candidates give you a recent reference from a client. And trust your intuition – humans have gut feelings for a reason!
- Be a designer too. Be as involved as possible during the design phase. You won’t regret it later! Many designers find it enjoyable to have an involved client, and it makes it much easier for your contractor or designer to meet your expectations when they know you better. Don’t be afraid to “double check” or bounce ideas off of them. You’ll get the best results!
Home improvement projects can be fun and exciting when you take the time to prepare and plan. Let us know how your home improvement projects go this summer!
Stephanie Scharr Bonini is a California Closets design consultant based in northern Connecticut who works with clients throughout New England. She is an expert at listening carefully to her clients to achieve a perfect balance of style, function, and budget with every project.