• Samia Verbist

How to Prepare for a Remodel

So you want to remodel your kitchen, update your bathroom, or maybe do a complete home renovation?


Living room remodel in Newport Beach Harbor

Working with a designer is a big step in making your home design dreams a reality. In addition to having the expertise to complete a project successfully, professional interior designers take a lot of the stress of a renovation off your shoulders. They can also save you time and money through all stages of remodeling a house.


I wish I could say your home remodel will be a stress-free, easy-breezy affair. Unfortunately, even with the assistance of an expert designer, there is a lot to consider before embarking on a home renovation project.


You might have dust on your clothes, decide to exceed your initial budget, wish you had stayed in a hotel, or encounter other uncomfortable experiences.


However, I can say that in the end, you will think it was all worth it. The discomfort is temporary, but you’ll enjoy the results for years to come – until you are ready to do it all over again!


But how do you prepare for a remodel? Here is a house remodel checklist with seven crucial points and tips to keep in mind to help you get a realistic idea of what to expect from a home renovation and how you can best prepare for a home remodel.


1. Seek the right professional help

Good interior design is the work of many collaborative partners.


In addition to a designer, you will need a contractor. The contractor may be responsible for hiring subcontractors (subs), or you may have to do that in some cases.


Your interior designer or contractor may also work as the overall project manager, which takes more burden off you. Understand the scope of the team you assemble, then allow each member to exercise their expertise, including letting these pros source and purchase materials for you.


2. Choose your home renovation team wisely

When choosing the members of your home renovation team, don’t hesitate to compare. You want to find professionals who understand your vision or can translate your ideas if you don’t have clarity.


Professionals are clear about expectations, transparent throughout the project, demonstrate knowledge about the industry, and stay in touch with you through all of it.


Ask for references, so you can learn how potential team members have worked with past clients.


3. Make sure you and your family are ready for the disruption

You’ll need to decide where to stay during the home renovation. Some homeowners live off-site during a renovation, which may be your best option. But if you must live in your home during the remodel, plan for how you will do that.


Will you need a way to cook while your kitchen is out of commission? Is one bathroom enough for the family while the other ones are updated?


How will you organize life in your home when parts of it are temporarily unavailable, especially if you have young children!? You’ll also want to consider what it will be like to have people in your home five to six days a week for several weeks.


This can be particularly challenging if you work from home. What facilities will you make available for the workers?


After completing projects for many clients, experience has led me to offer this advice – leave your home during the remodel if possible. Staying with family or an Airbnb will remove a lot of unnecessary stress.


4. Don’t believe everything (or even most of) what you see on TV

Most of the renovation projects you see are as realistic as an Avengers movie. What is accomplished in a short amount of time for a small budget only happens because of sponsor donations and unique camera angles.


There are many steps for remodeling a house, and doing them right looks different in the real world.


5. Consider your home remodel budget

In fact, there is a good chance your home renovation budget will not be enough to do everything you want. Having a contingency budget is vital to ensuring your project will result in a space you love.


A good rule of thumb is to plan for 15% above your initial budget. This is not because of the expense of working with a designer or general contractor but based on unexpected needs that may arise or your own desire to increase the scope of work. A project is a bit like dominoes – you update one aspect and then want or need to update another.


On this note, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. There is usually a cheaper option, but you want to know if it will still accomplish your design goals.

Living room remodel in Honfleur France

One strategy is to decide where to splurge and where to save. Sometimes incorporating accents of high-end products can make the whole project look luxe.


6. Expect the unexpected

Despite having the best plans in place, the unexpected will arise during a remodel.


This can range from discovering surprises behind the walls, delays in getting the fabulous refrigerator you simply must have, or a porcelain slab breaking during installation.


Although we aim to keep mishaps to a minimum, so much is out of our control. The important thing is to fix and recover when problems arise. Just expect them!


7. Keep an open mind

We are living in a time when products may be delayed due to supply chain issues.


Additionally, skilled labor schedules are overflowing, and prices can change overnight.


When we encounter a surprise, especially an unpleasant one, it will help to remember that your designer, contractor, and subs are on the same team: yours. We all have the same goal: to deliver an updated space that is just what you always wanted. These before and after house renovation photos speak volumes.


With many aspects of a renovation unknowable at the beginning (like those surprises behind the wall), establishing trust among the clients, designer, and the general contractor is vital to accomplishing a successful renovation.


All of us will benefit from being adaptable and flexible, understanding budgeting needs, trusting each other, and doing our best to relax. These are the real keys to a harmonious project!

Let’s be brave. Let’s be bold. And, of course, let’s be beautiful.


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