Setting a reasonable schedule

First-time remodelers are invariably shocked when they find out how long their project will take to get built, from first sketch to last paint touch-up.

You can avoid a major disappointment by being realistic about your overall project schedule from the beginning. If you’re contemplat¬≠ing starting designs for a major kitchen remodeling in mid-September, with the idea that you’ll be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in your new kitchen, you’re headed for a rude awakening.

Why do projects take so long? Let’s look at the steps involved. Continue reading “Setting a reasonable schedule” »

Do architects really understand construction costs?

Many contractors are fond of promulgating the idea that architects don’t know what things cost and that architects are forever telling clients that projects will cost much less than they actually end up. Is this true?

Continue reading “Do architects really understand construction costs?” »

How to Reduce Construction Chaos

Thinking about the dust and construction mess going on for months is enough to send shivers of dread down the spine of just about everyone contemplating starting a remodeling project. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the headaches and inconveniences that go along with construction. If you’re about to embark on a remodeling, here are some tips to make your life a bit more placid: Continue reading “How to Reduce Construction Chaos” »

Pick Your Appliances First

The days when a kitchen was a stove, a refrigerator, a sink, and some cabinets, are gone. New kitchens today have a startling range of possibilities: double ovens with microwave/convection options, steamer ovens, halogen ovens, wine refrigerators, induction cooktops, grills, downdraft exhaust, and many other newcomers to the appliance scene. Continue reading “Pick Your Appliances First” »

Some Tips on Kitchen Design

There are several significant ways that the use of kitchens has changed since the mid-century, which may make your existing kitchen layout obsolete: Continue reading “Some Tips on Kitchen Design” »

Don’t be Shocked When You Upgrade Your Electrical System

Because electrical systems are a seeming mystery, homeowners involved in a remodeling usually simply trust their electricians to do a responsible, safe job. And most electricians are remarkably conscientious with their work, making sure that it “meets code.” But many opportunities to improve existing problems and eliminate future ones are routinely lost to inattention.

Most homeowners don’t realize that “code” is intended as a MINIMUM level of safe work. High quality remodeling deserves better than this minimum. But an electrician bidding on work doesn’t want to risk losing the job by figuring in extra work that wasn’t requested. Continue reading “Don’t be Shocked When You Upgrade Your Electrical System” »

Insuring Your Project’s Success

Remodeling, like all construction projects, is a risky business. Construction accidents are as common as the sawdust on the floor. If something happens on your project, will you be protected from severe financial consequences?

Before starting any construction project, it’s essential to discuss your insurance requirements with your insurance advisor (ie. your insurance agent/broker). Although everyone has different insurance needs, here are some general tips: Continue reading “Insuring Your Project’s Success” »

All Plans Are Not Created Equal

In a recent remodeling class that I taught, a student raised her hand and asked, “If I can get computer-drawn plans for my kitchen remodeling from one of the big home improvement centers (which will do them for free), why would I need an architect to draw plans?” From the nods around the room, I could see that it was a question for many of the students.

The plans that these improvement centers, and an increasing number of local cabinet shops, are producing look amazingly detailed and accurate, and even show you how the kitchen would look in a semi-realistic 3-dimensional perspective view. Couldn’t you get bids from these? Continue reading “All Plans Are Not Created Equal” »

Saving Money in Design Fees — A Good Idea?

I came across a very interesting survey done a few years ago. Homeowners who had done projects were interviewed as to their satisfaction levels. Those who had paid more in design fees (e.g. to an architect) were overwhelmingly more satisfied in the end than those who had paid low fees. Why this surprising result?

In a nutshell, those who had paid higher design fees had received more service. They had received more attention to the actual design, the plans were more complete and easier to build from, they had fewer problems during construction, and the architects were available to help solve problems during construction. Conversely, the study found that those who had paid the lowest fees had far more problems and were far more prone to lawsuits. Continue reading “Saving Money in Design Fees — A Good Idea?” »

Getting Bids Too Early Can Be Disastrous!

Imagine walking into a car dealership and asking the salesperson for a price on a “white medium-sized car.” It would be a silly request, of course, unless you told the salesman the exact make, model, options, and accessories you wanted. Yet many people try to get competitive quotes from contractors for their remodeling project, based on nothing more than a vague verbal description, or some rough sketches.

Most reputable contractors will refuse to quote a price without complete plans and specifications. Some, though, in their eagerness to please their customers, may attempt a “guesstimate,” which will probably be optimistic. Hiring the contractor who has the lowest “guesstimate” is asking for trouble. Continue reading “Getting Bids Too Early Can Be Disastrous!” »

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