If you are a follower of our blog, you guys know that KD & I moved here in Bay Area early 2017. We bought our house here within 6 months, ever since then, I am working on a massive remodeling project of my own (along with many other small projects). When we both looked back and think about all the homes we put the bid on in 2017 and try to process ourselves that which home didn’t need any remodeling projects; it came down to 2%-5%. This blog post, I would like to dedicate all those new home buyers (especially in Bay Area) and all those who are interested in our e-design services. Before you embark on any kind of “Remodeling Project” here are a few steps you need to take:
Write down all your wishlist before you contact anyone (i.e. Interior Designers, Architect, Structural Engineer or Contractors)
As an interior designer and recent remodeler, this is my first and foremost advise to anyone. Sometimes, we become so narrow in terms of thinking after exhausting home search (especially in Bay Area) and just think that - “I guess let’s change the flooring of the home”/” I just need to color my kitchen cabinets, will do next later” or “we need bathroom to remodel but right now but we will just paint the home and move”. You hear these kinds of quotes from your friends and family, but for me, it is RED LIGHT!!! It is good to decide that how serious you are and you want to move in first and decide or you are already living there and what you want to take on first, but I would suggest - go to each and every room and create a simple spreadsheet which will identify things you like and things you don’t like. Even though you know, you don’t have a budget for it. It is better to think first “idealist way”.
Contact professional once you have your list of things handy
At this time, you do not have “a project” yet! It is just list of things to do room by room basis and you want to gauge time and money associated with these tasks. One of the biggest challenges for any first time home remodeler is - who to call? Do I need a contractor? Architect? Interior Designer or just call City for a permit?
In my opinion, if you think, you have better taste/knowledge in terms of building material and process, go ahead and call a contractor first! (and skip below step for now!)
But you think, you need someone who can explain the material, texture, and process of remodeling ins & out (based on your location)- I would call Interior Designers/ Designer or Architect (if work contains structural calculations such as roof height change etc.). Interior Designer will provide you more in-depth knowledge in terms of permit requirements(based on the city you live in), contractor’s contacts and overall sources for your project. Once you contact the interior designer, it Is better to call contractors. (our 30 min free consultation will give you a synopsis on what exactly you need for your project).
Call Contractors at your home and ask for bids and work with the designer as well (It is a gray area to call contractor but you have to do it!)
Here many couple or family will start feeling in their process such as - “why no contractor is coming to my place and giving me “Bid””, most of the time you will hear, “do you have “drawings ready” once it’s ready, I will provide you bid”, but your dilemma is - I need to know how much will it cost, first? Am I reading your mind correctly? If yes, then, it is still better to call contractors (be pushy!)for looking your place and ask for suggestions and “verbal bid” (this is based on your excel list you will explain to the contractor that what you need to get done). It is the best way to make them engage in the design process early. Asking design suggestion might help you to gauge their expertise as well as, what kind of time and money commitment you can provide to yourself with your contractor in this task. (This might be one parameter if you want interior design to take over on your material choices and ordering material).
Call minimum 5 contractors. When KD and I went through our renovation project, we called approx. 6-7 contractor and ask for verbal bids & some design suggestions. In my opinion, It was one of the best steps we took. If they can give you a ballpark number, it would be a great measurement for you to go back to your list and find out what to omit and what to keep. After this process, your list will convert in to “a project”.
Work with your interior designer/designer very closely on your narrow down project and permit drawings
Next step is to start having your interior designer/architect or designer involve in narrow down project goals and get innovative options for you. Every designer work as per their business model but in terms of Simple ‘N’ Chic we give client style quiz based on their needs, and provide 2-3 floor plan options/3D plans as per request. With every revision, Simple ‘N’ Chic team needs the 10-15 business day to finish the final product. (But many other designers work as per their own business model). These permit drawings/3D can send it to a structural engineer or city based on project requirement(if a permit is needed for your project, a determination can be done with the help of your designer). Simple ‘N’ Chic team can be the facilitator in this process with contractors on preparing their bid for your project as well. If you want to facilitator then, It is important to talk to your all short-listed contractors and show them drawings, so that they can get multiple “Written bid offers” as early as possible.
Decide on your Contractor and Figure out- do you need further Designer/Interior Designer support or not?
Deciding contractor is the most crucial step in this process. Before deciding on the lowest bid, it is good to ask all contractors to show them their finished work, ask their clients about contractors’ work ethics and track record on finishing up their work on time. During this time, you should look for finishing the interior design style. Your design style might be different but you want the same kind of finishing ( I meant ‘perfect’ finishes). KD and I went to several peoples’ places and ask all of them about contractor work ethics. In the end, we finalized a contractor which doesn’t have the lowest bid. Sometimes quality matters when it comes this kind of work. After this process, the contractor can go and pull the permit on his name. It is also one of the crucial steps to have his name for as a “permit-pull”. This will help to make the contractor accountable to finish his/her work in a timely manner.
Last and final step is to decide whether you need designer support or not! After your work start, any designer can help you developing mood boards. Moodboard can be created through your Pinterest inspiration and designer will help you to give you exact sources or similar sources of material. Material purchase and contractor remodel work can be compromised through the critical path method (which I will explain in to later in another blog post). This method will help you to eliminate any remodeling delays from your side.
(ps: Simple ‘N’ Chic is going to publish free template which will explain critical path method and you can work on your bathroom/kitchen or entire home remodel without any problems).
Most couples & family are able to manage this process but sometimes designer help can elevate your interiors drastically.
At it is a satisfactory process and some of these tips might help many home remodeler. :)
Let me know what do you think about these tips!
Meantime see you next time :)!
Simple ‘N’ Chic Team