The one design rule that never changes is…change is inevitable. I asked myself many times over, “Where should I start when it comes to posting about design?” I decided to start here because after years of working with clients, the ones that get this rule, always fair better throughout the process. If you are reading this, I assume you are either wanting to renovate or build or in the midst of it. If that is true, keep reading!
So if you’ve been following for any length of time you know I am in the middle of designing a guesthouse that I will be moving into, hopefully soon! However, the timeline keeps changing and I am waiting to get the final design drafted and through the permit process so I can finally break land. This can be really common and really frustrating. The best thing you can do is take advantage of the time and finalize finish details. Once things get rolling, they can start rolling quick! Since I am currently at this stage of the game, I am trying to remind myself to take control of what I can, breathe and let go of the things I can’t.
Another tip I’d like to offer the newbies is be prepared for ebb and flow within your scheduled timeline. There will be times you walk onto the job site and you will be amazed at all the work that was accomplished and you feel like things are really moving along and building momentum. There will also be times you wonder what got done and feel like hyperventilating. Depending on your personality, that could seriously be true. haha Know it is all part of the process. As a project manager, I am extremely schedule driven. I push hard but I’ve learned micromanaging doesn’t benefit you, your subs (or husband), or your schedule. I’ve also noticed that the clients who try to micromanage are miserable through the entire process. If you hire a designer or contractor, find someone you trust to do their job. If you are managing the process yourself, remember to breathe and then get on with what you can control. Noticing a theme here?
Next up, design. I can’t begin to tell you how many revisions I have gone through thus far. Designing for yourself has to be one of the hardest jobs. I’ve decided I am the most difficult client I’ve ever had. haha So far I’ve created mood boards for dark countertops, light countertops, modern cabinetry, rustic, concrete floors, hardwood floors, full backsplash, no backsplash, you name it! As soon as I think I know the direction I am going to go, I see some new inspiration, get a piece of information I wasn’t aware of by the land owners or I get pricing back. It is really about finessing. The best of designers go through this process so consider yourself in good company.
As you finalize selections, I recommend ordering what you can upfront. Decorative lighting, plumbing and tile are notorious for being backordered or discontinued all together. Many times I am designing for custom homes and it is 8 months before we need the selections. If you are working on a smaller project that takes less time, this can be less of an issue. However, I still recommend ordering well before you need the item(s) because sometimes things come damaged. Depending on the item, your schedule could take a hard hit. I once had to order a tub 4 times before it came without damage! However, even with the best planning, schedules can and will change.
The last thing I will say about changing design is the earlier you make changes, generally, the cheaper the change will be. I’ve had clients ask about changing their decorative lighting or plumbing after drywall and they forgot the rough boxes and valves were already placed or they wanted to change their appliances because they found a sale and forgot the cabinets were custom designed around their previous selections. A good rule of thumb is whenever you want to make a change, think through all the trades that change could potentially impact. The more trades involved, typically the more expensive. That brings us to budget!
This one can be scary when starting a project. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a client say, “How much will this cost me?” I’d be near ready to retire. My best advice here, don’t allocate every single penny and have no reserve. You will save yourself an expensive heart attack. I too am working on designing slightly below budget. I’ve seen projects take longer than expected, equipment needed longer than planned, and priorities shift as things are being built. Plus, remodels are notorious for uncovering unforeseen circumstances, like dry rot! Plus if you save a little here or there it just gives you more play money for the decor!
It’s Worth iT
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You’ve endured changing timelines, design and budgets and now you can sit back, relax and enjoy. Building or remodeling is not for the faint of heart but there really is nothing like getting to make a place your own. In a world that is changing so quickly, having a haven for your family and a place to kick up your feet is priceless. If it’s pretty, well that doesn’t hurt one bit either!
I’m just beginning a new project that I am hoping will make the building/remodeling process easier and more organized for you. As soon as it is ready, I’ll let you know! Make sure to follow me on Instagram and sign up for email updates (DM your address while I get my mail list up and running :D) so you don’t miss a thing!
Another valuable resource that I hope you are utilizing is Houzz. This is a tool I use to communicate ideas with clients and what they say is true, “A picture is worth a thousand words!”
Happy building my friends!