In a world of DIY TV shows, perfectly pinned Pinterest boards and an abundance of design resources at your fingertips, it’s easy to feel like you can tackle upgrading your home completely on your own. And you certainly can try, but remember that there are experts in particular fields for a reason. If you’re ready for a remodel, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started. We reached out to the local experts at The Wills Company and Wills Handyman, who have more than 250 remodel projects under their belts. Here they share their expertise and insights — information you can’t get from your dream home Pinterest board. They offer lessons they’ve learned over the years, tips of the trade and common mistakes people tend to make during a remodel. Our takeaway — and likely yours — is that the importance of having an expert eye in recreating and repurposing your home should never be underestimated.
9 Rules to Remember Before You Remodel Your Home
Make No Assumptions & Get an Estimate Up Front
First things first, we are urged to make no assumptions. What is behind a wall or below carpet can run the range from moldy studs to stunning hardwood floors. These unknowns are usually revealed during the demolition phase. Don’t always expect the best, but anticipating disasters worthy of an HGTV show may be overkill as well. However, one thing you can be sure of is that cost and time should not be a surprise – a professional contractor will establish estimates and a timeline up front.
To Move or Remodel, That is the Question
Now that you’ve let go of your expectations, it’s important to ask the tough question before you dive in. Can what you want be achieved with a remodel, or is looking at other properties a more efficient way of inhabiting your dream space? Attempting to replicate another home can be an expensive and arduous task, at times with little success. Determining project plausibility comes down to having the experience to find the line between a remodel and a dream that can only be attained through a new build or home purchase. And what is this fine line? Sometimes it just comes down to cost, many times because the homeowner’s vision doesn’t fit the layout of what they are working with, or because a new home would require spending just as much.
Repurposing and Relocating Rooms
Sometimes repurposing or changing the placement of a room can be the most home-invigorating thing a homeowner can do. Assessing which room is used most and finding the different ways the room can be uplifted, or more functional, can both lead you to the starting point of your home project and change the daily flow of the home in a big way. Consulting the experts to evaluate things like foot traffic and natural lighting can help make these decisions as well. From moving a bathroom to the opposite side of the room to remedy awkward floor plans to shifting a bedroom to the side of the house that receives the most natural light in the morning, qualified experts can help make these decisions to improve home efficiency and quality of life.
Homeowners, Get Cozy with Your Builders!
Remodeling not only builds the light-filled master bedroom expansion you’ve been dreaming of, but it also can build lasting relationships between the builders and homeowners. This is especially true with remodels, as homeowners are often living in the home during construction and are more involved in the process. No one knows living in your home as well as you do, which makes a renovation more than just a partnership between builders and clients. Understanding the nature of how the space is used is crucial to the success of the project, making these relationships all the more valuable.
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It
It’s important to respect the architecture of a well-structured home. Features of the home that provide integrity — often original features — are worth preserving. Even without historic zoning requirements preserving elements such as street facades, much of what is important to save is just as easily known through common sense as through preserving purity of design. Styles worthy of preservation most commonly found in Nashville can be seen in the abundance of bungalows, period revivals and ranch houses, but any home built with integrity of design deserves regard. Character, proportion, elegance of detail — regardless of architectural style — are the features worth preserving. It’s important to customize each space, honoring the tone and style in the remodel while supporting the needs of the homeowner as well.
Lighting is Key
Natural light — and lighting in general — is extremely important to how you feel in a space, and how the space is used. An improperly lit room can negatively affect the inhabitants, and the reverse is true as well. Of course the mint condition set of mid-century lamps you found somewhere on Eighth Avenue works wonders, but sometimes lamps just aren’t enough. Perhaps it’s time to take a flat ceiling and arch it, or add beams that elevate the room and literally create more space for the natural light to rebound. Changing the landscape of the ceiling can be an essential step in transforming the way light moves around the home.
Expansion Isn’t Always Necessary
A home remodel does not need to mean doubling the square footage of your home – although you can do that too. Sometimes space can be created without too much effort by removing a wall or repositioning a staircase. A stairway leading straight up from the main entryway of the home eats up a lot of space that could be used in other ways. Pulling back the stairs and curving them off to the side can create a foyer where there wasn’t one, retain the drama of the entryway staircase and yet leave the exterior walls completely untouched. Space is created where it didn’t exist before.
Clean It Up!
During every phase of the remodel, especially the planning stages, it is important to keep the clutter to a minimum. The handy rule of thumb of condensing overstuffed closets applies here too – if you haven’t touched an item or noticed it in six months to a year, reevaluate why you have it. Fellow pack rats, we hear your protests! But aside from tidiness, being able to see the home underneath everything you have filled it with can also help narrow down the solutions or illuminate possibilities for the remodel itself.
Every Project is Unique
Each home is its own unique case with a family who has a set of goals for their remodel, and a home remodel is definitely not something that can be replicated house by house. Because of the nature of each project having its own identity with a complex set of needs and wants, it’s important to have experts taking care of every step along the way.
No matter how big or small your home project is, remembering these rules from The Wills Company experts will ensure you end up with the perfect space to call home!
All photography provided by The Wills Company
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