Tired of Frustration? 5+5 Outstanding Tips To Help You Plan For Your Home Remodeling

Frustration!

Are you tired of feeling frustrated during the pandemic? Are you feeling “pandemic overwhelm?”Frustration and Fear About Remodeling during the pandemic

Are you frustrated about how your home looks and works for you now? Is your home:

  • Cluttered, hard to organize and keep clean?
    • Is the pantry overflowing because you’re fixing at least three meals a day?
    • Are you buying and storing more snack foods?
    • Are there computers on the dining table with wires everywhere?
    • Is the entire family crowded around computers on the dining room table, leaving no place to eat?
    • Are school supplies and hobby paraphernalia everywhere except where they’re supposed to be?
  • Showing its age?
    • Have you been noticing all the deferred maintenance that you need to do?
    • Paint chipping and stained?
    • Appliances working poorly?
    • Old countertops and flooring showing years of wear?
    • Broken hinges and permanent stains on your dark wood cabinets?

Here you are, wanting or needing to freshen up your home. But you don’t know what to do or how to do it. Frustration has got you stuck! Maybe you were thinking about remodeling your kitchen, but the pandemic stopped you. Now you have to wait for the pandemic to end, right? Maybe and maybe not. More about that later.

First, I want to talk about what frustration is.

Exactly What Is Frustration?

Here’s a great definition: “The feeling of being upset or annoyed, because of an inability to change or achieve something. It’s the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something we want.”

We always have options, but we don’t see them.

Fear and Frustration Are Connected

First, fear takes over. It’s like a curtain drops in our mind, hiding all our options. We play the “What if?” game in our heads. When this happens to me, I envision the worst possible outcome.

Fear prevents us from making the right decisions about the present and the future. Then frustration enters the picture because we feel stuck and uncertain. I felt uncertain about the future until a friend helped me. “Fear and frustration are like a jumbo loan, with compound interest that accrues daily. This leaves us feeling stuck.

Here and Now

We are in the middle of very uncertain times. The pandemic is controlling everything in our lives. You know how your life has changed, and you don’t like it. You’re frustrated because you can’t have what you want:

  • To go back to work away from home and talk with co-workers in person.
  • To have your children back in school.
  • To go shopping without fear.
  • To fix and renovate your home so you can invite people to be with you in a comfortable environment.

You want everything to get back to the familiar normal. You’re not alone! So do I! But there may be a new normal when the pandemic ends. Not knowing, not being in control, becomes the fuel that feeds our frustration.

Conscious Decisions To Reduce Frustration’s Hold

I decided that fear and frustration weren’t going to control my life when the pandemic became a reality in February. Instead, I decided to take classes. I’m learning how to work on my business rather than working at my company. I’ve read more books in the past nine months than I have in the past several years. All the books have one thing in common. The stories are about people rising above whatever it was that was holding them back. They made conscious decisions to move forward and try new things.

5 Tips About How To Control Frustration (And Other Negative Feelings)

There are many ways that we can control our negative feelings. Here are some helpful tips from experts that will take about five minutes:

  1. Breathe. Take deeper, slower breaths for one or two minutes. I’ve learned to count to four as I inhale, then hold my breath to a count of four before exhaling while counting to four. I also use the phrase “I am at peace” when inhaling and “I let go” when I exhale. Here’s another breathing technique I use. I take in a very deep breath, hold it as long as possible, and then exhale forcefully like I’m blowing out a candle several feet away. During the pandemic, I’ve been breathing a lot!
  2. Take a couple of minutes to stop what you’re doing and look outside. Notice the light and shadow in the trees, or birds flying from branch to branch. Listen to your breath and notice your body relaxing. This has gotten me back to the present and “out of my head,” where frustration lives.
  3. Before you go back to what you were doing before, think of something — anything — that fills you with gratitude. For me, it’s the sky, no matter what the weather is. Nature has a calming influence on me. So do my cats when they’re not asleep in the other room.
  4. Gratitude opens the door to accept or at least acknowledge that the situation (pandemic) will not last forever. Change happens every day, even if we’re not aware of it.
  5. The next step is to say an affirmation in the present tense. What worked for me is: “I choose to transform my [feeling name] into positive action.”

I’ve been lucky to work with clients during this time. One couple is actually planning a new home to help them simplify their lives! The other homeowners want (and need) to remodel their homes. There’s one major similarity between these homeowners. They’re all planning now, so they’ll be ready for construction when the pandemic no longer controls their lives.

The other side of fear and frustration

It’s true! Everything you want is on the other side of Fear — and Frustration!

Here is how they’re preparing. This is something that you can do, too!

Planning For The Future

  • We met virtually, and they told me about their goals. We talked about what they don’t like and want to change and the specific details they want.
  • I asked about their budget for the entire project. I also asked when they’d like to start construction and when they want the project finished.
  • We talked about the options to begin the design process. I asked if they want me to take measurements of the areas they want to remodel. Or do they feel comfortable taking measurements and providing pictures? When I take measurements during the pandemic, I always follow guidelines. CDC and State regulations protect everyone’s health. Only one couple wanted to take their own measurements. They provided electronic copies of the sketch plus photos of the existing conditions.
  • Then I explained how I work. I gave them an estimate of my fee for preliminary plans only. This would allow them to get rough budget estimates from contractors. I also gave them an estimate of my fee for the entire project to end any surprises.
  • After the virtual meeting, I prepared and sent the homeowners a proposal. It included what we had discussed and verified that I had listened to them to remember what they said.

No one wants to remodel their home during the pandemic unless they plan to be living somewhere else. I agree with people’s reluctance about having strangers in their home now. A general contractor and his crew should perform a kitchen or bathroom remodeling. This can take several months. Now isn’t a good time for exposure to the virus.

Everything has proceeded very well with my clients. We’re all looking forward to the end of the pandemic! I’m excited about working with my client who lives in Clark County, Washington. It’s a master bathroom project. I’ve prepared two alternative plans for him and sent links to manufacturers’ websites. He’s selected most of the plumbing already. As soon as plumbing showrooms are open, we’ll make an appointment so he can see and touch when he’s chosen. Then we’ll visit other showrooms to look at countertop options and tile for the shower and floor.

Remodeling projects can be smooth, but there can be unforeseen problems. If homeowners aren’t familiar with the remodeling process, it can cause problems.

Fears and Frustrations During A Home Remodeling ProjectBiggest fears in home renovation graphic

In the past 36 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of homeowners. They’ve had different lifestyles, needs, and budgets. But many of them share two common feelings: fear and frustration.

Here are common fears I’ve observed that were confirmed in a recent online survey:

  • They won’t get their desired results or the products they want.
  • They’ll hire the wrong contractor.
  • They’ll hire the wrong designer.
  • They’ll spend more than they want. Several respondents decided to do the work themselves, D-I-Y. I’m going to check back in several months to ask questions about their projects and the results they got.

Homeowners can feel frustrated about time and money. Frustration happens to everyone, as we discovered earlier, if there are unrealistic expectations. Here’s what I’ve observed:

  • They want everything, including expensive luxury products, but their budget limits them.
  • They want the project to end by a specific date, often for a special occasion. But these tasks take months until completion:
    • Homeowners have to make decisions about the scope of their project and all products.
    • The designer has to get the plans ready.
    • Contractors have to prepare estimates.
    • The plan-check process for permits can take a month or more.
    • Construction from start to finish requires much longer.
  • One mistake can turn a remodeling project upside-down: Homeowners hire the contractor with the lowest estimate. But they’re frustrated by the workmanship that doesn’t meet their standards.

Yes, this is a simplified overview, but the similarity is pretty remarkable!

I’ve experienced fears and frustrations myself, so it makes me sad when it happens to other people. I try to help homeowners avoid fears and frustrations with honest communication.

We create our own frustration with unrealistic expectations and how we react to reality.

When we take responsibility for our lives, it reduces the chances of frustration.

Writing about fear and frustration reminds me of a project I had several years ago.

Case History

My client, “Barbara,” had a 1600-square foot home with three bedrooms and one bathroom. During our first appointment, Barbara told me about her kitchen remodeling project. It happened five years before we met. Her voice quivered, and she often paused when she talked about her kitchen remodeling. “The original kitchen didn’t fit my needs. I hired a contractor referred to me by neighbors who were very happy with what he did for them. The contractor said that I didn’t need a designer to help me.”

Her mouth became contorted, and her eyes squinted with anger. “My contractor did an excellent job but didn’t give any advice about details. He sent me to different showrooms to find the products. I was responsible for making all the decisions by myself.”

I asked, “Did you make any changes?”

“Yes,” she said, pounding her fist in the air. “It started when he asked me if I wanted to expand the kitchen into the family room to have an island. If I didn’t do that, he suggested a peninsula. First, I had to choose between a range or a cooktop with separate double ovens.”

Her frown softened, and she looked at me, like a child who’s lost their favorite toy. “I felt so alone, making all those decisions. I was afraid of making a mistake. I didn’t know what the project would cost.”

I knew that she was talking about feeling overwhelmed. Every kitchen remodeling project involves hundreds of choices. Here’s a shortlist of kitchen products that homeowners need to select:

  • Appliances
    • Type?
    • Manufacturer, model, and features?
    • Color (white? black? stainless steel?)
    • Size?
  • Cabinets
    • Wood and finish?
    • Style?
    • Storage?
      • Deep drawers?
      • Rollout shelves?
      • Corner lazy susans?
      • Pantry?
      • Utensil drawers?
  • Flooring
    • Wood?
    • Vinyl?
    • Tile?
    • Color?
    • Pattern?

Barbara said the work proceeded better than she expected. But two product decisions caused her to lose sleep: the countertop and backsplash. “The contractor got frustrated because it took so long for me to decide. He didn’t understand or care how overwhelmed I was. He wanted to get the job finished so he could move to his next project.”

Five years later, she was still enjoying her remodeled kitchen without any regrets. Now she was thinking about converting the smallest bedroom into a master bathroom.

“Are you ready to do this project?” I asked.

She answered with hesitation. “Yes, but I’m nervous about how much it’s going to cost. I’m fed up with my daily routine. I have to cram my skin-care products and makeup into a small drawer. I have to store my dryer, curling iron, brushes, and hairspray in a basket under the sink. I hate taking a shower in my tub. I’ve slipped several times, getting in and out, stepping over the tub.”

I reassured her that I’d be there for her during the bathroom project, beginning to end. I’d help her make all the decisions and communicate with her contractor. I’ll share the rest of Barbara’s story later. I want to lay a good foundation for your home remodeling.

Your Proposed Project and Overcoming Fears

Here you are, during the pandemic, anxious to embark on your home remodeling project. But you’re fearful. Are you ready, or are you still stuck in some ways? I understand and care how you feel. There are several essential questions that I want to ask you to think about:

  • How has the pandemic affected you and your lifestyle?
  • What makes you feel afraid?
  • Is your fear one about making an expensive mistake, or something else that has you stuck, unable to move forward?

Your project is unique. Your needs, lifestyle, and budget are individual, unlike any other homeowner I’ve known. But like I said earlier, there are similarities. I discovered that the best way to end negative feelings like fear is to be proactive.

Break your project into logical steps. Here are five significant steps that will help you. Each step has many phases that will help you achieve remodeling success.

“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Step 1: Do Some Homework About Your Goals

  • Figure out your goals and what you want to achieve.
  • Family members’ input is essential.
  • Buy two or three magazines containing articles and pictures relating to what you want to do. Attach a “post-it” note to pictures and write what appeals to you about the image.
  • Visit the Houzz website (https://www.houzz.com), set up one or more portfolios, and start adding pictures. Contact the designer to ask questions about products, etc.

Step 2: Set A Budget

Figuring out how much to invest in your project is challenging! 87% of homeowners wanting to remodel don’t know what their investment will be. They don’t know how to establish a budget. They don’t have a clue!

  • I recommend the Cost vs. Value Report (https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2020/). Remodeling professionals create the report for specific cities all over America. It’s easy to navigate. Don’t be upset because they ask you to register. No one has ever complained about sponsors contacting them.

Step 3: Interview Design Professionals and Hire The Best Candidate

  • Get referrals from neighbors, friends, and business associates. If no one can help you, you can contact the following organizations for referrals:

National Association of Home Builders (https://www.nahb.org)
National Association of the Remodeling Industry (https://www.nari.org)
National Kitchen & Bath Association (https://nkba.org)

  • Interview design professionals.
  • Talk about your expectations and listen to their advice. Communication is the only way to get what you want. Or the way to discover different (or better) results.
  • Ask for and call all references given by the candidates.
  • Hire a design professional who listens to you and understands what you want. S/he should be someone who:
    • Has experience with similar projects to yours.
    • Understands building codes for your area.
    • Offers virtual meetings.
    • Uses Computer-Aided Drafting and creates virtual-reality “pictures” of your project.
    • Will prepare many preliminary plans for labor and materials estimates.
    • Will help you make adjustments to stay within your budget.
    • Will help you define your project’s scope.
    • Will refer you to qualified contractors.
    • Will prepare final plans and specifications for permits and construction.
    • Will communicate and work with everyone.

Step 4: Interview Contractors and Hire The Best Candidate

  • Ask your designer for referrals to contractors. Or get referrals from neighbors, friends, and business associates. You can also contact the professional organizations above.
  • Contractors may be busy, unavailable to help you. You may disqualify them if you sense a disconnect in communication.
  • Interview contractors and communicate about your project and your expectations. Verify that the contractors respect your designer’s role in your project’s success. (Unfortunately, many contractors don’t understand how to work with a designer).
  • Ask about the candidates’ ability and willingness to communicate daily, as needed, and their preferred tool (phone, email,  text, or a combination).
  • Ask for and call all references given to verify the candidates’ qualifications.
  • Verify that the candidate is licensed and bonded for the work they’ll be performing.
  • Hire a contractor who listens to you and understands what you want. Trust your “gut” and avoid hiring someone who guarantees to do your job for less than everyone else.

Step 5: The Design Process

During the design process, you’ll be making important decisions. Your project’s scope and your products need thought and consideration. Here are tips to help you:

  • Stay in touch with how you’re feeling. Be honest and share your feelings with your designer. Your designer should understand and help you.
  • Make timely decisions. Delaying decisions might create artificial anxiety. Products you want may have a long lead-time or have unexpected freight costs.
  • Order your products immediately. Arrange to store them until your contractor is ready for them. Access to installation manuals included with products is essential. The crew needs to read manuals so they can prepare the job site for the products.

The next step is construction. I’ve prepared a separate whitepaper that covers this.

There are many more steps until you achieve a finished remodeling project. With the designer and contractor working as a team, your project should be successful. I’m not going to deny that there may be challenges. Almost every remodeling project has unexpected challenges. To reassure you, I’ve never seen a problem that didn’t have many solutions. But the result has to be right for your circumstances. The goal is to make informed decisions during your remodeling journey.

Now, The Rest Of The Story — A Synopsis

Barbara’s bedroom-to-bathroom conversion project finished on time, within 2% of her target budget. It was a significant undertaking! I helped her select every product for her new bathroom and closet. Then I prepared several preliminary plans showing her the options. Her contractor provided estimates, and she made the right decisions for her budget. Yes, there were challenges, but we resolved them to Barbara’s satisfaction. I’ve attached a copy of the preliminary plans, elevations, and perspectives. You can see that this was a large project.

–o0o–

Now you know a little about how I work. You’ve learned about my philosophy. You’ll learn more when you read my newsletters. When you are ready to remodel, I want to be the design professional for your project. Call me so that we can talk about your goals, your concerns, your anxiety, and fears.

As-built plan eliminates fear and frustrationProposed Plan eliminates fear and frustrationElevation 1 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 2 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 3 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 4 eliminates fear and frustration

Elevation 5 eliminates fewar and frustration

Bathroom remodel eliminates fear and frustration

New master bathroom eliminates fear and frustration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LED Lighting = $avings!

LED Lighting $aves Our Environment While $aving You Money!

Remodeled Vancouver kitchen with LED lighting

LED Lighting in Remodeled Kitchen

LED lighting technology was in its infancy eleven years ago. It wasn’t available when I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s until 2000. California passed laws to help energy conservation, but it was a heavy-handed approach. We did have incandescent filament lamps, but we were forced to use fluorescent lighting as the main source of light in kitchens and bathrooms.

Homeowners objected to this limitation, so we worked around the laws making fluorescent under-cabinet fixtures the main light source in kitchens. The fixtures were controlled by the switch closest to the kitchen door. These fluorescent lamps were small in diameter so the fixtures were short. There were varying lengths of the fluorescent lamps, but we were limited by which lengths were available in either warm white or cool white.  I made the mistake of mixing the lamps on my first project. Warm white looked reddish-orange and cool white looked blue-green. The backsplash in my clients’ kitchen looked like Christmas!

For a while, we could use halogen lamps in recessed and decorative fixtures. They were used because they could be dimmed. But the regulations got Then manufacturers produced fluorescent lamps with standard screw-type bases so they could be used with recessed and decorative fixtures. The EPA told us that CFLs would be the standard to replace incandescent lamps. Reluctantly, the construction industry and homeowners adopted this, but everyone hated the results. Fluorescent lamps were on or off. No dimming. The light was simultaneously flat and harsh.

My, how we’ve come a long way — and the future looks even brighter!

In 2005, LED lighting was available, but there were limitations:

  • Not dimmable.
  • Color was a cool blue-white.
  • Replacement bulbs (lamps) for many fixtures did not exist.
  • Strip and rope lighting was available, but it was very expensive ($40 per foot!).

LED lighting has improved!

To create the indirect lighting for the entry hall and hallway, dining room, living room, master bedroom, and kitchen in our new home in 2006, my husband had to buy 3,000 individual LEDs and wire them together on “perf” board. Then he connected the finished Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) strips to a dimmable transformer and plugged the transformer into a switched outlet that had been installed in the coffers. It was a lot of work for him, but it saved us thousands of dollars. We got the results we wanted and lit all of those areas with only 100 watts of power, which was reflected in our lowered electric bill. To achieve similar results in 2021, any Homeowner can purchase ready-made dimmable LED strip lighting for a multitude of purposes and a multitude of color ranges:

  • Indirect lighting in trayed/coffered ceilings or on crown molding
  • Task and accent lighting under wall cabinets and countertop overhangs in kitchens
  • Accent display lighting in unlimited applications
  • Safety night lighting in bathroom toekicks and stair edges
  • Increased-visibility lighting in pantries and closets

Comparison of LED lighting to other types of lighting

In addition to LED strip lighting, there’s a wide selection of bulbs available, replace discontinued incandescent and outdated CFL bulbs. The colors, brightness, and dimmability have been improved, to enhance all interior environments. The best news for all of us, though, is that the price of LED lighting has dropped like a rock as the technology has improved and the market has become more competitive. Early incandescent lamp replacements were as high as $50 each. In 2021, we can purchase better LED replacement lamps for as low as $5 each! Here is a chart from Earth Easy that graphically shows how cost-efficient LED lighting is:

Comparison chart for LED, CFL, and Incandescent lighting

There is more technical information available at Wikipedia.

LED Lighting has grown in popularity

Lighting designers understood the benefits that LED lighting would have on the environment. They knew that homeowners and businesses would save money on energy bills. They worked with manufacturers to develop better and varied light sources for residential and commercial use. “DOE estimates there are at least 500 million recessed downlights installed in U.S. homes, and more than 20 million are sold each year,” according to a report by energy.gov.

Armed with all of this information, I hope that you’re inspired to switch (pun intended!) your existing lighting to LEDs.

See before and after pictures and a description of the featured kitchen project that successfully used LED lighting.

© 2016 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved; Revised 2/2022.

“Remodel Our Existing Home Or Move To A New Home?”

“Remodel Our Existing Home, or Move To A New Home?”

Stay in Existing vs. New Home Remodel?    –OR–      New?

“Do we stay and remodel our home, or move to a new home?” This question has come up many times in my career, and I’ve lived it personally. The answer is difficult, because it depends on individual circumstances. I’m going to share the same recommendation now as I have in the past: Make lists!

List #1

In 35 years as a professional designer, homeowners have asked so many interesting questions! I love to answer questions! In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share often-asked questions and some of the interesting “back stories” of the homeowners. The questions may be similar, but they require custom answers to fit individualized needs.

Are you a list person? I hope you are, because this is the best way to discover and uncover hidden truths. Get a lined pad and a pencil. The reason I prefer a pad with real paper is that it’s available, even in the middle of the night. You can write notes or add to your lists whenever you think of them.

Draw a vertical line down the middle of the first page – it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you are compelled to use a ruler, it’s okay.  At the top of the page, on the left, write “Reasons to Stay,” what you love about your home and neighborhood.  On the right-hand side, write “Reasons to move,” what you hate about your home and neighborhood. Don’t edit or over-think your list. No one is going to grade you on your exercise.

List #2

There are things you can do to stay in your home, but they’re not going to be inexpensive, especially if your existing home is too small or needs major renovations. But neither is selling your home and moving to a new home! Answering the question about staying or moving is going to require homework. There’s more homework involved in thinking about your project than you imagined. But I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. Just take it a step at a time – that’s the only way to get from here to there. Give yourself time to think about your list and create it. Include everyone in the immediate family who has a stake in the outcome.

After you’ve got your lists of reasons, you’ll need to gather information to help you make an informed decision. Having information will give you peace of mind – I guarantee it! After your initial list, the next several pages of your notepad will be dedicated to gathering financial information about your existing home. Get ready to create another list!

What do you need to do to your home – deferred maintenance?

  • Roof repair or replacement?
  • Exterior painting?
  • Interior painting?
  • Plumbing leaks?
  • HVAC repair or replacement?

List #3

What do you want to do to your home to make it more liveable? This list is going to be easy, because I’ve done the work for you! You can get a free copy of the new and improved Homeowner Surveys that I originally created for my book, “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling.” The Homeowner Survey is a total of 27 pages and may take several days to complete. Once you have completed the Homeowner Survey , you can get a preliminary guesstimate from contractors about the range of your investment for what you want to do. If you want more than a guesstimate, here’s what you should do:

  1. Hire a professional designer to create as-built and proposed plans of your home. More details = higher fee. The fee could be as low as $2,500 or more than $6,000. We’ll talk about professional designers’ fees in another segment of “Today’s Home.”
  2. Pay a contractor for an estimate, based on your homeowner survey and the plans.

Homework Required: Buying A New Home

You’ll now have the first half of your question answered, how much you will need to invest to get what you need and want, to stay in your existing home.  The rest is relatively simple math. Here are the logical steps to help you arrive at a complete picture for your investment in a new home. Answer these questions:

  • What is your existing home worth, as is?
  • What’s the balance of your mortgage?
  • How many years before you own your home?
  • What do you pay monthly for your mortgage, taxes and insurance?
  • How much have you spent on fixing and repairing “deferred maintenance” in the past year or two? You can use the previous list about deferred maintenance that you created. If you haven’t spent anything on deferred maintenance, contact the contractor who did the estimate for home remodeling and get estimates for the necessary work.

Lists Complete! What’s Next?

Next, contact a trustworthy real estate agent or look online for comparables from recently-sold homes in your area that will help you answer these questions:

  • What can you reasonably get for your home as is or with minimum repairs?
  • How much will it cost to sell your home? Here’s what to include:
    • Capital gains or losses
    • Real estate fees
    • Closing costs
    • Moving costs
    • Contingencies and unforeseen emergencies

Now you’re ready to gather information about a new home. You can use the same Homeowner Survey to help you find a new home that fulfills your needs and wants. It’s great that there is so much information available online to help you define and decide where you want to move to, and how much you want to pay for a new home. In the greater Portland, Oregon area, I like the John L. Scott website that’s easy to navigate, but you may have a favorite.

Here’s a hint that will help you save information: In the past, what I’ve done to save information is to copy the url of a site and email it to myself with the same subject (i.e., “new home information,” etc.). Most of the real estate sales sites have information about your mortgage payment as it relates to your down payment. There may or may not be information about property taxes and insurance, but you can calculate that using your current mortgage based on the percentages. Write down your estimate for the monthly mortgage, taxes and insurance, then make comparisons:

  • What’s the difference between your new monthly payment and what you’re currently paying? Will your income support the move?
  • What’s the difference between remodeling your existing home and moving to a new home?

Next, weigh other factors, such as:

  • School location and reputation for quality education
  • Proximity to shopping, places of worship, parks and recreation, and public transportation
  • Your existing neighborhood compared to new neighborhoods

Make Your Decision: Remodel Your Existing Home, or Buy A New Home

After you’ve completed this exercise, you are armed with written information that will help you decide whether you should stay and remodel your existing home or move to a new home. It’s a big decision! The great thing about all of this documentation is that it prevents you from getting confused! Selling and buying homes, and home remodeling, is filled with emotions you never knew you had.

To avoid confusion and unwanted emotions, try your best to maintain a level-headed, logical approach. Don’t let anyone whip you into a frenzy of emotions to get you to do something that isn’t in your best long-term interest. This is the advice of a homeowner advocate with 35 years of experience. I’ve had four clients who decided to stay and remodel, and three who decided to move to a new home. My husband and I have done both: Stayed and remodeled, and moved to a new home. We know all about the emotional roller coaster ride to make an informed decision!

Bottom line: Whatever decision you make, your goal is to improve your life. I’m here to help you!

If you’re confused about whether to remodel your existing home or move to a new home, I can (and will) help you make the decision that’s right for you! Contact me to talk about your future.

Listen to the podcast about this subject!

P.S.: Don’t forget to order your free copy of the Homeowner Survey today!

Remodeling A 1970s Home For Special Needs

A family of six lived in a 1970s home that needed major remodeling, Here are the challenges and solutions that would transform the home totally:

Challenges and Solutions

#1: The youngest son has muscular dystrophy and cannot get to the large basement playroom without being carried by the father.

A residential elevator would allow the son to travel easily to and from the main floor to the basement. The best location for the elevator shaft was at the rear of the home, with entries to the elevator in the living room and the play room.

#2: The front had an uninviting stone wall that hid the entry door.

Removing the wall and changing the front of the house would make the home more inviting for guests.

#3: The existing kitchen was too small, especially for entertaining.

The kitchen would be moved to the existing family room, so the existing kitchen could become the dining room, allowing the homeowners to entertain more frequently.

#4: The existing master suite was typical for a 1970s home, with a small shower and a one-person lavatory. Closets were small, with limited storage. The only linen storage was a small closet in the main hallway.

An addition solved all of the problems. The master bedroom is bigger, and there are two large closets with lots of storage. The new bathroom has a two-person shower, a separate toilet room, and large separate lavatories. There’s also a 6-foot wide linen closet.

BONUS: The addition also created a great bedroom for the oldest daughter in the basement area that gave her the privacy she needed; it has a wonderful view of the garden.

#5: The youngest son’s bedroom and the guest bathroom needed to be remodeled to be accessible. The bathroom also needed to look nice for guests.

Transforming a 30” door into a 36” door required borrowing space from the existing small linen closet. The bathroom remodel became part of the master suite addition, making room for a 5-foot wheelchair turnaround, and easy access to the tub/shower and the toilet.

*DESIGN TIP: A “handicap” bathroom doesn’t need to look or feel like a hospital! There are many beautiful products available that blend with a home’s style and the family’s preferences.

The Design And Value Engineering

I worked with the family for about three months to develop the preliminary plans and prepare virtual-reality renderings to show them what their remodeled home could look like. They loved it! Before we got involved with choosing products, I recommended a contractor who could provide a detailed estimate. We call this “value engineering.” This would help the couple know what their investment would be. Estimates this early in the process helps homeowners make important decisions about the scope of their project before they get too excited about their project.

The preliminary estimate, with allowances for products and finishes, approached $500,000. Talking with the couple honestly, we all agreed that if they remodeled this home, it would most likely be their final home.  The reason: they wouldn’t be able to get any return of their investment when comparing their home to neighboring properties. They admitted that it was important to go through the initial process like we did, although it involved an investment of about $3,000. But it helped them make the important decision to look for a home that had all of the amenities they needed and wanted. Fortunately, they found a new home in a neighboring community that had everything, including a residential elevator! Their investment in the new home was more than their total investment of the existing remodeled home would have been.  But considering the disruption of their lives during a major remodel, they decided it was worth selling their home and moving to the new home.

A Special Bonus For The Homeowners

What we didn’t realize was that the proposed plans and virtual-reality renderings that I had put into a binder for them would help to sell their home in three days for the full asking price! This was confirmation that it’s hard for most people to visualize the possibilities and see past the existing reality. I’m so grateful to have a career, where my ability to see the possibilities helps people to move forward.

Design Tips From This Project

It’s best to get a contractor involved early in the process, to provide value engineering for the project, and verify that what you want is within your budget. Most contractors charge a fee for this service, but many apply all or part of the fee towards construction of your project. There will be tradeoffs involved, but tit’s important for you to:

* Establish a realistic, reasonable budget.
* Make informed decisions about the scope of your project and all products.
* Be flexible, and be open to the possibilities.

 If you’re thinking about remodeling your home. if your family has special needs,  but you’re confused about the possibilities, call me today! With virtual-reality renderings, I can show you what your home can look like!

Remodeling Budget Discussions Are Difficult For Everyone

A Remodeling Budget Can Be Hard To Determine

Set your remodeling budget before you begin construction

Your remodeling budget will allow you to do everything you want, or it will limit you and require you to make serious tradeoffs. Every remodeling project is different, although there may be similarities. If you’ve never remodeled a home before, you may feel overwhelmed and fearful of making expensive mistakes. Here are some tips to help you get from where you are now to understanding and setting a realistic remodeling budget. (more…)

Bathroom Investment Is As Individual As Your Fingerprint

Bathroom Investment in Remodeling: How to Save MoneyYour bathroom investment is as unique as your fingerprint

Bathroom investment in remodeling is more expensive, per square foot, than kitchen remodeling! According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report for Portland, Oregon, the range of bathroom investments for remodeling is $18,560 – $58,944, averaging $560/square foot (low = $530/square foot; high = $590/square foot).

The range of investments for kitchen remodeling is $20,808 (minor remodel), $104 /sq.ft. – $122,359 (major upscale remodel), $612/sq ft. What “ups the ante” for your

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