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Surviving A Remodel: A Client’s Perspective

1832 Bayview-12-545008-edited.jpgWe asked a few of our clients to share with us what their remodeling experience was like, and any tips they have for homeowners considering a renovation.

Below are the answers we received from a homeowner in Hermosa Beach who recently remodeled their home with Custom Design & Construction.

Q: What was the main reason you wanted to remodel?

I had just purchased a house – the kitchen and bathrooms needed full upgrades.  The kitchen likely was from the late 70s, the bathrooms were in better shape, but only just.

Q: What was the design process like?

At my first meeting with my Project Designer, Beth, we talked about my home’s layout, what worked and what didn’t.  I had some ideas about what I needed and Beth had some great suggestions in regards to tweaking the layout so it would meet my needs.

She worked up three design options.  Each had a sketched up version in perspective which made it so easy to visualize what the room would look like if you were standing in it.

I picked the version that I liked best as a starting point and we modified it further until things were just right.

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Q: What was it like having us in your home during this process?

I was lucky; I was able to stay in my old residence while the remodel was underway.  A couple of times per week I’d stop by the project on my way home.  The jobsite was always left clean and organized.  You could tell that the crew was really making sure that my project was being taken care of.  One morning a neighbor came up to me and told me that they were impressed with how conscientious the crew was!

Q: Were there any specific struggles for you during this process?  Things that didn’t go as anticipated?   

The scope of my project expanded greatly.  I tried to plan ahead but structural issues came up during the job which dictated changes that I hadn’t planned for.

This was my first time going through a remodel.  As the scope of work expanded (all the way down to the studs) I ended up making lots of changes.  That greatly extended my timeline and stretched my budget.  It probably gave my contractor a good set of headaches, too, but they were very accommodating!

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Q: If there was something you could share with others getting ready to remodel, what would you share with them?

Go to as many showrooms, open houses, design workshops, and home shows as you can.  Scour Houzz.com and remodelista.com.  Look at all the cool features and tiny details that other people are incorporating into their homes.  Talk to your friends about what they’ve done with their houses.  You’ll find great ideas that you’ll want in your project – discover them before your job starts!

Finally, try as hard as you can to think of EVERYTHING you might want to do, and then go beyond that.  If you're opening a wall or ceiling, run that extra coax jack, power outlet, or audio cable while you can.  A few more dollars spent at the start can save SO MUCH down the road!

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Q: Anything else you want to share?

Ask yourself some questions…

  • Do you like the owner of the company?  Can you get along with your designer and project manager?
  • You’ll be spending a lot of money and a lot of time.  Make sure you can have serious face-to-face discussions if the need arises.
  • When you send an email, do you get replies to your questions in a reasonable amount of time?  Does your designer or project manager make themselves available for a question off-hours or on the weekend?  Do you feel like you can trust the folks that are going to rebuild the structure that will be your home?  You can check references and the BBB, but there’s a level of personal chemistry that you must be comfortable with before you decide on whom to hire.  And yes, part of the endeavor will be a leap of faith no matter how much research you’ve done.
  • It’s guaranteed: you’ll have unforeseen roadblocks during your remodel.  The job will go longer, it’ll cost more, and there will be more stress than was originally planned for.  Take every estimate you get as a best-case scenario.  Be flexible and understanding, your crew is rebuilding your home!
  • If you feel you can trust your team, if you know they have your back and will do everything they can to maintain a good working relationship with you… congratulations!  You've found the path to a successful remodel!

See all the before and after images of this project by visiting our profile on Houzz (part 1, part 2, and part 3).

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Topics: Open Floor Plan, Kitchen, bath, Exterior, Transitional, Garage, Case Study, Interiors, Bathroom, Whole House, Energy Efficiency, Lighting