Spring is in the Air… Renovations are around the corner!

by Jamie Alexander

As soon as the snow melts, we start to think about that list of “must do” home projects that we started over the winter. And sometimes small things turn into a partial or full-scale renovation. Here is my process for a peaceful, organized renovation:

PLAN! Think of this as the map with directions for your project.

The plan is much more than a list and a quick phone call to a contractor. If you work with a designer or decorator at this stage, before meeting with a contractor, you will end up with a better result. This is not to say your contractor doesn’t know what he is doing, he does! But a design professional will spend time on the fine detail decisions and selections. They will take your hopes and goals, transfer them to paper and ultimately bring them to life. If you choose to go on your own, be sure to have a single, unified plan to present to the contractor. The easier and the more detailed this is, the more accurate quote a contractor will be able to give you, saving you time and money.

PREPARE! Think of this as your daytimer or calender for your project.

Preparation is more than just cleaning out the space. Create a “work-back schedule”, which is a schedule you create starting with the date you would like to be done and working backwards. This is a detailed schedule of order dates, contractor dates, arrival dates, basically every major and minor benchmark of the project. Start with a vague calendar to ensure what you want is possible. For example, say it’s a kitchen you want to be complete by July 1st, yet when you create your work-back schedule it is May 1st.

Kitchens take at least 6-8 weeks not including demolition, electrical, flooring, space preparation or the tiles and counter-tops. Talk to your suppliers, cabinet makers and all the trades involved to start with the general lead times and work times needed. From there create the schedule and fill in the blanks for more specific details. You cannot get good, cheap and fast. You are better off doing it right the first time.

PROCEED! Think of this like putting your car in drive, it’s time to put the wheels in motion for your project.

It’s time to execute but that doesn’t mean you won’t still have paperwork to do. The first steps will include awarding your contractor the job, obtaining permits and having initial meetings with your designer and contractor together. If you need materials, furniture or lighting, ordering that will be the next step. Allow for order times in your work-back schedule. It is better to have all the “order” items waiting in the schedule queue rather than holding up the project trying to find it.

Clients ask, how did you do it on TV? How did it come together smoothly and look beautiful? Truthfully the preparation took months, but it was worth it. Remember, be reasonable, be firm, but be friendly! Happy Renovation Season.

Jamie Alexander is an award-winning designer, home decor writer and TV personality that has been named one of the “Top 10 designers in Canada”. Hailing originally from Moncton, Jamie maintains clients across the country and can be found from time to time working in the design studio with Julie & Joanne at Decor Haute Look in the scenic town of Neguac. For more information please visit: www.decorhautelook.com | 506.776.0200 | Twitter @JamieLAlexander | Instagram: @JamieAlexanderDesign

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