Not doing your homework
Renovating your home should never be a swift decision. Home improvement projects cost both time and money- requiring you to have a handle on your tight budget and hectic schedule. When it comes to selecting a general contractor, most homeowners “got a guy” or they “know someone” in the biz. If you know and trust your general contractor and you can count on the quality of his or her work, then by all means make the hire! Nevertheless, I would ALWAYS recommend getting three quotes on a project before making any decisions. In the long run, you could save yourself a lot of money by finding a better deal. Make sure your contractor has liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. These are a must!
Under-prepping for the project
If you are a DIYer, then this one is particularly imperative! Let’s say you decide to paint your cabinets and casework: You’ve marked the time out on your calendar to sand and paint the cabinets, and your personal budget is on track for sandpaper, paint, brushes, drop cloths and rags. On paper, the project seems simple, but as you begin laying down the drop cloths, you realize that you will have to buy new hardware for the cabinets. You then realize what an inconvenience it is to have to remove all the old hardware and detach the cabinet doors. You then have to make your third trip to Lowes to buy painters tape so that the new cabinet paint doesn’t drip onto the adjacent walls. And lastly, you realize the pain and inconvenience of having to remove all your dishes, silverware, pots and pans from the cabinets for an entire week. Lesson to be learned? In nearly every home improvement project- 80% is PREP. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!
Busting down walls
Homeowners love the “open concept”. It usually adds natural light to your home, improves traffic patterns and adds space. Some homeowners decide to bust down walls themselves without educating themselves or inspecting for load bearing walls. If wall is load bearing, you can’t just bust down the studs. In most cases you will need to build a temporary wall, and then install a load-bearing beam. For most homeowners, to get the open concept they want, electric lines need to be rerouted, HVAC ducts need to be changed/hidden, and floors/ceilings need to be patched.
Failing to contextualize your design
If you have made the decision to renovate part of your home, beware of failing to contextualize your ideal design! Although you may have the money to mimic HGTV’s dream kitchen, it might not be a good fit in your home. Just because a design looks good in someone else house does not mean it will fit the character of yours. A matchlessly modern looking kitchen may stick out like a sore thumb if the rest of your home has a classic look. Be intentional to promote the current qualities of your home while incorporating new design ideas. Classical and modern can go together!