You’ve decided to remodel or add on to your home. Where do you start? Unless you hire a professional design-build team, you may be asking for trouble. Instead of adding value, you could be turning the home into a “white elephant.”
RealEstate.com notes that bad design can actually reduce the value of your home, and Architectural Digest says the biggest design mistake people make is not hiring a designer from the very beginning.
“Especially during the eighties and nineties, houses were being built so fast, there were not a lot of choices being offered,” explains 3W design, inc. owner Cheryl Tufts. “Today these homes look very dated.”
Even worse, many cookie-cutter houses and condos aren’t very functional. Take kitchens, for example. 3W design is doing a lot of kitchen remodels as clients place a high value on the most used room in the house.
“Kitchens were poorly planned, or developers were just not thinking. You have a range on the right and a dishwasher on the left but you can’t open the dishwasher without first closing the doors of an adjacent cabinet. Or you have an entire kitchen with only one drawer for silverware, or it ends up being the ‘junk drawer,’” Tufts said. “Or a refrigerator may be located away from counters or in an alcove, with no “landing spot, no place to unload groceries… Unless someone is looking to add on, I tell people we can’t give then more physical space when remodeling, but we can—and do—give them more function.”
Expensive Design Fails
Some common design mistakes that cost homeowners money and wasted time include:
- Falling in love with and buying appliances and fixtures before you have professional design specs for the space
- Buying undersized rugs
- Cutting corners by hiring unlicensed contractors and subcontractors with no insurance
- Failing to obtain required permits (you could be forced to demolish the work and start over)
- Customizing to great extent only to your eclectic tastes; that no one else would appreciate—or would want to tear out
One of the biggest mistakes people make when redoing a kitchen themselves is skimping on cabinet space and storage, which may be a prime reason for a kitchen re-do in the first place, according to MarthaStewart.com. Martha Stewart’s advice? Use a kitchen design professional. A kitchen is so important to a home and its potential resale value it makes no sense to leave it to an amateur.
The Property Brothers of HGTV fame said not measuring the space for cabinets properly is “one of the worst design mistakes you can make during a renovation.” Measure 10 times and cut once is their advice.
Planning Includes Scheduling
One hazard of working with a handyman or a contractor who isn’t totally focused on your job is not knowing when they’ll show up. Schedules matter! Time is money, and when a drywall contractor shows up before the electrician has finished the wiring, who knows when they can show up again to get the job done.
Even redecorating and rearranging your living or family room is better if you have a design professional on the job. It’s not that unusual for people to go out and buy oversized furniture for their great room that doesn’t fit through the standard-size door.
Starting projects in too many rooms at once is another common mistake, and a recipe for “scope creep” and a busted budget. Professionals who design and build for a living, such as 3W design inc. have tight-knit, well-functioning teams who can plan, design, and execute a remodeling project on time and within your specified budget.
Another important service a design professional provides is education. Someone may ask for a certain type of countertop, but it may be inappropriate for their kitchen or lifestyle. Marble, for example, is porous and needs to be resealed regularly. Otherwise, a red wine spill will leave the counter looking like a crime scene. Another stone or material may be more appropriate.
A professional can explain the why and how or the appropriateness of materials. As Cheryl Tufts said, “Someone might want a glossy tile in the bathroom, which could be too slippery and dangerous because of their age or physical condition.”
A Place for Everything
Back to the kitchen, one of 3W design’s fixes for dated kitchens includes more drawers that are bigger. “We find a home for everything,” said Tufts, “So the newer kitchens have a lot more drawers” to be more family friendly. “We’re also adding vertical pull-outs or tray dividers for things like baking sheets, trays, and racks. This way you don’t have to pull out all of them to get the one on the bottom of the pile.”
A lot of older kitchens are U-shaped, and open in the center. The space is too small for a table, but too big to be comfortable walking back and forth with heavy pots, dishes or food from the refrigerator. So 3W design may draw up a plan for an island, which itself can be a multi-tasking feature. (See blog post from November 2015.)
The bottom line? Avoid expensive mistakes! Whatever your home remodeling challenges, 3W design has the experience, talent and skills to bring your vision to life in the most pleasing and cost-effective way.