Ready … Set … No?

By Caron Lopez –

Making your home a “Beautiful Home for the Holidays”

Has your remodeling project taken on that queue each time – starting with motivation and then, ending up on a holiday wish list that did not materialize for another year? September is the jump start month to get those jobs planned, contracted, and for the approaching holiday season, getting it done. Gifting yourself with a “Beautiful Home for the Holidays” will bring pleasure to you and your family all year. And no, it’s not too early. In the design and remodeling industry, scheduling for the approaching holiday rush is already in full swing.

Photo courtesy of © 2008, HGTV/Scripps Networks Interactive, LLC.

Ready . . . 

The “ready” stage is a time for you to explore but do so with a timeframe. The multitude of ideas and people who want to give advice can overwhelm you. To help you streamline the process, a designer can save you valuable time by giving you direction in selecting a suitable style, a mix of textures and an intriguing pallet of colors while saving you money by knowing how to get the most impact for your dollar. Start saving photos, which will help you communicate better with those who are going to help you. While making a folder of ideas, jot down a note as to the special detail that caught your eye. After reviewing the photographs, notice to what you are drawn. A theme will emerge. Keep an open mind to the designer’s or contractor’s suggestions because they know the newest and greatest ideas, as well as the time-tested classics.

Think inside the box and outside the box. Are existing layouts in your home as a whole working for you? Do you need to tweak the floor plan? What about lighting? Lighting has a dual effect. It illuminates work areas, and if strategically placed, sets the drama of the room.

Could this year’s holiday entertaining be expanded and enhanced with a patio being converted to an outdoor living area? Our mild winters make the outdoor “room” a viable option to increase the usable square footage of your home. Complete it with an outdoor kitchen or fire pit and inviting colorful cushions on comfortable furniture. Set the mood with outdoor curtains to define the space. Determine what is going to upgrade both your lifestyle and your home’s style, and go for it!

Set . . .

Set your project up for success by properly managing your project from start to finish. Determine whether your wish list is budget friendly. Exceeding a budget brings no joy. I approach the project as pieces of a puzzle, and each piece has a price on it. The piece causing overages on the budget, if not significant, gets thrown out or put into a later project file.

Do-it-yourselfers, do your homework and bite off a little of the project at a time so it is doable and enjoyable. If seeking a professional, be sure they are! Don’t be afraid to ask to see projects they have completed and get references. Professionals can help you with planning the scope of the project, designing a room’s traffic plan, the improvement of lighting, selection of finishes and hardware, budgeting issues and help with the shopping, ordering, timing of deliveries and installation. If you experience sticker shock in your initial stage, do not let it discourage you. Discuss possible budget cures with suppliers. The scope of the project and the budget are always entangled and need to be resolved.

If Plan A is stopping you, research Plan B. Layout and function is more important in this stage than cosmetics. If you plan a new space, no matter how beautiful it is, if it is uncomfortable, if lighting is insufficient, if traffic flow is irritating, if it is downright not functional, again, there is no joy. Set your scope of the project, seek contractors or supplier bids to see if the range of the budget is realistic, and get the many unknown costs to become known. Set the budget, set a timeline, sign your contracts or if you are a do-it-yourselfer, schedule your orders to prevent delays. And, take your “before” pictures, because you are ready to . . .

Go!

An ounce of prevention goes a long way now that you are in this stage. Items in your home need to be covered, removed, relocated, draped and then, tear out begins. If dust is being produced, drape the area with plastic and remember to change your air conditioner filters often. Communicate with those in your home about safety of children and pets. With each day of your project’s actual work, enjoy the progress. Contractors want to know your expectations and will make efforts to please. Contractors will respond well to your praises.

Now, we are close to the finish line. This last lap is not finished, so handle this effectively but with patience. Create a punch list. Documenting it by email is a good idea in addition to a phone call. There are always going to be details that need to be addressed. There may be a drawer that sticks, or a remote control missing, or a dimmer that did not get installed. With the punch list checked off, take the “after” pictures. Enjoy your “Beautiful Home for the Holidays!”