Renovation and Interior Design Process
Many people choose to renovate and upgrade an existing apartment or house to fit their lifestyle and needs, which change over the years. Renovation is a very complex process, especially if you decide to manage it yourself. The renovation process requires decision making on such matters as selecting professionals to carry out the work, picking the right materials, the color of the couch, etc. During renovation you will need to consult with different professionals: the engineer who should approve breaking down walls, the electrician regarding changing the electrical system, the plumber about changing the pipes, the a/c technician about where to place the air conditioners, the carpenter about carpentry work, the designer about suitable materials for the kitchen, furniture, and more.
So where do you start? It is important to know that like any complex process, there must be clear working stages outlined and detailed planning or each stage.
Like any relationship, the renovation process is very intense and requires understanding and good chemistry between the client, designer, and construction workers. Before we even begin talking about the renovation, we have a non-obligatory meeting with the client in his/her home. This initial meeting is very important because it serves as a personal introduction where we hear and learn about the needs, desires, and expectations of the client. At the meeting we try to extract as much information about the client’s lifestyle and habits regarding hospitality, cooking, sleeping, storage, working, and so. It is important to discuss the smallest details, in order to plan a home that is tailored to the client’s needs and lifestyle.
Measuring the House or Apartment
The next step is sending an authorized professional to measure the house or apartment to obtain accurate measurements of the structure before we begin planning. The current floor plan must be documented because it is the foundation upon which the planning will be based. Recording all existing measurements saves the client time and most importantly, prevents mistakes and saves money.
The designer will make several “inspiration boards” to show the client the kind of mood and atmosphere they are aiming to create, and to show the materials and colors they intend to use.
In order to obtain as many creative and practical solutions as possible, it is important that the designer you choose is creative. He or she should be able to see the whole picture, and know how to find solutions, with great attention given to the practical planning of the house or apartment.
At this point, you will be presented with a few options for planning. It is customary to give about three alternatives. Together, you will examine, modify, add, and subtract details in order to create the final plan which will become a set of detailed plans.
If the renovation work requires breaking down walls, it is important to bring a construction engineer. The construction engineer will inspect the structure, go over the demolition plans, identify any supporting beams or columns that should not be demolished, look for columns and beams that might be hidden, and finally approve your plans. It is advisable to do this in the early stages of the renovation, before the designer does any further work on the plans, to ensure that the plans can be implemented.
This is one of the fun stages, although it may be very confusing for some people. The designer and the client go to pick the kitchen, flooring, tiles, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, etc. Some people find it very overwhelming, but a good designer will let you know which items are good quality and will blend well together, according to the client’s taste. It is important to know the size and setup preparation of the different items that are selected, since this will be taken into consideration when the contractor gives his price estimate. The more accurate you are, the more accurate the contractor’s price estimate will be. The idea behind selecting as many items as possible before choosing a contractor, is that it enables the designer to provide as much information as possible about the plans, and prepare an accurate quantities list for the constructor.
Detailed Planning and Work Plans
The detailed planning phase starts after the client is certain and has signed on the final sketch.
The designer converts the selected sketch into a set of work plans. The set includes: Demolition, construction, electricity, lighting, plumbing, air conditioning, ceilings, carpentry work, bathrooms, flooring, tiling, window and door specifications, and more. These work plans are very detailed and include special instructions for execution, materials, and dimensions of what the client has purchased such as sanitary, flooring tile sizes, and more. This set of plans will be used by the contractor and is an important document that helps to avoid mistakes.
Building Materials List
The work plans will be made into a building materials list by the designer in order for the contractor to give his price estimation. Just like the set of plans, the building materials list details all the required work according to topic: Demolition, construction, electricity, lighting, plumbing, air conditioning, ceilings, and so on. The contractor will write the cost next to each item. This way the client can fully understand how much each item will cost. It is important to understand that this document, as any other document, is a binding document that the contractor will later sign together with the client.
Selecting a Contractor
It is important to bring at least three contractors to see the house or apartment for renovation. We recommend bringing only licensed contractors. Most likely a licensed contractor will not disappear in the middle of the project, and will be responsible for his work. It is important to see the renovations done by the contractor and speak to some of his customers before deciding.
Each contractor will receive a detailed set of work plans and quantities list, which he will return to the customer with detailed pricing. This enables the client to compare prices between the different professionals and choose the most suitable contractor for the job.
We recommend signing a contract with the selected contractor, to set the price and time frame of the project.
When the work begins, it is important to have adequate supervision. The designer will come once a week to ensure the work is being carried out according to the plans. The supervision is done before critical points of the execution: Demolition, building, electricity, plumbing, and so. If the client has sufficient budget, we recommend hiring a construction inspector who will come every day and make sure not only that the work is being done according to the plans, but also that it is being done according to the laws and standards.
The last supervision will be done with both the contractor and the client present. This is to ensure that the work is complete, and meets the client’s satisfaction.
End of Renovation
The work is done, the pressure is off and you can start enjoying your new home! Get comfortable and show your family and friends your beautiful home. Renovating is a challenge even for those who have good vision and excellent taste. People who have done renovations know the strain it can put on the family and marriage because of differences in opinions, living out of the house, budget concerns, and so on. The good news is that after surviving the renovations, you’ll have a newly designed home that will make your family time even better and more enjoyable.