As many of you know, we (in this case, Kim & Chavi) remodeled our 1960’s custom built rambler in 2007. The experience was fun, creative, slightly stressful, and very dirty. We enjoyed learning about the diversity of materials out there that are not only beautiful, but also environmentally sound. Below are some helpful hints and resources that we discovered during our own remodeling journey. Hopefully they will make your journey more fun and less stressful.
Create your vision: Let your creativity flow and get beyond the beige. A well thought out vision will allow you to give your house a new spark and help save the earth at the same time. It will keep you on track and on budget, from the material selection process to communicating clearly with contractors.
Price it out: Our biggest mistake was setting the budget before we knew the cost of materials like tile, countertops, and yes, toilets. Those little ceramic suckers can be so expensive! Be as prepared as possible and price out everything before chatting with a contractor. Make sure to ask your contractor if he is willing to purchase materials for you without up-charging you. Contractors often get 25%-30% discounts on materials like tile & plumbing supplies.
Get Permits if You Need Them: Anytime you are doing major structural work to a house like adding a bathroom, redoing the roof line, expanding the footprint, building up, or converting a garage, it is a good idea to get an architect involved, have plans drawn, and get it permitted by the city. Many a good idea was shut down midway by the city because the owner decided to circumvent rules and add a dormer or a deck without a permit. This means a huge fine, lost time, and maybe even losing your contractor to another job if he/she is on a tight timeline.