Things to be aware of when you’re renovating

Everyone is renovating! Wherever I go, I hear conversations about people renovating their homes. It’s not that I eavesdrop but it can be hard to not pay attention to a conversation when it is about home improvement, I love having those conversations.

It is possible that because I am passionate about design that it is always ‘top of mind’ for me and I instinctually tune in to those conversations. Tune in, not eavesdrop!

If you notice me leaning your way in a restaurant and you are talking about renovations, stop and feel free to ask me questions.

The practical principles around renovations depend on your goals for your renovation – are you sprucing up the place to sell it quickly or are you in this home for the long haul and need a completely personalized overhaul? Are you keeping existing materials such as cabinets/flooring/paint or are you planning on a total gut job. Gut job sounds harsh but that is a bona fide industry term.

Value is something to keep in mind when renovating a home for an imminent resale. Your investment may not be realized in an increased listing price on the house if you over value the renovation. A few places where I see people falter are:

– Installing granite on older cabinets, this is not a wise investment if your cabinets are more than 15-years-old. The granite will be justifiable for much longer than your cabinets will be style or acceptable shape.

– High end glass or marble tile backsplashes installed with existing older countertops. Once again, you are making an investment on something new and modern while struggling to match it to something that is older and dated. New arborite countertops are economical and will breathe new life into a kitchen when paired with newer styles of kitchen tile. You will also find that you have unlimited choices for colour and design when not trying to coordinate with an out of date colour.

– Carpet installed on existing pad. Yuck! Especially if you have moved into a home with someone else’s carpet and do not know what that flooring has been exposed to. Also, most carpet manufacturers specify new underlay as a condition of warranty so it is a good idea to check that stipulation. Regular carpet underlay has a wear life of 10-15 years so if you have a carpet and pad that have been down at least 10 years, consider the cleanliness and germ free option of new underlay.

– Trying to cut corners on best practices for installation. I see this in abundance when clients are renovating showers and bathrooms. I understand the need for economy when flipping a house but in these water areas it is imperative to properly waterproof before installing tile. The new owners will appreciate the time and care taken to prevent future leaks and mold.

There are several ways we can blend a new renovation with existing products but it needs to be done carefully and with some design finesse so the products blend into each other and look like they belong together. Your renovation dollars are precious and it is my goal to help you spend them in the wisest way possible.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at

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