A few tips for home renovations

I was just searching for bathroom vanities online and the choices are overwhelming. Clients express the frustration in choosing products all the time, as we are inundated with hundreds and hundreds of choices. I’ve noticed now when I search for a particular item, three or four more web sites pop up in the corner giving me even more options for that one product. You can spend days online or worse, driving from store to store to find what you need.

Design is as much about what already is as it is about what it will be. I have witnessed people tearing their hair out in frustration over choices they often don’t have to make. Take my basement for instance (yes, you will probably be hearing about my renovation for a few months) when I am looking for items for the space I am conscious about the limitations I have. I am looking at what already is. The bathroom is roughed in and I have space restrictions unless I want to rip out concrete and re arrange the plumbing. I’m not really cool with that seeing it’s a bathroom that will be used occasionally when the kids come to visit so I have a restriction of a 36” vanity. This isn’t the vanity of my dreams and yet it frees up a lot of time searching for the right one.

Often when I am dealing with a renovation client it takes a few fact finding questions to discover some of the limitations to their projects. I know people start off with a huge vision and I think they sometimes get carried away with that and wear themselves out before the project is finished. For someone to search in my store for hours for the right colour of carpet when they have already painted the room seems like a waste of precious time, I try to not let people do that. One client was so insistent on a back splash in her bathroom that when she discovered that the vanity she had bought had a granite splash already attached, she hacked it off so she could have the tile she fell in love with.

It is a good idea to work this out beforehand so you can avoid problems or frustrations during the renovation process. Make a comprehensive list of what you have, what is non-negotiable and currently staying in your home. The more you are aware of what already is, the less time you will have to spend searching for items or colours you may not even be able to use. Time is precious and most of us do not have enough of it to spare. I have renovated hundreds of spaces (many of them my own) and I see over and over again the frustration in peoples faces when they have to make choices for a home renovation because the here and now changed their direction.

So get out there and be prepared, make your lists and gather your information to carry with you while you shop. Have at the ready paint colours, furniture swatches or countertop and cabinet samples. I get so excited when a client comes in with pictures on their iPad or phone, it makes searching for new items such a breeze when we know the products we need, combined with the stuff we already have.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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