Don’t Make These Mistakes! 5 Things You Must Do Before You Build Or Remodel!
Building your first home is a wonderful and exciting experience, a lot of work, yes, but so rewarding if you do it right!
Pay close attention to every detail and or will spend many stressful moments wishing you had put this wall there instead, or had a LED ceiling light over there, or added those pocket doors, or wished you had known that the sofa needed to go on that wall…
My husband and I built our first home back in the late nineties. It was a mid-range, middle income home that at the time we thought would just be a stepping stone. Fourteen years later we’re still here and wishing we had planned things out a little differently.
Sure, some things you can always add later, but some things can be very costly or not conducive to the structure.
Here are 5 tips to prevent stupid costly mistakes when building or remodeling a home:
1. Hire an Architect and good builder
2. Consult with an interior designer/decorator
3. Have furniture and placement in mind.
4. Have a good lighting plan outside and in.
5. Have an energy saving plan
Hire An Architect And Good Builder
Does the home have enough windows? Are there too many windows? Window treatments are expensive. My clients are always shell shocked when I give them the cost of their window treatments.
Are the windows big enough? Nothing worse than short stubby windows!
Are they aligned properly on the outside of the house?
I see houses all the time where the windows don’t line up and they look choppy and unprofessional. (I know of a newly built house with a gorgeous huge semi round window on the front of the house that doesn’t line up with the front door. They placed it off center and it looks ridiculous! How are they going to change that? They’re probably not going to! Maybe they don’t even realize how badly designed it looks)
My advice: Consult an architect before you build from scratch. Even though it may look great on the inside it should look great on the outside as well. A good design will have balance.
Most new construction/development homes have several options, building lots, and floor plans to choose from so you probably wouldn’t need to hire an architect yourself if you go this route, you would be purchasing from a developer or builder that has already consulted with an architect for the design plans.
Do hire an architect and good builder when starting from scratch and purchasing a building lot. Ask to view homes they have built so you can see their work, and ask for their referrals.
With all the decisions you will be facing with new construction even the best builder or architect will not fully understand what your specific needs are to live comfortably in the home and have it function to fit your personal lifestyle. You may not really know either. It’s easily to overlook important details in the building phase that may affect your lifestyle and comfort level later, and that brings me to my #1 important tip…
Hire An Interior Designer Or Decorator
This is such an important tip! This will save you so much money and time. I can’t count on my fingers the number of clients that come to me to help them incorporate their new over sized furniture pieces into a space that’s too small, or they wish they had known they needed an entertainment unit so they could have added a wall for it in the building plans…
Your Designer will assess how you will live in the home and assist you with:
· Finding and optimizing your design style
· All furnishings needed/furniture dimensions/Furniture placement
· The best options available to you
· A lighting plan
· An art and accessories plan
Why is it so important to know your design style?
Knowing your decorating style and staying true to it will bring a finished, cohesive look to your new home. Your designer will help you to make the right furniture choices and choose the right finishes and fixtures so your new home will have proper flow, balance, and comfort to harmonize with your lifestyle.
Your Designer will help you choose all the elements that will make your house a home in advance. You will be making many decisions that your designer would guide you through. Here are just a few of the building options you will be determining (possibly for every Room):
· door styles
· paint color
· ceiling texture
· Trim and Molding
Have a Good Lighting Plan
Every room should have 3 types of lighting:
· Ambient-Lights the whole room (e.g., ceiling lights, chandeliers, wall sconces)
· Task-Focuses on a specific task (e.g. under cabinet lighting, reading lamps, light over an island…)
· Accent-Highlights certain objects or areas in a room(e.g. lights over a painting, an up lighted tree or plant, china hutch lights)
Consult with a professional exterior lighting consultant to highlight your homes curb appeal and bring attention to the design details and landscaping on the exterior of your home.
Have An Energy Saving Plan
How To Save A Bundle Down The Road:
· Add your solar heating…radiant heating… Organic insulation…in the construction phase
· Do your research on energy saving and green options.
There are so many new products available. Your builder may not be aware of the latest products but you can introduce them yourself and save yourself a load of dough down the road. The DIY Channel is a great resource for the newest energy saving and Green home building concepts. Some ideas…
· I added an instant hot water tap on my sink-I love it
· Whole house instant hot water-wish they had it when I was building!
· Whole house water purifier
· solar heating
· Attic fan
· “green” insulation
· really good windows
· Windows with roll up screens
· Attic stairs
· Ceiling lights in every room
· Garage code pad entry outside
· outdoor landscape lighting
· Hardwood floors throughout even if you want carpet in your bedrooms
· Glass shower enclosures
· All white bathroom fixtures-white will always be in style, colored fixtures will look dated in ten years!
· Upgraded bathroom fixtures-builders grade depending on price bracket of home can be pathetic- go for the upgrade
· Side lights (windows) on the sides of my front door to bring more light into my foyer
· Perimeter ceiling can lights in the kitchen, dining room, and living rooms.
· Solid surface countertops
· Good grade cabinets that go up to the ceiling, some with glass doors for displaying pretty glassware and dishes.
· Pocket doors, especially in small powder rooms- the door will take up too much space
· closet systems
What Should You Say Absolutely No To?
Popcorn ceilings! You’ll hate them. They are very difficult to repair, paint, and to take down. Whatever you do, don’t let your builder put them in! (Are they still even doing them?)
Cheap windows! Get an upgrade; buy the best windows your money can afford. My screens constantly fall out of my windows. In order to fix the problem we need to replace all our windows!
Is the fireplace in the optimal place in the room for viewing and furniture placement?
How about your Kitchen design?
Again work with your interior designer or a kitchen designer on a good kitchen footprint. Your builder is not a professional on this matter and will often do what is easiest which is not always the best choice for function:
My builder placed a peninsula that divided the dining area from the kitchen. It was only large enough for 2-3 barstools. We then had to place a dining set in front of it which was awkward. I later cut off the peninsula (literally, MYSELF) and made it an island eliminating the dining set and opening up the space.
Work as much storage in as possible.
Instead of having empty space above your upper cabinets, opt for taller ones that go up to the ceiling or add the small cubby cabinets above up to the ceiling. Just keep a handy foot stool available,(Those library ladders are to die for!)
Add pocket doors where they are needed-I have a small powder room off my foyer where I should have had a pocket door built instead of having the door opening into to it taking up precious floor space! You can’t add pocket doors later without ripping up the walls.
You’ll find a lot more of free decorating help and beautiful, inspirational, interior design pictures on my site.
Kitchens 2011 What’s hot? Visit my site and see the new trends, get free decorating help on my interior decorating forum and discover your style by taking the interior decorating style quiz there too.
Hope I helped!
Good luck with your dream home!