I recently underwent the second most painful renovation a homeowner can experience: the kitchen remodel. (The most painful one, of course, is remodeling the only bathroom in the house.)
As somebody who works in a client services role, I found it interesting to be on the other side of the coin. Undertaking a home renovation served as a great refresher for some basic, client services tenets:
1. Have a clear sense of vision.
One of the best ways to ensure success of any redesign project is to have a strong sense of the end goal. In my case, I moved forward with the remodeling in order to enjoy the house for another decade, not to quickly upgrade and sell. That realization helped me tailor the budget, design choices and expectations.
2. Hire the right people to guide you through the project, and listen to them.
Having grown up with a carpenter father, and having done a number of smaller projects in my home and duplex, I was fortunate to come into this process with a pretty good set of expectations. But it was my first kitchen, and the people I worked with provided a wealth of additional ideas and suggestions. The end result exceeded my wildest expectations because of their input.
3. Know your budget, and know when to break it.
In looking at countertops, I had planned on going with the decent offerings at a local hardware superstore before finding a company in MN that serves as one of the only American manufacturers of quartz countertops. Through them I found a color and pattern I liked even better, and in the process, got the chance to support an American company and the local economy. It did increase the cost about 15%, but it was a triple win in my book.
4. Saving money is great, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
For the electric installation, I got estimates from two companies and one journeyman who came recommended from an acquaintance. The journeyman came in at half the price. Everything started great, but then made way to five broken deadlines, multiple no-shows and seven visits when he promised two. It’s now been five weeks since the rest of the project was completed and he’s still not done. The discounted choice cost me an immeasurable amount of personal time, which also has value.
5. Plan ahead, and work with all involved to stay on track with timing.
Being three steps ahead of the next phase of your project is vital. You can’t install your appliances next week if they take 6-8 weeks to deliver. How will you cut the hole for the sink if you haven’t purchased it yet? Thinking through all the details before you begin will help you a ton in the end.
Of course, now that I have a kitchen I love, I’m starting to look at those tired hardwood floors. And isn’t that how it always seems to go?