Design Chick  

A model for reno success

Five things no one tells you about remodelling

By Crispin Butterfield

How exciting… You want to tackle a renovation.

Depending on who you talk to, that excitement can be squashed instantly by tales and horror stories of other people’s bad experiences.

Renovations can be full-out marriage, dream, and even bank account killers. But when handled properly, that doesn’t have to be your story or experience.

Knowing what to expect, who to hire, and where you can help the process will better prepare you in every sense for beautiful, top-notch results.

It will be messy

Anyone who tells you they can complete your major renovation without causing disruption to your daily life is only telling you what you want to hear.

Think about it. Just moving furniture out of the way and prepping for a simple paint job makes things complicated for a few days.

Planning to expect dust, dirt, piles of old building materials, and tradespeople traipsing through will, in the very least, help to alleviate some natural anxiety that happens when our homes are opened up.

Some sage advice: take a trip, spend a month at the cottage, split your time between the in-laws, whatever you need to do.

Make arrangements to be out of the house, and you’ll feel more in control throughout the entire process.

It doesn’t have to be ugly

This ties into the first point – knowing in advance what to anticipate helps to set you up for a better experience.

There is no way to foresee unexpected complications – and every project has them, large or small.

Anticipate that a few unexpected uglies, or setbacks will happen, and then formulate somewhat of a strategy as to how you’re going to handle them.

Tack on an extra two weeks to the timeline for smaller projects, and an extra two to three months for complete gut and reno jobs for good measure.

The Boy Scouts say it best: Be Prepared.

Hire a designer, sleep at night

So you’ve picked up the most recent copy of Psychology Today. Are you an expert in relationships?

Or you’ve been super interested lately in the latest advancements in dental technology. Can you go and do your own dental work?

Why then, would you even think about trying to hash out and plan the design work, project details, and paperwork required before the project even begins on your own?

If you’re thinking you can’t afford to hire a design professional – someone who has studied for years at an accredited University, and can practically coordinate your project in their sleep – think again.

Take a moment and add up what it would cost you if things head south:

  • you’ve made initial oversights on budgeting, and now you’ve blown through your cash and are no longer in a position to finish the job
  • half way through construction, you realize you didn’t make the best use of space and now it’s too costly to make crucial changes
  • you spent hours and hours hemming and hawing over all of the high-end materials and finishes you chose to purchase, and after they’ve been installed, you realize your original vision is not coming to fruition: you now have a house full of mismatched finishes you aren’t about to rip out any time soon.

You are going to be spending thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars of your hard-earned money.

Doesn’t it make sense to spend some of that up front for a solid renovation plan from a professional that knows their stuff top to bottom, front to back, and inside out?

Um, simply put – yes, it does.

You can save money

No, that isn’t a typo. When you hire the right professionals to do the job, you can actually save money in time, expertise, and off the cost of supplied goods, which is a total bonus to you in the end.

Knowing where to skimp, where to splurge, and where to lean into Trade Discounts is paramount when planning a budget-savvy renovation.

Communication will make or break your reno

Forget the award-winning design plans, the imported tile from Milan, the rock-solid job schedule… nothing will sink the renovation ship faster than bad or non-existent communication – on both ends.

Forge a strong and open relationship with your contractor, designer, and subtrades to help ensure a more seamless experience. We need to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to better serve and assist you.

Withholding concerns, budget constraints, or any information pertinent to your renovation only hinders the process.

Have a planning meeting before your project commences. Lay out expectations and discuss how each party will do their part to carry the project through to completion, and how issues that arise will be handled.

Effective communication is the single most important piece of the renovation pie.

Crispin Butterfield owns Urban Theory Interior Design, and has been designing soul-hugging residential and commercial spaces across Western Canada for the past 13 years. www.designchick.ca.

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About the Author

Crispin Butterfield is the creative force and mastermind behind Urban Theory; a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, her engaging personality and design-commerce savvy make her a valued and well-respected professional and mentor within her field.

She’s able to uniquely see the parameters and vision of each project in ways her clients often cannot, and has honed the process and proficiency required to grow incredible long-standing client relationships. 

Crispin embraces a life full of ingenuity and imagination, fueled by raw ambition and a desire to leave her mark on the world. Her impeccable design style, expertise, and a rock-solid business acumen is the foundation which allows Urban Theory Interior Design to provide full scale services with authenticity, innovation, and ample amounts of personality.

Featured in Style At Home Magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and The National Post – www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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