Although we love the finished product, a renovation of any kind requires nerves of steel, a lot of thought and a hefty line of credit. There are so many steps involved in any renovation that any misstep can prove to be frustrating and costly. Due diligence is essential as renovations are expensive. So it's really important to make good decisions right from the beginning.
This year my wife and I decided it was time to renovate our much-used and much-hated master bathroom. We moved into our present home in 2005 with the understanding (on my wife's order), that the ensuite would be immediately gutted and redone. Well 10 years later - like any good husband - I'm all over it!
Getting renovation ready is a step-by-step process: Start by poring over design magazines to help visualise the space; look for the latest trends and fixtures you might like to have in your space; and begin adding up the costs. Trust me, they will add up fast! Eventually you will need to factor everything in, including labour and material costs, to give you a better understanding of your overall budget. A wish list is a great way to start as it can give you a quick reference to the potential cost and will help in determining a final budget for your project.
Next, plan the perfect design and layout. Remember, a chic renovation will impress you neighbours, but practical function is much more important - especially if you have kids. Having a first-class design concept as well as detailed and accurate drawings will take the guesswork out of your project and make estimating your renovation much easier.
Presenting detailed and accurate drawings to contractors allows for much more accurate estimates. If each quote you receive is based on the same set of drawings, you will have a really good understanding of fair value for you renovation.
Use a licensed, registered and reputable builder. Go online and search some of the sites that grade contractors and their work. Often a disreputable contractor is well documented. Ask your friends and neighbours. Good contractors are hard to find, so be prepared to pay a little more for a good reputation. Fortunately, my Toronto-based designer Silvera Designs provides drawings and has worked with highly-reputable contractors that will provide an estimate of the work. Look for relationships like this one. They are efficient and allow for greater continuity.
This fall I'll reveal my brand new ensuite. Wish me luck - I'm going to need it!