Please help! I want to remodel. Where do I start?
Updated: Nov 15
Choosing the right type of remodeling professional for you.
By: Kavindra Watson
“Should I stay, or should I go?” Many homeowners struggle with this very question, so rest
assured that you are not alone. The housing market can be a bit of a mentally exhausting rollercoaster which leads to a significant number of homeowners deciding to stay in their existing homes, unsatisfied. The dissatisfaction can stem from having an older home with mounting repairs or living in a booming area with lots of new homes with shiny new finishes and the infamous new home smell (FOMO). What I’ve found is that most homeowners just want a home that better reflects their personality, and one they enjoy retiring to at the end of a busy day – their comfort zone.
So, after watching endless hours of HGTV, some homeowners will dip their toe into the mysterious world of remodeling. Brave souls will head to their local hardware store, full of zest and promise, to purchase the necessary tools, wood, tile, setting material, etc., and begin the DIY (do-it-yourself) process of remodeling. They will work on their project on the weekends, in-between soccer games and family outings, while making frequent pit stops at the same or maybe a different hardware store before returning home to resume their work. For a novice DIY-er, it can take anywhere between four weeks to 6+ months to complete a bathroom remodel. This means living in a construction zone and having that space mostly out of commission during the time of construction.
The percentage of second time DIYers decreases drastically. Extended construction time, unforeseen mechanical issues too complex for a novice, mounting costs of purchasing tools and materials, and, lastly, pure exhaustion leave former DYI homeowners refusing to go down that path again. They instead enlist hired help when deciding to remodel again. This help can range from a neighbor, church pal that did remodeling in the past, or a legitimate general contractor.
Hiring a contractor also comes with a set of pros and cons. A couple pros are they are there to focus solely on completing your project which should decrease the timeline, and they should have the necessary tools eliminating the need to purchase things that you may only use once. One of the chief complaints I hear from homeowners is lack of communication and planning that leads to unexpected cost.
Where do I start?
The construction world is complex and there are a host of professionals that you can hire. How do you select the right one? We will start by digging into the different types of general contractors (GC) and the Interior Designer & general contractor relationship.
General Contractor: A residential general contractor (GC) is a construction manager hired by the homeowner and is responsible for seeing a construction project through from beginning to end. So, what does that entail? Essentially, a general contractor acts as a liaison between the homeowner(s) and everyone who brings the project to life, including materials suppliers, vendors, and tradespeople (electrician, plumber, tile setter, etc.)
General contractors commonly hire specialized subcontractors for specific tasks. In this setup, the GC oversees the quality of all work, and any issues are the GC's responsibility to address, offering a risk management benefit to the homeowner.
The Design/Build Contractor: A design and build firm offers a comprehensive "turnkey" service, providing design, supply, construction, and installation fully complete and ready to use. This concept streamlines the process, as the firm employs professionals in interior design, project management, accounting, operations, and other areas, ensuring a seamless experience for homeowners.
When you choose a design/build firm, your agreement and communication are solely with them, simplifying the entire construction process. This approach is ideal for those who want both design and construction services from a single company, ensuring a cohesive project from start to finish with a focus on design, engineering, and budget considerations. Some design/build firms have in-house architects and interior designers, while others may collaborate with experienced professionals.
Interior Designer + General Contractor Relationship:
The relationship between an Interior Designer and a General Contractor is a crucial collaboration in the realm of construction and remodeling projects. Both professionals play distinct yet interconnected roles in ensuring the successful execution and completion of a project.
Interior designers are primarily responsible for creating the aesthetic vision and functional layout of the space. They consider functionality of the interior, materials, furnishings, and overall design concepts to enhance the visual appeal. General contractors work closely with interior designers to understand the design plans. They provide input on the feasibility of the design in terms of construction, budget, and timelines.
This synergy minimizes errors, enhances efficiency, and delivers a cohesive final product. The collaboration also streamlines decision-making, fosters better problem-solving, and ultimately contributes to the successful and aesthetically pleasing completion of the project.
Generally speaking, there is no one right way; however, it will take a little digging to find out the best approach for your situation. Remember, the key to a successful remodeling project is careful planning, open communication, and choosing the right professionals for your specific needs. Whether you opt for a general contractor or a design/build firm, make sure to thoroughly vet them, check references, and discuss your expectations and vision for the project. Remodeling can be a challenging process, but with the right team by your side, you can transform your current space into the home of your dreams. Good luck on your remodeling journey; we would love to assist you.
The KLW Design Studio is a premier full-service Interior Design firm in North Dallas. It’s led by Kavindra Watson. Kavindra is known for her modern transitional design style and loves infusing a splash of texture and color into every space. Kavindra's secret sauce is her high attention to detail, precision, and process-oriented approach to make the design experience as seamless as possible for her clients.