What to Expect Series: Session 1: Planning your Renovation Before the Renovation Starts

Here at AMR Design, we are long-time believers in giving our clients and potential clients useful and practical information that can help them navigate a renovation or a new build. This is where the “What to Expect Series” comes in. We decided as a team to create this series to help our current clients understand what they can expect from each stage of a renovation. Then we decided we should share it with all of our readers who may one day be clients of ours (we hope!)  We hope you enjoy this series and find it valuable. So without further delay, let’s get into the nitty gritty!



Session 1: Planning Your renovation before it starts

If you are planning a renovation in the future, it is a good idea to start brainstorming what you want to achieve as well as assembling your A-Team before embarking on the journey. There are many questions that need to be answered prior to proceeding with a renovation; here are some of the most important ones:

1. WHY / WHAT: Goals of the Renovation

How will this renovation enhance your current and future lifestyle? Are you hoping to gain more space with the use of an addition? Are you wanting to update the style of your older home? Do you need better flow, a dedicated office space, or an entire house makeover? The options are truly endless and knowing the answers to some of these questions prior to starting can save you time and money.

2. Who: Assemble your dream team

Who will be joining you on this renovation journey? If you are part of a couple, will both of you be making decisions or will it just be one of you? Will you be hiring a contractor and an interior designer? (For more info on how an interior designer can help you with your renovation project, see What Happens When You Hire an Interior Designer?)

Make sure to assemble your team wisely. These will be people that you deal with a lot throughout the renovation, so it is important that you trust them and value their expertise when embarking on a working relationship together.

It is always a good idea to get referrals from friends or family members. We are so honoured that most of our clients come from referrals and repeat clients.

3. when: timing is everything

When do you plan on starting the renovation? We recommend that clients meet with us 3-6 months prior to commencing the project. This gives us ample time to plan, share our vision, come back with any changes, etc. Contractors work in a similar way; renovations often don’t have very quick turn around times.

You are better off having a reputable contractor take their time in planning and construction than to have a less qualified contractor having to redo work down the line.

Be patient and prepared and start gathering ideas months before you want the first wall knocked down.

4. Where: Location, Location, location

Where the renovation is happening is obviously very important, but another question to ask is where will you be? Will you live in your home as it is being renovated or will you be moving out to make way for the noise and dust?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question as it is purely a personal decision. How much noise, debris, or intrusion from trades can you handle? Many clients feel it is better for them to move out during large renovations, but only you can answer this question for yourself.

5. How: from start to finish

If you hire an interior designer, you don’t even need to answer this question. We figure out the “How” for you! That is the beauty of assembling a team you trust. You can learn more about our personalized process here.

Other considerations

Other things to consider prior to starting a renovation project are budget and style. Your budget should reflect what you’re hoping to accomplish in the renovation – small projects can have smaller budgets but the larger or more extravagant a project becomes, chances are the budget will grow too.

While you don’t need to know your exact style prior to starting a project, it is a good idea to understand how your designer can enhance the space. The most important factor is whether you connect personally with your designer and whether their process lines up with your expectations. This means they will understand what you are looking for, your needs, and your style.

Teak Cabinetry in mid-century modern kitchen-dining

Next week- Session 2 : Contractor vs Designer Roles in a Renovation

During next week’s session, we are going to discuss the differences between a contractor and an interior designer’s role in a renovation (FYI: the roles sometimes overlap!)

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