As both the designer and homeowner of my last project, I made it a point to be on site for every possible second of our home renovation. Still, some things managed to slip past me. For example, the little snafu pictured at left which happened while I was out of town. So, how do you avoid these mistakes, which can be frustrating, inconvenient and costly? I’m sorry to say, that on any project a few hiccups are inevitable. But there are steps you can take to minimize the risk.
Hire a qualified professional (like a certified interior designer!) who will not only design your dream project, but make sure that the finished product actually reflects the design. While no one is superwoman and can be everywhere at at all times (again, see above), a certified and experienced designer will know how to fix the little mistakes that pop up on every job, saving you time, money, and peace of mind.
Master the “pop-in”. Some homeowners are so overwhelmed by the construction process that they stay away until the project is completed. While this might be an excellent way of preserving your sanity, it may open the door to some small things slipping past. Notice the excellent tile job in the bathroom picture above? Me too! I was so focused on how beautiful the grout lines were that it was a few days before I thought to myself, “Hey, wait a minute…” Popping in unexpectedly and asking questions–even if you’re sure they are “stupid”–will keep everyone accountable and on their toes. You’re the homeowner, which means it’s your way, or the highway!
Withhold, withhold, withhold. Hold back 10% of the final payment to your contractor until the punch-list items are complete. This is standard practice, so if your contractor gives you any guff about it, refer him to the last sentence of step 2. Step 3 comes with an important caveat which is: Pay your designer when their job is complete. Unless you’ve hired a design/ build firm, your designer and contractor are two separate people performing two separate functions. Refusing to pay your designer for a contractor’s unsatisfactory work is like refusing to pay your manicurist because you got a bad haircut in the same salon. The end goal may be your overall beautification, but the manicurist is no more responsible for your new shag, than your designer is for the contractor not following the plans.
Remember, the end goal for everyone is a happy homeowner. Designers, contractors, and clients need to work together and stay alert to make that happen. With these tips in mind, a stress-free home renovation is possible!
Did you have a home renovation gaff like mine? Let us know! Everything is funnier in hindsight. 😉