IF ONLY… I had learned these lessons Dec 8th, 2011 It’s a sign of a great renovation … if, afterwards, the stories you share do NOT begin with the words “if only…” While you can’t foresee everything that might have an impact on the smooth running of your remodeling project, there are a few things that you can learn from the good – and bad – experiences of those who have gone before you. When it comes to our dream plans, you may be right on top of the improvements that you know will make your home better than it currently is. However, no one plans for the surprises. Surprises happen when you discover that what you thought was a “given” wasn’t a “given” for your contractor. Personally, that happened when the wonderful in-house vacuum system was installed and the electrical outlets were not convenient (i.e. beside) the vacuum hook ups. This leads me to the first, ‘If only…“ IF ONLY.. I HAD SPECIFIED WHERE I WANTED THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS TO BE. This one small detail can make a huge difference throughout your home. How about an outlet inside the cupboard where you store your coffee maker, mixer or other large kitchen appliance? When you’re decorating for seasonal celebrations– do you have outlets, inside and outside, that make it easy to light up your life? How about receptacles in the vanity drawers to keep your hair dryer, razor and electric tooth brush plugged in and off of the countertop – out of sight? IF ONLY ….I WISH I HAD BROUGHT COLOR SAMPLES TO THE SITE Don’t buy anything under fluorescent lights in a store. Lighting changes the way colours appear. You may get a totally different look than what you were going for. Bring paint samples home. Ask retailers for fabric swatches. Carry your personal “sample book” with you, whenever you are shopping. IF ONLY…. I HAD PLACED MY ORDERS BEFORE THE PROJECT START DATE When establishing your project schedule remember it can take up to three months to get stone floor tiles. Custom cabinets could take 6 weeks. Waiting for items to arrive can turn a three-month renovation into a half-year undertaking. To keep delays to a minimum, place orders two to three months before work is set to start. IF ONLY …. I HAD WE HAD BEEN CLEARER ABOUT OUR INDIVIDUAL TASTE When describing the outcome you’re expecting, the more detailed the better. Before you start any renovation, go through magazines and catalogues to find at least five items you and your partner can agree are beautiful. It sparks great conversation and will ensure you’re both happy with the design direction of the project. Personal style is personal! Get on the same page before the project begins. IF ONLY … I HAD BEEN MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT THE DETAILS Before your carpet is laid, discuss where you would like the seams to be. Seams in high traffic areas will flatten and wear with time. Do you need a specific counter height? Where do you want the handles on doors or drawers? Do you have a preferred way for tile to be laid? What colour grout would you prefer? IF ONLY … I’D THOUGHT ABOUT WALL HANGINGS BEFORE THE WALL WAS BUILD Decide where you’re going to hang things like towel bars and cabinets before you put up drywall. To securely mount hanging items, you need a backing, like a piece of plywood, to drill screws into. Without a backing, you’ll need to use wall plugs, which tend to come out over time. Also think about display for other collections: books, porcelain, carvings. It is frustrating to reach the end of the project without planning display for these items that mean so much to you and your family. IF ONLY WE HAD DISCUSSED THE OPTIONS FOR BASEBOARD TRIM AND CROWN MOULDINGS Attention to detail always pays off. You can’t choose what you don’t know about. These finishing details are important. Don’t miss the opportunity to give your remodeling project great impact. IF ONLY … I HAD IT IN WRITING A simple decision like choosing tile A over tile B can make a job go three weeks over schedule because the new style isn’t available What you think is a small change could be more costly than expected. Speak with your contractor about the ramifications of all changes, regardless of how minor they seem, and have any effects on cost or time put in writing. IF ONLY … I HAD BEEN ON SITE MORE OFTEN Work suffers when the boss isn’t around. Face-to-face as often as possible, with all parties up to speed keeps a small problem from growing into an “If only…” story at your next cocktail party.