I am a designer who is hired to make sense of older homes that did not originate from a professional design. Many times the homes are purchased due to their fantastic view of the waterway and need to be redesigned. I am one of those designers who gets giddy over such a project, I love the challenge! Today’s post is a how-to to remodel such a project.
The first thing you need to do with such a home if you’re a homeowner is to hire a professional architect and interior designer. This is the team that is going to dissect the home and come up with a functional and charming home.
Avoid Remodel Mistakes
There are three things you do not want to do with a project like this and that is:
- Don’t try to make it into a style it is not.
- These properties are eclectic and can really make a statement in design. It is an opportunity to not follow a trend but to create a unique out of the box masterpiece. If you go into some older waterfront communities in Miami you will see examples of many of these old properties that have been remodeled to have their own unique style, Miami is known for this. I always like to be a trendsetter and not a trend follower!
- Avoid tunnel vision
- Avoid tunnel vision of what you had envisioned for a new home because this is not new construction. I quite prefer older homes as they offer much more character. A good remodel in an older neighborhood is so much better than the new cookie-cutter ones you see today, in my opinion. A good professional team will be able to take a remodel to a whole new level of architecture and style.
- Avoid doing anything until you have a plan.
- If you are the homeowner considering a remodel, if there is anything you need take away here it is, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. I believe new construction plans need to be fully detailed before you break ground and even more so with a remodel. So many times I walk onto a property that is gutted and the construction people are just moving forward before I have been able to give any input, and that is money wasted. A professional team will help you avoid mistakes from the get go and save you money in the long run. Another thing a detailed plan does is it allows you to know your costs, as you can bid apples to apples,and avoid running over budget. You want to know if your project is affordable or if you need proceed in phases. Having a plan allows you to look at the whole picture and make decisions that are in your best interest, not the contractors.
Tips for a Successful Remodel
An existing property is full of clues as to what it should be. It takes the skilled eye of a professional from the design world, not a contractor to walk through a project and consider the following aspects of each and every idiosyncrasy. Many people think that their contractor can design but the fact is everybody on a project team comes with their own skill set and the contractors are there to build from a plan that is designed by an architect and a designer; just as an architect and a designer do not physically build a home. These properties that fall into my lap to make sense of are a direct result of someone being outside of their wheelhouse. Three tips to think about for a successful remodel are:
- Consider the Existing Roof Design.
- Inspecting the design of the roof can help you set a lot of parameters of your project. Which walls could possibly be load bearing and ultimately confirmed by an engineer. Once you determine this you can map out how much your budget will allow for costly changes like transferring loads or modifying windows. I am a designer who loves to bring the outside in, and that usually involves enlarging or adding windows.
- Take notice of the views.
- Views are so important in laying out a new design for a remodel project. You definitely want to take advantage of your good views by strategically placing the most used living spaces with the best views. I also like to see where I may want to add special landscaping to the areas that need more privacy like a soaking tub in the master bathroom. After the views are determined then the design starts to take shape.
- Interview the client on their vision.
- Ultimately the most important part of this whole equation is what the client wants. The interview should unveil how your client intends on using each room and should be customized to meet their needs. I find it is best to use an exercise in having my client choose visuals of design styles that they desire. Design is a process and it is up to the professional to make their clients vision a reality. I like to take them a little outside of their comfort zone by showing them aspects that are beyond what they could have ever imagined.
As a designer, I enjoy a complicated remodel. I love making it unfold and creating a special never seen before home design!