When improving a room, you need to think about the space as a whole. You may like a light fixture you saw on holiday, the blinds you saw in a magazine or be nostalgic for granny’s old side table, but you must ensure that whatever you do is harmonised with existing design elements in your home. It’s easy to forget about the bigger picture when embarking on a home-renovation project and that’s why we have outlined the following six points as important considerations before you begin.
Create Your Vision
Do your research and draw on many sources for inspiration, from traditional interior design magazines and TV shows, to websites such as Pinterest or Houzz, home to thousands of interior design and decorating ideas where interior designers and trades people will often showcase their portfolios. You can also create vision boards; a great tool if you’re working with an interior designer, as they help you to understand each other’s vision.
Have a Plan
A common mistake made by homeowners is to walk blindly into projects without doing some strategic thinking beforehand, particularly about how you plan to pay for the remodel, new furniture or fixtures. First and foremost, you must have an appropriate plan of action which should include either a written scope of the proposed projects or, for more complex projects, a set of drawings that include a detailed construction schedule, providing a clear visual representation of the works required and the estimated time and money needed to complete them.
Get it in Writing
Proceeding on home updates without having an adequate written agreement in place with your contractor or project manager leaves both the scope and the quality of the work open for interpretation by them and/or the subcontractor(s). This is a guaranteed recipe for disappointment and even disaster! In addition, all of the participating parties need to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of precisely what is going to be involved. Decide what will add the most value for the dollars spent (as it is possible to cut costs without necessarily having to cut corners), determine what order the updates should take place in, and finally assume how much the worst-case scenario of the final cost might turn out to be.
The more detailed the information is about what you desire, the more accurate your cost projections will be. However, it is still important that you have a healthy margin of overage in place for any potential cost overruns or unexpected expenses. One easy way to keep your project in check is to banish the words “while you’re at it” from your vocabulary during the course of the project. It is an all too common mistake that can act as a slippery slope to budgetary woes.
Stick to your original plan and avoid any unnecessary impulse additions!
Trends vs. Timelessness
As Cayman is a transient place, consider how long you plan on living in your current home. If it is five years or less, think about styles that will help increase your resale value rather than a personalised style that may put buyers off. Or simply go for cosmetic enhancements rather than large structural projects. If it is 10 years or more, consider adopting a classic style or design that won’t date.
Finding ways to assess a renovation and maximise the property’s true potential via creative and affordable options, is where the value of the right contractor’s knowledge and experience can really come into play.
Green living has made its way firmly into home construction as consumers continue to become more aware of the long-term savings and other positive implications associated with an energy efficient approach. Energy-efficient low emittance windows, smart glass (also known as electrochromic glass), cool roofs that reflect the sunlight away, solar energy generation, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting tanks and cisterns, greywater systems, tankless water heaters, permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants and no or low-mow grasses and use of reclaimed wood for remodelling and new building, are all significant and logical additions to current green Caribbean design and retrofit remodelling schemes.
Read our section on Building Green to learn more.