How do you picture your home remodel? 3 Pro tips on setting your course

Article by:

Chris Chumbley

Whole house or multi-room remodeling can be overwhelming so we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to planning, designing and executing your remodel.

Who can help me?

#1. Lets begin with your possible team members, their title and integral roles.-

General contractor- Manages 4 or more building trades and coordinates materials and schedules. Provides costs after receiving plans and specifications. Free estimates made prior to plans and specifications are calculated on entry baselines and structured to change as project development becomes known. Contract costs are not-fixed upfront and are cost-plus.

Certified Designer (Kitchen, Bath, Interior)-Floor plan review and layout, Architecture review, product selection + coordination. Cost- Hourly rates for services or a percentage of overall renovation cost.

Architect-Site plan review, Floor plan review, elevation review, plans for building and permits. Cost-Hourly rates for services or a percentage of overall renovation project.

Structural Engineer-Load review and calculations. Cost-Hourly rate or flat rate per project.

Design/Builder-Vertically integrated building + remodeling method that combines parts or all of the following: architecture, structural engineering, design and GC project management roles holistically. Provides all developmental planning, plans, specifications and project management. Free consultations are geared to understanding all costs associated within the targeted home renovation. Contract costs are fixed.

Homeowner-Determines the job scope and job requirements. Identifies sector leaders to interview.


*This is a question you ask somebody who you assume has no idea what something is going to cost and that’s true of homeowners wanting to remodel their home. So the question, or more importantly the answer you give is merely letting the professional gauge how to educate you or where to steer you. Below is where your budget will generally take you.

Major home remodels fall into three broad categories in any age of home:

Preservation remodel/cosmetic- Replacement of dated components. *This represents 94% of home remodeling activity. Some renovations in this category are GC’d, most are homeowners directing a few specialty trades as it is driven by product out and product in with little of the domino effect taking place..
Home remodeling with cabinet modifications or new cabinets. Everything stays in the same locations- *Represents 5% of home remodels. Includes a percentage of new cabinets or all new cabinetry in certain areas, possibly strategic design elements integrated, cabinet refinishing, some or all new appliances, counters, backsplashes, lighting, plumbing and flooring is generally involved. Home renovations in this category may be GC’d if the homeowners are skilled enough to direct the design. Otherwise the remodel planning and specifications are led by an independent designer followed by the employ of a GC, or led holistically by a Design/Build remodeling company as a single source.
Gutted remodels of some rooms and softer renovations of others- *These only represent 1 out every 75 home remodels or 1% of the market. They target transformational design changes and many encompass erasing dated envelopes and involve a complete replat of the rooms relationship to other spaces. The mindset is “make-it-right, I’m not going anywhere”. Common denominators in these renovations involve the need to remodel connected rooms and address floors in multiple areas. Home renovations in this category should not be homeowner led as they require conceptual visions based on variables that require professional evaluation. Design teams are necessary, therefor plans are drawn by designers with all specifications of products noted, select GC’s are then employed to cost the project, or a Design/Build remodeling company is consulted for a turn-key approach.


#3. I have trouble with visualizing-

This is certainly as big a hurdle as there is in terms of entering a major remodel with confidence. On one level the concern is getting a team that can deliver looks that separate your current living arrangement. If you’ve targeted wanting to make big shifts and changes how is the finished product going to be conveyed.

Every interior designer and decorator knows that a design is not final until the installation is complete. You begin the pricing phase of your project with an agreed upon design, but many factors can still influence and change the design.

2 D floor plans and elevations are typically the first phase and should be driven by a targeted design theme, (Ex: Traditional, Contemporary). These drawings however do not always convey the desired design clearly and they can be hard to read, even for trained professionals. You can improve your design communication with contractors and vendors by including photos as your guide. A highly recommended source used by award-winning designer, USI Design & Remodeling is Houzz is the new way to design your home. You can browse 11 million interior design photos, home decor, decorating ideas and home professionals online.

Homes typify the largest investments families will make. “That you’ve heard, right?”

A more unique observation however is while the land a homes sit on historically has risen across every corner of the US, the fact is the structures up top will depreciate and remodeling is going to be the action that can be used to preserve, restore or add value as you enjoy them. As a stakeholder, recruit players and external partners who can bring you the newest strategies, methods, and technologies, and who have the zeal to create what will make you proud and help you achieve your home renovation goals.



Chris Chumbley is an award-winning designer and principal with USI Design & Remodeling. USI is a leading residential remodeling company in Dallas TX.
Our mission: Redesign and Remodel homes with timeless looks geared to today’s lifestyles.

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Design Remodeling

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