Thinking about a new kitchen, an upgraded master bath, or a playroom addition? Before speeding down the renovation highway, pull over and take a look at this list of tips culled from our experts. With a little patience and time spent mapping your way, your renovation ride is sure to be a smooth one!
Step 1: Dream a Little Dream
Before calling the contractors, sit down with your spouse, partner, and family—kids, too—and brainstorm. What would each family member like in the new kitchen or bath? What about a pull-out pantry fridge for your toddler "kitchen helpers?" If you adore cooking as well as entertaining in the kitchen, why not install an under lit wet bar with a freestanding wine fridge? Would a sauna in the master bath ease mommy's sore muscles? At this idea stage, dream your best dream, and don't let cost be your only guide. If you would adore a tumbled time kitchen floor, put it on your wish list. You may be surprised to find out that your design professional can find a way to make your dreams come true—within budget!
Step 2: Examine your Space
Examine your home and how your family lives in it. Write down what you adore and what you detest about your current space. Is the kitchen always a mess without a mudroom? Does your family spend hours in the kitchen, underfoot and making you crazy? Do you long for a kitchen counter for sipping coffee and reading the paper? Perhaps a kitchen office would allow for homework being done, bills being paid, and appointments being arranged while dinner gets put on the table. Are your little ones constantly swinging open the whole refrigerator just for one juice box? Would handmade sea glass tiles fill you with joy? How about a six-burner stove for all those dinner parties? Do you all cram in there at once, simultaneously using the shower, the sink, and the mirror? Would your frazzled, stay-at-home wife and mother enjoy the sanctuary of a glass-enclosed shower closet? What about a bidet? Remember . . . the sky's the limit at this stage!
Step 3: Get Educated
Set aside a chunk of time to bury your head in design magazines, books, articles, and the Internet. Print, tear, and note every single thing that speaks to you, even if you can't name it right away. It might be a color, a mood, the light, a tile, and a cook top. Learn about products, and notice trends. These scraps and tear sheets will be the beginnings of your Personal Renovation File, which will serve to guide you and your design professional down the roads to a renovation what works beautifully for your family and your budget.