By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction
It’s New Years and despite the ongoing pandemic, renovation work is in great demand. The low-key vacations at home and the perpetual virtual nature of work and school make many of us think later this year about when we can (hopefully) entertain again and / or the family can come to stay.
Whether you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, create a more open concept on your main level, finalize the unfinished basement, or simply turn your main bathroom into a retreat, here is our guide to help you find the right remover for you to find project.
1. Match the requirements of your project to the correct type of remodeler
Knowing who you need is the first step in any remodeling. For some many different companies, it is not always easy to navigate who does what. Here’s a good place to start (and it’s one of the biggest questions we get): What is the difference between a general contractor and a design-build house remodeling company?
A general contractor (sometimes referred to simply as a “GC”) typically focuses on small to medium-sized interior design projects. You are responsible for overseeing the construction phase of your remodeling and finding / hiring the appropriate craftsmen to complete the project if they do not have the expertise on their own or in-house. On the other hand, you will likely have to do the design and in most cases choose the materials for the project and manage the project.
GCs are perfect for smaller pull-and-replace conversions, in which you do not change the space requirements significantly and replace the existing space requirements on a comparable basis. The quality and price of using a GC varies widely depending on the support offered, the size of the project, and the quality of the project management to keep the remodeling on time and on budget.
As for a design / construction company, a full service company (like Synergy Design & Construction) will manage all aspects of your remodeling and guide you through your project – from design to construction. You do all the heavy lifting and manage it along the way. Planning / construction companies usually focus on medium-sized to large residential projects: design-oriented renovation work on entire houses as well as kitchens, basements and bathrooms. They can also provide home additive services (although we don’t).
Most design / construction companies “design everything they build and build everything they design” so most local businesses do not offer design-only services and / or the design services they provide cannot be used to subcontract to a general contractor . In-house design and professional project management provide a better customer experience in terms of accountability and quality. On the other hand, good design and construction takes time and can cost more. At Synergy, our typical customers intend to stay in their home to enjoy their space. As such, we don’t offer kitchen refreshments, flips, or simple updates like powder rooms (unless it’s part of a larger project).
Do your research and browse various websites to see examples of the nature of the work and the level of support from a company. Read testimonials and Google reviews – they’re a great way to get a feel for what a business is about from real customers.
Do you need some more help? Read The Best Reston Transformers And Where To Find Them.
2. Don’t play your cards too close to your chest
It’s one of the biggest hurdles to overcome: being honest with the budget. It is important to have this conversation early in the process so that the companies you speak to better understand your investment goals. The remodeler of your choice may be realistic for you when it comes to how broad your budget will go and how best to maximize it.
Remember that remodeling the kitchen to pull and replace will cost less than reconfiguring your kitchen to move your sink, for example, or changes that require additional plumbing, mechanical, and electrical work. The level of finish will also drive costs up. From cabinets to countertops, tiles to floors, these costs add up. Appliance packages alone can be a large part of your budget. Hence, your home remodeler should be able to work with you to determine where to save money and where to save without sacrificing quality and finish.
3. Make the scope clear
Do not proceed with a project until you have defined a clearly defined scope of work with your contractor in writing. Do not accept anything. We hear so many stories from homeowners who are way over budget because the scope wasn’t clearly defined (or in some cases even written down!) In advance.
This affects not only your budget but also your schedule. If things are not planned and considered prior to the start of the project, you will likely face change requests and additional time required to complete your project.
At Synergy, we pride ourselves on developing a clear budget and schedule for every project we work on before someone comes near you with a sledgehammer. We don’t believe in nickel and diming on the way. We’d rather tell you honestly how much things cost so you can just rest that we stick to budget by appointment.
4. Have the right expectations
Ah, yeah, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get a full home remodel for $ 20,000 in six weeks? The reality of TV conversions is that they are not reality. At many of these shows, materials such as cabinets and equipment are provided free of charge as part of sponsorship deals, and the cost of time and labor for the crews involved is not included. Check out sites like Houzz or read any of the great consumer research to get a feel for how much things cost.
It is also not an unreasonable expectation that your contractor will start the project if they say it will go away and not before it is fully completed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and that’s when we hear the worst “renovation nightmare” stories. You can rely on reputable planning / construction companies when it comes to meeting their schedules.
5. Think of your remodeler as a partner, not a supplier
Your chosen remodel partner will be in your life and home for a while. It is important that you feel like you are in a good relationship with them, and open communication from the start will prepare you for success throughout the process. Home remodelers are people too, and most of them take great pride in their work and want to do a good job. If it doesn’t feel right at your first consultation, it will never feel right. You should have a good relationship with your contractor right from the start and feel that you can trust him and be open with him and vice versa. That is the key to the success of your project.
The project presented this month is a renovation of an entire townhouse in Reston. After living there for 11 years, this Reston couple were ready to make major changes to their home in order to continuously update it and better reflect its modern aesthetic. However, they knew they didn’t have the time to manage the project themselves or the expertise to create designs that could then be implemented by a general contractor. Enter Synergy Design & Construction!
In addition to other changes on all three levels, we have completely redesigned the main bathroom, the guest bathroom and the guest toilet. In addition to remodeling the bathrooms, we’ve installed new floors, lighting fixtures, and fans throughout the house, replaced the kitchen countertops, and updated the fixtures. New colors and an updated “black satin” color on the banisters and handrails completed the transformation and made the entire house look fresh and modern.
When you’re ready to start your remodeling journey with a full-service design-build company, get in touch! Our consultations are free of charge and we also offer virtual meeting options on request.