Occasionally when I am out meeting with our potential customers to discuss their potential project, I get the question asked, “What can I do to make my home remodel project run as smooth as possible?”. I remember the first time I was asked this, I wasn’t quite ready to answer but I spent some time thinking about and put together the following thoughts.
When we work on a project, we go in knowing that we are invited guests in the home of our customer. We take that responsibility very seriously as we know that we are being invited to make their home remodel dreams come true. We will be in their home, possibly disrupting their normal routines or displacing them for a time while we work to create beautiful changes to their kitchen, bath, etc. For the project to run smoothly, there are a lot of parts and pieces that need to be managed. Although we are responsible for the final product and the delivery of a good process, there are portions that are a two-way street, so I will answer the question that has occasionally been asked of how the customer can help.
First, communication is key. Speak early and speak often. Ask questions and expect an honest response. If there is something that you find concerning, please let us know that it is a concern. It is typically much easier to resolve things early than to try to fix something after multiple other things have happened. Not only does it allow us an opportunity to know more about how you are feeling about things, but it allows you to unload any burden of carrying something that you are worried about.
Second, be ready to be decisive. You are going to be asked to make decisions on layouts, colors, materials, and styles that will be in your home possibly for the rest of your life. It can be daunting to think of that and be worried that you may make the wrong style choice. Invest in time early to determine your style preferences and be open to making firm decisions when the time comes. It is my experience that customers that take an extended time choosing materials, colors, etc. can start to feel overwhelmed and impatient as the project drags on even though they are partially responsible. Don’t let “analysis paralysis” take over and be ready to make decisions with the help of the Designers.
Third, trust that we will do our best to make it right. Remodeling is complicated and we can guarantee that some flexibility will be required during the process. Having some patience while we work on solutions to your concerns is important. We find it very useful to keep a shared list of things during the work so that everyone is accountable for any questions or items. Sometimes solutions take time.
Fourth, be ready for a change in your lifestyle during construction. If your kitchen is being worked on, plan on alternative solutions for eating during the time that your kitchen is being done. Is your bathroom being remodeled? What is the plan for what will happen during the time that you cannot use that bathroom?
Fifth, how are you going to handle things in the LAST WEEKS of not being able to use your kitchen? When there is just a relative short time left before the last few things are done it may be difficult. You may find yourself wanting to use your space and it looks like things are so close!
This is typically the hardest time for clients because they are tired of having their life disrupted. If you can just hold out for a bit longer, I can promise that this will pass, and most people quickly forget the disruption as they are able to use their new wonderfully remodeled space.
Sixth and final, work to understand the process. You will be presented with information, timelines, schedule information, and instructions. Read through the information given and become familiar with the software and systems set up to help make the process smooth. These tools and metrics are there for your benefit and may alleviate some of the concerns that you may have if you are able to use them as a resource.
The goal is for everyone to have a great experience and for your renovated space to be the pride and joy of your home. Both the contractor and customer are responsible for making the process enjoyable. When done correctly, everyone can finish with a smile on their face and a feeling of accomplishment and pride in the work done.