1)       Don’t skimp when picking your team.

You need to put a full team in place.  This means the designer, architect and builder/contractor.  Get the team together early in the process so that everyone can work together. This allows for continuity and better workflow. Also, you’ll want to check the experience level of the key team members and be sure they are as qualified as you need them to be.  Additionally, see if the team has worked together previously?  Finally, investigate and find out how much construction experience the designer has.

2)       Always expect the unexpected.

No matter how much planning there is in place, something always happens that isn’t expected during a renovation. Be open to changes. You never know what is lurking behind the walls!

3)       Selections.

If at all possible, make all the material selections before starting.  The more preplanning you do, the more efficient everyone can be. Order early, as soon as the true measurements are taken by the professional.  There is nothing worse than a project stopping while waiting on materials to arrive.

4)       Budget.

Always allow for a 20% surprise fund.  Something unexpected will happen along the way.  It is better to have the funds set aside than have to scramble to find them during the project.

5)       Will you stay or will you go.

In the early planning process, decide how long you plan to stay in this residence.  It will drive timeless vs trendy selections.

6)       Plan with the end in mind.

Definitely think about how you use a home.  Where you are in your life is very important. Things to consider are whether you are planning a family, near-empty nesting, working from home or needing to renovate for your elder parents who are coming to live with you. Do you use a formal dining room?  Need a library or study area, etc.?

7)       Initial Time Investment.

Really spend some time with the architect and designer. This is a relationship business. Their job is to get in your head and interpret what the homeowner wants but may not be able to truly communicate or create.

8)       Ongoing Collaborations.

Construction meetings are a must with the team and homeowners.  That way nothing falls through the cracks.  And the builder/contractor is never waiting for a decision. Renovations are a process and the more you act like a team the better the results.

Tish Mills Kirk of Tish Mills Interiors, a preferred vendor of The Meridian Real Estate Group, is an award-winning interior designer who has been working with clients on their homes for more than two decades. She believes that it is essential to put together a cohesive plan for your home renovation before you get started that can be carried out by the team of experts you assemble. www.harmoniousliving.net

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 Photos provided by Chris Little.

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