Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a number of DIY (Do It Yourself) renovators looking to have a renovation design plan created. While I did have a client who called me after a load bearing wall was removed (as they didn’t know it was a load bearing wall and this was a major mistake), the majority of my clients are calling me prior to any work starting. I love that – here’s why!
DIY Renovation Design Plan: Background Information
I was fortunate to be introduced to a young man who purchased a home with the intent to renovate it. The home that Mr. Client purchased is a bungalow that was chopped up into ‘traditional’ rooms separated by walls: living room, kitchen, hallway, bedrooms, and then the basement. Here is the 2D plan of what the home looked like:
DIY Renovation Design Plan: Stage 1
When I met Mr. Client he already knew what he roughly wanted to spend on each area of the home but had no clear idea of what could be done. We sat down together in the home and we worked through his vision for the home. With all of the information that I had, as well as a rough idea of his budget, I set out to create some ideas of what could be done. I came up with two plans. One plan involved less construction (which equates to less cost) and I came up with one plan that involved a lot more construction (and a lot more construction costs). In coming up with the 2 plans, I wanted to show my client the potential of the home.
DIY Renovation Design Plan: BUDGET
Having a rough idea of a budget is SUPER helpful! I know many of you may say, “I just really have no idea what it will cost,” and I totally get that. You truly may have no idea what something will cost. Here’s another way to think about your budget:
What am I willing to spend?
You most likely know what you are willing to spend OR what you have to spend. That in itself is extremely helpful and important information for me to know. And just so you know, it’s not my job to spend all of your budget or go over your budget. Once I have a budget, I believe it is my job to work with that budget (and hopefully come in under).
Renovation Design Plan: Stage 2
When I sat down with Mr. Client to go over each plan, I went over the pros and cons of each (as with any plan there are pros and cons as well as compromises). Being able to see the conceptual design of the space really allows my clients get a feel of where their money is going to go. For this particular home, Mr. Client knows this is not a ‘forever’ home so in the back of my head, I was also thinking of potential re-sale and what would appeal to buyers today (and buyers 5 years down the road).
DIY RENOATION DESIGN TIP: HAVE A PLAN
I can not state this enough times. Without a plan, you have no roadmap! You have no recipe. You have nothing. By having a design plan, you can plan out what you need to get done for:
- drywall, etc.
Without having a plan, your budget really could skyrocket because you are not planning for these trades and their costs. If you are DIY please know your limitations! Mr. Client is very fortunate to have the skill-set and education to be able to do the construction to place the beam in his home which has saved him a lot of money in labour (as he chose the open concept design). He however knows very well that he is not a plumber or an electrician. For those areas, he has called in the professionals.
Renovation Design Plan: Stage 3
Once Mr. Client decided on which plan he would like to go with, then the more detailed plan was developed. I took the conceptual design plan and started to plan out the detail for the kitchen (specifically). Knowing the budget and working with the budget, this home will be getting a beautiful IKEA kitchen. It is in this stage, with the design plan, where I can really manipulate the budget and get the function and the look my client desires. I gathered costs for the kitchen, the counters, the appliances, the lighting and all the other fixed elements and other elements to pull this home together.
DIY RENOVATION DESIGN TIP: SELECTIONS
By having the design plan in place before anything was started, Mr. Client and I were able to make decisions and massage his budget in various areas. We knew that IKEA would be the place to get the cabinets so by going with IKEA cabinets, this DIY would be putting together the cabinets and saving money. By going with IKEA cabinets, we are also able to go with quartz counters! For future selling, that is a total plus!
We also discussed flooring options and I was able to provide choices that not only would save the budget, but I chose flooring that Mr. Client could install himself (except the carpet in the bedrooms). Don’t forget, this is a DIY renovation so I wanted to pick something that a DIY would have no issue installing. By having the design plan, we were able to know exactly what room needed flooring and we could make decisions and check to ensure we were on budget.
Once those were decided, we chose interior wall colours, trim colour (to go with the white kitchen) and the ceiling colour. All of the bedrooms upstairs are done and now the main part of the main floor is being worked on.
DIY Renovation Design Plan: How this DIY is doing it right!
I can’t say enough how proud I am of Mr. Client and it has truly been a treat working with him. When the decision was to go with removing the load bearing wall, we got the structural engineer in right away. Every step that Mr. Client is taking is by the book. Now I’m not saying that every DIY does not go ‘by the book’, but I am saying that I have seen people cut corners to save money. By cutting corners, it is going to come back and bite you in the ass at some point. It may not come back to bite you until you go to sell and the home doesn’t pass inspection. It may come back to bite you when you are living in the home. My point is to create a renovation plan and figure out what you can take on and what the professionals need to take care of. I am a firm believer that when dealing with a home renovation, you need to take the time and use the money to do it right the first time.
Stay tuned to see the results of this DIY Renovation. Oh – and I’m calling this one “OPEN ME UP!”