A helpful guide to setting expectations and what you need to know
This may be your first renovation project, or you’re pondering a new one. You may have also experienced a renovation gone wrong, and truth be told, if you’re not equipped or well prepared, things may not go according to plan. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, our renovation design team weighs in on client expectations and any misconceived notions clients may have when deciding to renovate their homes. We’re giving you a peak into the lives of an interior designer and where issues can arise on the daily if expectations and communications are not clear from the get-go. We receive calls from trades all day long, and we’ve witnessing virtually every possible scenario… so let’s make sure you’re prepared!
Remember, it gets ugly before it gets pretty! Here’s a before and after from the Pinetree Crescent Project kitchen. In this particular project, we remodeled the entire home, so every space got transformed. Design by LUX decor.
Setting up your timeline
As interior designers, setting expectations early on in the process is crucial to a well-executed project. Once you’re in our queue to begin your project, we meet with you when the time comes and inform you on everything you need to know to get started. We have a process we like to follow to inform the client prepare for what’s to come, so the process is smoother for both of us. Especially for renovation projects, things are oftentimes made custom, permits are required, and multiple trades are being coordinated, so the process can take much longer than furnishing a space. Fortunately for you, we offer a renovation management service, so we take care of the day-to-day details and only communicate with you when we have important updates, or when a decision needs to be made. It’s important to remember that every project is unique and may have a different timeline. Whatever the case may be, we work with you and coordinate all deliverables and orders to be ready for the next phase of your project. Here are a couple things you need to know before embarking in your design project.
The planning phase starts with you.
Our homes are for many the most significant investment we will make in our lifetime, which is why you need to be very organized to ensure a successful renovation project. You will want to start by making a budget and a list of priorities and rooms you want to tackle. Then, meet with an interior designer first. Most are surprised when say that you need to start with a designer first before hiring your contractor. Why, may you ask? To make their quote as accurate as possible, the contractor will need to feel out the overall vision of the project in terms of wall divisions, layout, etc. The planning phase is a great time to interview contractors, showing them your property and comparing quotes according to their level of expertise. Once you’ve found your contractor and have discussed timelines with them, we begin to create the plans and technical drawings for your project which your contractor will need once it comes time to beginning your project.
A great before and after moment! We love when we can put our thinking caps on and completely re-imagine a space. In this case, we transformed a powder room into a much needed laundry room on the second floor. A great example of putting dead space to good use.
Design isn’t instant gratification.
Good things come to those who wait. In the planning phase, it’s important to create realistic expectations about delivery dates, construction, and installation timelines. It’s important to consider that things are oftentimes custom, and we need to wait for the right specifications. Even though we have someone full time managing shipping and procurement and informing clients on the status of their orders, there are sometimes delays that we cannot predict despite our best efforts. As we always consider our clients’ timelines, some things can happen which are out of our control. It’s important to be aware of this and plan a buffer of time in case some things are late, or we run into unpredictable issues in the renovation process.
The Boisbriand Project was a new build, so we created the floor plan from scratch. In this kitchen, it’s all about the materials and finishings. A couple features that make this kitchen stand out are the toe kick vacuum, drip ledge, wine and fridge panty, unlacquered brass faucets, utensil pull out, magic corner, bar sink and coffee bar. Design by LUX decor.
Make sure you have a contingency plan.
For whatever budget you have decided on for your project, make sure you have a contingency plan for unforeseen overrun. As a safety net, anywhere between 10-25% of the overall renovation budget should be sufficient unless changes are made. When running into unexpected surprises that cannot be assessed before starting a project, such as moisture damage, structural issues, electrical issues, etc., you’ll be happy to have a plan of action! Now, nothing can hold you back.
In 2020, we took on the Nominingue Project to complete the interiors of this Passive Home. Here, you can see Katrina, Team Lead Designer on the renovation team, on one of her many site visits checking on construction progress.
One of our core values at LUX is “no problems, we find solutions” and we carry this motto through all our projects. It’s a great idea to prepare a margin of error as there is almost always something that doesn’t go as planned in renovations. It’s just the nature of the business. It’s our job to reassure you and let you know that as interior designers, it’s our job to deal with issues as they arise and coordinate everything, so we stay on track. This is part of our renovation management service – we take care of dealing with all trades, so you don’t have to. Hiccups are natural, and if your expectations are set, nothing will stand in your way!
Sun Ah, Owner & Founder at LUX decor, at the Nominingue Project
It’s all about mindset!
If you’re well prepared, the process will go as smoothly as can be! Having a conversation with your designer, contractor and trades is crucial to making sure you’re set up for success, as well as touching base throughout the project for good communication. If you’re surrounded by a good team, they will help guide you in making choices and keeping you on track. When the budget is not properly allocated, this can typically cause clients to want to cut corners throughout the project, so establishing a healthy budget is important.
Trust your designer.
Let’s face it. You hired a designer because you can’t do it yourself. Giving up some control is hard, but necessary if you’re dealing with professionals. Don’t worry, if you’ve done all the prep work, you’re in great hands! In the preliminary phase of your project, you will be very involved when it comes time to dream up spaces, select materials, apply for permits, interview trades and more. We spend time getting to know you and evaluating your lifestyle and design preferences to ensure functionality in every detail.
From left to right, the kitchen entrance and living room of the Brunet Project we did a full service renovation and decor for to create this full home makeover.
Don’t forget to dream.
While covering your grounds and making informed decisions is a crucial part of the process, your renovation journey can also be extremely validating and exciting. Allowing an interior design team to step in allows you to dream, visualize and conceptualize this new phase of your life. As much as you may be nervous to jump in, we assure you that embracing change can be transformative not only in terms of your home, but also in yourself. Research proves that caring for your space and switching it up can have a profound effect on your mood and overall psyche. It’s our job to help you ease into it and create a new sense of home for you, so trust the process – you are in good hands! Just embrace the new and get ready for the ride!
Where to start?
If you’re considering your next renovation project, reach out to us and we’ll answer all your questions as well as provide a detailed quote. Reach out to us here to book a discovery call. More on full service renovations here.
Explore the Nominingue Project, both a full service renovation and decor project we loved immersing ourselves into. Located 3 hours away from Montreal in the Laurentian Mountains, this cabin in a pinwheel form is a passive home and completely energy efficient.