Commercial Interior Design in Vancouver - Ark and Mason

Home Renovations and Remodeling Tips

Two years ago, my husband and I started a big job to fix up and remodel our 1970s ranch-style home from top to bottom. However, the house was in terrible need of a big makeover. There was lots of shag carpeting, wood paneling, and old-fashioned lighting. We knew it would be a huge job, but we couldn’t wait to make our house into the modern, open-plan home of our dreams.

Now that I look back, I can say that the rebuilding process was much harder, took longer, and cost more than we thought it would. The end result was worth it, though. Along the way, I learned some useful things that I hope can help other people who are thinking about doing a big home remodel.

Have a Clear Vision and Detailed Plan

Before you even lift a hammer, you need to have a very clear idea of what you want your renovation to accomplish. Make a thorough plan of all the changes you want to make, ideally with the help of an architect or designer.

We worked with an architect for months to come up with a plan and finetune our idea by looking at photos that inspired us. Sometimes this planning ahead was boring, but it paid off big time. A clear road map helped us stay on track and made sure the end result was what we had hoped for.

Set a Realistic Budget

One of the most important parts of planning a makeover is making a budget that you can stick to. Things can get very expensive very quickly if you’re not careful. We made a detailed budget based on quotes from several contractors. To account for unexpected costs, we added 20% to the budget.

That cushion alone wasn’t enough. Along the way, we ran into a few expensive shocks, like the need to upgrade the electrical panel and get rid of asbestos. I wish we had been even less optimistic about how much it would all cost.

Hire the Right Team

It takes a group to do a big home makeover. You’ll need to hire a general builder and probably a few subcontractors as well if you’re not very handy. The people you work with will make or break the project.

Thanks to a recommendation, we found a great general contractor who kept our job on schedule despite a lot of problems. Some friends told me terrible stories about contractors who didn’t do good work or went for weeks at a time.

Prepare for Disruption

It is very upsetting to live through a makeover, especially a big one. A lot of work was going on around our house for about a year. Even though the workers did their best to keep the dust in check, it was always covering everything. It was hard to focus because of the noise of the construction and power tools. Our daily plans were turned upside down. During a big remodel, there’s no way to stay out of trouble. But here are some things you can do to keep things from getting too crazy.



It’s important to talk to your provider often and clearly. We met regularly to get reports on the project, ask questions, and bring up any problems. We were able to stay on the same page and solve issues quickly. Still, there were misunderstandings and anger along the way. I wish I had been even more proactive about voicing my concerns and checking the facts again after the fact.

Design for Yourself, Not Resale

The changes we made to our house felt like riding a roller ride at times. We were shocked to find that the floor was completely uneven and needed to be smoothed. There were small problems, like running out of the bathroom tile we had picked that was no longer being made. At times, the worry of having to make too many decisions and costs going up really got to me.

No matter how well you plan, problems will arise that you did not expect. Renovations don’t always go as planned. As much as you can, you should expect that things will go wrong and be mentally and financially ready to handle them. Getting your house fixed up is not a race, but a marathon. At times, ours felt like it would never end. But I found that when I was really angry, it helped to step back and remember what we wanted the end result to be.


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