Home renovation is always a big deal no matter the size of the project. It is easy to underestimate the amount of labor, the unseen costs, and clean-up, well, that’s a constant challenge. Even if the room is isolated in another wing, the dust, debris and supplies always migrate to the living quarters.
And this is a daunting economy. For the elderly, they must keep their home up-to-date versus moving—and for many, the job is already a major redo. Problems include: the increase in demand for workers, coupled with rising costs, and the fragile home market, all conspire to play havoc with good intentions.
We at Home and Living say, “Home renovation is always a big deal no matter the size of the project.”
We took a look at a new book that attempts to tackle these issues called: Renovate, Remodel… Relax! Take Your Home Improvement From “How?” to “Wow!” written by Coty award-winning home designer, Kathi Fleck. Fleck, according to the bio, is also co-founder of a design-build firm called LoneStar Property Solutions and the publisher of this guide. One other thing we’ve noticed, is she is an expert on Aging-in-Place, a very good skill set as the population gets older.
The Foreword to the book states some homeowner problems very clearly: lack of planning, over and under-estimations, plus, a home improvement industry that is fragmented and has little accountability. Consumer complaints with building, we’re told, are on every consumer protection list–more and more often.
The author talks about her design background and mentions the lack of trust for contractors. That right there in a nutshell begins the problem. So with this book, Fleck hopes to take you through a pre-planning process in order to “deal” with what will happen in addition to what could happen.
In the planning stage, Fleck talks about creating an idea folder—just tearing out pictures from magazines or printing out what homeowners see on the Internet that they like. This is always a good start and I emphasize that a lot, not just with home décor. The one tip I am always stressing too, is about visiting Homeshows and Model homes—hello, seeing the best and the most trendy is always a valuable education. And I like this about the book, she mentions two important things: over-improving your home and deciding on the length of time you plan on staying there.
In the beginning, she gives tips on budget, how to think about it, and how to realize the ROI—Return on Investment. Vital. And there are so many good tips and cautions in the next chapter about Who Should You Hire? That alone, should help to inspire confidence.
The book progresses to: integrating your contractor and designer. Taking proposals and making decisions, getting permits, change orders, unforeseen conditions, timelines, contracts, workflow, even about ideas such as draping doorways and covering floors to prevent damage. Then follows a checklist for homeowners at job’s expectation, and, … there’s more.
The best part about this book is finding the “unasked” questions. These are the needling things that can add much irritation and heartache to a big job. You can tell the author-designer has a deep background in this industry. This book is worth the insight provided. (I would even recommend that contractors get the book for the valuable ideas presented from a different viewpoint.)
Renovate, Remodel…Relax! Take Your Home Improvement From “How” to “Wow”is available in paperback, e-book formats via Amazon, www.kathifleck.com, and with all major online book retailers; and in select brick-and-mortar retailers throughout North America as of March 2015. ISBN: 978-0-9896691-0-8
Find Kathi on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and at www.kathifleck.com.