Four “Oh yeahs” in a Successful Renovation Plan

3 Minutes Read

Love it or List it…right? A popular HGTV show highlights the decisions folks have had to make over the years with the help of designer Hilary Farr or real estate agent David Visentin.  For many homeowners, there are usually several great reasons to stay in your current home, as well as many great reasons to move on. 

As you think about your own “Love it or List it” decision, here are four things to consider:

  • Budget, budget, budget
  • Expecting the unexpected
  • Timeline
  • Value of design services

Budget, budget, budget

It goes without saying that any good remodel needs an investment that matches expectations. Although HGTV has helped people see the value in investing in their current homes - and how they can make it work for changing needs - it has done a real disservice to remodelers in just about every town and state in America when it comes to budget expectations.  As much as we’d like to say it was true, in the Grand Junction area you cannot renovate an entire 2,000 square foot home for $150,000…nor can you replace an entire kitchen with custom cabinets for $25,000…and you certainly can’t build an ADU on an acreage for $10,000.  They might be able to do that in the world of television, but it’s pretty tough to do it in the real world.  

In our experience - and this is laden with disclaimers - you can expect renovations to run at least $100-$150 per square foot of space you are touching in any way.  And that’s probably on the modest to upper end of finishes.  Kitchens and bathrooms are always more expensive per square foot than rooms with just new paint and flooring. Home additions also add to the cost, especially if you have complex rooflines and foundations to tie in.  Compare that to a new build average price of $300-$400 per square foot and you can see why remodeling is appealing in today’s high-interest markets.  But just as with new builds, you need to consider your expectations carefully before you decide to renovate.

Expect the unexpected

The age of the home and the complexity of the desired changes are the first considerations. Mostly true in older homes, you can never be sure what you will find once you open up walls, floors, and ceilings.  You can run into code requirements, decay or corrosion, infestations, faulty wiring, or even some scary “DIY” work that needs to be cleaned up and brought up to current standards before you can actually start on the work you want done.  It’s a safe rule of thumb to plan on a 10% contingency sum (based on your overall budget) to help manage the unexpected.  

Even in the best of planning, things change - delays in shipping, discontinued selections, subcontractor delays, weather, and…well, you get the picture.  There are a lot of variables in any construction project that will affect budgeting and timelines. 


Speaking of timelines, it’s absolutely imperative that you understand what you are committing to, how long it is scheduled to go on, and what contingencies you have if there are unavoidable delays.  We always caution clients on trying to “live through” a major renovation project.  As people who have done it themselves, it’s not recommended.  At certain points in the process, it’s disruptive and messy, and very hard to carry on any semblance of “normal life,” while it’s happening.  No matter how easy going you are, it can be a bit unnerving to have subcontractors there as early as 6:30 am and as late as 7:00 pm in crunch times - or multiple workers coming in and out all day long - especially if you have kids or pets.  Plan any major renovation projects when you have a place you can stay while the work is being completed.  And know that it’s very common to have “flurries” of activity and “lulls” in activity as contractors’ scheduling flexes.  

Value of design services

The absolute best way to manage budget, timelines, and the unexpected is to work with a professional designer like we have at Fixture Studio. Not only will they be able to help you understand the process, they can help you work through any spacial challenges, provide construction documents, make good design decisions that will have better long term implications, maximize the return on your investment, and help your project stay on track.  Our lead renovation designer, Erin, works closely with our Head of Renovation, Chad, to be sure that they are in sync every step of the way, so you get the results you want on time and on budget.  At Fixture Studio, we are passionate about curating exceptional spaces and experiences.  Your renovation should be a reflection of you, and we go the extra mile to be sure you’re happy in your home for years to come.

And...all of this because we came across this graphic on line. A funny little dialogue about just how valuable it is to hire the right people. 


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