1. Determine the overall Style you desire. For our 1950’s house, I wanted a clean lined “Beach Cottage.” Nothing grander. As you proceed, keep your design style in mind and it will give your individual selections focus.
2. It seems obvious, but remember to have a camera with you at all times to take photos for your inspiration file (in addition to blog and magazine pictures). While in a gift shop, I noticed this 7.5″ oak planked floor and took a photo. Later, it was easier to remember and find the source.
3. Be cost efficient by getting competitive bids on labor and materials. Let’s face it.
In these economic times, contractors and suppliers have had to lower their prices to stay in business. Everyone has had to “tighten” their belts and we are included. I obtained at least three bids on everything, painting, flooring, windows, carpentry, etc.
Do not overpay but be Fair. Get reasonable prices that still achieve quality workmanship. Pay in installments with a sizable amount left for completion.
4. Ask for due dates upfront to maintain your timeline. It is a little easier to get workers to show up now while building is slow, but you still need to know when they can start and finish.
5. When renovating, think about Energy Efficiency. Although it increased the cost initially, we added insulation to the ceiling and installed double paned windows.
6. You are internet savvy, right? Sell your used items on Craig’s List (like our patio bricks) or donate for the tax deduction. Also, purchase items on Craig’s List and search for bargains using the internet. After researching, Overstock.com was a good source for door knobs. I discovered what the comparable prices were for appliances and other household items.
7. Ask your subcontractors if they know of any deals. For example, the granite surrounding the fireplace was a leftover remanent taking up space in the stone fabricator’s workshop. He sold it to us for much less than the tile/stone store would have as we paid him for his labor to install it.
8. Do as much of the labor as you can. I am not as handy as a lot of you, but I did save money as the owner/contractor/interior designer. Use the experts where you have your limitations and check daily on their work.
9. Keep records of your expenditures. You’ll need this later for your taxes…from the energy efficiency rebates for windows, insulation and appliances to capital gains if you plan to sell your home. Ugh! I need to work on taxes now–but I have all the receipts in a handy file. You’ll also need these to show the bank if you plan to refinance.
10. After construction, relax and decorate with the things you already have
edited down and love. Move accessories around. Have fun playing. It’s just decorating.