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Planning a Renovation

A kitchen or bathroom renovation is one of the most exciting projects you can do as a homeowner. Like any journey, it's easier to arrive at a successful kitchen or bathroom renovation when you have a road map. Clean Earth Restorations is here to help you plan and build your new room. Here is a general overview of the renovation process.

The major steps to renovating your kitchen or bath are:

  • defining what you want and need
  • estimating costs / calculating a budget
  • designing the new room
  • construction

Define what you want and need

Form follows function -- or, your remodel should be dictated by how you use the space -- is what you should keep in mind when you define what you want and need in your new kitchen or bath. You will want to paint yourself a mental picture of how you use your kitchen/bath now and what new possibilities you'd like to add to your life in those rooms in the future.

Start making a list of elements you'd like and prioritize it into "can't live without" and "in our dreams". The list should become as exhaustive and detailed as possible so that at the end of the design phase all can be planned for and budgeted before construction begins. (Changes in the renovation process translate into extra cost and delays.)

Ask yourself lots of questions about how you will use the room. Questions like:

  • How many people usually work in the kitchen at once?
  • What else goes on in the kitchen (studying, eating, TV-watching)?
  • Which room does your dining table belong in?
  • For bathrooms – how many appliances do you need to plug in at once?
  • Do you need a little or a lot of storage space?
  • What colors do you want to see in that room?

Take a mental walk through your day -- weekdays and weekends -- and note how the room you are renovating gets used, from morning until night. As you describe how you use your kitchen/bath, keep defining your list.

Keep an idea folder. Whenever a renovation idea crosses your mind, jot yourself a note and throw it in the folder. Keep magazine clippings of rooms, products, materials and decorating ideas that catch your eye. There are also several great online solutions for exploring and grouping your renovation ideas into one place, like Houzz and Pinterest. See Dreaming and Scheming for more information on brainstorming design ideas and keeping them organized.

Make an accurate plan of the space you are going to renovate. It can be measurements and a drawing on paper or you can use on online tool such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association's Virtual Planning Tool.

Having a kitchen designer is also an excellent idea. At first glance it may seem like an unnecessary expense but an experienced designer can actually save you time and money. They are experts in the details and specifics of the many elements that come into play in a kitchen – floor plans, storage, appliances, plumbing, special electrical needs, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, hardware, counter tops, materials, lighting, sinks and faucets, and many other things. They will help you get the most efficiency (and bang) out of your buck. If you haven't re-designed a kitchen recently, you might be surprised to discover all the great options there are to consider. It would be unfortunate to find out about them after your renovation is already completed. A kitchen designer can help you flesh out what you want and then bring it all together in the best way possible for your taste, lifestyle, and budget. At Clean Earth Restorations we have years of experience in renovating kitchens (and bathrooms) and are proud to provide kitchen designing services as well.

Estimating costs / calculating a budget

Once you have defined what your new kitchen or bathroom needs, you can estimate how much it will cost to remodel. At Clean Earth Restorations we have in-house estimators who are specialized in calculating costs.

Compare the estimated cost with the funds you have available for the renovation. The available funds can be your currently available funds or a financing option such as a home equity loan. How much you decide to allocate to the renovation might depend on how long you plan on staying in the house. If you plan on selling in the next few years you will want to make sure your investment is balanced compared to the projected value of the house. If you plan on staying a long time in the house, it makes more sense to invest in a space remodel that is going to bring you the maximum of pleasure for your time there.

If there are discrepancies between your cost and your funds, you can work with your designer to find ways to bring them in line. Substituting materials, using pre-made cabinets instead of custom for instance, or any number of other adjustments can be made to make your budget come together. Keep in mind that it is wise to add 10-15% to your projected costs to account for any surprises in the renovation process.

We can help you plan your kitchen or bathroom remodeling budget. Get our free Renovation Budget Checklist here: Your Renovation Budget Checklist

Designing the new room

This is the fun part. Designing a new space gives you an exciting opportunity to add style, functionality, and value to your home. You must consider your material wants and needs, the way you use the space, and your budget to come up with a design that includes:

  • a layout
  • your decorating style (including colors and materials)
  • appliances
  • cabinet and fixture choices
  • flooring/countertops/other elements such as windows and doors
Get our free budget worksheet

There are many resources available to help you decide how you want your new kitchen or bath to be. Your local bookstore and library have books and magazines dedicated to design and renovation inspiration. The Internet is by far the largest resource today for kitchen and bath design ideas.

See our Scheming and Dreaming webpage for an excellent list of current websites to help you choose your design.

Pin down the design. You have no doubt already played with designing the new room, even before you knew what exactly you wanted and how you were going to pay for it. But now you must know exactly what your new room will look like and how it will function. You must decide where all the elements will be, what size, brand and color they are. Guess work and imprecision are out of the question or the timing, cost, and results may be different than the original plan.

A 5D puzzle. In essence a renovation is similar to a 5D puzzle which includes space, materials, costs, time, and people. They must all fit together in a harmonious way for the best experience and results. The designing of the new room is the drafting table between the dream and the reality, the place where the decisions and the directions are mapped out, and the puzzle starts to pull together.

If you need help making the pieces of this puzzle come together, Clean Earth Restorations can help you plan and design your project.

Construction

Construction can begin once the design, the budget, the contractor and the calendar are in place.

A calendar of the order and timing of the specific trades -- plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, flooring, paint, etc. -- must be arranged so that tasks are done in order (the electrical must be run before the walls can be finished...), and so that all the people, materials, and equipment have access to the site in an organized way. The calendar is one of the key elements in the construction process. Having an experienced general contractor to oversee the calendar, the trades, and the quality-control of the construction process is highly desirable.

Safety is an important issue during a renovation project. Depending on the size of the project you may want to have children stay with friends or relatives, or at least keep them busy elsewhere as much as possible.

Dust is a part of any renovation, even when the renovation space is sealed off with plastic. Don't be surprised if you are spending lots of time with your feather duster during a remodel.

Creating a temporary kitchen (if you are renovating a kitchen) in another room will be necessary. The toaster oven and the microwave can be very useful in this case.

It's all done, almost. When the contractor finishes your project you will walk through it with them and discuss together any details that remain to be finished or changed to your satisfaction (this is called a "punch list"). Once the punch list is signed off you are good to go -- your renovation is finished and ready to enjoy!

Clean Earth Restorations / San Diego's choice for kitchen and bathroom renovations

Clean Earth Restorations is one of San Diego's leading reconstruction contractors, we are a licensed general contractor. We offer San Diego residents complete kitchen and bath remodeling, as well as full service construction services.

With our extensive network of in-house employees and subcontractors, Clean Earth Restorations can provide experts in every field of construction. We cover everything from architects to plumbers and roofers.

Our kitchen and bath remodeling services include:

  • Initial consultation and project estimate
  • Design and planning assistance: from lighting and flooring to cabinets, appliances, countertops and accessories
  • Reface or replace and install cabinetry for kitchens and bathrooms
  • Permit and plan approvals
  • Full project supervision to bring your dream kitchen or bath to life

We manage all the details and provide exceptional customer service.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1-888-471-6653 or click here to set an appointment and we will call you.