Key things to keep in mind to determine if Remodeling is right for you

The Problem:

For many of us, remodeling an existing residence may be the best path to a home tailored to your family’s needs. But remodeling is not for everyone. Homeowners face several obstacles to success:

  • Remodeling is often more stressful than building new. 
  • Living in your home while remodeling can be very disruptive to family routines, privacy, and comfort. 
  • Moving out during the work can be expensive and disruptive in its own way. 
Remodeling is disruptive
Remodeling can be quite disruptive to family life if you choose to stay in residence during the work, but hopefully you can maintain your sense of humor!

The Solution:

One proven way to manage and mitigate these obstacles is finding and selecting the right remodeling professionals for you. 

The statement that remodeling is not for everyone applies to architects and contractors too. The success of a remodeling project will hinge upon getting the critical choice for these key project team leaders right. 

Remodeling is fraught with risk and unexpected surprises (both pleasant and unwanted varieties). Some architects view this as a stimulating challenge, while others consider the whole enterprise unpleasant —something to be avoided. Asking design and contractor candidates why they chose to work in this more difficult segment of the market can reveal important information that a homeowner can use to evaluate who can best help them.

Their answers will reveal much about how they approach the problems we confront in remodeling and what compels them to continue. Having an enthusiastic partner, motivated by the right reasons, will benefit your project greatly. The key is to listen for your prospective architect, contractor or other professional to express a strong attraction to some variation of these three aspects of the remodeling project:

  1. Remarkable Transformations
    Some architects revel in manifesting a transformative solution that to others had lain utterly hidden from view. Performing this metamorphosis can seem almost like wizardry! The opportunity to dramatically transform a home that suffers from esthetic and/or functional defects into a beautiful, livable refuge, tailor–made for your family, is one of the most rewarding things an architect or contractor can do for a client. The more suboptimal the original home is (provided it has “good bones”) the greater the potential for the architectural transformation to startle and amaze clients and the community. Of course, your architect should not be so blinded by the quest for dramatic transformations that they overlook that a home can be so suboptimal that it doesn’t make sense to remodel. They should be prepared to be honest with you about the reality of your situation.
  2. Puzzle Solving Surprise!
    As the remodeling construction process begins, unknown conditions will be exposed that the contractor and architect must evaluate and determine appropriate solutions. The problems can be quite perplexing in some cases, requiring extraordinary creativity and ingenuity to overcome. Some architects and their contracting comrades find that unraveling and solving the succession of unique puzzles each remodel presents to be stimulating, fun and satisfying. To this select group, confronting these challenges together and emerging victorious is immensely gratifying.
  3. Unique Outcomes
    All projects, new or remodel, have constraints. But in new construction there is far more latitude determining how the design will respond to them. Remodeling inescapably has more constraints, and less latitude within a greatly narrowed range of potential design solutions. An architect can find this stifling to their creativity if they aren’t open to accepting those added constraints as an opportunity to create something unique. Something they would never have otherwise considered designing. Ideally the architect welcomes these added constraints because of the inherently unique and often novel design solutions that emerge from the process.

Discovering that your architect and contractor relish the remodeling process because of these three factors bodes well for a successful and enjoyable process and result —a home you can be proud of that is a pleasure to live in.

-Mark Elster
Managing Principal
AOME Architects