Remodeling for Smarties Part 2

Hooray, you’ve decided to move forward with your remodel!

Here are some tips for making your remodel go smoothly.

two black wooden bar stools near table and french door refrigerator
Photo by Sarah Jane on

1) Research Contractors

What I look for in a contractor first and foremost is are they a good manager. A major remodel project is complex and has many details with big potential for costly problems. Be sure to check references and reviews, and make sure they are licensed and insured. For a large project, a well run, reputable company may cost a bit more, but will likely save you money in the long run. And please be sure there is a written contract that outlines the expectations and payment schedules before you hand over any money.

2) Hire a Designer or Architect


If you are making changes to layout, working with a designer can save you money and stress, because you have a firm plan in place before construction starts. Designers tend to be highly detail oriented, and having designed numerous spaces, we will know every single thing to ask you or look for that you probably haven’t thought about.  It’s easier if you have a contractor first so if any concerns come up when designing, the contractor is able to give input which can help keep the design realistic.

For changes in structure or exterior, an architect is the way to go. You could bring a designer in to help you pick colors and finishes or work on the interior layouts once you have an official blueprint.

3) Get Everything in Writing. Everything.

One thing I include with my design plan is a document that lists every single thing you want done for your project, from placing light switches to installing tile to moving doorways.  This benefits the contractor and you, as all your requests are written down in one place, should there be any confusion later. My design plans also include 3D renderings, which makes it much easier for clients and the contractor to be on the same page. Even if you aren’t making load changes, your contractor will need some type of as built and proposed plan to submit for permits.

4) Prioritize

Georgetown Remodel-Master Bath Shower

As much as possible, try to work within your existing structure. It’s easy to get crazy with possibilities but that can really start to add up. Sometimes simpler is best. Decide what is most important and what can be let go of if the cost gets too high.

5) Check in on the work but don’t be a pain.

While you should check in regularly to make sure things are being done right, be careful not to confuse the trades.  Call the contractor if you see an issue, don’t try to stop the worker.  Check in after hours or on weekends if possible, and take some photos of the area of concern. Then address several things at once on a call or at a meeting.

It’s a long process, but the results are usually worth it!

Yount Kitchen Before
After Photo by Cate Black Photography


For more info on my design plans for remodeling, check out!

Published by kbythewood

I am in Interior Designer in Austin TX who is passionate about keeping design simple, practical, and affordable for anyone who wants a great space.

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