Communicating Your Design Ideas To Your Home Remodeling Team

Designing your space requires developing commonality of language with your designer and remodeler. Here are some tips to help you to better communicate with your design-build team.

Start By Outlining The Reasons For Your Home Remodeling Project

While aesthetics are an essential element of any home remodeling, it's beneficial to think about and communicate how your space will be used. If you have a large family that hangs out in the kitchen, or if you entertain a lot, you may need extra storage for kitchen supplies and dinnerware. If you're planning on creating a media or family room and your family loves to watch movies together, you may need extra space for comfortable seating. By communicating these needs, your contractor can take your ideas and create a design that meets them.

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A helpful step you can take is to create a “brief” for your project. This is more than merely some color swatches and carpet samples. Think about every aspect of your project and commit it to paper. Include the size, appearance, location, sensory qualities, more. Work with your contractor to include specifics about construction methods, materials and more. 

Compile a list of features you like and back them up with photos, or start an online idea file on a site like Houzz to better visualize your project. Get feedback from your family and keep an online or physical file folder of idea images. Give a lot of thought to your pictures and ask what attracts you to that image. Be precise and jot down your reasons so that you can refer to them later.

Take into consideration how you live and how you'll utilize the space. Get as specific as possible. Ask yourself what you like about the existing space and what you'd like to see changed or improved. Create a “wish list” of features without regards to price. If price were no object would you include professional chef's appliances in your new kitchen? A soaking tub in the master bath? 

Creating a written brief can give your design-build contractor a good idea of the scope of work. Additionally, a well thought out summary will aid in the design process and help make the project run smoother. By providing your contractor with a written outline of your plan, you can then begin to discuss a realistic budget and the best way to allocate your funds to get the space you've been dreaming about.

Create a Home Remodeling Journal

A design board, prepared by you or by your remodeling designer, can serve as part of the communication process to be sure you get the results you want.

Keeping a project diary, or journal is a great way to keep track of your project through each stage. In it, you can include information from your contractors, such as delivery dates and materials. A journal can also help you keep track of the project's progress and allow you to meet homeowner deadlines like making final decisions about colors, materials, or fixtures.

A journal is a great place to jot down questions for your remodeling contractor as your job progresses. You can use it to jot down suggestions and ideas to bring up with your contractor at your next project meeting. 

You can use websites such as Pinterest or Houzz to collect and share your ideas. Don’t forget, collecting a separate set of photos of things you don’t like, can be as important to your designer as the photos that you do like! Your designer will be able to find patterns and common elements, in order to create a home that you love.

A project brief and project journal can help you to remain honest and realistic with your contractor about your budget. It's essential, to be honest with your contractor about your budget and a journal can help you to reduce the need for change orders or design changes which can break your budget fast.  

Final Thoughts Communicating Design Ideas

Communication is an art! When you're vetting design-build-remodelers, it's important to take into consideration how the two of you communicate. Working with a builder who understands your creative vision, lifestyle, and family needs can help to make your project run smoothly. 

Remember the more detailed you can be the better. It's always better to provide more details of your wants, needs, and budget than not providing enough information. Make sure when it comes to their estimate, that all parties entirely understand it. Ask for a timeline including project start and projected end dates, along with milestones you need to be aware of, like water being shut-off, or floor refinishing. 

Communication throughout your project is essential. Whenever possible speak with your design-build-remodeler early each day before work begins and make sure you have a direct method for contacting them during the day. This is important as decisions may come up that require an immediate answer to keep your project on track. Exchange phone numbers and make sure you have an open line of communication as needed. 

Make sure that whoever you choose to work with has your best interests in mind throughout your project, cares about the details, is open to discussing aspects of your project and is ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. As you can imagine, effective communication is critical to the success of any home remodeling project.

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This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 1/24/19.

Contact Degnan Design-Build-Remodel

If you're considering a home remodeling project and you live in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area you owe it to yourself to speak to the experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodeling. We can help you to achieve your creative vision. Our team of design-builders will work closely with you to plan, design and create your ideal living space. Call us at (608) 846-5963 to schedule an appointment to sit down with us and discuss your upcoming home remodeling project.