Your kitchen and bathroom are key parts of the house and renovating them is no mean feat. After looking at style trends, budget, resale value and longevity, you will have many decisions to make, some of them quite challenging. Here are some tips for getting your renovation project started right.
Make a “wish list”
List all the items in the room, both architectural and functional, and identify what you like and what you want to change. Next, list the functions, features and appliances that you wish to have installed. It’s time to dream! Grab the opportunity and include all your ideal elements. You have not yet drawn up your budget.
Establish your budget
Whether you want to make just a small improvement or completely transform a room, you must establish a budget. It should include quotes on the labour from different contractors, and the cost of appliances, fixtures, tiles and flooring, lighting, any temporary move that may be necessary, and all the accessories you will need, right down to the door handles. It is also wise to set aside some money for unforeseen circumstances and budget overruns. For example, the discovery of mould, an uneven floor, delays that push the whole schedule back, or even plumbing and electricity problems. This additional provision should be 15 to 20% of your budget and should be included in your total budget envelope.
Do not skimp on work done by professionals
The kitchen and bathroom are the two most difficult rooms to renovate yourself, with their water supply inlet and outlets, electrical installations, surfaces requiring waterproofing and the natural gas inlet to heat the stove. These are all important elements that require the help of a professional, both to perform the work and to ensure quality and safety. Before making a choice, ask for three or four references so you are sure to trust the services and work of the professionals you decide to hire.
Spend where it counts
Whatever the size of the room you want to renovate, keep in mind what is behind the walls and under the floors. Working with the existing space may not be the ideal solution in terms of design, but it almost always saves you money. It may be expensive to move the toilet, shower or bath drain, the gas inlet for the stove or the water inlets for the kitchen sink. However, if the electric circuits or plumbing are too old, it may be beneficial in the long term to start from scratch. Therefore, take this opportunity to improve the room’s ergonomics, by doing things properly. Also invest in the room’s permanent features, such as the floor, bath and shower, kitchen backsplash and recessed lighting. Furthermore, do not overlook practical touches such as heated floors, good ventilation (kitchen and bathroom fans) and plenty of storage.
Make smart choices
If you plan on selling less than five years after the end of the renovations, keep resale value in mind when designing your project. Make choices that are both current and timeless, and opt for neutral colours. However, if you think you will stay in your home more than seven years, you can design the room and choose the materials that appeal to you since they will be considered outdated by the time you put your house on the market. Do not replace the bathtub by a shower if you only have one bathroom, because this could make it difficult to sell your property, especially to buyers with young children. Lastly, choose materials that are easy to maintain or that you are aware will require greater care. Nothing beats the look of Carrara marble, but it is fragile and must be sealed regularly, which is maybe not the best choice for a young family or a property you want to rent.
The most important point to remember about all of the above is that renovations are costly and require preparation. Before tackling the job, take the time to think about who will use the rooms and what they will be used for. You will then be able to adapt them to all family activities, select the proper materials for each room, take your lifestyle into consideration, and make them modern yet functional.
Photos credit: Céragrès
Photo credit: Amber
Photos credit: Studio McGee
Passionate about colour, vintage decorative elements and hand-made items, Vanessa Sicotte celebrates décor in all its splendour. Vanessa is the mastermind behind the Damask & Dentelle blog—and author of a book in the same name—where she has been sharing her favourite décor discoveries since 2009. She is also the host of Sauvez les meubles and Marché Conclu on Canal Vie. Since fall 2015, viewers can reap Vanessa’s valuable advice by watching the Marina Orsini show on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, where she is featured as décor commentator.