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Realities of Renovating- Part 2 : DIY vs. Bring in the Professionals

A few weeks ago I started a blog series titled: ‘Renovations: Reality vs. “Reality” TV’.   My goal is to share with you years of experience in the design / building industry and to offer some insight on how to best prepare for the realities of renovating.  Let’s dig into step 1 of 3:

Understand the scope of your project.  Is it a ‘do it yourself-er’ or do trained professionals need to be involved? If it’s the latter, then become knowledgeable on what types of professional are available and their roles.

D.I.Y. has been a popular acronym for the past 20 years or so.  (Actually according to Wikipedia, it was introduced in 1912 and came in to common usage in the 1950’s, but it really took hold once the world wide web and HGTV came along.) D.I.Y. primarily exists in the residential realm where homeowners plug into websites like Pinterest, Houzz, and You Tube where endless creative ideas exist.  Do-It-Yourself is meant for simple projects where weekend warriors can roll up their sleeves, put in some time and elbow grease, save some money and feel proud about the fruits of their labour.  IKEA was born out of the D.I.Y. movement. (A favourite place of mine, I’m not going to lie.)

 

 

 

 

 

‘It’s lovely. Have you actually built a flat-pack kitchen before?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when does a project go from D.I.Y. to “bring in the professionals”?  Here’s a top 5 list that indicates you should start hiring:

  1. Your renovation requires a permit and the stamp of a design professional.
  2. Your renovation requires structural, mechanical and / or electrical alterations.
  3. You have no design experience and don’t want to waste money on costly mistakes.
  4. You’ve never picked up a tool in your life and can’t decipher which end is up. Especially if the tools are sharp.
  5. Your time and energies are better spent focusing on what you’re good at so that you can pay a professional to do what they’re good at.

Once you’ve decided that your project is not a D.I.Y.er, what types of professionals should you be calling?  Here’s a list of options and the types of work they do:

Architect:  A licensed professional responsible for planning, designing, and reviewing the construction of buildings.  They create total environments, focusing heavily on the building shell. Architects often act as the prime (coordinating) consultant on major building / renovating projects, especially commercially.

Interior Designer:  A professional responsible for designing functional and creative design solutions for interior environments. They work within the building shell to design for the health, safety and well-being of occupants. Interior Designers often act as the prime (coordinating) consultant on interior focused commercial or residential projects.

Architectural Lighting Designer: A professional responsible for the design of lighting systems, including  the control of natural light, electric light, or both, to enhance and strengthen design and to  serve human needs. They work closely with Architects, Interior Designers and Electrical Engineers.

Structural Engineer: A professional responsible for ensuring that structures to withstand stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use. They make sure the building doesn’t fall down.

Mechanical Engineer: On a building or renovation project, the Mechanical Engineer is the professional responsible for the design, construction, and testing of mechanical systems.  This often focuses on heating, cooling, fire protection, plumbing and air quality systems.

Electrical Engineer: On a building or renovation project, the Electrical Engineer is the professional responsible for the design, construction, and testing of electrical devices.  This often focuses on calculating & distributing electrical loads, wiring, communication & building controls and specifying electrical systems.

General Contractor:  A general contractor, or G.C., is hired to take the plans created by the professionals and bring them to reality.  He or she will orchestrate the comings and goings of the trades, order mate­rials, inspect the work done and coordinate an ever-changing schedule.

So now that you know when a project has gone beyond D.I.Y and the range of professionals available for hire, where do you go from here?

 

Start by talking with design professionals who specialize in the area most appropriate for your project (see definitions above).  Have phone conversations and / or face to face meetings with a few until you find someone you feel has the expertise you require and understands your needs. You’ll be working closely with this person / team, so don’t underestimate the importance of finding someone you mesh with.

In my next blog post we’ll dig deeper into how to establish clear goals and objectives. This will help you to focus yourself and the design professional(s) you select.

Until then, I wish you success in your D.I.Y. or in your search for the right team of professionals!

 

Tracy

tracy dyck photo

Peace. Rejuvenation. Relaxation.

When you think about your home, what areas can function as a space for a personal retreat? I personally would love to have an ensuite were I can run a hot steamy bath and melt away from day-to-day stresses. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few ensuite projects in 2014 and the results were pretty awesome. The one project that I’d like to highlight is a gem in the heart of East St. Paul. Here, the goal was to create an in-home spa that was eye catching & glamorous.

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Design Requirements

  • Design a spa-like retreat that incorporates a new steam shower, vanity with adequate storage, as well as a free standing tub
  • Implement layers of lighting for all differenct day-to-day tasks (bright for getting ready in the morning, dim for relaxation & meditation & a soft glow for wayfinding)
  • Incorporate soft colours & textures for impact and luminescence

Project Limitations

  • Work within the existing space & maintain the existing location of the plumbing
  • Work with the clients budget & timeline

The Concept

The concept was derived from the client’s inspiration of existing spas and hotels. The client also loved soft colors from the ocean & the sparkle of the sand, which we wanted to incorporate throughout the space.

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Since we were working within the existing envelope it was important to keep clean lines & uncluttered flow. The goal was to also blend the style with the rest of the house, so we applied a timeless look to the vanity & the flooring.

Development and Implementing the Design

Our design process always starts with measuring & photographing the existing space.

before combo

The existing steam shower was not working properly & the existing tile was dated so we needed to completely gut the existing space and start fresh. The next step was to come up with some alternative floor plans.

Janet Cyr Ensuite-CONCEPT

Janet Cyr Ensuite-CONCEPT2

Once the floor plan was finalized, we moved on to finish and fixture selection, as well as generating the elevations for the project. We used a large format 12” x 24” anthracite tile to ground the floor with a baroque shaped tile for a decorative inlay to add some drama to the space. We used white millwork to keep the space feeling light & spacious. An iridescent glass mosaic tile, luminous wall covering & sparkly quartz countertop gave the space the glamour the client was looking for.

Finishes

The end result can only be described as stunning! The renovation process went smoothly with only a few hiccups along the way. Any time you are renovating an existing space, there is a good chance that you’ll have a few surprises thrown at you. This client was smart and took a vacation while her ensuite was being transformed into the oasis that it is now. I’m thrilled that the client could come back and continue to relax & rejuvenate in peace.

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Hope you enjoyed seeing this space as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Peace,

Carrie

Carrie Signature Photo