Thursday, 27 February 2014

Post Remodeling Stress Disorder

Everyone knows what PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is - in the simplest terms it is the mental, physical and emotional after effects of a traumatic incident or experience. What is not so well known is PRSD (Post Remodeling Stress Disorder). This may sound like a joke, but it is not. What it refers to is the period just after a home remodel has been complete. No matter how much planning and thought has gone into the project, at the end there will always be things that were left out, things that are not as they were supposed to be and things that have just plain gone wrong. And fretting over these minor irritants to the extent of not being able to enjoy the newly remodeled home is PRSD.

20-20 Hindsight

A home is a family's most valuable possession and its equity. Obviously a home remodel, whether a whole house remodel or a smaller kitchen or bathroom renovation is given a lot of thought. Everyone wants the end result to be perfect as the budget permits. Days, weeks and often even months are spent considering options and planning everything down to the smallest detail. Words of caution from the contractor are often ignored or forgotten. Expectations are high and everyone looks forward to a perfect conclusion to the project. Then reality hits. The remodeling may be fantastic, but what about the switch - should it have been move a couple of inches to the right? And why do we have to bend so much to access the dishwasher? Is this shade of paint really what we had seen online? And so on.

Then comes the Monday Morning Quarterback. Someone says I knew it would not come out as we planned. And then everyone develops a case of 20-20 hindsight.  Regret and recrimination spreads. Arguments ensue as to whose idea it was to have the refrigerator in that awkward corner. In the end all these issues are forgotten and the family lives happily in a remodeled home that is far nicer and more comfortable to live in than it was before. But during that period of PRSD, some of the sheen of the new home has been lost.

Get Real

Hoping for and dreaming of the prefect home remodel is natural. But it is important to accept the fact that the search for perfection would defeat even Indiana Jones. Small errors and miscalculations will seep into the planning process. Different people in the home may agree on the same concept and plans, but the picture that each has in his or her mind of the end result could be very different. A window of a certain size may seem perfect for a room when seen on a computer screen but reality maybe a little different.

It is easy to blame the contractor when things go bad, but in many cases that could be unfair. He will do what the family tells him to - he does not know what kind of picture of the end result they have in their minds. What the contractor thinks is right may not seem so to the family and the other way around.
This does not mean the detailed thinking; conceptualizing and planning should not go into a home remodel. It must or the project will end in complete failure. Plan and hope for perfection - that is the only way to get as close to it as humanly possible. But at the end, if there are small irritants, don't sweat it.  If the home was really prefect, you would have wings on your shoulders and a halo over your head.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

What's Your Remodeling Style?

Once you decide to remodel your home, the next thing to do is to decide on what your remodeling style is going to be. This can be a problem if the family is a large one made up of strong minded individuals - even kids can have strong feelings on the subject. What needs to be done then is to have everyone sit down together and talk about what they want and why and evolve a compromise that, even if it will not make everyone happy, will prevent some people from blowing their tops and sulking.

A word of caution here; compromise, in the context of home remodeling styles, does not mean that a room or a house should have a little bit of everything. A contemporary designed living room with old fashioned furniture in it may keep the members of the family happy, but the look is going to be really odd. How the right solution is found depends on the family dynamic, but whatever it is, the end result is a home that must reflect a certain theme or style in a smooth and integrated manner.

Finding the Right Style

One of the problems in deciding on a remodeling style is the huge amount of options available in terms of design and materials. You could spend days or weeks going through magazines and websites trying to decide on what will be right for your home. Contractors and professional designers can give you inputs, but the final decision must be yours. This can be incredibly tough, but there are a few tips that can make to process a little bit easier.

Begin by asking yourself (and the family if they are involved) the following questions:
  • What colors will be right?
  • How important is maximizing natural light?
  • What is the real function of a room or space going to be?
  • What kind of furniture will be right?
  • What kind of furnishings and decorations will work?

As said before, getting everyone to agree on common answers can be tough, but decisions must be taken. Going ahead with a mish mash of conflicting and non-compatible styles will lead to chaos. Once the answers to these questions are in place, the next step is to consider how the elements will complement each other. For example, do you want to have a clean, uncluttered geometric design? If so, will old style Shaker furniture (which everyone in the family wants) fit in? One or the other - the modern look or the Shaker furniture - will have to go. Will the existing elements of the house that you want to retain work with the new design? If not, either the old elements must go or the new design modified to accommodate the older elements.

An easy way out of the style problem is to go with an Eclectic style that will allow you to mix things up a bit and create a style that is uniquely your own. But be careful here. If the mixing is overdone or not carefully planned, it could look like you are living in the middle of a huge garage sale.

Decision Time

When all the options have been weighed and all the discussions are done, it's time to start making decisions. Not everyone in the family will be agreeable to every decision, and the larger the family the more argument there will be. But if you (or the majority) are sure of what is wanted, then stick to it. You have your home remodeling style in place and now It's time to start doing your budgeting (compromises may be called for here) and talking to the contractor about project execution and completion dates.