Home renovation can be overwhelming. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or diving headfirst into the Fix and Flip Game, at some point you’ll probably mutter out loud, “WHO EVEN KNOWS WHERE TO START?!” Good news, Amy Stevens and Chad Martin of MHR Construction do and they’re more than happy to share. Read along for tips, tricks, and photos that prove their point.
Heads up: MHR Construction did NOT complete all these remodels, but you can see their work here. The photos used are ones that your writer — dear, sweet Nikki Barringer — pulled out of the CandysDirt.com archives.
1. Shop online. Seems obvious, but Stevens said you can find great floating vanities on Amazon, Wayfair, AllModern, and more.
2. Use the Amazon Lens to find designs that look the same but cost considerably less. Google literally just told me how to do this.
“Amazon Lens is simply activated by opening the Amazon app and selecting Lens. Users can then take a picture of the item they’re looking for, or upload an existing image from their device. When the app analyzes the image, it will identify any products that match the item.”
3. Walk the property with a contractor. A contractor will think through the logistics of your design. In your home renovation, let’s say you want to open up the kitchen by removing a wall. If that wall is load-bearing, there will be an additional expense because they’ll have to add beams to reinforce it. Super Pun: This is where contractors come in handy.
4. Use the same flooring throughout. One singular flooring not only looks more cohesive, but it can also make a space look bigger. Along those lines, we (Realtors) are seeing home renovation projects with a lot of luxury vinyl plank flooring that’s waterproof and durable enough for kitchens and bathrooms.
5. Pick one paint. Another way to make the rooms feel larger in a home renovation? Use the same paint on the baseboards and the walls. It’ll also save a few dollars when it’s time to pay the painter.
6. Look for ways to save. If there’s a fantastic cast iron bathtub that still has a lot of life in it, resurface it instead of replacing it.
7. Keep the original plumbing footprint. Moving pipes costs additional money in a home renovation, so if you can and it makes sense for the space, keep the original footprint in kitchens and bathrooms.
8. Minimize trips from subcontractors. By bundling all the work together, you save. Have everything buttoned up and know what you need from subs BEFORE you call them out to do the work. If you change something mid-home renovation, that’s an extra trip and an extra charge.
9. Don’t go overboard in the bedrooms. Stevens said to add a ceiling fan with a light kit and call it a day. Skip the recessed lighting unless you’re the end user. It’s not necessary, but for the love, have a light in the room. (I’ve toured some lamp-reliant living rooms and it’s not great.)
10. Ditch the furdowns. If it’s an older home and you are gutting the kitchen, you’ll gain a ton of cabinet space by moving the ductwork to the attic and putting the vents in the ceiling. (Furdowns are those dropdowns that house the ductwork, obviously.)
11. Paint the cabinets. If you can, an easy and relatively inexpensive update is to paint the cabinets. Along those lines, Stevens pointed out that simply refacing cabinets does NOT offer the savings everyone thinks it will. It’s still custom millwork and real hardwoods and adds up quickly. Footnote to the footnote — Martin said Shaker style cabinets are some of the least expensive to create and that’s also one of the most popular trends right now.
12. Know your audience. Stevens said she always thinks about who will be living here. Is it dual income no kids? It is a family of four? It can influence your design. For example, a Tudor made modern in the M Streets is more likely to get a dark, dramatic dining room than a family home in the suburbs.