Styled, Staged & Sold

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Top Do's and Don'ts of Remodeling

Q&A: What prep work should you do prior to a kitchen reno? And what should homeowners consider when hiring a contractor?

Submitted by Kate Lester Interiors

Kitchen Remodel
Designed by Kate Lester / Photo by Lauren Pressey

Remodeling and home improvement have taken on greater prominence in recent months. Kate Lester, a home designer with Lester Interiors in Los Angeles, shares her tips for renovating a space.

Window Bench
Designed by Kate Lester / Photo by Lauren Pressey

Q: Is there any prep work homeowners should do before renovations begin?

A: Yes! Make your selections before you demo. We would never start tearing down walls before we completed our design plans and concept boards, so you shouldn’t either. If you are not hiring a professional to help you select finishes and furniture, make sure you get everything selected and ordered beforehand. This way, you aren’t holding up a bathroom project because your vanity is back-ordered for six weeks.

Also, measure for everything! If you are not doing drawings, then measure out spacing using blue tape. Then, you can see how everything will look in real-time and see if you need to make any last-minute adjustments or reselections.

Designed by Kate Lester / Photo by Lauren Pressey

Q: What should homeowners consider when choosing a contractor?

A: When hiring a contractor, the first thing I always say is make sure you like and trust them. Our industry is so personal. It’s important that you feel comfortable asking questions and even pushing back if need be. That is always easier if you have a good rapport with the person you’ve enlisted to run the project.

Also, don’t automatically go with the least expensive person because you assume it’s the best deal. Oftentimes, contractors are not bidding apples to apples. Make sure each person who is bidding knows what you want upfront and can give you accurate (and realistic) pricing from the get-go.

Bathroom Remodel
Designed by Kate Lester / Photo by Lauren Pressey

Lester’s Dos and Don’ts of remodeling:

DO set a budget. It’s a great way to see where you are and if you have room to add along the way—since you undoubtedly will want to!

DO hire a general contractor. They will manage all of the trades in the most efficient manner and in the right order. Hire a professional and it will save you time, energy, and money in costly mistakes.

DO be patient. The truth is that most projects take longer than anticipated, and that’s usually because our clients add things along the way. So be patient with your trades and know that if you are adding to your scope of work, you need to add to your timeline as well.

DON’T wait to select or order your tile, plumbing, lighting, appliances, etc. It’s much better for you and your team if the materials are already onsite when they start work.

DON’T forget to space plan! Lay out those lights and mirrors with blue tape in the bathroom, or tape out the furniture and rugs so you can see how it feels with the new kitchen layout and fireplace. This will save you time and money in the long run!

Living Room Remodel
Designed by Kate Lester / Photo by Lauren Pressey

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