2009 Idea Home: Chicago Remodel
Ready to remodel?
Builder Jim Vaughn offers some valuable tips.
-- Be flexible. Structural repairs and on-site revisions will invariably occur once demolition starts. Budget at least a 20-percent contingency for unavoidable problems. We found both insect and water damage under the original asbestos siding.
-- Choose experience. A contractor familiar with the type of project you are undertaking is more likely to give a realistic time frame and budget.
-- Communicate. Choose a contractor who shows diligence in responding to you from day one. If it's hard communicating at the start, imagine how hard it will be during the construction process. Then plan time for almost daily contact to manage the sheer volume of decisions that will pop up.
-- Design creatively. Work with an experienced architect to find the inherent assets of your home, and use them to save money and maximize the final result. Anticipate future needs to validate investment.
-- Get away. If possible, live off-site during construction. Remodeling can be difficult. No use adding stress.
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® September/October 2009.)