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How Long Will It Take?

Everyone always asks how long their renovation/remodeling/redesign is going to take. Of course, it’s one of the three key questions everyone should ask (along with questions about scope and budget). The answer to this one is always answerable to an individual client—but how do we answer the question in a general sense… in a blog entry…applicable to all…?

Well, for starters, while scope and budget do impact the proposed schedule, we decided it was important to give homeowners a realistic sense of schedule just so they could start to plan. Following is a sort of average schedule for a typical project, so please read on. (And if you need an immediate answer instead, consider that if you wish to move into a refurbished home in 6 months, start planning now.)

A lot of details must be considered, and understanding time frames is crucial if you wish to rest easy. A reasonable countdown for a renovation or redesigned interior could look like the following—with most steps being shepherded by your design professional. Consider that the “target date” here is the date by which you wish to use the space for its intended purpose—and invite friends over.

6 months or more from target date:

  • Consider budget.

  • Meet with Designer to ensure a good fit (see other blog entries about finding the right Designer).

  • Think about what your goals are for the new spaces (e.g., impress family, make more space, pamper yourself, increase resale value…).

5 months…

  • Follow Designer’s lead through processes of Programming, Schematic Design, etc.

  • Examine existing conditions. (Designer and their team will survey, dimension, conduct site probes.)

  • Learn about other requirements. (Designer will lead assessment of local/building/management/code requirements.)

  • Hone in on a design you like from options presented by Designer.

4 months…

  • See proposed design as illustrated 3-D model, if helpful.

  • Review construction plans and details as drafted.

  • Select contractor. (Designer may have their own, but in any case they are your advocate in helping to choose a qualified contractor.)

  • Seek approval from your co-op with guidance (and finesse!) from your Designer.

  • Gain approvals from city agencies with expeditor, engineer, inspectors, etc.

3 months…

  • Confirm equipment, finishes, fixtures, other furnishings and materials with Designer.

  • Commit to details of arrangement with contractor.

  • Find temporary place to stay during renovation. (Not typically a role for your Designer, though we have done this for a number of clients.)

2 months…

  • Clear out. Make way for construction crew.

  • Visit site with Designer to inspect and admire progress.

  • Follow-up expeditiously on all requests from Designer (approvals, confirmations and other owner responsibilities).

  • Allow Designer to advise on any recommended adjustments as they ensure the project stays on target with schedule, scope and budget).

1 month…

  • Confirm any remaining details.

  • Make arrangements to utilize the new space.

  • Start to move back home.

  • Fine-tune all details with help of Designer’s punchlist.

Target Date:

  • Housewarming party. Celebrate! (And relax your shoulders.)

The above timeline might easily apply to a full Kitchen remodel. For each additional space, add one month. And for complex or highly refined projects, double the above estimates. That said, if time is of the essence, tell your design professional upfront to learn how the process can be streamlined.

Again, this is a generic outline to arrive at a target start date. Everyone’s project is unique, but the takeaway is the same: good planning makes the process painless. It’s actually never too early to start planning, and why not be ahead of the game with the first steps already underway? Is there any downside to enjoying peace of mind? (For a significant percentage of clients, the first step to resting easy is scheduling a design consultation. For more info, please visit this page.)


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