7 Ways a Home Renovation Can Go Wrong

Clients will often come to us with tales of design disasters and renovation nightmares. We have seen everything from mismeasuring to rushed jobs, to under-ordering supplies. When the proper steps are not taken, a home design or renovation can become a stressful experience; but, at West of Main Design, we take care in our craft and offer our clients interior design solutions that can be trusted.

Below is a list of seven home design disasters that can be easily avoided if the right steps are taken:

1.Cabinetry Catastrophe

Do you want to be displaced from your kitchen and left washing dishes in the bathtub because of a cabinet catastrophe? Mis-measuring for cabinets is an expensive mistake that can set an entire renovation off on the wrong foot. West of Main knows that design is a craft, but also, a mathematical equation. If your kitchen won’t allow for a minimum of 36 inches between your island and your cabinets, then it’s best not to go that route.

Hot tip:

Print out specs for appliances prior to creating cabinetry drawings, to be certain of all their clearances.

Kitchen counter and sink

West of Main designs homes in Ottawa and beyond. Cabinets from DM Service Cabinetry

2. Quality Contractors

Jack of all trades … and master of none.

This phrase can only mean one thing when it comes to home renovations: a nightmare.

When tackling home renos - whether that means your living room, kitchen or even adding finishes - it is always best to opt for an interior designer with tailored knowledge and expertise that can be applied to your project. Choosing the cheapest contractor can often result in botch jobs and end up costing more than you had originally bargained for. West of Main has seen clients that have received a cheap quote and eventually, the contractor will tack on extra costs or, worse, cut corners in order to get the job done.

Hot tip:

The written estimate should include details (e.g., exact cabinets, hardware, flooring, and install costs, not just "new room"), when applicable, a waste removal plan, permit costs, insurance, general contractor fee, an explanation of how design changes are handled and the warranty on the work. If your estimate doesn't include these it doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong contractor however they should have the knowledge to be able to provide answers to your questions about these costs.

3. In a Budget Bind

Lowballing the project budget happens a lot with new builds where contractors will allocate small budgets for tiles, lights and other finishes, but the numbers can be very unrealistic for the design.

West of Main has seen many clients that are going through the new build process and have not realized that their budget doesn’t match their dream home.

This is where the notion of save and splurge comes in, but it’s hard to make those decisions without the reality check. We believe in being transparent with our clients and letting them make an educated decision based on the information we provide them.

Hot tip: 

When designing a home, and particularly a new build, be sure to have a contingency fund - a plan for the unexpected. As a general rule of thumb, allocate 15% of the estimated budget and set it aside for those unfortunate surprises.

West of main team selecting color pallets

West of Main is thorough with the details of design and transparent with our clients.

4. Combatting the Comfort Zone

Tackling a home renovation can be a great opportunity to experiment with creativity, but often people are unwilling to explore the unknown. Reimagining the layout of your space might also mean leaving your comfort zone. That’s a good thing.

Stripping a room back to its bare bones is the best time to reconfigure fixtures like wiring and plumbing. This will allow you to determine the best layout. With a fresh perspective on an old space, you’ll have an opportunity to figure out what works best for you.

5. Faux-pas Finishes 

Finishes are those extra touches that make a design and a home’s interior truly unique to you. There are so many finishes on the marketwhether it’s for countertops, floors, walls or ceilings. You may be familiar with hardwood floors, but remember that your lifestyle may call for something different. Consider multiple options and take into account pets, kids, hobbies and interests. Choose the finishes that will not only last, but will provide the appropriate wear and tear for your lifestyle.

Bathroom wall with Blue tiles

Interior décor speaks volumes. Bringing our clients personality into this project with colourful finishes like this colourful glass tile.

6. Too Trendy 

Following trends is inevitable, but remember, just because something might look nice in a magazine, it may not look that way in your space. A home renovation is your chance to veer away from the cookie-cutter home styles of today and consider timeless options that have staying power.

7. Impatient for Interiors 

Planning, Process and Patience are the “three Ps” that are often forgotten in a home renovation. West of Main knows that a renovation is a process and understanding the timelines of the project is key to not wasting time, energy and money. For example, during a kitchen renovation it's crucial to have cabinetry professionals visit once the walls are up to take final measurements. Also, order the cabinetry well in advance as wait times are anywhere from four to eight weeks.

Hot tip: 

Get the base cabinets in as soon as possible to template for the counters, as the counter can take one to two weeks.

All of the images you saw in this blog post are from our Interior Design Portfolio.