Remodel budget- Boiling Frog Syndrome? | Project38LB

Updated: Sep 20, 2019


If your remodel budget is endless, you may skip this blog and stay tuned for what we having coming up next. On the other hand, if you have a specific budget and facing a significant renovation project, this blog is what you are looking for.


A renovation project that increases the original footprint, a second floor addition, or raises the roof is a significant project and will exceed your budget. The question is "Is it worth it?" My architect, Daniella Carter, referenced the remodel process like "the boiling frog syndrome." Clients can end up spending far more than budgeted and so entrenched in their project they forget to hop out before it is too late.


Spend your time planing the infrastructure....


It is fun to shop for the pretty stuff, flooring, tile, fixtures and color palette. It is not the best starting point and initially unproductive. Focus on the infrastructure planning. Spend a little money upfront to discover the best floor plan. A great floor plan will improve functionality and use every square inch of space wisely. So much so, it may eliminate the need for a large addition or an addition altogether.


Make a list of must haves; number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, overall size of each room, closet space, storage needs, kitchen size, appliances and living space. Look for an architect who is interested in your project and willing to follow your wish list. Some architects are fantastic designers but forget about client needs and wishes. An involved architect will ask lots of questions specific about each room. Questions like; window placement, lighting, and room access. Find the architect who understands your needs and can create a scalable design. An architect who does not communicate an understanding or your project or not engage is the wrong choice.


Your architect most likely will provide a proposal to include a minimum of three schematic designs plus a full proposal (including as built drawings, elevation plans and submission plans plan check and permit). It is pretty standard stuff but the most important service is the floor plan design and discussion. A well designed master suite can also function as an office, media room, or relaxing space. The perfect guest room can be a second family room, laundry or crafts space as well. A great architect can create space that transforms to other functions and saves money on building costs.


If you can not find a floor plan you absolutely love, you may rethink space priorities or renovation all together. Could be just be happier with the same floor plan and simple cosmetic changes?


Spend a little, learn a lot.....


Good floor plans from an architect can cost be between $ 800 - $1200 each. Insist on three or four plans per site development. Each site will most likely follow specific codes or have elevation differences. Therefore floor plans do not translate to a very well to different lot or site.


Have the architect follow a few simple guidelines for a set of schematic plans. In the first two or three plans have the architect or draftsman follow your space requirement and budget. Reserve one schematic plan for the "Anything goes plan." -- A floor plan that follows your functionality and needs but has a limitless budget.


Your are giving up $800 to $1200 for a floor plan that is not financially possible but is a good aid to decide if you want to stay with your project, like the frog in the warming pot.


If the exorbitant plan has nothing better to offer than the other budgeted floor plans, stay in the pot and stick with your project, and plan on overages.


If the opposite happens and you love the impossible luxury plan, save your self and hop out of the boiling water fast. Consider a simple cosmetic make over or win the lottery.





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