Summer time warmth and sunny skies aren't just for vacations! The summer remains the popular choice for homeowners for home renovations and home repairs as the wet and rainy spring brings in favorable weather for outside construction. Read on to hear more of our recent renovations here at Haus Guerin.
After what has amounted to four short years this June, my family and are beginning our mental goodbyes to our home as we prep for our upcoming (yet currently un-decided) departure. While the designs of Haus Guerin literally grew up here in our short time in eastern Mississippi, our appetite for what I affectionately term "soft flips" has been a part of our family dynamic for nearly as long as our decade-plus military career. Making a house a home in a short time is par for the course for many military families. So what exactly is a soft flip and what does it do? Well, quite a bit!
I like to think of a soft flip as a renovation that targets a home's existing friction points or problem areas while also preparing a home for the next phase of dwellers. While this may sound like simply preparing a home for the market, it is conducted with home stewardship at the helm of the design or re-design. In that regard, you make changes that often blend seamlessly into the home. Even better, your improvements may look like they should have always been incorporated in the original design.
This means that there are no landlord specials with soft flips! It may mean ripping out or re-doing rotting vinyl siding, installing gutters to route water away from the home, correcting tile on gypsum board in a primary bathroom suite and utilizing industry standard waterproofing or simply unifying paint colors throughout the home for a more architecturally appropriate palette. Or it could be as mundane and unsexy as new HVAC in older homes that need updating or replacing.
Above: The Magnolia Cream Project, bathroom remediation. Photography \ Angela Brown Photography
With a large enough budget, a soft flip has the potential to lead to sweeping changes in the overall design that elevates the home, even as you fix disastrous and existing costly mistakes in the overall construction. In most cases, fixing the problem is very expensive and time consuming, so it is avoided by many homeowners and passed along to the next buyer. Worst yet, hiring construction professionals does not absolve owners from making many exhaustive, time and budget-draining decisions. When decision fatigue is factored in with the construction dust, having a well thought out plan can really save the day. If hiring a designer is not in the budget, try to consider the following during your own summer renovation:
Once you have identified the problem areas you wish to target in your soft flip, it is really important to consider what other issues you may create or unearth once you start the renovation. For example, we knew we would be totally demolishing our deck once we realized the extent of the water damage. Removing the deck also meant correcting the siding and the flooring from the shared wall. If the project were just the deck, the re-design would have likely included expanding the footprint of the existing deck, doing a multi-level deck and likely using composite decking to extend the future life of the patio. Understanding that the demolition could also reveal other issues (and it did), we kept the budget conservative.
Organize Your Inspiration and Make Selections
If you are not working with a designer to help you to curate your design, gathering inspiration and creating a centralized place for samples and materials will be greatly beneficial to any contract labor you may employ to complete your project. Construction estimates often use allowances for most finishes, especially flooring and lighting fixture. Knowing specifically what you would like to use would help to fine-tune those estimates.
Free and easy-to-use apps like Pinterest or Instagram provide access to loads of inspiration with the ability to label and organize your pins and saves in boards. Sketching out your vision, either by hand or digitally, will also be beneficial to seeing your vision come to life!
Understand that Changes = Money + Time
In large construction projects that span several months to a year, simple changes can cause a client hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the amounts are not as staggering in residential design, they may feel just as large to the homeowner. Avoid unnecessary changes to your overall renovation plan by making as many selections as possible before signing a contract with your general contract. And those allowances mentioned earlier? Input the actual dollar amount of your finishes (plus waste!) to get you closer to the actual cost of the renovation. Home renovation has the potential to have unpleasant and costly surprises. When you can, use those as opportunities to add a design element while the additional cost is already being adjusted. Poor planning will be taxed by your contractor so plan, plan, plan!
Communicate Early and Often
Having a plan means very little if you're the only one with all the information. Even before all the contracted parties are brought into the fold, be sure to discuss overall expectations. Have a realistic project completion timeline included in the contract with information on who is responsible for errors or changes. Don't forget to set boundaries for how and when subcontractors can perform their portion of the labor and as well as how access to the home will be managed if you won't be available during the day. No one wants to be without power or water during bath time with small kids or after a long day at work! Be honest about what works best for you and your family and communicate any non-negotiables (like no work after 6pm or earlier than 7 am) to best accommodate living through the renovation.
Pictured above: Haus Guerin renovation throughout the sunroom and deck areas included a new deck and new flooring, as well removal of the vinyl ceiling in the sunroom with more design upgrades on the horizon.
Pictured below: The new deck awaits clear weather for weather protective staining and new outdoor furniture to prep for summer festivities.
Home renovations can be a frustrating time for homeowners but a proper plan minimizes many potential problems. If all of the above sounds a bit overwhelming and daunting, contact Haus Guerin to discuss creating a plan for your renovation needs!