Where To Begin - Complete Apartment Remodel
This is my first post. I've been doing a lot of searching around for an upcoming project. I find forums to be much more helpful, so here I am.
I've never done any type of remodeling or renovations before. This fall/winter I am purchasing a condo in the complex I currently live in. It's on the top 2 floors of a 5 floor building. The reason for the purchase is for extra room and for the City view w/ patio. Very nice space. The remodel is completely for myself - I plan on living there for a long time, if not for the rest of my life.
I regularly visit a specific hotel when traveling. The room is absolutely amazing. I alwasy said that if/when a Penthouse apartment opens up, this is EXACTLY how I want the inside of it to look like.
I would love to just take someone to the hotel, show them the room, and say "make it happen"! Sounds easy enough - but I'm not a fool. I know there is SO much more to it, headaches included! LOL Which is what brings me here. Where does one begin?
Who do I make initial contact with to get things rolling when the time comes and the place is mine? A general outline would be much appreciated. Who is the person that I would take to the hotel to take notes on the setup, design, style? Who do they take the information to, to plan it all out, etc?
Thanks in advance for any info or materials you can direct me to.
I have NO idea what I'm getting myself into, but luckily I will remain in my current apartment until the new one is ready!
Joe, welcome to House Repair Talk. A couple of questions. Do you plan on doing the work yourself or are you going to hire it out? Have you set a budget? Where are you planning on living during construction?
If you hire a contractor, have a specific scope of work defined as to who will do what and when, how the materials are paid for, contractors fees and a time line for start and completion.
Oh and the best person to take with you to see the hotel, your digital camera and take lots and lots of pics.
To answer your questions:
I plan on hiring out to get all of the work done. I will reside in my current apartment until the new one is ready. I know no matter how long they say, it usually is longer. So this way I don't have to worry about timing or feel pressured. If I'm shelling out the money to make it happen, I don't want a rushed just - nor do I want to add pressure to the work crew. But as stated, a time line would be set to keep things in reason.
I have taken some photos of the hotel suite. I want to keep to the "style" of the suite. So I would have thought taking an interior designer would be the person to start with? The bathroom and kitchen are the 2 big areas that will actually be remodeled - bathroom being the big one.
So let's say I take TONS of photos - who do I show them to, so they can draft out everything - and give me ideas and suggestion?
ALso, would it be the interior designer that would do the research in finding all of the materials to style my apartment to that of the hotels? I'm not sure if designers and contractors work together to come up with a blueprint of the new place.
Budget - well I plan on this place being mine forever, so whatever it takes to turn my place into this suite. :)
Depending on what the changes are that you want to do, if you are planning on moving walls, plumbing and wiring, you will want to have the home looked at first. If you are just decerating go straight to the designer.
That is an interesting predicament, from what I am reading you do not really want to be involved in all the little questions but just want it done, done right and finished like an existing place.
If you are a contractor, please do not take offense to what I am about to say... it is based on my past experiences.
So you can hire a general contractor that will take a plan and make it happen, he will manage the sub contractors performing the work. In my experience their idea of what you meant is not always the same and sometimes the way things are put together will save time for them but not give you the desired result. You may wonder why they did it that way, you showed them the photo of the place you wanted… it is not their dream, it is a job they do not have the time to completely understand your dream. It can be really frustrating, so you may still need to dance the delicate line between standing over the workers and getting in the way versus not going up there and checking in periodically to make sure it is coming together the way you want.
You will most likely need someone to draw up a new floor plan, renderings and put together a materials board. That would be an interior designer type person along with an engineer to draw up blueprints. One thing to remember is that you are dealing with an existing structure that is a multifamily unit. There are complications with dealing with a HOA, you are modifying the roof structure of the other tenants in the building. There are also different code requirements in regards to fire blocking etc.
So where to start? Well you are going to be putting a team of people together, since you have some time just start asking around for any of the team members. Ask other people in the area that have had work done, ask for referrals. Don’t get too caught up in the details with anyone until you find people you know like and trust. Then elaborate on your plan.
For now the scope of work is a large scale remodel of a 2 story condo, tell them the level of finishes, formica, tile, granite or … the apprx SF of the project, bedrooms bathrooms, kitchen size and finishes. That should give them an idea of what they are up against. As for the designer let them know about the space and that there is an existing example available for review upon acceptance of them into the team. There is no need to spend the time explaining everything to 20 people, or keep renting the room to show people, the photos may help for this level of discussion.
As things firm up, verify all of their references and go see the work in person. Then the final step is to solidify the quote, take a look at 3 or more quotes for each element, make sure that all the people in the team can play well with each other. This is going to be like a marriage, make sure you know who you are getting in bed with before you ink the deal. It is not a good idea to pay ½ down on a project like this, make steps of completion and payments based on when they finish something not a date in time.
The more you can take control of elements and not leave ambiguity or say just make it happen, the less expensive it will be. If you tell them the checkbook is open they will walk allover you. You need definite boundaries and expectations so everyone leaves happy, ambiguity leaves to confusion which leaves to strife.
Things like Electrical, plumbing, and structured wiring (alarms, tv, internet, phone etc) all can be done different ways leading to different quality and costs. You either need to define it or live with that they do. I wired my whole place with 12 Ga wire, many contractors go with 14 Ga because it is softer and easier to pull but is not upgradable in the future. If you end up wanting a large electrical appliance in some room later you may not be able to if not wired for it. If you plan to live there for another 20-40 years think about the lifespan of plumbing, I prefer Wirsbo Pex by Upnor it is one of the better options today… discuss this stuff with your plumber. In the end it is all stuff you will never see or know about so you can assume the professionals planned it out right (which works 90% of the time) or you can be involved and make sure you know it is what you want. The cost of doing it at the time of install VS later is very significant. Since you have the top 2 floors can you integrate solar into the project?
There are so many decisions that go into building a house, the first of which is how involved you want to be with the rest of them.
Good luck in your project!
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