Basic Planning Advice

Know your needs and understand why you want to renovate.

What are the problems you want to solve? Many renovations start because of simple practical concerns. For example, your bathroom maybe badly arranged, you need more countertop surface in the kitchen, or you need more room for a growing family.

Asses your home.

Is the structure sound? Are all systems like plumbing and electrical up to date? Before you begin to style your dream look identify any issues that may affect your home over the next 3 years 5 years and 10 years. Be prepared to compromise the look you want now, in order to have a secure platform to build on later. Asbestos removal and other hidden concerns should take precedence.

Work with what you’ve got.

It will save money and headache later on. Consider refinishing cabinets and trim and replacing countertops rather than creating a completely new kitchen. The changes that you want to see may be only a few steps away.

Simpler is better.

Complicated designs can result in expensive construction. Consult with a professional about what potential impacts your design decisions may make on your budget.

Remember the big picture when considering price.

Saving a few hundred dollars on discount material now may seem like a bargain, but when it needs to be replaced in just a few years the total cost of both installations will be much more than if you’d used quality materials to begin with. The same is true for the costs of labour. If it costs too much to change everything all at once, consider constructing in phases. This lets you dedicate more of your time and energy to each change that you’ll make in your home.  In the long run you’ll be happier for it.

Check local bylaws.

Before you get too invested in a particular design for  your home, you and your renovator need to know the local regulations for the alterations you’d like to achieve. In Vancouver, many architectural fixtures, such as countertop upgrades, do not require permit. However, there are special considerations to be taken into account if you are attempting to modify a load bearing wall or if your home is a part of a condominium or apartment building.

Consider your neighbourhood.

Alterations to the exterior of your home that mesh well with the existing street will  add the most value to your home, and  will usually be appreciated the most by your neighbours. If you do want a design with a difference, consider ways of complimenting neighboring homes.

Never mind trends.

Trends change all the time. Plan for comfort, ease of living and personal satisfaction above all else. You’ve got to live in your home for a long time, so plan a home you can enjoy for a long time. Explore modern trends for inspiration then design the renovation that is uniquely right for you and your family.

Find more useful planning hints and tips on our Planning page.