Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Renovation - What to consider

It seems like these days, most people are considering renovating rather than starting from scratch.   If you are one of these individuals,  here is a list of things you should consider before getting started on the process.
  1. Depending on the extent of the renovation, you may need to consider moving out for a while during construction.  It's messy, loud, and downright inconvenient.
  2. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a contractor to prepare an accurate accounting of the costs necessary to complete the project due to the unknowns that are inherent with every renovations. 
  3. If you can limit the amount of destruction done to the existing structure, your invested money will have a greater return.
  4. Hire a design professional  who has experience with renovations, especially if the work is going to be extensive.  It's always good to have an advocate who understands the process and can help you interpret the pricing.
  5. Hire a contractor with experience in renovations.  Don't hire just anybody with the best price. The cost up front is often not the price at the end!! 
As you move forward with your renovation, know up front that there will likely be cost overruns and a few hassles along the way.  Just keep envisioning yourself in the completed space and know that the dust will eventually settle.

Get in the Flow!

When one designs a group of spaces, it is extremely important to understand the movements that will occur within the space.  This is often referred to as "flow".  Occupants are seldom, if ever motionless.  Key questions to ask when designing or modifying an existing space are:

- How many occupants at a time will occupy this space?  If this is a large number, have multiple ways individuals can come and go.
- Are there any dead end paths?
- Are there pockets for small group interactions?
- Do natural circulation paths cross through the center of interaction zones?  If they do... change the route!

Most of us non-military types walk in the paths of least resistance, not much different then my dogs do as they head out across the well traveled path to greet my neighbor's dog Jake.  These travel paths should not be cluttered or be places where groups of people would likely gather to interact.

Proper flow is a key element of how successful a space will eventually function.  Keep it in mind...