At the beginning of each new year I think it's important to take a look back and a step forward. Look back to see the things you've accomplished and a lay a critical eye on what needs improvement. Make a plan to change the things around you that bother you the most and become determined to make a step forward in the direction you'd like to go.
The same goes for your surroundings. Now is the perfect time to consider your next home project!
Here are some tips on planning your next rennovation:
Step I: Make a big wishlist
Wish lists can easily be divided into two categories: ones that have been edited down to only what is reasonably attainable, and those that dream big (big, in this case, means “wonderful,” not “big” as in “big house”).
Some wish lists are resigned to defeat: “I’d like to have a (fill in the blank) unless you don’t think we can work it in.”
Others wish bigger: “I want a bright sunny space, with a fireplace and a window seat, with wonderful views, where I can sit and read and sip coffee and see the kids playing in the backyard.”
Only two things can happen with a wish list: Either you don’t get everything you hope for, or you don’t get everything quite the way you thought you might. But you won’t get anything different from what you have now if you don’t “wish big.”
Give your entire wish list to your designer. Make it their challenge to fit it all in or help guide you in determining which elements are mandatory and which are negotiable.
Step II: Be Unconventional
Boring, cookie-cutter houses happen when you’re unwilling to try something truly personal.
Don’t be afraid that neighbors won’t invite you for cocktails anymore if you don’t use the range with the big red knobs.
If you really don’t need each of the kids’ bedrooms to have its own bath, don't feel the need to build them anyway because that was what everyone else has.
It’s hard — really hard — to break out of the status quo when you’re building or rennovating a home because there are so many people happy to tell you that you can’t do that … it’s too unconventional.
But of course you can. Remember: No one is going to clean that extra bath or make you breakfast every morning; that will be on you; make sure you love it!
Step III: Look in unconventional places for ideas
Everyone’s looking at the same TV shows, the same magazines, the same model homes for ideas.
Is it any wonder that so many houses look the same?
Try a few totally illogical sources of inspiration:
Are you thinking of remodeling your kitchen? Try leafing through the pages of a book about log cabins.
Building a new home? Study old barns for a while.
Tweaking a bath? Have you seen what they’re doing with sailboats these days?
Break out of the mundain by looking in places you don’t expect to find ideas, and you’ll soon find your imagination revved up.
Step IV: Find unusual homes; talk to their owners
Lots of blogs and websites catalog unusual and unconventional homes; you might have stumbled on to some as you surfed the Internet for ideas.
Did you quickly move on, thinking, “Nah, that’s not what I had in mind”?
If you did, you might have missed an opportunity to learn something new and break out of your slump. You’ve already heard the same thing from the same people too many times already, so why not hear from someone completely different?
People who build unusual homes are often more than willing to talk about them and about how they came to choose the unconventional. Try tracking a few of them down and ask, “what were you thinking?”
They’ll probably tell you.
Step V: Take your time
A lot of people are going to try to push you into a new house or a room addition project as quickly as possible. They want to get you to a decision, now.
But you’re going to change your mind about the scheme you’re working on several times before you settle on a final design. And that’s good. In fact, the more design concepts you explore (especially early on) the better. The more options you give yourself, the more likely you’ll come up with something special.
Work with someone who understands your needs and really seems vested in your project. This is a big thing you’re doing, and you don’t want to wish later on that you’d taken more time with it. Make sure that you do it once, how you like it--no regrets. Remember: this isn't a haircut that will grow out in 6 weeks. You have to live with it for some time to come.
Do your homework: make sure you've seen all of the various options available before finalizing your plans.
Give yourself permission to try something different. Before long, everyone will be listening to you!