Why Renovate Your Home?

Is this your life?
If it is, you're certainly not alone. What's amazing is how much we can learn to tolerate that we wouldn't wish on anyone else.

This particular kitchen is an example of a design that is technically correct, meaning that the appliances all fit, there is space to open doors, and no safety codes are being broken. What it is not is an example of a space that is comfortable and welcoming, making you feel better for having been there, and a place that you would like to have family and friends visit. This situation was probably a result of a greater concern for bottom-line construction than it was a concern for comfortable living space.

If you are visiting this page, more likely than not you've experienced something similar to this; either you need to change something that exists already or you need to create something that's not where it needs to be. Perhaps it's not a case of correcting a bad design, maybe you just need a change that feels new. Either way, there's a case to be made for making sure that you don't make design mistakes that you'll regret at some point in the future, and you need to take care of this before you do anything.

Where To Start

This is the easy part. It's not necessary that you know what you want to do, or why. As long as you know that there's something that you want to change, or you have a situation that you can no longer tolerate, you can call CGSI for a consultation. Shawn will come to your home and examine the existing situation, take photographs, listen to your concerns and ideas, and then make some recommendations for possible changes. The photographs will be helpful for future reference, especially if you want to take advantage of the true 'virtual renovation' with digital photomatching.

What To Prepare

Again, this is not a long list. Try to have ready:

The Estimate You'll Receive

CGSI will then provide you with a detailed written estimate that describes the work to be done, and the estimated maximum budget cost for the design & drafting work that is required. You can review the estimate and ask any questions before signing it. Even then, if at any time you choose to stop the design process for any reason, simply notify CGSI and you will only be charged for time already expended.

As part of CGSI's commitment to furthering the 'green building' movement, each contract contains basic information about the various choices available for ecological construction. If participation in this movement interests you, simply identify which aspects interest you and Shawn will be prepared to discuss them with you in detail during the design process.

The Design & Drawing Process

Renovations are notoriously more difficult to do than new construction, both in terms of design and construction. Not only does the new construction need to be designed and built correctly, but the interface between the new and old must be carefully handled. There are structural considerations, as well as matching up of floor and roof lines, and proper application of finishing materials so that the new construction looks like it belongs.

The design process usually begins with the conceptual floor plan layout, in order to ensure that the original functional issues have been addressed. Following that, the design is further developed to include the basic foundation plan (as required) and exterior views of the home that are affected, in order to address the aesthetics. The design process involves a great deal of back-and-forth communication between CGSI and yourself, in the form of email, PDF drawings, and in-person & online meetings when necessary. The level of detail in the design drawings is sufficient to begin asking for estimates from building suppliers and trades.

Once we've determined that there are no further design changes to be made and that all possible issues have been addressed within the design, the drawings then progress to the 'working drawing' phase. This involves the actual design & retrofitting of the structural components, since the building code demands that any existing structure that is being modified must be brought up to the current code requirements. It also includes all of the additional drawing information that is required by the local building regulations department in order to submit for, and receive a building permit, as well as various information on doors, windows, etc. that will allow suppliers to perform material takeoffs in order to supply firm quotations.

After The Permits Have Been Issued

Most of the time, there is no way to know exactly what the existing construction is like until demolition begins, and then the contractor & designer need to be communicating closely in order to adapt the construction plans to 'reality'. This is when it really pays to have a designer that has actually worked in the field doing renovations so that they're able to communicate quickly & effectively with your contractor, and have working knowledge of the various options available for solving unusual problems that will be encountered.

Your contractor can call CGSI anytime during construction if he has any questions about the information on the plans.