A Comprehensive Guide to Consulting with a Full-Service Remodeler for Your Kitchen or Bathroom Renovation

April 10, 2024

Seven Steps to Make Sure Your Project Gets Done On Time, On Budget, and As Expected

By Rick Bozynski, Kitchen and Bath Manager, Dillman & Upton, a MANS Family Company

Rising mortgage rates and inflationary new-home-build construction costs have made many reconsider or delay plans to move to or build a new home. Whether you are an empty nester putting off plans to downsize or a young family hitting pause on upgrading from your starter home, you may be among the many who are choosing to “wait it out” until home-buying conditions swing back in your favor.

But just because you’re not physically moving to your new home now doesn’t mean you can’t make your existing home feel brand new. As we witnessed during the pandemic, when people were confined to their homes and sought ways to make minor or major improvements, we seem to remain in a situation in which homeowners are weighing the options of staying put — but not standing pat — when it comes to home improvement projects.

But consider this: Such an undertaking is a major endeavor. Knowing that you will be living where you will be remodeling brings some cautionary tips to minimize disruption, avoid surprises, and achieve your vision for your beautifully reinvented kitchen or bath.

The Seven Steps to Successful Kitchen and Bath Renovation

Embarking on a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project can be an exciting yet daunting task. From envisioning the perfect layout to selecting the right finishes, there are many critical decisions to make along the way. Consulting with a full-service designer, materials provider and installation partner can streamline the process and ensure that your vision for your space is brought to life seamlessly. Look for a full-service partner that will consult with you and help you manage the many moving parts along the way.

Step One: Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into the design process, it’s essential to understand your needs and goals for the project. Whether you’re a busy parent looking to update your kitchen for functionality or an empty nester ready to recreate your master bathroom, identifying your priorities will ultimately guide the entire process. Explain both the form and function you envision for your completed project to your remodeling consultant so that he or she can deliver against your expectations every step of the way.

Step Two: Initial Consultation

The first step in working with a full-service kitchen and bath remodeler is the initial consultation with a remodeling expert. During this meeting, a project manager will visit your home to assess the space and discuss your vision, budget and expected timeline. This is an opportunity to share any ideas or inspiration you have for the project and to address any concerns or questions you may have.

Step Three: Exploring Design Visions

Once the initial consultation is complete, the project manager will work with an experienced designer to begin exploring design options for your kitchen or bathroom remodel. This may involve discussing layout changes, exploring various finishes, and considering different styles that align with your preferences. The designer will work closely with you to create a cohesive design that reflects your personal taste and meets your functional needs.

Step Four: Virtual or In-Store Selections

Depending on your preference, you may choose to explore design options virtually or visit a showroom to see products and finishes in person. Many full-service designers offer virtual consultations and online tools that allow you to visualize your reimagined space and make selections from the comfort of your home. However, visiting a showroom can provide a hands-on experience that allows you to see and touch various materials and finishes before making decisions.

Step Five: Finalizing the Design

Once these selections have been made by you and your design partner, the designer will finalize the design and create detailed plans and renderings for your project. This will include a comprehensive overview of the layout, depicting applied finishes and chosen fixtures to ensure that every aspect of the design is carefully considered and clear to you as the ultimate arbiter of how the project will look and work once complete.

Step Six: Reviewing Costs and Estimates

With the design finalized, the project manager will provide you with detailed cost estimates for the project. This will include pricing for materials, labor, and any additional services required to complete the remodel. Reviewing costs and estimates upfront will help ensure that the project stays within your budget and that there are no surprises along the way. Be sure to insist on an “all-in” budget estimate, as some contractors neglect to include certain costs, such as taxes, delivery or installation fees. 

Step Seven: Installation and Inspection

Once all decisions have been made and costs have been approved, the project can begin. Your full-service kitchen and bath remodeling expert will work closely with you throughout the construction process to oversee the project and ensure that everything is executed according to the detailed plan that you approved. This may involve coordinating contractors, managing timelines, directing delivery, and addressing any questions or concerns that may arise.

The final step after this is you enjoying your new dream kitchen or bath the way you imagined it from the very start!

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Having done this for almost 40 years now, I can personally attest to some of the common pitfalls I’ve seen other homeowners make. Consider these your cautionary tales that will prevent the typical regrets from finding their way into your project…

Partial remodels: It’s important to consider the long-term implications of partial remodels, as they may result in additional costs down the line. I’ve seen people try to avoid near-term costs by, for example, only doing countertops and leaving cabinets as is. Years later, when they want to upgrade the cabinets, they discover that the kitchen renovator will not want to work with the existing countertop materials, as it can get damaged or just not fit with the new cabinetry, so countertops need to be redone again! 

It’s often more cost-effective to tackle the entire project at once rather than piecemeal over time. So either do it all now, or wait to do it all later…but do it all at once to avoid higher costs and more headaches, both here and now and down the road!

DIY or inexperienced contractors: Hiring inexperienced contractors or attempting to do certain aspects of the remodel yourself can lead to costly mistakes and delays. It is very rare for either a DIY-er or even an independent contractor to be expert at all of the various skills and trades needed to successfully transform a kitchen or bath. Plumbing, carpentry, millwork, tiling, countertop installation, sinks, showers and baths…these are all distinct specialties. Be sure to find a full-service remodel partner that has existing and long-tenured relationships with all of the various skilled trade specialists so that you can make sure you are getting experienced and expert craftspeople for every facet of the project. 

Ignoring design guidelines: Design guidelines exist for a reason, and ignoring them can result in a space that lacks functionality or flow. Trusting the expertise of your designer and following established design principles will help ensure that your remodel meets both your aesthetic and functional needs. The experienced consultant who visits the home in Step One above will see things that an average homeowner might not, such as a kitchen island that won’t fit or flow in a given kitchen space. Trust the experts…they have your back.

Everything You Need

Consulting with a full-service kitchen and bath remodeling partner is an essential step in beginning and completing a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. From initial consultation to project execution, a dedicated consultant will guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that your vision for your space is realized to perfection. By following the proper process outlined in this guide and avoiding the common pitfalls, you can achieve the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams with ease and confidence…and even enjoyment!

Rick Bozynski serves as Kitchen and Bath Manager with Dillman & Upton, a MANS Family Company. To get started on your next dream kitchen or bath project, contact him at rick@dillmanupton.com or by phone at 248-866-5824.