Our homes are a multi-functional space for our lives, our security, and often are the biggest asset we have.  Yes, a renovation will update and transform your home to your specific comfort and style, but it’s also the best way to build equity on your investment.  Here are some of our favorite inspirational Before & After photos of our previous home improvement and renovation projects.  We’ve teamed with our partner company at Lori Dennis, Inc. to give our professional construction and interior design advice for a successful home remodel and how to avoid renovation mistakes.

Contractor Advice for Home Remodel

Are you looking to remodel an existing home or have you recently purchased a new home?  Transforming a dated home into a beautiful and fully functioning space may feel daunting at first, but once it’s done, it is a life changing and lasting investment. 

It’s often said the best days of a remodel are the first and last, but the days in between can be a bit overwhelming.  We will be there for you every step of the way.  Luckily, we enjoy each phase and are an experienced guide for our clients from beginning to end.  We take great pride and joy in creating a home make-over that’s efficient, functional and a beautiful reflection of you, turning your dreams into reality.

Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


You may add a considerable amount of equity to your asset by making upgrades to your home.  And at the same time, you will bring your style up to date and be more comfortable with how you live.  It’s a Win-Win!

Ways to Build Home Equity with Home Improvements:

  • Bathroom Remodel.
  • Kitchen Remodel.
  • Replace Flooring.
  • Replace the Windows.
  • Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
  • Add another Bedroom or Bathroom.
  • Add an ADU (Accessory/Additional Dwelling Unit)
  • Replace the Roof.
  • Update HVAC System.
  • Replace Appliances and Plumbing Fixtures to be more Energy Efficient and Conserve Water.
  • Replace Countertops, Cabinetry and Wall Tiles.
  • Update Finishes like Floor and Wall Tile.
  • Add Smart Home Technology and Automation that include Lighting, Sound, Window Coverings, Security and Alarm Systems.
  • Replace all Decorative Lighting and Use Energy Saving Dimmer Switches.
  • Paint the Exterior, Interior, Trim and Ceilings.
  • Replace Interior Doors and Hardware.  Or Paint Existing Doors.
  • Add curb appeal through updated Siding, Trim, Shutters or a Walkway.
  • Replace Front Door and Garage Door.
  • Extend Outdoor Living Space.
  • Build an Outdoor Kitchen.
  • Outdoor Plants, Landscaping and Hardscape. Walkways.
  • Add a Patio or Deck.
  • Add a Pool.
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Throughout the renovation process, there will be issues and options that come up.  You will have to make decisions regarding your materials and labor costs, timeline and budget.  It’s good to remember the principle of the 3-Legged Stool during your home remodel.  Keep this this in the back of your head.

Successful Remodel Advice

The concept of the 3-Legged Stool is that you can get 2 out of the 3 options.  Your options on each leg are Quality (how Low or High), Timeline (how Fast or Slow), and Price (how Affordable or Expensive).  But you can’t have all 3.

For example – if you’re in a hurry and need something right away, but you have a tight budget – it may not be the best quality.   Or you want something done fast that won’t fall apart in the near future – it’s not going to be cheap.  You may want something custom with quality craftsmanship that happens to be more affordable – most likely you will need to wait awhile.  Make your priorities list and you’ll know when to save and where to splurge, and what you’re willing to compromise.  Your knowledgeable design team is there to help.



It’s important to plan ahead for a home remodel, because without a plan, you don’t know where you’re going and it’s easy to get lost.  Take the time in the beginning to make an action plan and get your ducks in a row.  You will save time and money down the road with a well thought out plan from the get go.

 The Fun Part!  Get inspired.  If you haven’t already, save images from HouzzPinterest, HGTV, Instagram or Online Interior Design and Construction Blogs and Magazines.  Note what you are referring to in each image so you can communicate clearly to your designer and/or contractor.  Remember, although trends are exciting and new, it’s important to choose design elements that will stand the test of time.

 Avoid trends. It’s best to keep it timeless in your preferred style when it comes to the “items that are nailed down”.  Stay away from trendy styles in flooring, tile design, plumbing fixtures or architectural features.  Feel free to try current trends that are easy to replace if you become tired of them, like light fixtures or wall paint.  Just remember, trends tend to last about 10 to 15 years.  But with the rise in online images and technology, new design styles could be old news in another 5 years. You never know.  Just be true to you.

 Determine the Scope of Work.  Be strategic and realistic about your priorities and the level of design.  You may dream big at first, without yet understanding the value of what it takes to get there.  But that’s ok.  You can edit later once you have more information.  Ideally, what would you like to have done in your home?  Is it purely cosmetic upgrades, which would be replacing finish materials, lighting, plumbing and appliances? Or would you like to enlarge a Kitchen or Bathroom, which would involve moving walls, plumbing and appliance locations to make it easier to work in.  Or perhaps a full renovation is needed where a home is taken down to the studs and essentially rebuilt to your exact desire.

 Think about what area will make the most impact for you.  Split your wish list into 2 columns: Must Have and Nice to Have, and work from there.  You can talk this over with your Design and Construction Team to get a better idea of what to tackle and how much it may cost.  Your budget may dictate what you’re able to do now, and how far you’re able to go.


Remodel Tips
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Carefully consider the maximum amount of money you have to spend before you begin a home remodel project. This will help you stay on track during the design and construction phases, and avoid overspending.  Get creative with your spending, and feel free to select a mix of high-end and budget-friendly items that create a well-balanced, luxurious space.  You want the best bang for your buck without getting in over your head. 

Research the Going Rates for Remodel Projects in Your Area.   If you’re not aware of certain remodel costs, you may certainly get Sticker Shock.  You may have a number in your head from years ago, or just what you think the value might be.  But in reality, it might even be 2 to 3 times what you had in mind.  To prepare yourself, research the general cost of labor and materials for your desired project in your area.

Ask Around.  If you’re not sure, talk with your neighbors, friends nearby, and other professionals to gather as much information as you can before you start talking with Contractors and Designers.

Add a 15% – 20% Contingency Cushion to your Budget.  It’s likely that your home renovation project will cost more than you expected for various reasons.  There may be unexpected surprises and modifications which will need to be addressed. You may need more finish materials in the middle of installation, or want to adjust the design.  The building structure may have an issue that was unknown during the initial walk-thru.  Structural, plumbing or electrical issues could come as a surprise once construction is under way.  Supply chain stalls and price increases may throw a wrench in your plan.  Anticipate it, rather than stress about it.  Keep a money reserve (and your cool) for when things pop up, just in case.

You’ll have a much better renovation experience if you expect and understand that things come up, decisions will be made and you’ll be able to handle it comfortably with your team.


Pro Contractor Advice for Remodel
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Contractor Advice for Successful Remodel
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


How to Prep for Kitchen Remodel
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


How to Prep for Bathroom Remodel
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Hire a Qualified and Experienced Interior Designer first, especially if it’s a big job. 

An experienced Interior Designer will help to streamline your goals and create a detailed and organized plan as you move forward.  They will work with you on developing creative solutions to the layout, design, and finish materials.  Designers may also provide construction plans, which are the blueprints for a successful remodel.  Note: A majority of the work from the Designer is done in the beginning phase before it is passed on to the contractor for an estimate and then each construction phase.  They remain available during construction for questions and clarifications along the way.

Hire an Experienced Licensed and Insured General Contractor.  It’s important to find a contractor who has experience with the type of work you need done, and who has a good reputation for quality work and customer service.  A Contractor will schedule and streamline the labor and construction material budget, set the timeline, and organize and manage other trades.  This includes sub-contractors who will do the demolition, carpentry, electrical, plumbing and installed finish materials. 


How to Prep for Home Remodel
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Add Home Equity
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Add Home Equity with Home Renovation
Contractor Advice for Bathroom Remodel


Talk with around 2 or 3 contractors and compare the construction costs and details.  You want the best value for your money.

The bottom line of a construction bid will state the overall cost estimates for labor and materials, and an anticipated timeline that it will take to complete the project.  However, there may be minor differences between the two construction bids.  Review each contract in detail to assure a clear understanding of what is and is not included in the services

If you think a $150 hour Plumber is expensive, try a $15 hour Plumber.

Although it’s tempting, don’t automatically choose the lowest quote or the fastest timeline.  The lowest bid may be due to lack of experience which results in mistakes, disorganization, unexpected charges and time delays along the way.  

What Questions to ask each Contractor:

  • Are you a Licensed and Insured Contractor?
  • Do you Have Experience with ______? (Fill in the blank).
  • How Long Would You Expect to Complete the Home Remodel Project?
  • What Do You Charge for Change Orders?
    (Due to unexpected construction issues, or if you change your mind)
  • How Will We Communicate, and What is the Expected Reply Speed? (Phone, Text, or Email with a 12-24 hour reply time?)
  • How Often Will We Meet on Site?
    (We recommend weekly site meetings with your Contractor, especially at each beginning phase, like Demo, Framing, Rough Plumbing and Electrical, Finish Installation.)
  • What are the Billing Cycles and Payment Options?
  • Are there any Additional Fees?


Contractor Advice for Home Remodel
Best Home Remodel Advice from a Pro
Best Home Renovation Advice from Contractors
Home Remodel Tips
Home Remodel Tips



It’s important to clearly communicate your Wants, Needs and Priorities to your team early on in the design and construction process.  Let them know the areas that are must haves, versus would be nice to have.  Open and clear communication will ensure that the project is completed the way you would expect, and will help to avoid any misunderstandings or assumptions along the way.  Make sure to be available to answer any questions that come up during the design and construction phase.  You’ll save time and money the sooner you’re able to thoughtfully reply and make decisions.


How to Have a Successful Home Remodel
Home Remodel Advice
Remodel Tips from the Pro
Remodel Tips


Decide on when you’re able to start your home renovation, and when you hope to have it completed based on your personal schedules and budget.   Your Contractor will help you have a better expectation how long the construction may last.

A home renovation will disrupt your life for a time being, and it’s important to be prepared.  Depending on the size and scale of your remodel, you may have to temporarily move out and stay in a rental during construction, or close off a certain area of the home.  Please understand that if you decide to live in the home during a remodel, it may cause additional stress or anxiety.  Think about how you and your family will be able to operate a daily routine in the best condition for you.  (We’re looking at you, Kitchen and Bath Remodel!)  Just like your renovation budget, you may want to pad your expected timeline to account for the unexpected delays.


Your contractor will love you if you (or your Designer) have everything purchased, delivered and stored on site before the project begins.  Items include Plumbing, Appliances, Decorative Lighting and Finish Materials.  If there isn’t enough storage space in the garage or a spare room, consider renting a storage container that can be placed nearby and under lock and key.

Again, prepare yourself.  Items could arrive damaged, short on quantity, back-ordered or discontinued.  It happens more often that you can imagine. 

Home Remodel Tips
Successful Bathroom Remodel Tips


How to Add Home Equity
Pool Addition Inspiration


Have you heard the phrase “Buy Once, Cry Once“?  This loosely translates to – if you buy something of higher quality from the beginning, even though it’s more than you want to spend, it’s built to last.  On the flip side, if you buy something cheaper, you may end up paying for the same product 2 or 3 times, costing even more than the higher price item. 

Although it’s tempting to want to save your existing plumbing and appliances during a remodel, having to safely store and reinstall these parts could cause frustration and damage in the future.  This could then cause a delay in your project.

When it comes to items that are used regularly, invest in durable, high quality products, materials and finishes.  Although they might be more costly in the front end, they will pay off in the long run.  You’ve heard it before: You get what you pay for.  

Talk with your Designer and Contractor on ways to stretch your budget, if that’s a concern.  Their experience will guide you on where to save money and where to splurge.  (Remember what we talked about with the 3-Legged Stool.)

For example, in a small bathroom remodel, instead of tiling every wall in a Bathroom, pick 1 wall to really stand out. Or select breathtaking tile for a small floor space like a Powder Room and use wallpaper on the walls.  Save your quality cabinets and only replace the counter and backsplash. 


Boring Condo Makeover
Boring Condo Makeover


Boring Bathroom Makeover
Boring Bathroom Makeover


Remodel Tips
Contractor Advice for Home Remodel


Set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your Contractor to keep an eye on your project and to stay up to date with any issues that may come up. Each phase will come with approval, revisions and decisions.  In order to be as efficient as possible, schedule a day and time window so everyone’s time remains productive.


Remodel Advice from Los Angeles Contractor
Remodel Advice from Los Angeles Contractor


Remodel Advice from Los Angeles Contractor
Remodel Advice from Los Angeles Contractor
Remodel Advice from Los Angeles Contractor


A home renovation can be exciting and also stressful at times.  That’s all normal.  It helps to be prepared for the unexpected.  The best you can do is to have a solid plan, along with clear, honest and respectful communication with your team.  Even the best planners have to be resilient throughout the process because there may be unexpected challenges and obstacles along the way.  That being said, even the best-planned remodel can encounter surprises such as hidden structural issues in the home or changes in materials or labor costs, or longer lead times.  Trust and have faith in your team knowing that they take pride in their work and will find the best solution for your home remodel. 


For More Design Inspiration, Check Out Interior Design Firm Lori Dennis, Inc. for Her Most Popular Posts + Inspiration: