Do you have a home project that you’ve been putting off forever due to limited funds or conflicting opinions on the design? HGTV’s new show “Impossible Makeover” could be all the motivation you need to get going.
Host Russell Holmes is a general contractor who also plays the role of “building advisor” to Dallas-area homeowners who just can’t decide which direction to take or who have unrealistic budgets. With commitment and creativity, Holmes helps jump-start stalled renovations and Finally finish.
Curious about how to get out of a renovation rut, we asked this pro about making a realistic plan, getting more for your money, and predicting home trends.
What is the most common reason for a renewal position?
People think the problem is supply chain and design, and more often than not, it’s actually themselves. Fear of “my wife won’t like it, my husband won’t like it, it’s going to be too much money, it’s going to take too much time, it’s going to be too disruptive.” So I think fear is probably the most common reason.
How can homeowners overcome those fears?
When it comes to a construction project, it’s probably one of the most devastating to a relationship because you’re causing an upheaval in your home. You need to go into it with a common goal. Know that you are going to undertake a great disruptive project. Understand that you will have to be at your best when your partner is at their worst, and vice versa. Know that this isn’t just a DIY weekend; this is going to be a major undertaking. The attitude of the team is enormous.
Construction delays are expected. What is the best way to mitigate them?
It all comes down to planning. You may not know exactly what you want, but there are [are] certain things that each project will need. You’re going to need drywall, you’re going to need studs, you’re going to need electrical wires, and you’re going to need plumbing stuff. If you can get ahead of the game and get all the basics in there, that will save you time in the long run.
The other thing is that people need to be flexible with supply chains as they are. You may not get Option A, so you have to have Option B and C and know that you’re okay with them, because if you want to say, “A is all I’m holding on to,” you’re going to end up paying for that to long term, not necessarily just with the cost of that item, but by closing the job to wait for it. When you have guys around, you better keep throwing your money out the window.
How should homeowners approach renovation in stages if the budget prevents them from doing everything at once?
If you’re going to do it in stages, don’t do something that requires you to take two steps back. Make it so that Step A leads to Step B, leads to Step C, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. That’s one of the traps a lot of homeowners fall into, and it gets them frustrated and then the project stalls and they’re like, “you know what, it wasn’t worth it.” Place those stages. Have a very good plan for [you’re] always advancing.
What areas of the house are the most strategic to spend?
Obviously, invest where the biggest return is: kitchens, bathrooms, expanding floor plans. But all of those also come with their own problems: Your taxes will increase based on more bathrooms or usable space, so consult a tax advisor to see how that will affect your project in the long run. There are [also] something to say for just making your entryway or your foyer or an outside space that you’re not really using because value doesn’t just come in dollars and cents. It comes with enjoyment. If you can enjoy an area doing that, it’s worth all the money in the world.
What upcycling techniques can help finances yield more?
You have to be creative. My first foray into repurposing was when my sister had an old TV stand. It was nice, but she was slipping to the side. She was redoing my bathroom, so I took the lid off, bought a lid that had a chip on it at a big box store, put it on top, [and] That was now my bathroom vanity! See something you love and find another purpose for it. Also, online classified ads are very helpful when it comes to saving money because I may have gotten rid of something you really love, so try to get it, give it a new life.
The demo is a great way [to stretch your budget]. Don’t be afraid to knock things over to see what’s behind it, because you never know what you’re going to find. It could be an amazing brick wall behind some old drywall or paneling. Pulling up carpet is a huge savings if you’re willing to do it yourself. Below you can find that diamond in the rough with a hardwood floor.
Is it important to design according to the time period of a house and the existing space?
There are a couple of factors I take into account when dealing with clients who may or may not want to keep time in the house: Is it an investment? Are they going to be there for a couple of years and then they are going to sell it? The resale value is very important.
I don’t want to see someone take a house that’s a Tudor house or a downtown Colonial house and then they’re going to modernize it on the inside. It just doesn’t match; It’s like Jekyll and Hyde.
More important than designing the space is what your intention is with this house. Will this be the home of his family and the next generation? Because then we want to build it to the family. But if this is something that is a stepping stone to your next home, let’s take into account what the market trends will be and what will help you with your resale value so you can get into the next home you want. I really want.
The popularity of open floor plans is being challenged by the need for segregated workspaces in the home. What is your prediction for this trend?
You can have a hybrid of both. Instead of doing a full open floor plan, maybe open up one wall, but add some sliding French doors so you can close off the space when needed.
The other thing is that I see a lot of people embracing a space that is not being used, and that is their garage. It’s hosting your car, but could it have a better purpose? Could you turn it into a pseudo office? Could you turn it into a game room? Being able to make your home more transformative and accommodating to multiple needs is really where the trend is going.
What words of encouragement can you offer to someone who is stuck in their own ‘impossible’ renovation?
Tomorrow you’re going to come in and you’re going to start your project. Make sure you know, first, in which area you will be working. Two, do you both or does the whole family agree on what you want to achieve? Get those big items, then you can work on the little details: the colors, the finishes.
Get ready, because it’s going to be a roller coaster! This is not going to be easy and smooth, no matter how good the contractor is. There are always problems. As you start removing things, don’t panic if you see water damage. It’s okay, you’re catching these things early so you can fix them so they don’t become a bigger problem. Go out, do it, don’t be afraid, accept it and you will know that in the end you can sit back and say: “Yes, I did it”.
On Thursday, “Renovación Imposible” premieres.