“If you can afford it, hire an architect or architectural designer to develop a preliminary plan and make some choices on finishes, like flooring and cabinets. Get a budget estimate from a contractor and the general description of the work,” says Pat Rose, general contractor and owner of Rose Construction in Bellingham since 1985. “Estimates may cost a fee, but you have some idea to start. You don’t want get into something too expensive for you.”
Consider the style and age of the home and decide if you want to do an era restoration or remodel. Don’t do something you’ll regret changing later. Boronet researched the 1920s to re-create the design a client wanted in their 1920s Cornwall neighborhood home. Also, look into “green” options as you go along.
Recognize that one thing may very well lead to another. “Ours started with needing a new dishwasher, and then replacing all the appliances to stainless. The look wasn’t right, so we ended up doing the whole kitchen,” says Steve Aronoff of Bellingham. Baronet agrees. “It always costs more than you think it will.”
Both agree that personality synch is important. “You have to have a trust level and feel like the person listens to you. Sometimes you just hit it off, and sometimes not,” says Rose.
Visit www.lni.wa.gov and click on “Trades & Licensing” for more information on how to hire a contractor and research licenses.
- “Find a remodeler by word of mouth. Ask around,” says Mylon Boronet, owner of Premier Remodeling and Construction of Ferndale. “Then make sure they’re licensed and insured by going to the state Web site (www.lni.wa.gov).