RENOCREEP

Ren­o­va­tion creep is the stuff of night­mares. No, it’s not a con­trac­tor that won’t go away, but some­thing much more costly.

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - HOME | RENOVATION - writ­ten by trudy chap­man photography by mark holleron

It’s a sce­nario any­one could face. You’ve been liv­ing in your home for a while and it works just fine, but new floor­ing would re­ally be nice . . . And the kitchen cab­i­nets, well, they’re so 1980s! Per­haps now’s the time for that much-wanted slid­ing door off the kitchen into the back gar­den? Oh, and how about pot lighting through­out the whole main floor – and a new paint job? Let’s do it all while we’re at it . . .

The ex­cite­ment grows as you en­vi­sion the glory that will be your new home. Then sud­denly, you won­der – while stand­ing knee-deep in mag­a­zines, paint chips and schemat­ics for that wall that you’ve now de­cided ought to come down too – how in the world do you know when to stop?

“It’s all about project scope,” says Marie-Claude Faubert of Faubert In­te­ri­ors, a de­sign com­pany that fo­cuses on kitchens and bath­rooms. She ad­vises that when you hire a pro­fes­sional de­sign com­pany to ren­o­vate, the en­tire project should be out­lined right at the beginning. Once you’ve ironed-out the scope and have an agree­ment worked out, then the rest just falls into place.

“Quote, bud­get, timeline, work or­ders – this is the meat of a project,” ex­plains Marie-Claude who stud­ied kitchen de­sign at Seneca Col­lege in Toronto. “When you do this, and have a team that works with you, it’s not that com­pli­cated and there’s no room for add-ons.”

Scop­ing the project al­lows you to see all the com­po­nents as part of the whole. It also en­ables you to see the to­tal cost of ev­ery­thing you have in mind. With the project scope

done, you can read­ily find some­thing to cut if the ren­o­va­tion is over bud­get.

“I find our best projects are those that have tight bud­gets be­cause, boy, we try hard to keep it in scope,” says Marie-Claude. “It’s got to go like clock­work and it’s re­ally hard to get it right. That’s why you al­most need some­one that is keep­ing ev­ery­thing to­gether and, yes, that costs more money, but that’s the work.”

The dream of a new kitchen, along with more space and light, was the cat­a­lyst for ren­o­va­tion creep in the Chapel Hill home of Joyce Heenan and her fam­ily. Built in Orleans by Minto in 1994, the 2,100 square-foot house had served the fam­ily well for more than a decade. But as the chil­dren and the ex­tended fam­ily grew, the home be­gan to feel cramped. Fam­ily din­ners were held in the fam­ily room when the din­ing room could not fit every­one.

Plans to ren­o­vate the kitchen and add a bay win­dow grew into up­dat­ing the din­ing room and re­mod­el­ing the front en­try area and closet to im­prove stor­age and flow. Re­plac­ing the main level floor­ing ex­tended to re­mov­ing the car­pet on the stairs and re­do­ing the up­stairs hall­way. And what about new lights in the mas­ter bed­room?

All th­ese projects and more ac­cu­mu­lated in the Heenan home and Joyce took the view that once you start – you might as well do it all and get the ren­o­va­tion chaos over with as quickly as pos­si­ble. Liv­ing in a busy house­hold with two teenage daugh­ters, a hus­band who trav­els for work, tak­ing care of ex­tended fam­ily and work­ing full-time her­self, Joyce opted for the “make it in­con­ve­nient for a set pe­riod of time and then get it over with” ren­o­vat­ing phi­los­o­phy.

Al­though, she ad­mits that as the project blos­somed, their bud­get dou­bled. “There is no doubt that once you start do­ing one thing, then you start think­ing about some­thing else that needs do­ing. For ex­am­ple, we didn’t have over­head lighting in the mas­ter bed­room, so we fig­ured, since the elec­tri­cian was com­ing in any­way, we’d get it done.”

Hav­ing ren­o­vated the base­ment of a pre­vi­ous home the Heenans know enough about the process to hire pro­fes­sion­als. While hus­band Paul man­aged the project, the de­sign was done by Marie-Claude Faubert of Faubert In­te­ri­ors, who also rec­om­mended the con­trac­tors and helped them choose com­pli­men­tary prod­ucts.

In spite of the ren­o­va­tion creep, Joyce es­ti­mates the ren­o­va­tion time to be only six to seven weeks and says hap­pily, “It’s like buy­ing a new home again without hav­ing to move!”

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