How To Plan A Remodel

We live in a house built in the mid 50's and it's time to remodel. The wood paneling from the 70's, and the shaggy carpet in brown tones are aging the place. But our thoughts have always been, if its not broke don't fix it. Everything is perfectly functional but it looks aged. Is that a good enough reason to sink thousands of dollars into a remodel? Not really. But since we've paid off the mortgage we have the means to pay for everything as we go. We've cut back on our travel too, as we have everything we need to be happy right in our own back yard. So we've decided to at least modernize the remainder of our house that hasn't been remodeled. If you remember, in 2010 we totally gutted our two bathrooms and kitchen, replumbed the whole house and remodeled the bathrooms and kitchen. It took five months and twenty five thousand dollars, but it has also made life more enjoyable having new rooms with an absence of any problems.
 
Our next project is to remodel a couple bedrooms, our dining room and living room and office area. The bedrooms will be easy with just paint and carpet and new ceiling fans. Its the living room and office that will require more planning. One of the things I've always hated about my house is that the previous owners put up paneling over the stucco plaster walls of our block home. It makes the living room look like a trailer house. The office also has a hung ceiling with big cardboard panels and rectangle florescent lights - Oh and thats in addition to the faux wood paneling. The paneling will be removed and the original walls restored, and the ceiling removed as well giving us a taller ceiling to drywall and change the lighting. We're also replacing the exterior door and adding a window to the room. This is the last room of our remodel plans but it will be the most satisfying and transforming.
 
The reason we're finally doing these projects now is we've decided we just don't want to wait for our dog to die before getting new carpet. We had  been waiting for years to be pet free before remodeling - but have decided its not that big a deal. The dog lives outside in the yard except when we're inside she comes in to join us. She is older and mellow and simply lays on her "place" most of the time, unless she is begging for a nibble when we're in the kitchen. The new carpet will not get ruined by having her around a few more years. 
 
So now that we've decided that we're going to move forward with the remodel there are some steps to take to make sure everything falls into place smoothly. Here are some steps we've accomplished so far:
 
1. Finance the project - either save the cash in advance or make sure your budget can handle the ongoing expense of paying the handyman, the paint store and the online vendors for your supplies. If you need to put anything on credit cards to pay later you probably can't afford the project right now. 
 
2. How will you pay? - Figure out if you can get any coupons from the big box stores where you'll be spending thousands of dollars. I just bought 10% off coupons from ebay for our carpet and it will save hundreds. Also redeem those extra reward or airline points for the big box stores for gift cards to buy your supplies. If they mail you the gift card it will take a couple weeks so do this early in your plans.
 
3. Design - figure out what you want and how you will use the features of your new remodeled room. We've discussed what to do in our guest room and decided since we rarely have visitors sleep over anymore it really is not going to be a guest room. Since our couponing has become extreme, we need the space for our stockpile and I would like a place to read quietly away from the TV, so it will be a stockpile, office area after the remodel. We also are increasing the number of electrical outlets to handle more power strips and to provide power where it currently is lacking. We no longer have a landline so all phone lines and jacks will be removed too.
 
4. Plan - Think through your steps and document them. I wrote of list of what has to happen first, second, third etc. You need to consider moving things, temporary storage of furniture while the rooms are being remodeled, what purchases need to be done first, what are the lead times, what colors will you use and do you have flooring, walls, windows and ceiling items selected and or purchased? Flooring typically requires a measure session be done by the installer before you can purchase, plus they won't schedule an install until the flooring is delivered. This can take weeks. Plus you don't want to paint after new flooring when you can do it easily before and not have to worry about making a mess.
 
5. Action - working on a remodel project often involves tedious tasks like tearing out the old, cleaning, patching and repairing and trips to the trash can. It may involve moving furniture and junk around to another room and ruin your groove. It may also involve lots of errands to pick up something you realize you need. It can be stressful and annoying. Its important to plan a timeline and goal for completion and allow yourselves time to relax each day too.
 
So, if you're planning on a remodel or household project (or not) you can follow along with us as we do ours. So far we've removed the old tile windowsills in the bedrooms and replaced with marble slabs. Now the walls are dry so we can paint. We pulled up the old carpet in the guest room. We've almost done moving everything out of the master bedroom and this weekend we plan to paint the ceilings and walls in the two rooms.

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