Plan for Remodeling Design - Page 2

Design-planning do's and don'ts: at the crossroads of home improvement fulfillment

As a general rule, expect to spend at least $250 per square foot on any Eichler addition in the greater Bay Area for project that include basic to mid-range finishes. Any bids under that price will likely lead to poorly built projects; lack required insurance, taxes, etc.; or be laden with hidden costs and change orders. Because every project has unique design issues and finishes, it is extremely difficult to assign a reasonable median or average cost.

Once the construction budget is created, it is time to negotiate other services with the design professional, such as charges for requests for information (or RFI's), revision costs, engineering costs, surveys, and Title 24 reports (as required). Additional costs, such as permit fees, housing (if the home can not be occupied during construction), furniture (if adding square footage), and landscaping (if impacted) should be factored into the total project budget.

When a project is underway, it's important to understand that the design professional—whether an architect, designer, or contractor—is hired to improve the quality of life of the homeowner. However, undertaking a project should not merely serve to realize someone else's creative vision, or be the result of the most convenient solution to a problem. Long after construction has been completed, the homeowner will have to live with the results.

With that in mind, homeowners should not hesitate to question decisions, or voice ideas or opinions related to the design or construction process. Even the most talented design professionals can overlook options that may be revealed during this probing process. Constant second-guessing and nitpicking, however, can prove to be counterproductive, stifling creativity and inspiration and promoting an adversarial relationship.

Ultimately, the homeowner and design professional should aspire to a common goal—developing a design that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. With a fair amount of preparation and flexibility, most owners will find this process both comprehensive and enjoyable.

Photo: David Toerge