As a CKBR-accredited renovation professional and president of HomeTech Renovations, David Cerami has seen his share of homeowners who regret having cut corners with contractors or DIY remodeling solutions.
“Homeowners often want some changes within the existing design—remove a wall or expand the footprint into an adjacent room—which would involve some form of remodeling,” he shares. “An expert understands what needs to be done and some of the cost benefits and projections associated with a project like that. They’ll have the experience to understand a lot of the nuances of a design expansion.”
Cerami emphasizes the importance of hiring qualified professionals whose experience allows them to create your dream vision within the reality of your budget.
“I find that a professional can help customers hone their budgets a bit more by explaining the cause and effect of some of the things they’ve considered before we get into the design of a project,” he says. “For example, I had a client that I just finished the design on. He wanted to remove a wall but had a chimney there allowing his furnace to heat the entire home. He thought he was locked into leaving this monolith in the middle of the footprint; I suggested some alternatives that would allow us to claim that space and really expand this kitchen tremendously.
“Because of my knowledge, I offered him some cost-effective ideas to remedy that issue,” he continues. “There’s always something needing to be addressed: A true professional that has been around would certainly know the issues associated with a project’s demolition and rebuild aspects.”
In particular, he suggests choosing a company such as his, which has decades of experience in a variety of settings and working to meet a wide spectrum of budgets.
“Work with an accredited, experienced design-build company,” he says. “Design companies are quite different from design-build: I’ve worked with very talented designers, but there’s value-based engineering that could have been incorporated by a design-build team in some of these designs.
“The second thing that’s very helpful for any professional is for a customer to realize what they can afford and potentially want to invest in,” he continues. “Most homeowners we meet don’t think about kitchens and baths in terms of a process: They think, ‘I’ll just call this contractor and get one estimate.’ That’s hard because how do we walk into a home and prepare one estimate on a space requiring pre-existing conditions, design, demolition, products, product integration and selection of various elements? There’s a lot to consider.”