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Nov 13 2015

Handy Girl

Handy Girl
by Juel Scherf
 
As far back as I can remember, I would help my Dad around the house on his remodeling projects. From installing 6-panel doors, windows, and vinyl siding to designing and building the 26’x14’ deck in the back yard. It’s no wonder that I came to love building and design from an early age. One year, I had asked my husband for a power drill for Christmas. He didn’t get me one because he thought I was either joking or crazy (What wife wants a drill for Christmas?). I went out to buy myself one a few months later. I’ve realized how unique I am when I went to a networking event at Milwaukee Tool and witnessed grown women using power tools for the first time in their lives. That same weekend, I was helping my husband tear down the wall between our kitchen and living room. I cannot imagine not being able to change a light fixture or climb up on the roof to clean the gutters. Now, as an architect and sales associate for Brillo, I help other homeowners remodel and improve their homes.
 
I have also seen a lot of mistakes when the homeowner tries to DIY their renovation themselves and it doesn’t quite turn out as easy or fast as it looked on television. Most projects are just better left to the trained professionals.
 
Homeowner: “Why can’t you start my kitchen remodel on Monday and be done in 3 days?”
Contractor: “We just met 2 minutes ago…”
 
I see a lot of homeowners who are eager to get to the end result of a remodel, but they're not as eager to do the proper preplanning before starting. The worst thing you can do in remodeling your home is to jump into a contract before knowing what you are doing; this can lead to numerous change orders and a finished product that is not exactly what you wanted. Just today, I had a homeowner tell me she wanted to switch the locations of her refrigerator and stove, but what she didn’t think about was that when the fridge door was opened, it would hit whomever was at the sink. These kinds of simple ideas can turn into big problems if you don’t take the time to discuss prior to starting a project.
 
In a standard kitchen remodel, you can assume to take anywhere from 3-6 months of planning before demolition, and about 2-3 months for a bathroom remodel. Some additions can even take over a year to plan before you can start depending on scope and time of year. The design and planning stage can entail getting a floorplan and design ready with elevations and a section for additions, organizing the cabinet layout, picking fixtures, selecting stain colors, countertops, and paint colors. Once you do these things, the products still have to get ordered and delivered before starting the project to not have delays in the timeframe. If you are having an addition done or changing any aspect of the exterior of the house, you also have to think about having the design approved by your municipalities “Design Review Board” and getting the appropriate permits. These are all things that homeowners forget to take into account when wanting to upgrade their home.