One of the most frustrating challenges many homeowners face when considering a home renovation project is difficulty visualizing specific changes to improve their home’s functionality. This can make it difficult for the homeowner to communicate their wishes accurately to the contractor as well as for the contractor to help the homeowner picture the changes they’re recommending.
As a design/build firm we’ve learned that what’s needed are strong communications skills, the ability and willingness to listen to the client, and creative visualization tools that can bring ideas to life for the homeowner.
Here’s an example from our own experience:
We recently had a client, Mary, who had begun a home renovation project with another design team. Almost immediately she began to have problems. After she attempted to explain what she’d like to do, the contractor quickly responded negatively to her ideas and simply told her “this is what you need to do.” Realizing that the contractor was not interested in listening to her, she came to us for another opinion. We explained that while the previous contractor’s plan was doable, it was not the best approach and that we wanted to hear what she was trying to accomplish so we could more effectively address her issues.
We encouraged Mary to tell us all about the difficulties she was experiencing with the way her home currently functioned and what she’d like done about it. We then offered to come up with some good/better/best options and present them to her using 3D visualizations so she could actually see what we were recommending. This enabled Mary to make an informed decision based on what she saw, her budget, and what would work best for her so she could feel comfortable with her choice.
This kind of story comes up over and over again because so many contractors don’t take the time to listen to the homeowner. They’re mainly interested in pushing solutions they are familiar and comfortable with, not necessarily what’s best for the client and their particular situation.
This image is a 3D drawing of a whole house renovation called New England Paradise in our gallery
As a contractor we can’t possibly do a good job – never mind an excellent one – if we don’t fully understand what the homeowner wants and expects. That’s why we invest the time and focus into learning all about the client’s wants, needs, and concerns. That’s also why we’ve developed carefully thought-out questionnaires for specific areas of the home. We want to uncover every possible issue so we can come up with design recommendations that are comprehensive, effective, and appropriate. We also utilize things such as priority lists and visual communication tools so that we can effectively extract the homeowner’s thoughts and ideas in an organized manner, enabling us to more effectively incorporate them into our designs.
This structured approach goes a long way in addressing the visualization challenge that can be so pesky for homeowners. In many cases, difficulty in expressing what they want stems from not really knowing what they need. They’ve lived with the dysfunctional elements of their home for so long that they’ve become accustomed to doing things a certain way just to deal with the dysfunction. Even homeowners trained or creative enough to create solutions can’t because they’re simply too close to the problem. They have trouble seeing the forest because all those problematic trees are in the way.
This is the 3D rendering of the same project.
Visualization difficulties can extend to all areas of home renovation. Take materials, for example.
When building or remodeling a home, decisions have to be made about materials to be used. And there is just about no end to the variety of materials available, especially for interiors. Countertops, wall coverings, flooring, fixtures, paints – it can be overwhelming for many people. Without being able to see or visualize their choices, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to make them.
The solution is to narrow down the options with expert interior design and architectural help. Using sophisticated digital visualization tools, we can show clients exactly what a specific material, texture, and color will look like in their home, offering them the most appropriate choices based on their preferences and budget. This kind of visual aid enables them to feel confident in their choices because they can see what they’ll be getting. Then with proper planning, a budget, and their preliminary choices in hand, we can go shopping and help the client make informed decisions based on what’s available and within their budget.
This is the photo of the whole house renovation after the project was completed.
Of course, all the sophisticated design tools in the world won’t improve the functionality of a home unless the people wielding them are experienced, innovative, and interested in using them effectively. It’s not the pencil, it’s the artist holding the pencil.
Using a disciplined, proven approach for gaining insight into a project and creating a realistic, actionable and accurate design that effectively achieves the client’s goal is what sets us apart from the competition.
Here at Mitchell Construction Group our team has a singular passion for fixing clients’ problems. We love a good challenge. Given a chance to wrap our arms around an issue that’s been plaguing a client for years gives us an opportunity to improve their home and their lives through better design.
To learn more about the home renovation design process, please read our eBook, “Expert Design Tips to Improve Your Home's Form and Function.” And if you are ready to speak about your next renovation, please schedule a home renovation discovery session.