When you’re planning to invest in a major home-improvement project, there’s nothing much more important than clearly communicating your vision to your Portland remodeling company.
More than just detailing the what, where, when, and how, your communication with your remodeling professional needs to convey the sense of style that you want the finished product to embody. And how do you do that? With spoken words, written words, photographs, and even hand-drawn sketches.
The Phone Call
Starting from the top, your first contact with a prospective remodeler or design-build company should be by phone, not email. Some things can’t be conveyed, or sensed, in writing. On the phone, you’ll be able to pick up a lot of clues about the person you’re going to be dealing with. Is he or she attentive to what you’re expressing about your remodel? Does he or she seem willing to be available by phone throughout the project? During this phone call, you can ask some questions that will help you sort out prospects, such as does this company often work in the style you’re aiming for, will it be available in the time frame you need, and can it handle the scope of project you have in mind?
Bring Your Vision
For your first face-to-face meeting with your potential designer or builder, bring along magazine clippings or images you have saved from your online research. During your envisioning stage, it can be helpful to keep a notebook with you in which to jot down ideas and inspirations that come to you throughout the day. Those notes will be helpful when you’re trying to transmit your vision to your builder. A Houzz Ideabook, which you can create on the Houzz.com website, is an ideal way to save digital photographs and floor plans that will show what you have in mind. When the photos and diagrams you’ve saved don’t quite match your situation, just pull out a pad and pencil and do a quick sketch. You don’t have to be an artist or architect to get your idea across.
Learn the Lingo
It doesn’t hurt to make yourself comfortable with the design vocabulary specific to your vision. Can you tell the difference between Craftsman, art deco, industrial, Victorian, Southwestern, and farmhouse style? Be sure to pay attention to whether your designer knows what you’re getting at. If he or she starts talking about exposed beams and dark-wood paneling for your midcentury modern design, you’ll know there’s a problem. We wrote an entire blog dedicated to design-build remodeling, it's advantages, misconceptions, and more.
When you present your vision to the designer, it’s critical that you tell him or her how the room will be used. You could even try to express the intangible by saying how you want to feel when you’re in the room. Also during your introductory discussions, it’s imperative that you be honest about your budget so that the designer/builder will know if your plan is even feasible. He or she will have the knowledge to tell you if it’s not, and to suggest possible revisions to get your dreams to match up with the reality of your budget.
Don’t Stop Communicating
Once you and the designer/builder have agreed to work together, you’ll need to put everything in writing, including as much detail as possible about what you want your room or rooms to be like when the job is finished. And by all means, continue to communicate, daily, with your remodeling company as the work progresses, making sure that the dream that was in your head is taking shape in wood, tile, stone, and steel just the way you’d envisioned it.