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Discussion Starter #1
Is this the right website/forum?

We desperately need an update over our now 24 y.o. contractor-quality-stuff (we bought the home new).
  • Replacing cabinets/countertops/island, etc.
  • Updating Bathroom/Mudroom/etc.
  • Kitchen isn't truly functional----Laundry should be upstairs and pantry enlarged, but that might be able to wait.
  • Problem is, we don't want to do things in the wrong order, and throw good money after bad.
  • Furthering this issue is this: I believe this region overcharges for everything. So I want to be careful.
So in general:
  • What's your favorite approach for careful starting?
  • LARGE contractor? Small trusted guy?
  • Completely independent designers and then get the builders later?
  • Put a floorplan here? I'm not adverse to moving curtain walls, etc., if economical.
This kind of stuff is daunting and seems filled with abysses.

I do understand this is vague, but it's purposefully so. If I get down to specifics, it's going to lock us out of options, which I don't want.
 

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What a minefield!
Just in general I'd have to say that whoever you hire and regardless of their expertise/experience/qualifications they are YOUR employee. And you have every right to know what they are doing, how and when, looking over their shoulder and knowing what they bring to the job - tools and supplies as well.
Good luck.

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  • Furthering this issue is this: I believe this region overcharges for everything. So I want to be careful.
I am in the same boat...Seattle area. My renovation is to the studs and subfloor, changing floorplan etc. so very extensive. The house is vacant. I made a big mistake early on...hired a designer before I had a good handle on practical aspects of what I wanted to do. She gave me a lot of pretty pictures (and some plans I needed for over priced permits) but I have been continuously varying from her floor plan. One example: The plans show a roomy combined mudroom/laundry where an old half bath and separate laundry were. A shower was added at my request. Once I got into things I decided to delete the new shower and basically put those two rooms back together very similar to the original layout. That saved me a lot of plumbing, framing, etc work. Another example: Once I got finished adjusting the layout and framing for the kitchen, the island/cabinet layout the designer came up with was no longer valid. I ended up getting the layout redone at the cabinet supplier for free. A third example: She had a 7'3" wide double vanity on the master bath...I moved the new adjacent partition wall so I don't have to buy a custom vanity. Etc.

Not really the designers problem but I hired her way too early. I also picked an independent designer who was not very savvy about construction practicalities. I did not have a good feel for the practicalities and relative cost of what I wanted until later once I got into demo of drywall etc. and started laying things out. In hindsight I should have hired a designer associated with one of the many design-build remodel contractors in the area. I think they would have had a better feel for starting with an old worn out house and trying to bring it into the modern world.

But hiring a design build remodel contractor for the full monty was out of the question, those guys in my area are very pricey and have zero transparency in their pricing. They are also super busy.
 

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Hiring an independent designer with construction experience up front is the smart thing to do. Even if you end up making changes and tweaks to the layout later, a full set of plans is indispensible in order to shop for a contractor later, and compare bids apples to apples.
 
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It is hard to advise people on contractors, you wouldn't be here if you had a fat wallet and could just hire the best guy.
You need to learn as much as you can so you can talk the language and understand the pit falls that can come up.
Do you have enough sq ft for what you want to put in there?
How much structure structure has to be changed, removing bearing wall, make floor stronger for island, engineering.
Is it possible to get the plumbing to the area you want it.
Living in the house and trying to figure a job in stages is very difficult.
Best practice is demolition down to structure
Redo structure as needed
rough plumbing
Hvac
electrical
insulation
drywall
pretty stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is hard to advise people on contractors, you wouldn't be here if you had a fat wallet and could just hire the best guy.
I don't understand that, please explain. There is no label walking around on "the best guy". I've used expensive outfits before (external repairs, windows, deck, garage rebuild): I am thoroughly unconvinced that the price they charge is 1:1 with quality. At least not in the North East. And I don't like how shortcuts are so easily hidden.
 

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I don't understand that, please explain. There is no label walking around on "the best guy". I've used expensive outfits before (external repairs, windows, deck, garage rebuild): I am thoroughly unconvinced that the price they charge is 1:1 with quality. At least not in the North East. And I don't like how shortcuts are so easily hidden.
My point is, you have to get involved and understand the job just like you were planning to do it yourself.
People who write contracts like to put in a line about the unforeseen problems.
Any one with any experience would know a beam was required but then you get the engineer who say it needs a beam with new footings in the basement and the cost of rough framing just got doubled.
 

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I suggest that you’re thinking too far into the future on this. At this point you can concentrate on figuring out what it is that needs to be done, then think about how it will get done later. There are lots of people with great experience on this forum who can help you to develop the room(s) layout based on what you want to achieve. You’ll have to do some work taking measurements and making sketch layouts of the rooms involved, putting together lists of the things that you want to have, etc. Even if you later decide to hire a designer we’ll have prompted you to think about a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Chris
 

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Lots of good advice here!
I will add on thing - take lots of pictures. One of every wall and every ceiling at each step along the way. And be sure you shoot the framing, plumbing, and cabling before the drywall gets hung. The details will help you keep track and you'll have that knowledge later if something should go TU.

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Discussion Starter #10
Lots of good advice here!
I will add on thing - take lots of pictures. One of every wall and every ceiling at each step along the way. And be sure you shoot the framing, plumbing, and cabling before the drywall gets hung. The details will help you keep track and you'll have that knowledge later if something should go TU.
One of the things that was suggested to us when we built this house was to walk around the house taking a video before the blueboard went up. It's amazing how quickly you can grab just about any amount of information you need. Great idea, so long as you don't lose the tape (24 years ago).
 

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BTB I'm in the process of doing a census of the electric in this new-old house (we moved in last year).
No records, few appliance manuals (bad), and little labeling on the breaker panel (worse) which is maxed out also.
So to help me wrap my head around circuitry, plumbing and HVAC ductwork I'm using an Excel spreadsheet.
Laying the house outline with interior walls on the Excel grid where each square is 1'x1' gives me an X/Y location for everything (he said confidently ). Overkill ? You bet! But got no place better to be anyway.

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
BTB I'm in the process of doing a census of the electric in this new-old house (we moved in last year).
No records, few appliance manuals (bad), and little labeling on the breaker panel (worse) which is maxed out also.
So to help me wrap my head around circuitry, plumbing and HVAC ductwork I'm using an Excel spreadsheet.
Laying the house outline with interior walls on the Excel grid where each square is 1'x1' gives me an X/Y location for everything (he said confidently ). Overkill ? You bet! But got no place better to be anyway.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
That is fast and creative and digitized and even works on a cell phone if careful. Beautiful.

Do you rough out the walls by solid filling the squares and putting the notes in the adjoining blank square?

Or do you thicken the borders of the cells to draw out the walls?

Or do you just draw within the squares of the walls?
 

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Huh? I'm just using the X,Y grid to indicate where the receptacle, light, fan, switch, water line, tv cable, or telephone (point?) is. Within 1 foot +or- seems accurate enough for me.
With the Convid 19 restrictions I have time on my hands to fill. So I'm doing a room a day. Later I will plug in a signal generator is and try to label the breakers accurately.
Once upon a time I thought every house had to have an accessible blueprint and utilities diagram. I'm not so naive now.

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Just found something. Have you guys seen floorplan.com?

EDIT: That was an unfortunate typo. It's "floorplanner". Here is a link:


Thus far it's really helping me conceptualize where the pitfalls are in terms of space. It's not a bad starting spot.

It's for free.

What's incredible to me is how ridiculously easy it is to slap something together that you can see and push a button and see in 3D.

For instance, it took roughly 10 minutes to play with it, and then less than 30 minutes for me to throw this together. And I can easily change measurements, etc., in it....this is just to get something down. None of these dimensions are right currently.

644607


644609


I could use my resulting floorplans for anything in the future as a starting point for any designer, email-able, etc., etc.

As a graphics software engineer for 40 years, I'm really impressed by this.

Cabinets are going in quickly too.
 

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I am sure you are linking to your account, the rest of us just get the sales page.
I didn't send anything attached to my account----the page offers the sales versions along with the free one. (Verified with a different browser, and in a private mode).

https://floorplanner.com/pricing/individuals is the page that lets you start whichever plan you like. The far left one is the free one.

Did you click my fixed link?
 
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