Repair and Remodeling Books and Looking Beyond When Planning – On the House

Repair and Remodeling Books and Looking Beyond When Planning

By on May 20, 2014
ktichen renovation


My husband and I were listening to your “On The House” radio show – on a recent Saturday. We were in our car and couldn’t write down the names of two books on home repairs and remodeling. Also, if we want to totally rebuild a kitchen (not just remodel), do we need to get help from an architect? We have come up with three different approaches. We need to enlarge the kitchen.



The two home improvement books mentioned on our radio program are; Sunset Home Repair Handbook , Lane Publishing Company, Menlo Park, CA ($9.95; and Ortho’s Home Improvement Encyclopedia , Chevron Chemical Company, San Francisco, CA ($24.95). Sunset Home Repair Handbook is in paperback, as are most of the books in their home improvement series. It is 200 pages of well-illustrated easy-to-understand information that should be a part of any do-it-yourselfers library. Ortho’s Home Improvement Encyclopedia is hard bound, and offers a more sophisticated, and thorough look at home improvement. Its 500-plus pages not only address basic home repair and maintenance, but also examine in detail everything from sinks to solar energy, including material choices and planning aids.

Regarding your kitchen remodel, we are pleased to see that you took the time to plan before starting the construction. Many homeowners do not.

We simply can’t stress enough the importance of taking the time to thoroughly plan your project before proceeding with construction. Before you contact a professional to help plan your project, you and any other members of the household affected by the project should get together and establish your needs and a tentative budget.

Once you have defined your needs, desires and budget, the next step is to articulate them to someone who can create a design. For a kitchen remodel this someone is typically a designer-builder, or designer space-planner. Just because you are planning to enlarge your kitchen, not just remodel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need an architect. This decision often is a function of the complexity of your project. That is, if your improvement involves a new roof line or a completely new exterior facade, you may wish to consult an architect. Although most designer-builders and kitchen designers may be prepared to address such a project, they usually are more comfortable dealing with projects that don’t change the architectural integrity of the home. But these professionals generally have no trouble with interior modifications ranging from minor changes to major rehabs.

On the other hand, we often find that architects are not anxious to take on a simple project. It might be wise to start with designers and builders – they will refer “complicated” projects to an architect.

Expense is another major concern. Generally, one can expect to spend anywhere from $250 to $4,500, depending on who does the design and the scope of the project. The cost for design by a designer/builder is often substantially less than that of an architect. An architect will use his design ability to get you to use him to build your project, but a designer/builder makes his living performing construction. He only profits from the design.

It would not be cost effective to have an architect involved in most of the residential remodeling projects that we see today. Although, it’s an alternative if all else fails. And remember, as with any other agreement, make sure everything is in writing. In any case, try to find someone who will commit to a fixed price. Stay away from and hourly figure.

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