Time to plan remodeling projects at Lake Tahoe (Opinion)
Special to the Tribune
Several inches of snow on Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe this early in season indicates that it’s time for Incline Village and Crystal Bay property owners to put away the garden hose and rakes and contemplate those interior remodeling projects that didn’t get done last year.
With snow showers coming early and local ski resorts calling for an early winter, it’s a great opportunity to call your interior decorator or contractor and get the ball rolling.
While materials prices have risen somewhat in the past couple of years, labor costs remain steady and have yet to reach the same level they were during the peak of the real estate boom. This means that it is still quite affordable to do almost any type of interior remodeling project from redoing that dated bathroom to gutting the kitchen and creating a space that Gordon Ramsey would be proud of.
Not everyone has the budget to make their place the cover photo for Architectural Digest or Tahoe Quarterly, but with a little bit of planning and some good advice from our local professionals you can do remodeling that you will look great for years to come.
Most properties in our community have floor plans that lend themselves to breaking down remodeling projects into smaller bites so you don’t have to do your whole house or even an entire floor at one time.
If you have an attached garage with some extra space, that will make it easier for the workers to perform tasks that are not conducive to being outside in the cold and snow. A great example is replacing that old carpet with a more durable surface such as hardwood or stone. Generally, your contractor or flooring expert will need to custom cut pieces and having room in the garage where they can work away from the elements will make everyone’s life a lot easier and help the project move more swiftly.
Spending some extra time planning the details of each remodeling project will save you a lot of time, money, grief and aggravation further down the road. Every time that you have to do a change order it adds additional expense not to mention the potential for conflict with the workers who thought they were doing everything you wanted the first time around.
This is where bringing in the expertise of a space planner, interior decorator or experienced contractor validates the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having someone with many years of experience and lots of projects under their belt working with you to design the final product will be of great benefit.
With so many different types of materials and finishes to choose from one of the best ways to get some good ideas during the planning process is to visit other homes that have been remodeled in our community. Your real estate agent will be happy to show you a few properties that have been updated to give you some ideas that you may never have previously considered. Even just looking on the Internet at some photos of properties currently for sale can spark an idea that will lead to creating a completely different vision than what you originally imagined.
Once you have the general concepts down on paper it’s good to sleep on everything for at least a couple of weeks because you will likely come up with new ideas that will alter the original scheme.
When you are shopping for materials, be aware that all of the natural products made with wood and stone will have variations from what you see on the showroom floor. Also, the lighting at your property will probably be completely different than what you experience in the stores where you are shopping.
It’s always a good idea to bring home samples of the materials you plan to use and put them in the rooms you will be working on for at least one week to be sure that the colors and textures are what you anticipated.
Make sure that you get estimates in advance of any work being performed and remember that you will always need more materials than the actual square footage when replacing flooring, doing painting, etc. There is bound to be a certain amount of waste, a general rule of thumb is to purchase 10% more of the materials that you will need than the actual square footage you are covering. It’s also good to keep around some extra materials after the project is completed so that you can replace or touch up anything that becomes damaged in the future.
Interior remodeling projects can be fun and rewarding but they can also be frustrating and upsetting if you don’t take the time to plan and get the expertise you need to solve problems before they become major headaches.
Many contractors and crafts people who are extremely busy from late spring to early autumn welcome these new projects during the off-season. You might even find that labor costs are slightly lower when the folks you are hiring have gaping holes in their schedule and just want to keep themselves and their work crews busy during the winter months.
So, while you might have to allocate a few extra dollars on consulting and planning prior to the start of your interior remodeling project it is money well spent. Taking the time to work with experts, purchase samples and let the thought process mellow will provide results that you can enjoy well into the future.
For local real estate market and community updates, read our blog at http://www.insideincline.com and follow us on social @insideinclinevillage and remember, who you work with matters.
Don Kanare is the founder and Sabrina Belleci is the owner and broker of RE/MAX North Lake in Incline Village. You can follow their blog at http://www.InsideIncline.com.