Do you have a property that needs more than cosmetic work to transform it into your dream home? Then you may be looking at a major home remodel

Here are three key factors that differentiate a major home remodel from a more cosmetic interior design-focused renovation.  

1. The floor plan of your current house does not flow the way you want in a modern updated home. You will need major changes such as resizing or relocating rooms, moving exterior window and door openings, or other major changes to make the home work.

2. The square footage of living areas in your current home is tight. It may not be adequate for your family’s needs even with reconfiguration. You might need to expand with additions to the existing structure to create the space you need.

3. Your house was built before 1979 and has NOT gone through a previous gut-rebuild where plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems were completely upgraded. This is one of the key factors in differentiating between a major home remodel vs. an interior design based home renovation. 

Typically homes built around 1979 or older have mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems. These systems typically require major upgrades or complete replacement to provide the safety, reliability and efficiency similar to a newly constructed home. 

If you think your project is more cosmetic in nature, check out how STUDIO 818 handles interior design based whole-house renovations for our clients. If you feel the short-list above better describes your project let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a major home remodel.

Benefits of a major home remodel vs. demolishing & building new

For many homeowners completing a major home remodel on an existing property can be a better option than demolishing the existing structure and building a new home from the ground-up. Here are three benefits that come with radically transforming a property through a major home remodel.

♦  With an existing property you already have the primary structure built. That means all or most of the ‘building shell’ materials are in-place. Depending on the architecture, this can significantly lower the overall cost-per-square-foot vs. building a new home from the ground-up.

♦ A major home remodel can often be completed faster. Even if the primary structure needs be expanded with additions you could save six to nine months compared to building a new home from scratch.

♦ Since the existing structure is not being completely demolished you can save substantially on property taxes. That means you get all the benefits of a new home with a lower long-term tax basis.

No matter how impossible it may seem to transform your existing home into the dream home you envision, it usually worth exploring this option so long as the lot size allows for expansion. 

Now let’s dive deeper into how STUDIO 818 handles major home remodels vs. the typical industry approaches.

You may have some concerns with beginning a major home remodel. We get it.

A major remodel and expansion project is a big undertaking. You’ll be investing substantial amounts of your time, money and emotions into the project. You rightfully have concerns about what your investment will produce as an end result.

You will be enjoying your newly designed home with your family for years to come. So it’s important that the your newly designed home is functional, fits your lifestyle and is designed to reflect your personality.

To top it all off — with a major remodel you’ll be living elsewhere during the construction and furnishing phases of the project. So it’s critical the project is completed on-time and on-budget with the headaches handled for you.

We understand first-hand your concerns and considerations as the owner. In our real estate investment experience we’ve purchased, designed and developed dozens of properties of our own. On these development projects we bear the responsibility of managing millions of dollars in funds entrusted to us by our investment partners for the purpose of developing the property and delivering healthy investment returns.

This experience gives us an unparalleled “owners’ perspective” on every client project. STUDIO 818’s Design + Build Management framework is so different because it was developed by owners to serve the needs of owners.

Where the design & build of your major home remodel project can go wrong

In the early years of our real estate development work we’ve seen how badly a project can go when you start things off on the wrong foot. That’s because the roots of a smooth-running successful project are embedded in the very first step you take.

It’s easy to get excited about radically transforming your current property with a major remodel and expansion. In the zeal to get a project rolling many people will take one of the paths common to the industry. Unfortunately common paths leads to common problems. That’s why you hear so many horror stories shared about home construction.

The three ways people are usually tempted to begin their major remodel project seem innocent enough. But by going down any one of these paths they unwittingly sow the seeds for a bumper-crop of problems as the project proceeds.

  • Beginning a project with a General Contractor.


    Some homeowners determine their project direction by asking a general contractor (GC) to give them a quote. Without architectural and design details the GC needs to make a lot of assumptions. To protect themselves they include plenty of allowances (guesses) for things like finishes, fixtures, equipment, and more. As the project progresses and the design details get developed the budget balloons.


    With the STUDIO 818 design + build management framework we lay the foundation for success in our Pre-Planning phase. Before getting the GC involved we develop the preliminary floor plan, conceptual design and direction on the level of finishes, fixtures and equipment that will impact the investment required. This process helps you avoid change orders, runaway budgets and constantly expanding construction timelines because the GC has the information they need to provide accurate preliminary quotes.


  • Starting a project with an Architect on-point. 


    Some people start out their project working exclusively with an architect. They dedicate months of time and tens-of-thousands of dollars for permit plans to be finalized and ready for bidding by contractors. Only then do they discover the “real” budget required to construct the structure their new home. And if a design firm has not been developing finish plans along side the permit plans, the owner still only has part of the overall number.  


    With STUDIO 818’s Design + Build Management framework we begin to align your desired design aesthetic and project scope with the expected overall investment early in the pre-planning stage before the architect begins their work. This helps you avoid the wasted time, frustration and disappointment of having to go back to the drawing board to redesign your project all over again.


  • Deciding to mange the project yourself. 


    Some homeowners decide to take on the leadership role by cobbling together a team for a major design & build project themselves. This is one of the biggest mistakes people can make.


    In this case the owner ends up in perpetual reaction mode trying to manage what becomes pure chaos. All the headaches, mistakes and conflicts that come with the project fall into the homeowner’s lap. The owner gets stuck in the middle of a nasty finger-pointing “triad of miscommunication” between the architect, designer and GC.


    With the STUDIO 818 team leading your project from the pre-planning stage we help protect you from avoidable miscommunications, finger-pointing and ballooning budget. We are experienced in every aspect of the design & build process. Our framework handles all the headaches and manages the countless details that would otherwise fall through the cracks.


STUDIO 818 protects you from all of these problems & more

Thanks to our designer-led Design + Build Management framework you won’t have to fall prey to the problems, needless cost-overruns and disappointing results experienced by owners who follow one of the conventional industry paths discussed above.

With our Design + Build Management framework we:

I. Mitigate change orders and manage the headaches
II. Reduce timelines for the construction phases
III. Optimize project outcomes with attention to finish details from concept to your fully-furnished move-in day

Because of our real estate investment and development experience STUDIO 818’s step-by-step framework is structured differently than the standard industry approaches.

Our process begins with an extensive Pre-Construction Planning phase that includes feasibility analysis, conceptual design and alignment of project scope to budget. We then master plan the entire project, iron out and document all the technical details, and manage the procurement of all finishes, fixtures & equipment.

Then as the project progresses we stand in the gap to protect your from the design flaws, change orders and time-suck that come with the typical whole-house renovation. Once construction starts we make sure the design and details you approved are built the way it was intended. All the headaches handled right up to your move-in day. 

With STUDIO 818 leading your project from the start we set you up for success with your interior design focused whole-house renovation. We are your guide and advocate from pre-planning to your move-in day.

Click here to see our Design + Build Management framework in more detail.

Watch the video below to learn about our process & the benefits our clients enjoy

Two keys that set STUDIO 818 apart with major home remodel projects

#1: Alignment of project scope with the targeted overall investment

In the video above you probably noticed we talk a lot about the alignment of your project scope with the investment it will realistically require to complete that work. This pre-construction planning is the key to putting your major remodel and expansion project on the right track from the start. 

In our real estate investment and development work if we fail to properly align the project scope and targeted investment that would mean we and our investors would both lose money. Obviously that would not be a good outcome.

The same is true with a major remodel of your home. It’s just as important to make sure the project scope and targeted investment are aligned from the beginning. If not you can look forward to months of wasted time, frustration and unnecessary financial stress as the project moves forward.

Even our clients who tell us “there is no budget” benefit from our framework. Having an open-ended budget overall may be true. But we always learn through our process that though a client may have no limit on what they are willing to invest on some items or areas, they may have caps on other areas due to personal preferences. .

The scope-to-investment alignment completed in the pre-planning phase of our Design + Build Management framework is essential to your project running smoothly. This is true regardless what your position is when it comes to the budget.

#2: Having an advocate who guides & protects you throughout the entire project

Designing and completing a major home remodel and expansion is a big investment. You deserve an advocate who will guide and protect you through what is a complex and sometimes confusing process. At times it can be chaotic, especially during the construction phase. 

That’s why a critical component of our Design + Build Management framework is our role as the ‘Owner’s Project Manager’ (OPM). As OPM we stand in the gap protecting you by preemptively foreseeing and solving problems, maximizing the return on your investment, and mitigating change orders or delays.

We step into this role of OPM in the Pre-Planning phase and continue with that responsibility all the way to your move-in date. We are your single point of contact facilitating and managing all the moving parts throughout the project. This protects your time and prevents miscommunication between the key contributors to your project. With this top-level oversight we’re able to keep your project on-target with a relentless focus on efficiency.

Watch the video below.

Our business is personal

Our Design + Build Management framework is different and it’s not right for everyone. We consider the design and construction of your dream home analogous to commissioning a custom work of art.

Your dream home is unique. It is being designed and built to reflect your personality and enhance your lifestyle. It will take patience and commitment to do it correctly.

A major home remodel project can take 14-20 months or more from pre-planning to move-in day. That’s a lot of time to be working together. This is a very personal process which at times can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, so finding the right team to lead your project is critical.

Ensuring STUDIO 818 is the right match for you and your project is important to us. We love what we do. And we want you to enjoy the planning, design and construction stages as much as the end result. The only way that happens is for you to know, like and trust our team. 

That’s why our Design + Build Management framework is set up to incrementally grow our relationship and develop trust in a natural way.

Take the first step, let’s talk

It’s simple to get started. Click the button below to schedule an appointment for your free Discovery Consultation and let’s review your project together.

Still have some questions about working with STUDIO 818 on your major home remodel?

Visit out FAQ page