What does an interior design-focused home renovation involve? What are the potential pitfalls you’ll face with this type of project? What’s the process you need in place to maximize efficiency and mitigate problems?

We’ll answer all these questions here and more. In just a few minutes you’ll have a better understanding of the renovation project you’re about to tackle and greater confidence in choosing the best process to get it done right.

Interior design vs. home renovation vs. home remodel

First before we begin let’s quickly clear up some confusion on terms you’ll commonly hear used. Often people will use “interior design”, “renovation” and “remodel” used interchangeably to describe residential projects. Interior design is an integral part of both renovations and remodels so let’s set that aside for now.

To properly plan your project the real differentiation you need to make is between a “home renovation” and a “home remodel.” Both will improve your quality of life and increase your property value. But the complexity, timeline and investment for a renovation vs. a remodel are vastly different.

How to determine if your project is an interior design focused home renovation

A ‘whole-house’ home renovation is focused primarily on the cosmetic side of interior design. There are three key factors that will help you confirm that the project you are considering is a home renovation with interior design as the primary focus.

1. Your house currently has the right amount of living area for your family and does not need expansion with additions

2. The floor plan works as-is or will need just minor changes such as moving interior walls.

3. Your house was built in 1980 or later.

Why 1980? Typically homes built after 1980 have mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems that are similar in materials and operational safety to a newly constructed home. This is one of the key factors in differentiating between a whole-house home renovation and the more in-depth and complex work of a major home remodel.

What’s involved in an interior design focused home renovation

In South Florida a whole-house renovation will generally involve:

♦ Interior design focused on cosmetic improvements for every room in your house. 

♦ Optimizing the floor plan and opening up spaces without major structural changes.

♦ Upgrading of existing windows & exterior doors. This may include minor changes, such as adding a window or changing a window to a patio slider.

If your home was built prior to 1980 or you’re thinking your project will require more than primarily cosmetic interior design work to create your dream home, you’ll want to check out what a major Home Remodel entails.

You may have some concerns with the interior design and renovation of your home. We get it.

An interior design focused whole-house renovation 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 hole-house renovation 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 interior design whole-house renovations typically 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 an interior design focused whole house renovation. 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 whole-house renovation 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 interior design focused whole-house renovations

#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 interior design focused whole-house renovation 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 your whole-house renovation. 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 building out an interior design focused whole-house renovation 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.

An interior design focused whole-house renovation can take 12-18 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 interior design project?

Visit out FAQ page