Everyone knows that the whole construction industry sucks right now. Starting from a piece of real estate (vacant lot or completed residence) through hanging art on the walls, substantial projects “in works” are pretty hard to find. Many qualified and talented Architects, Contractors, Interior Designers and so many categories of tradesmen and vendors would love—and could use—projects/work/sales.
Many Do It Yourself-ers are taking the work onto themselves. I have pretty strong misgivings about that subject, but not to be addressed now (see some of the earlier posts--likely from 2010--for that). However, if you expect a project to be done thoroughly, you probably know that you need the right pros to do it properly. Nowadays, if it’s your scene, negotiating might be worth your while.
Once a plan for the work has been laid out, with perhaps a wish list of extras, you should look at your project within a professional order and a realistic time-frame. This list was assembled a bit ago for a medium-sized residential remodeling. I looked at it a couple of weeks ago, and realized that it hasn’t changed much just because work has slowed down. Here it is:
1. Review the architectural plan(s) and put together a furniture layout and/or other detailed designs, and include a preliminary color scheme.
2. Review and rework lighting layout and switching including installed fixtures; then choose decorative ones. It should fit the furniture plan!
3. Review details needed (like millwork—doors, trim, molding, fireplaces and mantels, built-ins).
4. Once the layouts are approved, choose permanent materials such as flooring, tile, cabinets, and countertops to work with cabinets. Also pick out plumbing products if needed.
Tile can be in stock or it can take 3-6 weeks. Cabinets? That’s pretty diverse: “in stock” to 20 weeks. And don't assume that someone selling in bulk will be your best deal and/or fastest supplier. It's definitely--and maybe surprisingly-- not so.
5. Then come the slightly less permanent items like window coverings and carpet, followed by furniture.
Blinds and carpet can be stock (sort of) items that take 2-3 weeks, or drapes can take 2-3 months if you want to work with awesome textiles and top-drawer workrooms. And,if it’s what you want, you likely will never find the awesome stuff without a true pro. Those products are not in stores.
6. Furniture might be in a showroom or store or perhaps in a warehouse somewhere ready to ship. That will take a couple of days to a couple of weeks. But if you want the custom products, it will take 6, 8 or 10 weeks. Lead time used to be 10-14 and for some manufacturers it still is. Suppliers no longer warehouse fabrics (or tiles or custom carpet) like they did years ago. This practice started shifting before this economic downturn. Companies won’t purchase more inventory than they can sell in what they feel is a practical time frame. Many products are now made overseas, so it can take 4, 6, or 10 weeks from order to fabricate and ship. In addition, of course, factories and workrooms have reduced their work forces to accommodate their orders. Some of my vendors have cut hours for everyone to keep all employed. So, it’s still (seemingly) slow!
I work with a wonderful nucleus of Chicago area custom showrooms/vendors. Yes, it usually is faster, and shipping is not an issue in the pricing. Most of them only work with “the trade” (designers and architects) because they don’t feel that they can afford the time to teach consumers.
7. If you are DIY-ing, you’ll know when it’s time to pick paint colors or buy wall coverings (which are BACK). Use good paint and a good painter unless you like to paint every couple of years. It SO makes a difference. Remember that good wall coverings are like good textiles.
On TV you can see a project completed in a day or a week. That’s pretty unrealistic if you want to buy what you truly love or if you hope to keep it “forever”. Yes, you can be lucky and I know of retailers that carry good stuff and might even have it “cash and carry”, but it takes dedication and time to build up those sources, too!
The fun part of choosing accessories, art and all the little touches it that it can cost whatever you choose to spend. There are many online sources (Fab.com, One King’s Lane, and Gilt Groupe, Haute Look and --OF COURSE e-Bay and Overstock) for quick, usually reasonably-priced, gratification.
Bottom line: assume it will be at least 4-6 months if any construction is involved. A mid-sized remodeling including some furniture is a 6-9 month project. If you want to slow it down, or can’t make decisions or find sources, the project can certainly take a year or more. Enjoy the process!!
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