by Joshua Carrick
Every year, the early spring is a very busy time in the Hamptons. After the holidays and cold winter weather, many owners are anxious to spend their end-of-year bonuses upgrading their beach houses before the upcoming summer season. And sometimes that enthusiasm can cause an owner to rush into a project without thinking it all the way through before starting.
Larger scale additions and renovations that require building permits can take several months just to get started, and therefore need to be planned out well in advance. But there are a lot of smaller upgrades that can be done to spruce up your home that do not require any permits and can be done quickly before the summer starts so they will not disrupt your use of the property.
Customizing your closet space with organizational systems is a great way to make the house more comfortable to live in. And adding custom built-in cabinetry, paneling details and trim work throughout your house can give an otherwise simple space a real “wow” factor.
Upgrading your audio-visual and home automation systems is something that should be done regularly to keep up with ever changing technologies. And you can always freshen up an aging home by refinishing wood floors, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, or even adding wall paper. There are dozens of other things that can be done quickly too that will bring new life into your summer beach house.
The most important advice I can give anyone looking to do a project like this is to always have a definitive plan before starting. Spending a little extra time and money to make a thorough and complete design allows you to set a specific goal for the project, outline the desired scope of work and set both a time line and a budget. Doing this will save you tenfold in the long run. If your job is a smaller remodeling project, an architect may not be needed. But it is still a good idea to have a design professional, like an interior decorator, put together a detailed plan to work from.
It is in your best interest to think the entire project through first and include everything you want done from the beginning. With this information and a detailed design plan, your contractor can plan for all aspects of the project in the most logical and efficient way possible. I have been on jobs without these plans that started as a single smaller item and then once underway, snowballed into a much larger project. All of the preliminary work that was completed at the beginning had to be re-done as part of the new scope, and all of the time and money spent on it was effectively wasted. These projects never finish on time or on budget.
Having contractors bid off a set design ensures you are comparing apples to apples when evaluating pricing estimates. It also helps to ensure the contractor knows everything that is needed so it can all be included in his proposal instead of coming back to add change orders once the job has already started.
Doing these small projects can be a lot of fun. Just don’t let the excitement of the completed job make you rush the planning phase; it is the most crucial.