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How Do I Start?

Starting any challenge is always difficult, but none more so than a home renovation. If you aren’t already involved in the industry, immersing yourself in the world of construction can be daunting and difficult. However, by asking the right questions, you can ensure a smooth and successful building journey.

The first thing to know is what type of questions to ask. I have been designing home renovations for over 25 years, and I am often asked, “What suggestions can you make to improve my home?” It’s a great question… but not the right place to start!

Why? In my design process I need to find what the real problem is before I suggest solutions. Here’s what to consider before starting your home renovation.

Explore what you need in your renovation design 

I want to hear from all interested parties – the owners, their children, parents, close friends – before giving my opinion as the designer.


Yes. They live in the home and sometimes their fresh and unconditioned perspective can be eye-opening and unbiased. Children see things simply. For example: one client wanted me to design a special room for their eight year old son so he could set up some of his play equipment in it. When I spoke with the boy we realised that he just wanted a small space to build a “cubby house” in. We were able to accommodate this space under the stairs and he was thrilled. So were the parents – it saved them a lot of money!

Once you’ve highlighted all the problems with the current situation, you can move onto the next step.

Complete a home renovation questionnaire

Trigger questions can often bring up issues that you might’ve forgotten about or aren’t as obvious. Questions that could be asked might include:

  •     Why are you doing this?
    •    Are you happy living in this neighbourhood?
    •    How long do you plan to live here?
    •    What frustrates you most about this house?
    •    Are there enough bedrooms?
    •    Are they large enough?
    •    Is there enough living space?
    •    Is there a private living space?
    •    Is the kitchen comfortable and efficient to work in?
    •    Does the kitchen overlook the outdoor area as well as the Living area?
    •    Do the living areas flow out onto the outdoor living spaces?
    •    Is the house comfortable to live in? Is it too hot in summer? Too cold in winter?
    •    Is there enough natural light in each of the rooms – particularly the living areas?
    •    Do the main living areas face north? Do they get sunlight?
    •    Is there enough storage space?

With these answers in mind, your designer and builder will be able to formulate a clear picture of just what you need, resulting in an end product that enhances your lifestyle.

– Roman Pazniewski