wish list reno blogRenovating? Put on your thinking cap. It’s time to do some serious dreaming.

Professional renovators say one of the first things to do, before you even get in touch with them, is to start planning. This means building a wish list. At first your list might be longer than it should be and perhaps even unrealistic in certain areas. But it’s a start. Once you have your “wants” recorded, you can start paring back (or adding) from there.

But even before you start that list, take a good hard look at your lifestyle and your personal tastes.

  • Do you like an old-fashioned look? Or do you prefer a contemporary style? How do you want your home to make you feel, and how do you want it to appear to friends and other visitors?
  • Do you have children? How old are they? Are they preschoolers who need particular safety considerations? Do your children like to play outdoors?
  • Are your children pre-teens or teenagers, who often need a lot of space and “me” time? Are they outgoing? Do they have lots of friends they like to bring home with them?
  • Are you in that next stage of life (or seeing it in your future), when your children are bringing home their children?
  • Are you seeing yourself in future years, when you will want to age in place gracefully, comfortably, and safely? Or are you planning on making an accessible suite for aging parents?
  • Do you have a lot of stuff that needs to be organized? Sports equipment or art supplies, for instance? What kind of storage will you need?
  • Do you want to do a big renovation that requires you to move out of your house for awhile? How will you plan that? Who will look after the pets?
  • If you’re thinking about a one-room-at-a-time reno, which one will you start with? If it’s a bathroom, what will you want in it? What sort of fixtures? Storage? Lighting? Flooring? If it’s a kitchen, what will be most efficient for your family or for the way you entertain?
  • Are you aware of some of the things that are beyond anyone’s control in a renovation – such as bad weather, warehouse problems, transportation strikes, product unavailability and so on? Try to have, at least in the back of your mind, a “Plan B” list.

This is where confidence and control starts: at the beginning, at the first breath of your renovation ideas. Once you have a wish list, it will be time to call your renovator ­– and watch those fledgling ideas become beautiful reality.

Ottawa Renovates editor Francie Healey wrote this article for the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association’s Renomark Renovator blog.