Secrets to a Successful Home Renovation

Home renovation can feel like an exciting, yet daunting task. There are many moving parts from reconfiguring the space, picking finishes, noting every specification and installation detail for the construction team, and then of course, planning furniture and decor to bring the space to life. It can feel overwhelming because it is! This is exactly why you turn to the professionals, this volume of decisions is not for the faint of heart. The home renovation process is powerful and worth it. We want to help you prepare. These tips are imperative to the success of the project, and the investment you’re making in the home.

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Home renovations are often more time-consuming, more stressful, and more expensive than building something from scratch. Unforeseen, and costly issues can, and will likely arise, so it’s important to be clear on why you’re renovating. Is this a real estate investment to improve the home for a specific financial return? Do you want to create a forever home where friends and family can gather for the next 50 years? The design recommendations and budget will look very different in each scenario. We help our clients map out an investment strategy and plan before any design decisions ever begin.

Navigate Design and Construction Costs with Transparency and Expertise

Design and construction costs can be daunting, especially for those who are new to the process. The unrealistic portrayals of TV shows can skew one’s perception, leading to misconceptions. We don’t sugarcoat things. When starting a project, we believe that identifying budget parameters is crucial. We don’t want to spend time designing a home, only to realize that the budget is not aligned with the plan.

To avoid such situations, we start with the awkward topic of money. We need to understand the investment involved in your specific project. If banks, loans, or other financial options are involved, it’s essential to establish guardrails from the start to ensure that the project stays on track. Our job as your design and construction team is to help you build a budget and educate you on the various quality levels and possibilities at different price points. We listen to your goals, assess the size of the space, and provide an estimate of what your budget should be. Our Design RX service is also available to help with estimating and “napkin math” as you plan and assess property investments.

With transparency and expertise, we ensure that you have a clear understanding of the costs involved in your project, so you can make informed decisions.


You cannot build what you cannot see. The plan must come before the build. Repeat after me: I will never demo or begin renovation before having a complete plan in place. Create your team, starting with your real estate advisor – they will help you assess the upside of the property and neighborhood. An Interior Designer and Builder will be the dynamic duo you want to enlist next. Your designer gets to know you and helps define the assignment and overall investment. They can also help recommend various contractor partners based on the project scope, or vice-versa.

At this point, the contractor is going to help you understand ballpark budget ranges. They do not have plans, or decisions made, but they can tell you how significant the changes are that you want to make. They will help you generalize the investment and will know if you need to enlist an architect or a structural engineer and if your plans will need city submittal. This team then works in tandem to create the design, material selections and plans the construction team will need.

It’s a complex and windy road, this home renovation business… if you’re signing up for this – our best recommendation is to build a solid team that will guide you. At Smyth House, we have contractors that we love to work with; however, our clients can and should select their own builder and/or General Contractor. It’s imperative for the success of a project that the team works well together, and that you have a great relationship with each team. Renovations are a long process and you want to ensure that the team building the dream are excellent communicators, and solution oriented.


Be you, boo. There are thousands of interior designers out there, so how do you choose the right one? At Smyth House, we believe in the chemistry, the vibe – our ability to create together and get each other. We are here to help you evolve to the next best version of you, so it’s important that we jive. Do you want someone who can lead you through the complex renovation process? Of course. Someone who can talk you off the ledge when things go sideways because, in renovations, something always will. Yes, you sure do. You should also ensure that the designer works with the style you like. Home renovations are an art form. The best relationships are born out of collaboration, ease of communication, and a style that both parties love!


Because every project is unique, we will provide you with an estimated timeline in your proposal. The design phase can take anywhere from 4-20 weeks depending on how large the project is. Construction ranges from 6 months to multiple years. Most people have misguided expectations when it comes to timelines for renovations, but it’s always safest to assume it’s going to take longer than you expect. There are so many moving parts involved in a home renovation and there are unknowns at every single step that can delay the process. Have patience.


At Smyth House, we don’t just recommend relocating once we start the home renovation process, but we require it. We focus on large-scale renovations which usually take up the majority of the home. Sometimes clients are lucky enough to have casitas or guest suites to live in, but we recommend making other plans. It’s a nightmare to live through construction and we have yet to hear one person speak otherwise of it. We want the process to be as easy as possible for our clients. It is doable to live in portions of your home if you’re doing a small-scale renovation; such as a bathroom or small kitchen. However, you need to know what you’re really getting yourself into and add a few weeks (sometimes months) to your timeline just to set your expectations properly.

Our team is passionate about designing unique spaces that reflect your lifestyle. We believe that functionality and the aesthetic should blend together seamlessly to create a one-of-a-kind space. We understand that building, renovating, and furnishing can be daunting and time-consuming. That’s why we strive to be a respectful partner, actively listening to your needs, and providing you with the best possible solutions. Our 3-tiered service lines are designed to support your needs, no matter the type of project or budget. Our goal is to simplify the process, guide you through decision overload, and create a home you love. Thinking of renovating your own home? Inquire here with Smyth House here to get started!

Design: Smyth House

Photography: Eric Kruk

August 22, 2023


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