Different Angles: One Couple’s Take on the Remodeling Process
While we can offer you tons of ideas and advice for remodeling your home, it can be helpful to listen to the counsel of someone who has been on the other side of the remodeling process—the homeowner. Over the years we’ve cultivated relationships with many outstanding clients but one couple in particular brings a level of knowledge that we, as the general contractors, appreciate and enjoy. They’ve tackled 25 projects together in their 33 years of marriage and we are about to embark on our fifth project with this downtown Naples couple. We wanted you to hear firsthand from this husband and wife team as they give you their take on the remodeling process in South Florida.
What should people look for in a remodeling company?
Do your research. Of course you should look for a team of professional, dedicated visionaries but we also think experience is key and so find a company that has worked on comparable projects. If we are remodeling a condo we want a general contractor who understands the unique challenges that kind of property brings. We also look for a company who works with multiple subcontractors as that reduces the potential for delay during the project. If they only have one tile installer what happens if he gets sick or there is a backlog of projects? A company that has multiple, equally qualified subcontractors has been key on so many of our projects. Also when you work with a company over and over again like we do, you learn which people you click which makes each project more enjoyable.
Ask to see a company’s most current projects in person. We suggest you walk through a home and see the level of craftsmanship and detail. Only view projects that are two years old or newer because there is a much greater chance the subcontractors who did the work in that home will also be doing the work on your project. We also suggest going to current worksites because you will get a firsthand look at the company’s process. A messy worksite means a messy mind and it also speaks to the level of respect a company has for your home and for their subcontractors. ARCS Construction makes sure the site is cleaned every evening and that sets the tone for the next team in the morning. Be meticulous with references—ask them specific questions about their experience. What went wrong during the project and how did that company overcome those issue? Did they offer timely solutions, were they easily available when you had a question, did they welcome your design ideas and input?
In your opinion, who should and should not tackle a remodeling project?
Over the years we’ve had so many friends and family members ask us this question and we have been able to observe many different people go through a remodeling process. Our conclusion; the people who will enjoy the process the most and get the most out of their home are the people who are flexible. There is no straightforward remodeling project and there will be issues—it just depends on how many! From acts of God to man-made mistakes outside of your contractor’s control, prepare yourself for setbacks. For example, you can design a whole project around a tile you like and then when it’s finally time to order the tile it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer. How will you react? Will this throw you and the project into chaos or will you be able to regroup and work with your design team to find an equally beautiful solution? You need to be someone who can manage their own expectations throughout the process and truly roll with the punches a bit.
It also helps to be a decisive person. We’ve heard over and over again from many of the remodeling companies we’ve used in the past (including ARCS Construction) that most of the delays actually come from clients who can’t make a decision. If you take two weeks to decide on a color for your new kitchen cabinets, you can hold up multiple aspects of the remodel. Just a few of those delays can set a project back months.
What differences should people expect when remodeling here vs. up north?
The way people live in Naples is totally different. Here you really need to focus on the outdoor space as they are just as important (if not more important) as indoor rooms. You will live and entertain on your lanai all year so have a realistic budget set aside. In the kitchen, the emphasis isn’t on the oven and range like it is up north, it’s on the refrigerator. Meals revolve around salads and lighter food here, not soups and roasts. The permitting process can also be different in Naples. With so much building happening here it can take much longer for permits to come through.
What do you enjoy most about the remodeling process?
The metamorphosis! Remodeling allows us to infuse a home with our own unique perspective and we love adding a wow factor into each project we touch. There is something so satisfying about the transformation process and I want someone who is thinking about a remodeling venture to realize they can have so much fun in the process. This can be a wonderful creative outlet. Take photos of the house before construction starts and then document the process. Believe me, five or six months down the road you won’t remember how many walls you took down. Having those photos helps you see the amazing progress you’ve made and it’s a fun conversation starter for your open house when you show off the finished product!
ARCS was founded in 2009 by brothers Michael and Steve Peel to complement their already established new home division Gulfstream Homes. They pride themselves on their excellent work, experienced team, and extensive referral network of happy clients.
239.254.1664 | gulfstreamhomes.com