Currently I’m involved in a project for remodeling a garage. The garage was an old beaten up car port with exposed studs and ugly plywood drop ceiling. We took off the drop ceiling, left the exposed ceiling that follows the frame of the roof, painted it a nice black, and drywalled the remaining walls. Currently, all that is left to be done is painting the walls, adding cabinets, and hopefully a garage door to seal up the garage. But as I undertook this project, my first full remodel project, I learned a lot of things on how to deal with contractors, how to design based on function, how to properly manage budgets, and how to execute on vision. I’ll talk about that briefly.

How to deal with contractors: Here, firstly, treat them with respect and be cordial. Aside from that, make sure they understand your vision and are aligned with it. Work with their timings but understand if there are developing patterns of neglect. If projects are hit with tasks that weren’t previously discussed or if there are additional things you want done, speak up, ask them, but always get a quote before you authorize that work. This eliminates confusion on both ends so that you can accurately pay the contractor and both sides are happy. If something is not looking like it is done properly, tell the guy. You are paying for a finished job, not a half-assed attempt. Keep that in mind.

How to design based on function: A lot of things may look good, but they probably don’t serve a purpose. Avoid this kind of function-less additions to any project. Form follows Function, the adage of modern architecture is a rule to live by. Things that serve a purpose are automatically beautiful and it is much more simple, modern, and efficient to add design touches that have meaning and function. So design your space aesthetically after you have designated the functions that are required. When these things go hand in hand, you have an excellent and efficient design.

How to properly manage budgets: Probably the most difficult of the 4. Money flows out very easily. Unless you have a tight understanding of where you are spending and how much you are spending, you will lose track very easily and it will not be good. Aside from the spending the money wisely, you will also be able to track what and where things are costing if you properly track the money for the project. This will not only help you in the future but it will eliminate any discrepancies you may face.

How to execute vision: This one requires careful planning and understanding of what you want your finished project to look like, feel like, and function as. Once you have this, you divide it into the parts necessary to get you there. Once that is done, you execute on those pieces always keeping in mind the grander vision.

Simple things I have learned from this garage remodel. I’m sure I’ll learn of more as time goes on.

Writing to resolve. Writing to deal with. And writing to reflect.