Redos of condos pose unique problems, but Grant Woodruff is happy to solve them for you
The process of renovating a kitchen or bathroom can be intimidating. Where to start? What factors do you want to take into consideration? Should you really paint those Shaker cabinets purple?
The struggle gets even more real when you’re taking on a renovation at a condo, high-rise or other multi-family residence — there are usually unforeseen restrictions, extra costs and that grouchy HOA president to deal with.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get a killer new kitchen or the bathroom of your dreams just because you don’t live in a house. You just have to get off on the right foot and minimalize surprises (and costs). Grant Woodruff, founder and owner of Dallas’ Renowned Renovation, specializes in condo/high-rise redos and suggests a few things to consider for a successful remodel.
Consider your budget. Woodruff suggests first looking online to see what you like and what direction you’d like to go (Houzze.com and Pinterest are great places to start). “You can find all types of looks, and almost have what you want picked out from other people’s stuff,” he says. “Then it comes down to how much you want to spend.” When it comes to the latter, be realistic. “People say, I watch HGTV and they did a whole kitchen for $12,000. That’s not real. That does not exist.”
Find the right contractor. “Renovation is like a puzzle,” Woodruff says. “There
will be a lot of unknown issues, so you need people who can problem solve properly.”
He notes that it’s not that hard to get a contracting license in Dallas, so it’s easy to fall prey to someone who doesn’t really have the chops to deliver. Don’t be afraid to take some pre-emptive steps to make sure your contractor is fully qualified. “Ask them, ‘Do you have reviews online? Can you provide a copy of your certificate of insurance? The names and email address of three references? The size, scope and completion date of three projects?” says Woodruff.
Consider condo conundrums. Units in multi-family buildings are harder to renovate, which leads to extra challenges… and extra costs. Makes sure you work with your contractor to communicate with your HOA and condo board to answer questions and understand regulations. “In a condo, your wires and your plumbing run through a wall you don’t own. You can only work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You may only have water shut off once a month,” Woodruff notes. The right contractor will work with you and your HOA to reduce unforeseen issues.
Think about your market value. Of course you want to update, but make sure you don’t go overboard into a trend that will die out — a dated look will turn off buyers should you decide to sell. “What I tell clients is, unless you don’t care and this the home you’re gonna die in, make sure your home has transitional elements — a little bit of everything that blends really well. You don’t want to date yourself but don’t go so far off the cuff it makes it hard for a buyer,” Woodruff says. “You don’t want people to either love it hate it.”
Be willing to compromise. New shower! Subway tile! Top-end finishes! It’s all so exciting!
It’s easy to get carried away, but know from the start that, between your condo restrictions and your budget, you might have to sacrifice a few things. Woodruff mentions a recent client who required a creative solution. “He wanted a hall bath, steam showers, shower body sprayers.” Re-doing the plumbing was getting more and more complicated and expensive. “In a high rise, everything is integrated,” Woodruff says. “Can this little ol’ water line provide water for all these sprayers you want?” The solution: Woodruff installed water pump in the bathroom. “It saved him $25,000,” he says. “It rattles a bit, but we’ll take that for $25,000.”
— Jonanna Widner
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 21, 2017.