Real Homeowner – Remodeling Quotes from a Sandy Springs Homeowner
Anthony Mills and I are sitting in his dining room, sorting through photos of his recent kitchen remodel. From the dark cabinets to the light counters, the whole design is sleek and gorgeous and just “works.”
In fact, everything in this home seems to work, and work well. And it should! Mills and his wife Lori have systematically renovated their Sandy Springs home over a course of several years, beginning in 2006. After moving from a small townhouse in Vinings, the Mills’ instantly fell in love with their new home’s spacious back yard and the ‘blank slate’ nature of the 1960s ranch. They knew there was so much they could- and would- do to make it exactly as they wanted it.
We sat down with Anthony (he goes by Tony) and asked him not only to share the details of his extensive renovation story with us, but also his tips and advice for our readers.
For instance, one piece of advice emerged in the form of Tony’s favorite phrase. Or at least, the phrase he used most often as he lead me through their home, pointing out different upgrades.
Often, he’d begin a sentence with “We also took the opportunity…” Tony says the smartest way to tackle several projects is try to do them all at once, as much as possible. “You don’t have to keep finding time to schedule things in and ultimately you pay more if they have to keep coming back time and again.” So if the workers are already there on site, that’s half the battle done.”
Budget Tip: Always set aside a 10% contingency fund. Regardless of how detailed your plans are, until they start tearing down walls, you don’t really know what you are in for. Something could go wrong. If you know you’re adding new flooring, once you get in there, you may find you have to spend money to first level the floor. So just make sure you have the funds set aside and that way, no surprise can hurt your progress.
Finding Great Help: We met our contractor, Atlanta Design and Build, at the Atlanta Home Show! We weren’t even seriously looking, but my wife and I stopped by and started talking to them. Before you know it, they’re working on our house! I will say that even though we liked them when we met them, I still did my research to make sure they had great reviews, and they did.
So doing research and getting out there is very important. Once you hire a general contractor, it’s great because they likely already have relationships with subcontractors like electricians and plumbers and so on.
But don’t be afraid to use your own people as well! If you yourself already have a relationship with, say, a great electrician, it’s possible he can do as good of a job as the contractor’s one, possibly even more affordably!
Keeping Control: We were fortunate to find a contractor that we both felt very comfortable with. But even still, remember that at the end of the day—you as the homeowner should still be in control. It’s your money and you have to live in the home, so when it comes to making decisions make sure you have the final say so.
Landscaping Freedom: After living in a congested area of town for so long, we really wanted to capitalize on the fact that this house backs up onto the wooded property owned by the Epstein School. So we knew that no one would ever be building right on top of us. It was worth us spending the money to add the pathway and water feature and add in the other plants because I don’t have to spend my weekends mowing the lawn!
Eyes on the Prize: Overall, you need to keep focused on the end result. It will help you through all the weeks of dealing with tarps, noise and people walking through your house. Remind yourself that when it’s all done, you will love your house completely.
•The master bedroom and bath was added
•The basement bathroom was built under the stairs leading down to the basement
•Remodeled the kitchen
•Remodeled the laundry room
•Converted the screen porch into a Georgia room
•Changed the face of the existing fireplace
•Put in new doors
Got your own remodeling story to share?
How about a friend or neighbor? We want to hear all about it!
Email [email protected] and put “Journey” in the subject line. If you’re chosen, you could be featured in a future issue!