Interiors: Remodeling done right

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann

Are you wishing you could do something about the house you live in?

Selling your current home to buy a new one might not work in this economy because your current home is probably not worth the same amount of money you paid for it in the first place. And if it is, you won't get the same value in a new home -- at least, not now.

So what's a homeowner to do? Well, remodel, of course. And that is a good choice, because remodeling adds value to your home. It also adds more comforts and more conveniences. You've lived in your home for a while and know what you wish were different, so remodeling is what can make that happen.

Now you are going to need a professional to do the job, so let's check out what to look for in a remodeler.

You want a company that can do the job right the first time, and one way to get it done right is to have the help of an architect and a designer. What you see in your head can be put on paper and viewed properly to see if it works and how it works.

The remodeling company needs to have constant communication with you so nothing is done without your approval and that any delays or needed changes are understood and accepted in a timely manner. Be sure the remodeler is willing to stand behind his work, not just by word but by a warranty.

You might have ideas of exactly what you want. But if you don't, a good place to start is by looking through magazines and collecting pictures of what you wish your house looked like. This will not only help you, but also help the remodeler, architect and designer know what you want. Sometimes words are misinterpreted, so a picture can make things clearer.

Come up with colors that you are comfortable with, but don't stress too much over it if you aren't sure, as the designer should be able to help with that.

A budget is important, but be realistic. Don't ask the remodeler right away how much it will cost to remodel, because it all depends on what you want. If it is a small remodeling job, or a big one, the cost will be clearer when the plans are in place and all parties know what needs to be accomplished.

Local trade associations, neighbors and friends might be helpful in selecting the right remodel. Always look for referrals. And be sure all parties involved have proper licenses and registrations. One way to check this out is through your state's licensing agency.

To be happy with your remodeled home, be sure you do your homework before starting the project.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at