A common question I hear from prospective renovators is: “Where do I start?” There are so many different elements to these reno projects that it is hard for the inexperienced homeowner to know where to begin. They often get lost in the weeds, only seeing what’s in front of them. Maybe they call a contractor first, but that is like starting to build a road before you know where it’s going. Many just have no idea what options are available to build the life they want.

These projects are time-consuming, expensive and stressful. The best approach is to step back and consider your big picture, or your family’s collective big picture. Define the vision, then imagine the home. Otherwise you might find yourself wasting a lot of time, money and energy on a renovation that doesn’t make sense. It may give you what you want in the moment, but not necessarily what you need.

What is Your Big Picture?

Your big picture is how you want to live your life, now and in the future: where will your career take you, how do children fit in, what neighbourhood would suit your lifestyle over the next decade? With the fast-paced lives we live, and multiple demands on our time, we often lose track of our big picture or fail to notice changes. If this has happened, you could be planning a renovation or rebuild around an out-of-date or too narrow vision for your life. For example, you may focus on renovations to solve immediate problems with your existing house, while other options might allow you to address your short term issues and your long term needs. Or, maybe you think the quick and easy solution is to move to the suburbs, but haven’t considered how that may affect your preferred lifestyle or assessed the hidden costs that come with this choice.

The Home is a Core Element of Your Big Picture

You need to make sure your home will sync with your big picture. It plays a huge role in your life. It’s your retreat from the world to refresh and rejuvenate. It’s the space where you build and nurture relationships with those that matter most to you. It’s also a space that outwardly defines you to your friends, family and complete strangers. If it doesn’t work well with your big picture, it is going to create tension in your life. This is often why people move.

So, before you spend a lot of time, money and energy renovating or rebuilding, make sure you define your big picture. This way your resources will be directed to creating a home that supports what you want out of life, instead of choosing what seems easy, affordable, or trendy. It could open up a world of options you hadn’t considered.

How to Determine Your Big Picture

Defining or affirming your big picture is not as easy as you may think. As an exercise it deserves dedicated time and attention, and a certain amount of objectivity. Sometimes homeowners are too close to the issue to be able to see the forest for the trees. An objective third party can be really helpful to ask probing questions and provide unemotional analysis and interpretation, as well as unite the big pictures of multiple decision-makers. An outsider is removed from the situation and able to see things more clearly, helping the homeowners confirm whether a proposed project aligns with their vision, or help figure out what would work better, justifying the outlay of money, time and energy.

Benefit of the Upfront Big Picture Analysis

Armed with a clear vision, homeowners are also better able to move forward with their projects more efficiently. They understand what they need.  They are better positioned to make decisions that are consistent with their vision.  This is important as they create a plan for the home that meets those needs, and seek the appropriate professionals to help achieve it. This is the best way to limit the resources that are spent on the home. It lessens the time, money and energy spent correcting decisions that do not ultimately help the homeowners achieve what they want because they are made with a narrow focus, or because they are quick and easy.

Invest in Figuring Out Your Big Picture

Renovation and rebuilds are expensive and impact a core element of your life — the home.  For these reasons, it is important to be thoughtful while considering these projects and before transitioning into execution mode. A little effort up front can go a long way to help you avoid spending a lot of time, money and energy later on, when you find yourself correcting some of your earlier actions because they just don’t fit with your big picture.

We can help by providing an objective third party assessment and recommendations to facilitate your understanding of your big picture and how your home can help build the life you want.