John R. King
Remodeling - An Art Form by John King,
We've all seen them. They're as
obvious as the nose on one's face.
Neighborhoods are inundated with them all
across this great country. What I'm
talking about is the remodeling job that
looks like it was patched on to an existing
building. You know, the room addition
that doesn't match the existing home. The
garage that looks like it was just built.
Why would anyone choose to have it look that
way? Price? Cost savings? To
save time? Lack of understanding or
simply lack of talent on the part of the
Remodeler? A bit of all of these reasons;
but mainly the lack of talent on the part of
the Remodeler is my best guess.
Consumers who select a Remodeler based
solely on price will oftentimes (to their
chagrin) get exactly what they pay for; less
than artistic craftsmanship; less than a
GOOD job. Some consumers will choose
to take the intended advice of some of the
publications I discovered recently on the
magazine and book shelves of the local home
improvement store. Books and magazine
articles describing cost per square foot
remodeling. They're readily available.
The disservice this type of information
provides a false sense of security for the
consumer; things aren't that simple,
especially in custom projects. Per
square foot cost remodeling completely
ignores the artistic aspects of doing
quality work, and solely implies a bottom
line cost mentality.
Remodeling is no different than any other
form of art. Just because an expansion
is planned doesn't mean that the planning
should cease at that junction.
Planning to match the existing features of
the main structure is part and parcel with
the actual construction of the project.
Not noticing or worse yet, ignoring the
particular features of the existing home is
no excuse for what I'll call poor
architectural planning and design.
One can certainly rationalize the lack of
attention to detail, but no custom Remodeler
can ever justify why details should NOT be
part of the specifications of the project.
Matching the crown or base moldings; moving
the new roof tiles to the back side of the
house so the tiles in front all match
(visual appeal); not just painting the newly
created portion, replacing all of the
windows to match the new ones and the like,
but the entire exterior (or interior) and
details such as these make a huge
difference. Attention to detail is
what separates good projects from the best
ones. A Remodelers' reputation is
built on detail attention and goal
attainment. The finished project
should never appear as though it was just
completed. It's always been that way
is the proper outcome to a successful,
professional, artistic project.
Who would ever consider adding an addition
or detached garage without matching the
architectural detailing of the existing
features? Plenty of inexperienced or
poorly informed consumers, I must say.
Unfortunately there are plenty of
"remodelers" in the industry that lack the
professionalism and craftsman-like standards
and take any job that comes along.
Cash flow dictates their particular level of
artistic professionalism. Don't get me
wrong, I can rationalize that mentality, I
simply cannot subscribe to it. Nor do
I think anyone else should either. The
reality is however, that we see these types
of remodeling projects glaring at us
throughout the country, in every
Professional Remodelers have a
responsibility to educate the consumer as
the project is under review. I can
certainly understand a project ending up the
way described as a result of severe budget
constraints, but is should be made clear,
and in writing, that performing below the
established standards of doing a
Professional job is NOT recommended.
I personally know of several Remodelers
(myself being one of them) that turn away
business for the simple reason that the
budget does not allow the project to be
completed in a truly professional manner.
And rightfully so. It is this writer's
opinion that any professional organization,
from ice cream manufacturing to jet
propulsion works within a particular market
niche. Remodeling is no different.
To take any project without regard for the
final outcome not only performs a disservice
to the consumer, but a disservice to one's
own credibility and professionalism of the
industry as well.
As this fine industry grows in
professionalism and unified standards, is it
the hope of a great many Remodelers that
more and more projects will indeed reflect
that creative, artistic appeal that they
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