Whole Home Remodel/Expansion – Part 1: Exploring the Design Possibilities

Homeowners who haven’t been through a large-scale remodel before would probably tell you that a project “begins” when construction starts. The truth is that months of planning go into any successful remodeling project before anyone pulls out a power tool.

We met a family in Hopkinton in January 2020. They had big ideas for their home which is located on an upscale street of 3,000+ sf homes. Their home is the smallest on the street – with only three bedrooms – which means it has the greatest potential for adding value through remodeling and expansion. Built in 1983, the kitchen and bathrooms are also a bit dated.

The homeowner’s current kitchen lacks an island.

The homeowners shared their goals and dreams for their home:

  • Kitchen: complete remodel with all new cabinets and countertops. Replace the peninsula with a large island.
  • Master bathroom: complete remodel. Possibly remove tub and replace it with a larger shower – but only IF a tub can be added to the kids’ bathroom instead.
  • Kids’ bathroom: complete remodel. Possibly add a tub by repurposing space from an adjacent closet.
  • Large addition: convert space over the garage into an office, guest room and bathroom. Note that the space over the garage is “less than” unfinished – there’s not even a floor currently, simply open rafters.

The kids’ bathroom currently has a leaking shower and no tub.

Whew! Where to start? At steveworks, our Design/Build Process is what we use to guide every single project, no matter what the size. After learning what they hoped to achieve in their home, we created a draft scope of work and a rough budget which included a detailed list of each element of the project. This allows the homeowners to ask informed questions, and, several weeks later, they were happy with the direction we were heading and we moved into the design phase.

The garage currently has open rafters. Could a finished second story be added using this space?

Looking up through the garage rafters the homeowners wondered if this space could be turned into a guest suite and office.


Tova Greenberg is our in-house designer. She spent weeks working with the homeowners, exchanging ideas and developing a design that would achieve their goals and stay within a budget range that they were comfortable with.

While we had first met the homeowners in January, by the time we were knee-deep in the design phase the coronavirus pandemic had shut down, well, everything. Fortunately, between Zoom, emails and phone calls we were able to finalize the design plan so that, by the time Massachusetts started to open back up, we were ready to meet with the homeowners at Boston Building Resources to choose cabinets and look at flooring. Cabinets have a longer lead time, so they are one of the most important design elements to pin down early in the process.

Working together, we picked out cabinets in complimentary colors that will work with the existing wide pine floors at Boston Building Resources.

Still following our Design/Build Process, after the design was finalized we put final numbers together and created a construction contract which included the full scope of the project, budget, and the estimated start and finish date. Once we were on the same page with the homeowners and they were happy with BOTH the design and budget we were ready to enter the construction phase at the end of July.


The homeowners check out flooring options during the design phase.

In the end, six months of detailed planning has gone into this project. Had we not been in a pandemic, it might not have taken quite this long, however, what we want to emphasize is this: we put months of planning into each and every project so that, when construction starts, the process moves smoothly and with as little disruption to our clients’ lives as possible. That’s not to say it’s not going to be noisy and disruptive, but by making sure all of the fixtures are ordered and our team of construction professionals are scheduled, we will have created as efficient  a timeline as possible.

Stay tuned for more blogs on this exciting project! Next up: Construction Begins!

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