I was getting a fabulous massage the other night, and then the masseuse said something that made my muscles seize up: "I have a friend who's having problems with her remodel." "Really?" I asked noncomittally. "Has she started it yet or is it in progress?" "She's in the middle of it.....It's being done by friends."
Over the twenty plus years we have been in business remodeling homes, we have heard the same story over and over. The masseuse continued with her friend's situation. "The deck isn't up to code and has to be fixed. There are other problems with the kitchen. And they're working without a permit." She didn't know any more of the details, but I could have easily filled them in.
Here's the secret to avoiding this type of remodeling disaster: DO NOT hire friends, relatives or in-laws to perform any phase of remodeling upon your beloved house. Most of them, I am sure, are wonderful people in many ways. Many are even very professional. But there's something about the intimacy of your relationship with them that tends to excuse and dismiss that level of professionalism required for excellent, well-thought-out, high-quality design and build.
I was in a friend's kitchen some years ago, listening to her tale of woe. Her husband had hired his brother, a professional remodeler, to remodel a substantial amount of their house. It was a huge project, and at the end of it, many design details hadn't been worked out and were not well built. The two brothers haven't spoken since.
So if you think you're going to save lots of money and get a great deal on your design/build project by hiring Sis or best friend Jeremy, think again. Hire a licensed, insured architect and general contractor with solid reputations that you aren't related to. You'll be doing yourself, your family and friends a huge favor!