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Why does this Tenant Improvement Cost So Much?

    I'm often asked questions like this in the early phases of a tenant improvement. The client has many questions during early phases of an office relocation, and they normally would prefer to pin down the cost question quickly, so they can make a decision whether to move forward.
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DesignLine Architects, LLC
470 E. Canyon Creek Court ,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
Phone: 4807103861

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Phoenix Home Remodeling

Plan a Budget, Before Signing Construction Contract

The key to successful home remodeling is taking the time up front for proper planning.  It’s in the best interest of ALL homeowner’s to consider the four steps below, BEFORE signing a construction contract.  Early planning is important for an enjoyable remodeling experience, because it will flush out problems early and set expectations that will prepare you for the road ahead.

Home-Remodel-MasterP lan

1.  Master Plan –  

ALL Your Home Remodeling Ideas Together in One Plan

You might be a homeowner whose family needs are changing, or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a while and just need a change.

  • – Make a Wish List – First, make a detailed list that includes everything you’d wish for in your home remodeling project(s).
  • – Get Architect’s help – Then, call an Architect to design one plan (called a Master Plan) that ties together ALL your ideas on your wish list.
  • – Divide into Smaller Projects – Finally, work with your Architect to prioritize and break up all your remodeling ideas into manageable projects.


You can complete each piece of your master plan as you can afford them, knowing that each piece has been designed to fit together.

2.  Determine your “Bottom Line” Remodeling Budget –

After writing a scope of work, create a budget for your home remodeling project.

  • – Bottom Line – Ask yourself, what is the maximum dollar amount you will allow yourself to spend?   It’s in your best interest to determine your “bottom line” budget amount, and then stick to it.
  • – Contingency – Once you have that budget number firmly in mind, it’s wise to set aside what’s called a “contingency”.  Some people feel comfortable with 10%, others 25% or more. Because extra spending will probably occur, the contingency keeps your budget under control so that you finish your original renovation plan.
  • – No Surprises – Creating the budget first, helps homeowners be realistic about selecting the final architectural designs and finish materials they can afford.


3.  Write a Scope of Work

With your Master Plan design complete, work with your Architect to develop a written Scope of Work.

  • – List the Steps – An itemized task list of construction (i.e. demolition, concrete, framing, electrical, mechanical).  By stating clearly in writing the details of the project, the general contractor will have a very specific picture of your project and provide a more accurate construction estimate.  Also detail what’s NOT included in project.
  • – Details are Important – It clears out any grey areas, all uncertainties and ambiguities.  For instance, a general contractor might not know you want the wall paper and flooring removed and disposed of in a remodel job if you don’t say so.
  • – Remodeling Cost Schedule – Be sure to create a project cost control schedule where you review the costs on a regular basis.


4.  Detailed Written Contract

A contract is needed to set the rules and the terms of your home remodel.  It’s very important to write down ALL your project goals up front and include them in the written contract with your architect and contractor.

  • – Spell out the Details – There needs to be a clear agreement reflected in the contract about the extent of the work, the quality of workmanship expected, the quality of the materials used, and other specific details of the remodeling design.
  • – Never assume.  When it doubt, write it all down.
  • – Important Note – if you do sign a contract and then have second thoughts, the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling off rule” may apply.  It allows you a 72-hour period in which to cancel the agreement.

It’s easy to jump ahead without thoroughly planning out your home renovation.  Improper planning will result in impulsive decisions and choices that might cost extra either in labor or materials.  If you take the extra time required to follow these four steps in the beginning, you will take control of your home renovation, and really enjoy the results.

About the Author

Phoenix Architecture Firms

An architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. And no matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s addition.  To set up a home remodeling appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at

Phoenix-Gilbert-Doug Rusk
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC


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“Architectural Design Strategies” for your Phoenix Floor Plan

Can your front yard be transformed into Private Outdoor Living?  Can the garage or bedroom you’re using today be tomorrow’s organized Home Office?  Is an In-Law Suite needed because of your changing life style?  We can help you use some simple “architectural design strategies” for your next home renovation that will evolve as your lifestyle changes.

Home Sketch 1“Architectural  design strategies” will be used by your Architect to transform your home into a functional and beautiful space for you now, yet has the designed-in flexibility to allow new uses as your lifestyle moves forward.  The next generation home remodels made by homeowners today are typically smarter, more efficient and more focused on good living, rather than designed merely to impress, according to a recent AIA article.  The goal is to work with your floor plan and make better use your existing space.  The promise is you can live more fully in your existing house, if you plan ahead and use the architectural services of a good Architect.

DESIGNLine Architects, LLC has identified three Architectural design strategies we’d like to share with anyone who is considering a modification to their floor plan.

Ideas for Outdoor Living Floor Plans in Phoenix

Home Sketch 2Curb Appeal.  The first thing homebuyers, family and friends will look at when they visit your home is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and the walkways.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Relationship of Inside to Outside.  Consider aligning the elements of the Outdoor and Indoor Kitchen.  This will simplify the plumbing and electrical connections.

Consider the View.  What is your view from each outdoor space? You most likely cannot alter the view, but you can maximize a good one, or minimize a bad one.  Also consider views of key plants from inside.

Functionality and Beauty.  Herb planters are an easy way to add beauty and functionality to the space. Well positioned low voltage yard lights, colorful outdoor candles, and lanterns add a sense of festivity, and light up the more remote corners of the yard.

Music sets the Mood.  A set of outdoor speakers can be used alone or as part of a larger entertainment system.  A small fountain in the background lends some soft water sounds to the rest of the yard.

Ideas for Home Office Floor Plans in Phoenix

Consider Location Carefully. Size and location are two main factors to address when adding a Home Office.  Consider how many people will use your office space.  Will you have client meetings?

Small Space Design. The corner of a room is probably the most effective way to re-design your floor plan to have an office with minimal cost or disruption.

Private Location. Consider a quiet, out of the way location for your Home Office like the attic, basement or enclosed porch.

Ideas for In-Law Suite Floor Plans in Phoenix

As people live longer and healthier lives, more families are finding it beneficial to provide a special space for aging parents by combining households.


Shower Sketch 1

Before Starting Remodel.  Open and honest discussion with your parent and other family members is an essential first step before remodeling.  This will help define the areas you need to change.

Safety and Comfort. Universal design or ADA-compliant living is one in which the occupant can use everything in the home safely without assistance.  Floor plan design features may include one-story living, no-step entryways, wide doorways, extra floor space, floors and bathroom features with no-slip surfaces, improved lighting and details such as lever door handles.

Think Creatively.  In addition to a bedroom, bathroom and closets, the In-Law Suite could include a kitchenette, laundry, living and dining area.  You could renovate the floor plan of a garage, bedroom, attic, office, basement, back porch, even a barn or freestanding cottage on your property.  Consider the help of an Architect to check the local zoning ordinances first before designing the house plans.

Start with a 3-D Sketch of your Phoenix House Remodel

Ask your Architect to draw a 3-dimensional hand-sketch that will allow you to visualize your architectural design ideas.  It will also help your contractor prepare an early cost estimate to verify your budget goals.

Home Remodel Architect Phoenix

Architect Phoenix
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

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