Property: 1016 Smith Ave., Lansing
Owner: Lorin Campbell
A whole interior house renovation can be an immensely rewarding experience and a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty of an older home with contemporary updates. Located at the corner of Smith Avenue and Fletcher Street, 1016 Smith is a sparkling gem in the Kenwood Neighborhood. This English Cottage-style, one-and-a-half story house’s interior was recently renovated with incredible care, attention and craftsmanship by owner Lorin Campbell. An exemplary landlord, Campbell is a teacher who splits her time between Lansing and Florida and is looking to rent the house from August to May. She expects to complete renovations early this month.
Built in 1922, Campbell purchased the home in 1999. “The house was structurally sound but needed updating,” she said. She began a comprehensive plan for renovating her beloved home, transforming the attic into an office and working her way down. Campbell’s passion for her home is evident in the attention to detail and use of the highest quality materials. “I kept the integrity of the original architecture by using plaster instead of drywall, tile instead of linoleum, and woodwork everywhere,” Campbell said.
A lesson on renovating by Harrell-Seyburn:
DO begin a whole interior house renovation with a comprehensive plan that guides the systematic renovation of the home, one room at a time. This is an especially important step if you are living in the home during the renovation. Renovating room by room ensures that the house is livable during the process. It also allows the entire process to move quicker than trying to renovate every room at once. The sense of accomplishment felt with the completion of each room spurs the renovation.
DON'T cut corners in the renovating process by making decisions that are short-term solutions rather than long term. The point of the renovation is to improve the home to complement the original beauty and character. Short-term solutions like using inferior materials may beautify the house, but compromises the spirit of the renovation. Cheaper materials will need replacing sooner, costing more money and time in the long term.
For a successful renovating project with minimum setbacks, consider the following steps before embarking on a renovation:
Step 1: Design and planning
- Have a comprehensive design that addresses the entire renovation before beginning.
- Hire an architect to guide the design.
- The upfront cost of the architect and a thoughtful comprehensive design will save money in the long term.
- Have a plan for renovating the house room-by-room based on the phasing plan of the comprehensive design.
Step 2: Financial plan
- Make sure you have enough to complete your renovation. Add up the total cost of the project and multiply by 20 percent. Make adjustments to the original plan as required by finances. Short on money? Scale back the scope of the renovation but do not scale back on the quality of materials.
Step 3: Structural
- Make sure the structure is sound before doing any renovation including the walls, joints, beams, roof and foundation. For the exterior: wood siding or masonry and windows.
- If any of these are weak, replace first before renovating. There is no point in doing a renovation if the structure is not sound.
Step 4: Demolition
- Usually the first step after structural improvements
Step 5: Structural carpentry/ HVAC, ductwork, electrical, plumbing and insulation
- The major carpentry projects including moving walls, constructing new walls and adding structural supports to accommodate load changes should follow demolition.
- Install ductwork and run new electrical and plumbing.
- Complete the walls with insulation.
Step 6: Plaster or drywall
- Use plaster and/or drywall following electrical and plumbing inspections.
Step 7: Flooring
- One of the most common errors in a renovation is installing flooring too early.
- Flooring is best left to the end of the remodel, as significant damage and costs can occur if installed too early.
- This is also a great time to refinish hardwood floors before finishing the carpentry and surfaces.
Step 8: Finish carpentry
- Save this nonstructural carpentry — baseboards, molding, trim and built-ins — for the final stages.
Last Step: Finish surfaces
- Painting interior walls, molding and trim.
- Any other surface finishes
The above steps are guidelines. Each renovation project is unique and should be carefully planned in accordance with the specific needs of the project while adding and subtracting steps as necessary.