An Ann Arbor Guide to Remodeling Your Home


Planning a Home Remodel in Ann Arbor

Whether it’s a larger kitchen, open living room, or a completely new addition to your house, everybody has home improvements they crave.

But where should you start? We’ve created this guide to provide some direction once you’ve decided to invest in a remodel for your home.


Start with what you dream about

Every homeowner has a wishlist of things they’ve always wanted in a home. This is where you should start when developing a plan for your remodel.

Home remodels are intended to empower you to live your best life! Start brainstorming ways your life would be better with improvements in your home. This could be an open floor plan for your kitchen, a basement with a rec room for your teenage children, or a brand new master suite addition. When it comes to home remodeling, the only limit is your imagination.

What do you love about your home?

Remodeling is as much about what you already love about your home as it is about what needs to be changed. There’s a reason you don’t want to get up and move to the next shiny new home! Maybe it’s the neighborhood, that gorgeous original hardwood floor, or the perfect size for your little family.

The next step is to figure out what absolutely does not need to be changed. This will allow you to focus squarely, both with your budget and your bandwidth, on the parts actually needing improvement.


What does your lifestyle require?

We’d all love homes that exclusively speak to our passions and hobbies. But it’s important to think about the functional needs of you and your family when planning what you want for your Ann Arbor remodel. Here are some pertinent questions to ask yourself:

  • Will the birth or aging of children affect my needs?

  • Will I need room for parents or in-laws in the future?

  • Will I want to entertain?

  • Do I need a home office?

  • Are there hobbies I need space for?


Develop a budget

Once you have a good idea of what you want to remodel, we recommend coming up with a budget. This will help you develop expectations before you fall in love with something you may not comfortably afford.


  • What your budget allows in terms of the scope of your project. If you have a lower budget, it may make more sense to do one room really well than an entire floor at a lower quality.

  • Financing options available through your bank for remodeling projects. If this is applicable to you, speak with a banker you trust.

What should you avoid?

The biggest mistake we see homeowners make is investing a lot of money into a home remodel solely to increase the value of their home. While a home remodel will probably boost its value (and can even deliver a good ROI), often you will not make back all of your money through resale value.

As such, you need to make decisions regarding your home remodel around what you will actually enjoy. How the remodel will affect the value should factor into the decision of what to remodel, but it should not guide the process.

The best home remodel is one focused on improving your quality of life.

Choose who you'll work with

A crucial next step in the process is deciding who you’ll be working with to complete the remodeling project. The traditional way was to hire an architect and a contractor to complete the job, and it went something like this:

  1. You and the architect discuss what you’re looking for. They’ll take a look at your home’s structure and develop plans around what they think works and is possible.

  2. You research and find out what permits you need and what bureaucratic hoops to hop through.

  3. You bring these plans to a contractor, who will then help you hire subcontractors and get the job done. Many homeowners handle this part themselves.

This way can work great. When you find the right mix of architect and contractor, the results can be close to exactly as you imagined.

The problem with this traditional method is while it can lead to a project you love, it does not consistently deliver on your vision. And even when it does, it’s often not on budget or completed within the timeline you were looking for. Why is this?

Designers and architects are not in communication during each phase. As such, they are doing their part of the job not in a holistic way. They’re also generally unaware of the challenges the other profession faces, leading to blown budgets and pushed timelines.


How does design-build fix this?

The design-build philosophy is centered around the idea that team cohesion leads to a better, more efficient remodeling process.

Since the designers and contractors are working in the same building and in constant communication, their processes are deeply informed by each other. This leads to more deeply informed designs and construction projects.

The design-build process consistently leads to…

  • Better cost controls — When we estimate how much a project will cost we are giving you an informed estimate from the entire remodeling perspective

  • Seamless transition from design to construction — When a design is complete, construction can begin post-haste

  • A better finished product — Increased communication and greater accountability lead to remodels Ann Arbor homeowners love

Forward Design Build Remodel: modern design-build for Ann Arbor

At Forward Design Build, we center our remodeling process right where it should be — on you! Our design process puts an emphasis on your enjoyment of your remodel so you can have a home that lets you live your best life.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you build the home of your dreams.