Elevated Exteriors: 3 Keys to a Successful Renovation

Stop pretending to understand contractor jargon, and know exactly what to tell them.

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Want a successful exterior renovation? Of COURSE you do! Deciding to spend this much on your already giant financial investment absolutely means that you want it to go as close to smooth as possible.

But this renovation industry, much as I love it, does NOT make it easy on someone new to the craft. There is tons of odd-sounding jargon, intimidating decision points, and a general lack of respect for someone who doesn’t know what’s really going on.

This is exactly the main reason I started West | South: to demystify the world of Exterior Design and give you the confidence to manage your own renovation as a homeowner, whether it’s your first project or your fiftieth.

So today, I’m going to break down the three main things you need for a successful exterior renovation.

See all the Elevated Exteriors posts here!

Know What You Want

Sounds so simple, right?

Your contractor will tell you what you need (most likely whether you want to hear it or not). But it’s important to know exactly what you want so that you can overlay that onto the less fun work that needs to be done. You’re going to be asked to make 15 million decisions over the course of this project, and you want a roadmap before you set off on the adventure.

And how do you do that? Lots and lots of research. OR, even better, work with an Exterior Designer before you book your contractor. And I’m truly not just saying this because I am one.

As your exterior designer, I’m considering everything at once.

You tell me your inspiration, your budget, your existing finishes, and your plans for the future, and then I shake it all up in my brain and show you multiple versions of your dream home.

West-South Professional Exterior Design Examples on a desk next to a cup of coffee

But what I’m also doing is showing you pieces and parts that I KNOW will work with your exact combo of house + region + budget, preventing conflict between you and your partner by being a third-party listener and, in the end, saving you an enormous amount of time, because I have the training and experience to know which siding makes sense, which color will look great with your light, and why you don’t want that specific window style. And help you make those difficult design decisions before you have a contractor on the clock waiting (impatiently) for you to decide.

Then, I’m telling you exactly what to ask for to get the design you fall in love with. WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!!!

Know Exactly What to Ask For

The second thing you need for a successful exterior renovation is to know what to ask for, what to call the various pieces and parts of your home, and exactly what your contractor is going to ask for. And this can be the hardest part of the entire process. (Except for when the windows get installed, which is usually the lowest point, TBH.)

The jargon swirling around your exterior renovation project can be overwhelming to keep up with. Having a basic understanding of the terminology and characteristics of your exterior will empower you to make smart decisions regarding the materials, styles, and designs that match your preferences and budget.

Exterior House Parts Explained cover on an ipad floating over a wall with a shadow from a window over it

This is why I created the Exterior House Parts Explained Illustrated Glossary. This is a hard industry to break into, and the internet has only made it more confusing. Mostly because all the dudes already here had to spend years climbing up the apprentice ladder to get where they are, and you should, too. (UGH NOOOO) Gatekeeping is the WORST.

But also, honestly, it’s a complicated world.

Not understanding what someone is talking about or what you’re looking at can have big implications for your home’s investment.

Based on insights from more than one hundred exterior design client projects, this e-book is perfect for beginners new to home improvement or anyone seeking to understand the components that make up the exterior of a home. It’s an easy-to-follow glossary that breaks down all the complex renovation terms into simple explanations – with pictures – because it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.

Know How To Find & Work with The People Who Will Do The Work For You

The final piece to a successful exterior renovation is to hire good tradespeople to do the work for you.

Simple, right? HAHAHA…..sigh.

Again, it’s another thing that this industry simply doesn’t make easy for someone new to it. But having good people on your project to complete the work you need done can make or break your renovation.

So, I created a booklet telling you exactly where to look if you don’t have a trusted recommendation from friends and family, how to choose the right team for you, and what to do to keep THEM happy during the entire process.

working with trades sample image titled finding a team

It’s so important to get off on the right foot with a good team and then keep them happy. They’re going to be at your house and around your family for a long time, which makes it so important to get the right fit and work well together. ‘Working With Trades‘ shares just how to do it.

Keys to a Successful Exterior Renovation

And those are my best tips!

First, Know What You Want
Next, Know Exactly How to Ask for It
Then, Know Where to Find the Best Team + How to Work With Them.

If you’d ever like to start your exterior renovation adventure off on the right foot, we should work together!

But in any case, I’m sending you the most successful vibes for your project. YOU GOT THIS!

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this post may contain affiliate links, and As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  which means that the company might give me a few pennies if you purchase with my link.  Thanks for your support!

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How to Make Your Renovation a Success