What the Design Phase of a Design-Build Home Remodeling Process Looks Like

Great design and proper planning make a successful home remodel. These are key ingredients in the design-build remodeling method where designers and contractors work together under one roof. But what does the design stage of this unified method actually look like?

In this article, we break down the different steps of the design process that takes place before a hammer or nail is even touched. Plus, we look at why engaging with a designer early in the remodeling process is so important.

The Design Process

A well-defined and delivered design process is at the heart of every incredible Lafayette home makeover. Here’s how it usually plays out when working with high-end and established design-build firms.

planning remodel with homeownersPhase 1 – Evaluation and Initial Planning

An on-site evaluation is conducted where detailed measurements and pictures are taken of the area being redesigned. Existing plans are drawn up and then modified according to your desired goals, while keeping within your budget range. At the same time, local building codes and zoning restrictions are researched and considered.

A budget proposal and scope of work are then created, with further feedback and discussion welcomed. Once a baseline for the project has been agreed, things move into phase two.

Designer SelectionPhase 2 – Detailed Design and Selection

This phase is where the design process is fleshed out until you, the homeowner, are delighted and ready for construction to begin. You’ll meet with your design team a few times during this phase to ensure the home of your dreams is as closely realized as possible.

Further changes are made to the preliminary layouts until everything is perfect. Then, interior and exterior elevations and section drawings are created, typically with cabinetry or plumbing/lighting fixtures to show heights and centers. Simultaneously, an electrical plan is formulated for all lighting systems and outlets.

Depending on the depth and complexity of your home remodeling project, a team of electricians, plumbers, HVAC techs, and sometimes even engineers will visit your property to conduct further checks. The goal is to eliminate any surprises before walls are potentially knocked down.

While this is going on, more product and finish selections are explored, analyzed, and selected, often via trips to showrooms with you and together on the internet.

Updated estimates for tiles, flooring, cabinets, countertops, and more, are compiled before an estimator completes a final project estimation.

Everything is then presented to you for sign-off on the final budget number, plans, selections, and scope of work. From there, it all goes to the production side, and they order everything, schedule everything, and prepare it for construction.

Key Benefits of Working with Experienced Designers

Home remodeling is a complicated process. There’s more than just aesthetic design to consider. That’s why working with an experienced designer can make all the difference.

When you work with skilled professional designers as part of a design-build team, you get people who have the following qualities:

  • Knowledge of industry standards and codes so your project remains compliant with the regulations and standards set by your local authorities.
  • Familiarity with a wide range of ever-changing products available in the market, so the best products are chosen to fit your design style, budget, and functional needs.
  • Ability to use the latest in modern technology and computer-aided design software to draw plans that are highly accurate and detailed.
  • Attention to detail so every little facet of the project is considered, and potential issues are ironed out, so your project runs smoothly.
  • Experienced in providing perspectives and ideas you may not have considered, revealing new ways to use your space and helping you achieve the look and feel that you want.

An experienced designer saves you time, money, and headaches while helping you identify opportunities for an even more stunningly beautiful home.

Why Engaging with a Designer Early Is So Important

Engaging with a designer early in the remodeling process is essential to the success of your project. As we’ve covered, a skilled design-build designer can provide valuable insights, offer alternative solutions, and ensure your project is executed according to your vision.

For the layperson, picking design themes and products can be exciting but exhausting and confusing when doing it yourself. However, a professional has tried and tested methods for identifying designs, fixtures, and fittings, saving you time, stress, and frustration.

And if you have clear ideas already, what you envision might not actually be feasible or meet the required building codes. Again, a skilled designer can provide you with alternative solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Engaging with a designer early in the process also fosters a collaborative approach that’s the hallmark of the entire design-build process. You get to explore your ideas and dreams with a professional designer sitting beside you, guiding you gently through the options and possibilities.

Professional designers know how to maximize the value of your investment and, as a result, the value of your property.

How a Designer Acts as an Advocate for Homeowners

Designer working with Builder

A professional designer within the design-build model is a whizz at design and an exceptional advocate for any homeowner.

They make sure things are tailored to your specific needs. For example, you might have some products you want to incorporate into your home design. The designer might know even better products that you will find just as pleasing, if not more so.

Your professional designer will help you walk through your ideas and scenarios to ensure the products you choose will be safe, reliable, and work best for the long term.

Working with a luxury design-build firm, where everything is under one roof, means your designer can also liaise with different team members. In addition, since the construction team and designer work together, they are constantly on a mission to deliver the best results, so it’s easier to identify fixes, source products, and make adjustments when needed.

All of which make your project go a lot smoother.

Work with a Design-Build Firm Like Riverside Construction

Riverside Construction, founded in 2008, is the go-to professional design-build team that has earned the respect and confidence of discerning homeowners in the Lafayette and West Lafayette areas.

With an award-winning team of highly skilled and experienced professionals in a range of fields, we excel at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality. We can help you decide on a direction, provide guidance on remodeling issues, and be with you every step of the way to ensure your dream home is achieved.

Contact us now to schedule an initial conversation about your upcoming remodel. We’ll happily answer your questions, listen to your ideas, soothe your worries, and work with you to finalize your plans.

Basement Renovations: 3 Budgets, 3 Basements

What it Costs to Remodel a Basement in Lafayette, Indiana

Are you ready to tackle your finished or unfinished basement and turn it into something you or your whole family can enjoy? Whether your decision to renovate is based on desire or necessity, the cost of your project will vary greatly by the complexity and scope of work, quality of materials and size of your space. The good news is? Adding this livable square footage to your house can also vastly increase its value.

According to Rocket Homes and the 2023 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling Magazine, a homeowner in Lafayette, Indiana can expect to recoup as much as 75% of the cost of a mid-range basement remodel; and the National Association of Realtors considers basement remodels to be among the most valuable home renovations.

So, whether you’re looking to sell your home now or in the future, or you’re ready to transform your basement into new livable space, it just might be the perfect time to renovate your basement.

To help guide you in your decision-making process, we’ve outlined three typical basement renovations and their associated costs, to help you better understand what a basement remodel will cost in the greater Lafayette, Indiana area and choose one that is right for you.

Level 1 Basement Remodel

$90 to $125 per sf — 1,000 sf Basement @ $90,000 to $125,000


Finishing an Unfinished Basement

An unfinished basement is like a valuable blank canvas. There may be nothing but a concrete floor, exposed beams, pipes, electrical and no finished walls. Because the space is left open with unfinished walls and floors, any changes to electrical and plumbing are typically easier and thus less costly. There are also fewer costs associated with demolition, or lack thereof (flooring, walls, ceiling material, etc.).

Projects that may need to be tackled to finish a basement include, but are not limited to:

  • Framing in walls with studs and adding insulation
  • Framing in for egress windows, especially if needed to upgrade to fire code
  • Hanging drywall
  • Adding/upgrading electrical for lighting
  • Installing outlets and charging stations for electronic devices
  • Encasing ductwork; rerouting ductwork
  • Installing a ceiling
  • Installing flooring

Remodeling a Finished Basement

When it comes to remodeling a finished basement, and budget is a priority, you are looking to alter or change an existing space at a relatively low cost. As such, a Level 1 Basement Remodel would include using as much of your existing layout as possible, avoiding adding or tearing down walls. An exception might be removing a non load-bearing wall to create an open concept design. All finishing work can be kept low by staying with the basics. Keep in mind that the larger the basement, the more it will cost for labor and additional materials.

  • Flooring – When it comes to flooring, there are a wide variety of materials to choose from—ranging in quality and price. First and foremost, you want a floor that is attractive, durable and moisture resistant, this means staying away from hardwood floors. However, you can choose from these fabulous options instead: carpet or rubber tiles (great for a family room), vinyl plank flooring (durable and easy to clean), laminate, ceramic tile, or even a concrete stain.
  • Walls – If there is old paneling, wallpaper or a popcorn ceiling, these can be easily removed and replaced with new drywall and paint. Interior doors and baseboards can be painted, as opposed to being replaced.
  • Electrical – Depending upon whether you need to expand the HVAC and electrical system, additional outlets, and new fixtures could be included in a Level 1 renovation. However, significant rewiring would require a more extensive budget.
  • Plumbing – If there is an existing bathroom or kitchenette area, these spaces could likely be updated with new fixtures, cabinets, and hardware, but the current footprint would need to stay the same.

KEY POINT: Egress windows (or doors) are required in every habitable space for safety purposes.  Riverside Construction knows the local ordinances and building code requirements to keep you compliant.

These costs for completing a Level 1 basement remodel will typically run between $90K – $125K for a 1,000 square foot basement.

Level 2 Basement Remodel

$115 to $155 per sf – 1,000 sf Basement @ $115,000 to $155,000


Basement Bar Remodel

A Level 2 basement remodel would include more significant room changes, such as knocking down walls, framing out new rooms, adding a bathroom or kitchenette, and potentially upgrading the home’s HVAC, electrical, and/or plumbing systems.

Are you looking to build a new craft room, media room, or even a kid’s playroom? Will you need a half-bath or full-bath in your basement? Knowing how you plan to use your basement living space will dictate many factors, including the functional purpose of a bathroom (half bath or full), grade of flooring, type of lighting, utility usage, etc.

  • Flooring – At this budget level, you will have access to a broader range of flooring options. For example, you might choose to install hardwood flooring in the central living space, but less expensive carpet or tile in the remaining rooms in the basement.
  • Walls – A level 2 budget could accommodate the build-out of new rooms with key features like walk-in closets, simple built-ins, crown molding, baseboards, and higher-end doors.
  • Electrical – A level 2 budget allows you more flexibility when it comes to moving or adding power sources, accommodating the need for additional outlets, recessed lighting or even a TV/entertainment system. You will also have the option to budget for higher-end lighting fixtures (think chandeliers and pendant lighting) for select rooms in your new basement.

KEY POINT: Home theaters are popular for basements. Make sure to include soundproofing in your design plans when framing and insulating your basement walls and ceilings. A basement is also susceptible to water damage and leakage. Make sure to include waterproofing as well.

These costs for completing a Level 2 basement remodel will typically run between $115K – $155K based on a 1,000-square-foot basement.

Level 3 Basement Remodel

$145 to $255 per sf — 1,000 sf Basement @ $145,000 – $255,000


Open Concept Basement

Are you looking for a complete overhaul of your basement?  Perhaps you’re interested in building a fully functional in-law suite?  Or maybe you’re ready to create the ultimate media/game room for endless nights of entertainment?  If so, then an extensive basement remodel is what you’re looking for and could include the following:

  • Reworking the Layout – This budget range gives you the ability to remodel your existing space to meet your exact needs. The demolition of walls and existing structures, framing and building out of new rooms, designing a new kitchen or bathroom(s), and adding a fireplace, or extensive custom built-ins, would all be possible with a more significant budget.
  • Plumbing and Electrical – Depending on the scope of work, a complete overhaul of your home’s electrical and plumbing systems would be possible.
  • High-End Materials – At this level of renovation, you will be able to allocate funds for high-end finishes and materials used throughout your project. For example, a new kitchenette could include all-new high-end appliances, upgraded countertops like Quartz or Granite, a wine/beverage cooler, custom cabinets, and more. Built-ins could be designed into a new home entertainment center, sleek stacked stone on a fireplace addition, or a custom handrail on the stairs that lead to the main floor.  

KEY POINT: Professionals agree the utility room should not be finished. The ventilation and drainage requirements for these systems are very specific, and thus require easy access to the systems for inspection and repair.

These costs for completing a Level 3 basement remodel will typically run between $145K-$255K.

Hire a Basement Finishing Expert

Make no mistake: a basement remodel is a major project. An understanding of the variables above can give you a better understanding of what awaits you, and how to plan for it. A finished basement can also add immeasurable value to your living space, not to mention your home’s resale value. Designing your ideal basement is limited only by your budget and imagination. As such, a well-planned and executed remodel will be well worth your investment. Contact Riverside Construction today to request a complimentary design consultation. We’d be happy to guide you through the process.

For further design, and inspiration visit Riverside Construction’s Basement portfolio.