What I love about remodeling is how it reminds me of fashion. There are so many styles, textures, patterns, mediums and colors. And I particularly like the parallel between the eclectic home and current trend of anything goes in clothing. Mixing and matching is half the fun of these makeovers and the opportunity for creativity is endless.
But as in most professions and hobbies, there are guidelines for how to put the pieces together and following these guidelines not only makes for a cohesive design, but can also make for a fluid and less stressful process. In the clothing world you hear about the chosen few who keep the pieces of their wardrobe sorted not only by season, but also by color. Sure, the majority of us who tend to make piles on chairs and jamb the multitudes blindly into the closet may laugh, but these potential clothing OCD'ers probably have the leg up on us each morning as they prepare for their day.
Remodeling has a similar process for organizing construction components. We call it specifications. At our company we have an 80 page Excel document that organizes all of the product selections for the remodeling project. The information is classified by phase of construction, such as concrete, framing, roofing, plumbing, etc. Each page for each phase of construction contains detailed information about the various products being chosen for the project.
As the general contractor it is our job to make sure that each product selected works with a corresponding counterpart product. So in the fashion world that may mean knowing that if you're going to wear over-the-knee boots, you need to pull out your jeggings and not bell-bottom pants. Similarly in the remodeling world, if you want to install a pedestal sink drilled for an 8" on center faucet, your sink faucet needs to be deck mounted and designed for an 8" spread. So a good contractor will review each product you are considering for your remodel, evaluate the specifications provided, and make a determination as to whether or not it will make an appropriate connection to its counterpart.
If you want to do your own homework, simply go to a supplier website and click on the specifications link generally found on any remodeling product listing. You can review the installation diagram for the product, check measurements, tolerances and other details, such as air flow, current required, etc.
A good start to a construction project involves categorizing each product by phase of construction, reviewing and printing the manufacturer specifications, checking one product in relation to its counterpart, and making sure the installation instructions work for the area of construction. It's a lot like organizing your closet by season and by color, it takes some work up front, but having your contractor go through this process for each item you've selected is sure to make your renovation schedule run as smooth as the Spring Show in Madison Square Garden.