the one thing you MUST have before any renovation or new build



so I really think this is so obvious.

but……I’ve learned lately that just because I think something is obvious, doesn’t mean that everyone thinks so.

so what’s the one thing you HAVE to have before starting any reno or new build??


I know, right???

but hang in there with me, because more often than not….I mean, I’d say around 90% of the time- when a prospective client calls me, it goes something like this:

“yeah….well, we know what we want.  and we’ve done most of the work already ourselves.  we just need a little guidance on finishing it up.  you know….choosing colors, light fixtures and all that stuff.  the fun stuff!!   it’ll be easy.  won’t take long at all.  just a few things, really.  so can you come tomorrow??”

oh yeah.

the “fun stuff.”

it’s easy!  it’s fun!  won’t take long!



we are absolutly going to kill each other if someone doesn’t rescue us from ourselves soon!!!

HE has no idea about anything!!  HE has no taste!!!  I told him that faucet wasn’t the right size!!

SHE thinks we are made of money!!  SHE thinks I’m going to live with floral wallpaper??? REALLY????


(so this is a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture…)

see… here’s the thing.

if you start a project without a plan, the age-old adage, “failing to plan= planning to fail”  begins to become very clear.

depending on what room you are renovating, there are any of number of issues that must be addressed.  and if you don’t plan ahead of time, and plan ALL OF THE SPECIFICATIONS OF THE PROJECT AT ONCE, you will have issues.

each decision hinges on another decision that hinges on another.

when I come in on the backside of a project, or even in the middle of one, it’s so hard to piece together what has been done and what has not been done if there is no plan.

renovating a bathroom??

did you consider the size of the sconces on either side of that mirror, the location of the rough-in, and that they will overlap into the mirror??

renovating a kitchen??

you wanted a pot-filler?  well, that should have been roughed in before you installed the cabinets. 

with a good plan in place, even if surprises arise, you will be prepared.

(and surprises ALWAYS arise.)

“the fun stuff” becomes NO fun without a plan.

so although this post may be obvious to me, hopefully it will save someone a lot of heartache down the road.  just because something looks easy or fun- that’s not always the case.

and if you need some help, don’t be afraid to ask!  I love consulting with clients on a reno or new build before they begin with a plan review!

in other unrelated news…

Aspired Home Magazine, Elizabeth Scruggs Lebanon Tn

many of you may have seen my news this week that I will be a feature contributor and technical decorating editor to Aspired Home Magazine.  I’m absolutely tickled to be involved in this project as it is the first of it’s kind online- an international real estate staging and home decor magazine with great article content from leaders in both industries!

so I posted the above graphic from our publisher on all my social media outlets- subscriptions will be free in the beginning and I want all my clients and friends to have a free charter subscription.  however, when I posted the graphic, it also posted a “sign-up” box below the graphic.  this auto-generated from my FB page, and is to sign up to receive blog posts.  so in case you clicked that box, instead of the link, please click HERE for the subscription.

if that is what happened to you, I so appreciate you attempting to subscibe to the mag, and I’m equally as happy that you are here on the blog! I hope you like what you see and decide to hang around!

comment below and let me know what you think of my plan advice….have you ever taken on a project without planning first?

11 replies to “the one thing you MUST have before any renovation or new build

  • I was guessing “budget” but that IS part of the plan, isn’t it! Thanks for another wonderful post, Elizabeth!

  • Another great post! Sometime in the future can you address when to know if you should “update or just move??” As in, we love our neighborhood, but don’t want renovations to price us out of the area in the event we do decide to downsize & move. Love your blogs, keep sharing!! Thanks!!

    • Absolutely Michelle!! thanks for reading, and thanks for such a great topic!! I SO appreciate when readers ask me questions because I want to give you info you can USE!! thank you again! look for this in the future!

  • Love your posts and advice! I was wondering just how often you should update to keep current with new colors and styles in furniture, accessories, paint, etc.? It can get very expensive if you are constantly having to purchase new items to stay ahead of the game. Thanks so much!

    • Freda! thank you so much for your kind words- I so appreciate it! and believe me, I know what you mean! especially since I’m “in the trenches” and see the latest and greatest every single day. It’s SO hard!! here are my thoughts on “updating” or tryting to stay on-trend. (and this would make a good blog post by the way, so thank you SO much for asking the question!) when I am shopping for myself, or putting a design together for a client, my main focus is to incorporate classic and timeless finishes and furnishings. that way when the next “trend” comes around, and you really feel like you just HAVE to have that new chevron print in your space, you can do so with a pillow or throw, instead of something more expensive such as window treatments etc. I believe I will write a post on this… I can go a bit deeper in detail than I can in this limited space. so thank you!! I value your questions!!! be sure and sign up for updates in case you miss it when I share on FB- hope you are doing well!!!

  • Well, I’m just doing interior updates at this point. You know…the little “fun stuff” that drives me mad but Keith doesn’t want to do!! So, I started with new sofa, loveseat and chair with ottoman in a creamy, whitish beige leather…is that even a color?! Well, it’s MY color. Doubled the size of the room. But they are sure uncomfortable right now. Hope it’s just a breaking-in period and I’m not regretting that purchase. Then moved Aunt Edith’s lamps (you may even remember them!) from the bedroom to the den…nice I think. Now I need lamps in the bedroom and need to sell the other two I removed. Oh, and I now need new pillows and wall décor. And around in circles I go… Thanks for your informative blog!

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