Ask a Pro: Solving the Prioritizing Puzzle


At some point, we all want to make improvements to our home.  Some are minor – like a fresh coat of paint in a room or changing fixtures.  Others, the more major projects, require a great deal of planning and a bigger budget than that quick trip to your favorite hardware store.

When planning a renovation or remodel, it is very important that you spend time identifying priorities from the start. We asked for advice from Ben Ladomirak, a pro at Teevan, San Francisco’s restoration and renovation experts (and SF’s favorite small business of 2012!). Before you pick up that phone or search the web, here are three things Ben suggested you do before making contact:

1. Know what you need.

Knowing what you need may seem simple but, it is not always the case. This is especially true when you are sharing your living space with another person or your entire family.

2. Be clear about what you want.

Being clear about what you want goes beyond identifying a specific item.  It is also about knowing how that “want” will function in your home, and impact the way you live.

3. Be realistic about what your budget allows.

Being realistic about the budget is a big deal.  Identify what you can spend and allow yourself some wiggle room that won’t take you out of your comfort zone, keep you up at night or drain your bank account.


When Teevan starts a project, we go to work gathering a great deal of information. We work to help clients clarify their needs and wants, and determine if they had a budget for anything above the initial budget presented.

Most clients have “must haves,” such as saving a 100 year-old claw foot tub or Victorian crown molding. We solve the need for “must-have” requests and also give the homeowners what they wanted, staying within the budget allowed.  

So you ask – how do YOU do this? Here are a few tips from 50 years of Teevan experience:

–       Identify AND agree on the top three priorities.

–       If you have a sticking point, “must have” or “can’t live without” – know it, agree upon it and share it from the start.

–       Don’t get caught up in “more is more”.

–       Look for the right person to do the work, and make sure it’s someone who can help you throughout this process.

Establishing your priorities in advance, and sharing the information with the professional you are trusting to do the job, will save time, heartache and money.  It is much harder to scale back after you have seen the dream drawing presented by the architect or designer.  You may never forget how you would have looked soaking in that $10,000 jet tub that you didn’t need, never really wanted and couldn’t afford.  The good news is, if you follow these tips you will be on the road to living in a beautiful space that perfectly suits your lifestyle. At Teevan, THAT’S the priority!



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