- a Green Gab podcast with Marla
Mina Fies, creator of Renovation Roadmap and owner of Synergy Design and Construction, choreographs the myriad of decisions and details of the remodeling process from conception to completion. Renovation Roadmap provides homeowners the tools, checklists and sample documents needed to select the right contractors, navigate the design process, and minimize the surprises and stresses that remodeling often entails.
Mina, an award-winning designer and remodeler, addresses the common feeling of being overwhelmed many homeowners experience that causes them to perpetually procrastinate making the much needed improvements, expansions or updates to their homes in order to make it a more workable, safe, healthy and enjoyable place to live.
More often than not, a homeowner chooses a contractor then closes their eyes, crosses their fingers and hopes for the best. Mina’s passion is to empower people to feel like a part of the team by providing an insider’s view of the remodeling process and helping to avoid many of the unpleasant surprises that are notoriously associated with contractors and remodeling.
Mina and Marla discussed the fact that a person’s home is so much more than bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage. Mina believes that the magic of a person’s home is that it can become a sanctuary where one retreats to be recharged and enlivened. Marla brings up the thought that all spaces have a particular energy and that a person’s home feels very different than the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), a friend’s home or a beloved family member’s home. The light bulb moment happens when people realize that a remodel goes beyond new countertops and flooring and is more about asking the right questions as to how the home might better support the family and convey the right energy and atmosphere. Renovation Roadmap helps owners know the right questions to ask.
More Living with Less Maintenance
Marla notes that from Baby Boomers to Millennials, many people today want a beautiful home but don’t want to dedicate their life to maintaining that home. This means people need to be deliberate and intentional when upgrading or changing something in the home as to how to make the home more durable, sustainable, less hassle and with lower maintenance. For Marla, of the Green Home Coach, this is the essence of living a green and sustainable lifestyle that many people are afraid to even begin discussing. The beauty of Renovation Roadmap is that it helps people begin that conversation and assists them in realizing they don’t have to undertake a massive remodel in order to make significant changes. Mina states, that part of the journey is getting the “fear out of the way so they can move forward one small step at a time.”
More Women in the Building Industry
Mina and Marla both agree there is an amazing energy and shift in the building industry as more women are starting their own companies, as well as entering the field as builders, designers, and IT technicians. Women are connecting with each other, and helping to lift each other up. Mina states that her own company, Synergy Design and Construction, have a number of women project managers on staff who are excellent at their craft as they are very detailed oriented.
The Missing Piece in Residential Remodeling
Mina discusses the discovery that the missing piece in residential remodeling is the critical element of Project Management, which in commercial construction is an absolute necessity. Renovation Roadmap is a project management tool that provides the homeowner with a clear plan from conception to completion.
Mina’s main focus is multi –room renovations, additions, or whole home renovations targeted mainly for people who know they are going to be in their home 10 plus years. These people t love their homes and the neighborhoods, communities and schools their children were raised in but whose houses just aren’t working for them anymore.
The main focus for Mina is on the client’s experience throughout the renovation. Taking into account for example, how the family might be impacted by not having a kitchen for three to four weeks and therefore creating a temporary kitchen in an alternate space helping to ease the inconvenience and expense of eating out. Mina’s company even goes so far as to construct decorative latticework around the port-a-potties during the sometimes two-to three months of construction. They neighbors are especially appreciative!
While they don’t import tubs from Italy, they do bring “design thoughtfulness” to each project. The reason they named their company Synergy Design and Construction is because the right synergy happens “where design and construction come to together.”
Mina states, “It’s really about looking at that end experience for the client and how we can go beyond just the regular experience of what people think remodeling is going to be and actually surprising them along the way.”
The Birth of Renovation Roadmap
With their commitment to excellence the design and construction company could only service about 20 accounts and were limited to Northern Virginia and the DC area. Mina’s passion was to, “make a difference in this industry… and make a difference for people,” and limiting herself to twenty projects at a time was less than satisfying for her. This desire inspired Mina to take the systems already in place in Synergy Design and Construction and create Renovation Roadmap, a resource to guide homeowners through the renovation process from start-to-finish.
Renovation Roadmap provides practical resources such as detailed action steps, sample documents, and checklists, tips to help avoid costly mistakes, details on hiring a contractor, how to take accurate measurements, create sample floorplans, and manage material selections. We all want to feel like we’re not alone, and filling that need Renovation Roadmap, now an online service, also provides a Facebook community where homeowners can post pictures and ask questions.
Planning the Work and Working the Plan
In the building world where many plans are contingent on each other and the schedules of the different tradesmen that need to get things done it is critical to create what is known as a “critical path.” This is where the Roadmap to Renovations helps the owner thoroughly explore the planning stage and think about the “why” behind their renovation and to fully explore the purpose of the project, the family’s needs and particular preferences in style and design. This is the stage where priorities such as living green align with the various possible features of a home such as energy efficient lighting, water saving plumbing et. Roadmap to Renovation educates the homeowner know how to ask the right questions and uncover what is important to their family. This removes the stress of having to come up with the right questions and minimizes regrets after completion.
Mina states that she helps people “find their why and find their way through the process of remodeling and actually have fun.” Roadmap to Renovation is a great tool that helps people minimize regrets and enjoy the process; ultimately ending up with a sustainable home they love.
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