When water flows from the upper floor of a 3 storey home all the way to the basement, leaving no floor un-soaked, the first call is to the emergency restoration response team.  Then the insurance company.  Then a contractor.  But when do you call in the interior designer?

When dealing with emergency repairs, the insurance company will assign a project manager and estimator, they will work up a budget for replacement and then a contractor will come in and complete the work to put your home back together.  Simple right?

Here is the predicament.  Do you put your home back together as it was, or do you make lemonade out of lemons by doing the renovations you have been wanting for years?  Your home is already in disrepair, someone else is footing a portion of the bill, why not spend a little now and get your dream kitchen or those hardwood floors you have had your eye on for so long?

This may seem like the worst time possible to add more decisions, renovations and costs to the mix but, in fact, it can be the best time to do renovations.

Think about it this way.

Your home is already in renovation mode; you have drywall, flooring, cabinets etc removed.  Demolition has already begun and someone else (the insurance company) is footing the bill for all of this.  They are also footing the bill for replacement all of the damaged material and labour.  If you decide to do renovations now and make changes or upgrades you will only be paying for additional costs, not the full renovation bill. Not convinced?  Let me give a simple example:

Lets say pre-flood you had laminate flooring with a replacement cost of $3/sqft but you really want hardwood that costs $6/sqft.  Here is how it will look doing the upgrade now, during the insurance replacement process, or later, on your own.

As you can see, there is good reason ($4000 in the above example) to consider doing upgrades and renovations while the insurance company is contributing to the budget.

So, why not give it some thought with the assistance of an interior designer (like us!) before you put your home back the way it was.


Recently we met with a Vancouver couple who had purchased an early 1900’s 3 storey home.  Prior to moving in they decided to have the original Fir Floors refinished.  During the refinishing process a sprinkler pipe was cut clean through and water flowed throughout all 3 floors.  To say the least there is considerable damage to many of the floors, cabinets, walls, and basement suite.

The insurance company will be covering the repairs but these home owners are now faced with a choice…renovate now or later?  Their plan was to live in the home for a little while before taking on renovations including a full remodel of the kitchen but upon entering their home and seeing the kitchen torn apart and fans drying out their most valuable asset they were struck with a thought.  Wouldn’t it be nice to open up this wall even more and have our dream kitchen now.

This might not be the first reaction of all home owners faced with floods and demolition but in this case they called us and we had a great brainstorming session with them in their new (currently soaking wet) home.

From our conversation we created a 3D model to assist in narrowing down the options and help illustrate how the kitchen could be configured with minimal and maximum renovations.  With this basic 3D model the owners will now be able to discuss with a contractor the additional renovations and costs so they can make an informed decision about where to spend their money and when.


If you are in the midst of an insurance claim and don’t know if you should (or could) upgrade or alter the repairs to include additional renovations you should first talk to your insurance company to ensure they allow such changes.  Most will, but better to make a quick call and check.  Then contact a designer (like us!) for a consultation and walk-through.