Remodel vs. New Construction

There’s more than one way to achieve a truly custom home design. While building from the ground up provides an obvious opportunity for custom design, remodeling an existing home will also achieve a bespoke environment if handled with intentionality. The key is knowing which option is right for you–remodeling or new construction.

Let’s look at three notable differentiators in remodeling vs building a new home. 

1| Layout Flexibility

Canvas and Light is an extensive remodel and addition project that brought light, life, and art into an existing home.

The reality is that the physical layout of a home is difficult to change once it has been put in place. While a new construction can be designed and assembled in any number of ways, a remodel has to work within the confines of the established framework or require significant additions and restructuring to ensure a safe, lasting, functional space.

As a result, simply moving or removing a wall isn’t as simple as it sounds. An existing home will require a significant amount of strategy to reconfigure current floor plans. Remodels are a great way to elevate the aesthetics of a home through improved cabinetry, flooring, fixtures, and more, but if the layout isn’t already similar to the one you have in mind, adapting it will require plans for both demolition and construction.

New construction, by contrast, is a blank slate from day one.

2| Precision Required

Redmond Retreat is a fully custom new construction project that embodies the best of PNW design.

When building a new home, the order in which things are constructed can be planned out in advance. The rough outline can be established, followed by the fine-tuning and polishing later on. 

It requires a different skill set entirely to disassemble that existing work, alter it, and merge it seamlessly back into the original design. In this sense, the remodel is more akin to a scalpel than a handsaw. Remodeling and renovating is a delicate process that requires precision and patience.

3| Time Investment

Hillcrest Farm_h5
Hillcrest Farm has undergone multiple remodels to tailor the home to each new homeowner’s unique needs.

Depending on the scale of the remodel, the time required will nearly always be less than that of a new home construction. A bathroom remodel typically takes about a month to plan out, with another 2-3 months needed to gather the resources and complete the project. In contrast, a custom home will consistently take about 6-12 months to build, in addition to the year or so that will be necessary to design and prepare. Availability of materials may further impact the timeline.

Which Option Is Right for You?

Woodland Vista_h2
Woodland Vista is an alpine-inspired vacation home custom built to frame and engage its PNW surroundings.

New construction and remodels both offer significant opportunities for customization and beauty. Each allows the homeowner a chance to craft a home uniquely suited to their lifestyle and needs.

The key is deciding which option best suits your needs. 

If you have an existing home that you love–perhaps it has sentimental value or the perfect location–remodeling is a valuable option. It may require some creative planning and precision work, but you’ll have the opportunity to invest in bringing a space you already like into a new state of beauty and functionality. 

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a fresh start and a specific vision for floor plan, flow, and structure, a custom new construction provides more freedom and a higher value option for your investment. 

Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture approaches every home design with an eye to the client’s unique needs and tastes. From contemporary residences to traditional homes, we create spaces that work in harmony and provide beauty for daily life. Contact us to learn more about building your custom home.