DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET
How much can you afford to spend to get the look you want? If your budget is tight, concentrate on basics ﬁreplace, doors, ﬂooring, moldings, and woodwork and upgrade any cheap accessories later. Allow for a contingency of at least 10 percent in addition to your proposed budget.
PLAN THE LAYOUT
Draw a scale plan with doors or walls to be moved or removed, windows added, or ﬁreplaces installed, and where electrical receptacles, lights, light switches, TV antenna, built-in audio, phone jacks, and the ﬂue for a wood-burning stove will go.
CONSIDER THE HEATING
If you are replacing radiators, are they currently in the best position and big enough for the room? Will removing walls or doors mean you need to increase the heating in the room? Or think about removing radiators altogether in favor of underﬂoor radiant heating.
Contact an electrician, HVAC contractor, carpenter or millworker, and painter to get quotes. You may also need a general contractor if you are knocking down walls. Ask how the work other tradespeople will be doing might impact their jobs so you can get everyone in at the right time.
If you are making structural changes, get approval from your local building department. The same applies if you plan to replace original windows, for example, and live in a historical preservation area.
PLACE YOUR ORDERS
Once your quotes are in, order ﬂooring, doors, woodwork, radiators, and windows. Paint, wallpaper, carpet, and light ﬁxtures can all be ordered later.
GUT THE ROOM
Strip any wallpaper to see if the walls or ceiling need to be patched. Rip out old ﬂooring, woodwork, moldings damaged beyond repair, unwanted ﬁreplaces (or unblock a ﬁreplace, if needed), old electrical wiring, radiator pipes, and walls you have approval to demolish (be sure to provide appropriate supports to keep the room safe).
INSTALL NEW HEATING—ROUGH-IN
Has plumbing been installed for water-fed underﬂoor heating or new radiators ﬁrst, since this is a disruptive job?
INSTALL THE ELECTRICAL WIRING—ROUGH-IN
The electrician will install wiring beneath the ﬂoors and into the walls and ceiling for all the electrical ﬁxtures. If you are having a security system installed, have this system wired now.
INSTALL THE FIREPLACE—ROUGH-IN
Wiring, gas piping, or a chimney lining for a ﬁreplace happen now, so a mantle and/or gas ﬁreplace can be installed after the walls are patched—or get an existing chimney swept.
INSTALL NEW WINDOWS
Install new windows, or prepare existing windows now so they’re ready to be painted.
PATCH THE WALLS AND CEILING
Patch and repair openings in sheetrock or plaster walls. Apply plaster skim coating and sand in preparation for the wall ﬁnish.
LAY THE FLOORING
Lay tiles or a wood ﬂoor—or a subﬂoor if you are having carpet laid.
TACKLE THE MILLWORK
When the plaster is dry, install baseboards, crown trim, doors, door trims, and chair and picture rails. Make sure the carpenter knows the position of all plumbing and wires.
Fill ﬁne cracks, paint ceilings, walls, and woodwork, and wallpaper—in that order.
ORGANIZE THE FINAL INSTALL
The electrician and HVAC contractor can return to install radiators, light ﬁxtures, and electrical receptacles, and ﬁnalize underﬂoor heating. The ﬁreplace can be ﬁnished off.
ADD FINISHING TOUCHES
Put up curtain rods or blinds, attach door hardware, and lay the carpet to ﬁnish the room.