Once we had a rough plan and sketches for the Laboratory renovation, we needed to take them to the next level: real, accurately measured, to-scale architect’s plans. How do you afford an architect on a very tight budget, we wondered.

This is where we made the first of MANY mistakes during the renovation. We hired someone from Craigslist who advertised himself as a graduate of a pre-architecture graduate program; he made  his living by drawing plans and his references checked out well, so we hired him. He arrived at the space with a laser measuring device, and completed measuring a 1000 sq feet in 30 minutes or so.

He emailed the plans a few days later. They looked strangely “off” so we ran up to the space with our trusty measuring tape. At least 10 key measurments were wrong.

The lesson (learned the hard way): It’s best to hire someone who has been referred by someone you know; the references people give are not always honest ones. We’ve found that sites like Angie’s List that have lots of reviews can be useful (though be warned, once you sign up for Angie’s List, even to use for a short time with their money back guarantee, they will hound you in very annoying ways.)

The BIGGER LESSON: going too cheap can waste time and sometimes money. And you can’t know everything; you do your best to get info and check things out, and things can still go wrong. This, we would discover, is common when trying to do a renovation on a limited budget.

Stay tuned for the great solution we found.

Related posts: introducing ‘the improvised life’s new ‘laboratory’
sneak peek: improvised life’s new space + our cool optical illusion design solution
project + reno lesson: embrace the unexpected……… things won’t go as planned
…24 hours after ‘all hell broke loose’
home planners and other ways to envision a space
harlem lab renovation: ‘before’ photos
harlem reno: first hang out in the raw space and dream
reno planning: bust holes in walls to find out what’s there!

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