Red House Home Remodel


Answering Your Most Common Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of projects do you do?

We focus mainly on large-scale remodeling projects and additions. From historic whole-home remodels to kitchen and bath renovations, Red House Design Build is your one-stop shop for transforming your house into your dream home. We also offer new home builds for those who are looking for a truly custom option. For remodels, typical project budgets start at $150,000 and may go above $1 million, with an average project size of $250,000-$350,000. As custom home builders, new home builds with Red House typically start at $1.5 million.

Large projects account for 90% of our work. The remaining 10% includes smaller, “pull and replace” bathrooms, specialty built-ins, and cosmetic renovations with no structural changes. Budgets for these projects typically fall between $65,000-$150,000.

We only provide replacement contracting services (roofs, siding, gutters, etc.) or insurance restoration if it is part of a larger project scope or if you are an existing client.

What’s your service area?

We service all of Rhode Island and parts of southern Massachusetts, with most of our projects in Providence, East Greenwich, Tiverton, and Barrington.

Do you offer free estimates?

This is a question we hear a lot. The short answer is no – not exactly. For us, an estimate is only possible after months of work with our design team to develop your project’s layout and design details. It would be impossible to give an estimate over the phone or at an initial consultation because we wouldn’t have all the information we needed to be accurate. This is the nature of custom design and sets us apart from those who only offer cookie-cutter design solutions. That said, we will try to give you a starting range or preliminary budget as soon as possible.

Each of Red House’s projects starts the same way: by scheduling a free discovery call. During your discovery call, we’ll analyze your scope of work and provide you with a preliminary budget range. This initial budget range is not an estimate or a quote – it is a starting point to help us understand if our expectations are aligned.

To calculate your preliminary budget, we compare your project’s scope to similar scopes and budgets of recently completed construction projects. This high-level outlook of your project essentially tells us that your project won’t cost less than
“X” amount, but the exact amount is yet to be determined. The final agreed-upon budget, which may differ from the initial number on the discovery call, will be developed through our collaboration with you during the design phase.

Do you offer warranties or guarantees for your work?

Our promise is your dream fulfilled – and we stand by our quality. A 3-year warranty backs our work. We check in with all our clients annually to ensure your needs are met. Ongoing client feedback is essential to our improvement and growth. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.

This will be my first time working with a design-build firm/contractor. What are the first steps?

First, you’ll book a Discovery Call with Patrick to discuss what you have envisioned for your home renovation project. You’ll also learn a little about Red House’s process and get a feel for how it is to work with us.

If we are aligned on scope, timeline, and budget, we’ll book an in-home walk-through of your home with a Project Developer. During this visit, they’ll get a first-hand look at your project spaces and customize a scope outline, preliminary budget, and design proposal based on your needs. There are no costs to you up to this point.

If it seems like a good fit, you’ll sign a design proposal to begin our design process. Our design fee is typically 8-10% of the project’s preliminary budget, which will be due soon at signing. You’ll then get paired with a Lead Designer, hand-picked for each unique project, and we’ll begin Phase 1 of our design process–where the real fun starts!

I just need architectural drawings for my project. Is that something you offer?

We take the utmost pride in our work, and our design team works exclusively to develop projects that will be constructed by our production team and built to our high standards. Working with Red House from design to construction ensures that our criteria are met and that our clients are happy with their final product.

I already have a design. Do you provide just construction?

Yes. But in most cases, you’ll still have to do some design work with us. Typically, an outside designer or architect will give you schematic plans. These are preliminary designs not drawn to be constructed. Instead, they show design intent and layout. Clients with outsourced designs often request changes to these schematic plans once they enter our design process. When this happens, you will work with your lead designer to finalize the layout. On the contrary, if you are happy with your schematic plans as they are, we will still need to site measure to confirm the drawings are to scale and also pull together the written scope and estimate. We charge a development fee for this service.

Once the schematic design, scope, and estimate are finalized, You will enter Phase 2 of our design process. This includes creating a permit set, applying for a permit, completing construction documents, and choosing, purchasing, and finalizing selections (all of the fun details). After we have finished your project package, construction can begin!

What does design-build mean?

Design-build is a method of project delivery in which one unified team works with the client to provide both design and construction services. At Red House, we offer in-house architects, technical designers, interior designers, cabinetry specialists, Lead Carpenters, and skilled craftspeople–everything you need to take your dream home from conception to construction.

What are the advantages of design-build?

Communication and foresight are the most significant advantages of design-build. Our designers and builders work collaboratively, keeping the progress of your project on track. The unified workflow of the design-build process–from the initial design concept through construction completion–keeps everyone on the same page, leaving our clients confident that their home renovation project will be delivered on time and within budget.

Is design-build more expensive?

Compared to working with an independent carpenter or a general contractor, design-build can be a more expensive option, for good reason. Design-build offers a more robust process – with an entire team of architects, interior designers, cabinet specialists, and technical designers who work directly with our in-house construction team from the start. This gives you a fully custom design – tailormade to you and your home that is also ready-to-build and correctly estimated – so there are fewer surprises once we start construction.

As a full-service firm, we also purchase and supply all the materials and selections, coordinate deliveries, secure permits, schedule inspections, provide a 3-year warranty, offer decorating services, and more. In short, we take ownership and accountability for every aspect of your project for years to come so you can sit back and relax. Other companies that may be cheaper often require more time and effort from you, having you complete some of the duties listed above yourself. Our clients lead busy lives, and they seek out the highest quality service they can find so they can trust the work will get done while they focus on what matters most.

How do you estimate costs?

Red House maintains a dynamic library of costs that is regularly updated to reflect the latest prices on materials, partner services, and labor. Our experienced estimating team uses this database and lessons learned from past projects to estimate accurately how much your project will cost.

How do you charge for a project?

After committing to work with Red House, we start with a design fee of 8-10% of the estimated project budget. Once the design is finalized, we offer a fixed-price construction contract. This price breaks down into seven milestone payments throughout the project lifecycle.

Do you have a square footage cost?

Each of our projects are unique, and each budget is tailored to our client’s specific needs and the project scope. As is typical with many custom homebuilders, Red House cannot restrict our project costs to a square footage calculation, as it would be misleading and inaccurate.

Do you offer a line-by-line budget breakdown?

A project estimate is a complex calculation of interconnected costs that depend on each other to be a complete package. A line-by-line breakdown can be confusing, misleading clients into thinking integral scope elements are separate and optional when the reality is that together, they are necessary for a functional design. That said, we make every effort to work with our clients to develop a scope and budget that will align with their needs. Clients are given options, alternatives, and sufficient information to decide what will work best for their budget and scope.

Are prices negotiable?

We offer a fixed-price construction contract that is non-negotiable. This contract takes months to create, with many team members collaborating to determine the most accurate costs for the desired scope of work. Occasionally, it may be possible to save on selections by choosing lower-tier products, and our designers are always happy to navigate this with you. Usually, if a client requires a budget to be lower than an estimate, the only way to achieve this is to re-evaluate and value engineer the project’s scope of work.

Can I save money by placing orders for products myself?

Yes, but doing so should be done with caution. Ordering selections requires a significant time commitment, coordination, communication, and troubleshooting. Delays in delivery, incorrect products, and damaged goods are just a few of the issues that can result in production setbacks, which extend your timeline and add costs to your final price tag. Additionally, self-acquired selections are not covered by Red House’s 3-year warranty.

If you decide to order your own products, you may be asked to sign a waiver that ensures you understand the responsibility of managing the ordering process and your responsibility for quality control and timely delivery.

Can I save money by finishing the project myself (i.e., “If you frame it, can we paint it?”)

As we provide a 3-year warranty on all of our projects, leaving a project to be finished by someone else effectively nullifies that warranty as we are no longer the last people to have worked on it. We stand behind the quality of work our team produces, and by seeing each project through to the finished product, we ensure that those high standards are met for you.

What items affect the cost of a project the most?

Big ticket items include windows, exterior doors, countertops (especially natural stone), cabinetry, custom millwork, and other products requiring specialized installations. Red House offers a three-tiered catalog for these higher-cost selections, allowing budget flexibility without sacrificing quality.

How long does the design process take?

Most of our projects take approximately six months to complete the design phases (give or take, depending on the project and scope). During this time, you’ll meet regularly with your Lead Designer, provide design feedback, visit showrooms, and more!

How long does construction take?

We base construction time on the total project volume and what our teams can produce monthly. This closely depends on each unique project and its scope, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, as we progress through the design phase and have a complete understanding of the scope, we’ll begin to get a better picture and share that with you as soon as it is apparent.

Can I live in the space while you do your work?

Yes, and barring a whole-home renovation, most people do. Occasionally, clients will opt to rent temporary accommodations or relocate to a second home, but most of our clients can live in the space during construction. We provide floor protection, plastic walls, negative air machines, regular cleaning, and more to reduce dust and protect all affected areas. We’d even be happy to help you set up a temporary kitchen or laundry room if your project requires it (though many people choose to order take-out or use laundry services).

What if we need to get in touch with you during a project?

At Red House, we excel at communication with our clients. Each project will have an on-site, working construction leader dedicated to your project from beginning to end. You’ll also have access to daily logs, photos, after-hours messaging, and scheduling updates as they occur, using an easy-to-use, cloud-based project management software accessible on desktop and mobile devices. During the construction phase, Red House plans weekly site meetings with you and all stakeholders to discuss the build progress, upcoming benchmarks, and any issues that may arise.

Do you work with subcontractors?

We do. While our carpenters and project managers are highly skilled in their own right, we recognize that specialization is often required in custom home construction. That’s why we pride ourselves on the community of expert subcontractors, artisans, and craftspeople we’ve cultivated over the nearly two decades Red House has been in business.

Who will be responsible for the required permits?

With Red House, you don’t have to stress about pulling the required permits for your home renovation. Homeowners can rest easy knowing our experienced production managers will remove all the guesswork by obtaining all the necessary permits and documentation to ensure a smooth build.

What if the scope of my project changes midway through the process?

Surprises crop up, circumstances change, and Red House will always be happy to work with our client’s evolving needs. The beauty of our design-build process is that it allows flexibility for our clients, and our teams can adapt and maneuver when the project requires it. Our clients are paired with a Project Developer who will be your advocate and primary point of contact throughout the process. If something pops up or changes, your Project Developer will be the person to talk to.