At what stage of a project are you typically called in?
In the best possible world, I’m in there when the homeowners are scratching their heads wondering what to do. A lot of the work is psychological, listening to what’s bothering the client about their home and what they want to—or think they want to—change. There’s also the financing. People tend to get a fixed idea about what they want to happen, and they minimize in their mind what it would take to realize that idea. Why do they minimize? You could blame the media, which has a tendency to make remodeling look easy. Or it could just be human nature. On almost every job, people underestimate how much time and money will be involved. I tell people to get their best-guess cost estimate and add 25 percent. Then take their best-guess time estimate and add 20 percent.