Lorri Kreuscher didn't know much about home design or construction when she started her massive remodeling project. But she made an effort to educate herself. "I learned a lot," she said. Here are her tips:

1. Take it slow. It takes time to assemble the right team for your project. "You have to find good people to do the work," she said. "You have to do some networking."

2. Seek referrals from people you trust. "People who do quality work will send you to quality people."

3. Know your limits. You may not have what it takes to be your own designer. "You have to have some creativity, and you have to have a sense of proportion," she said. "Not everybody has a feel for it." She knew she had a good eye, but she also knew she wasn't up to the task of handling every design detail. "I had to find a designer to do drawings of cabinets and layout."

4. Do your homework. Learn what you need to know about products and systems. "I did a tremendous amount of online research."

5. Trust your gut. "As I've aged, I've come to realize that you don't go on until you are at peace," she said. "If there are rumblings, stirrings that something isn't right, you need to stop."

KIM PALMER