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How to plan a renovation - 101

One of the reoccurring comments I hear all the time from clients is.. "I have no idea where to start this renovation"

As a designer we understand that even just the thought of renovating is a biggie, and quite overwhelming when its the first reno.

Where to even start! Who to hire, and where to find trades? How much is it all going to cost? Who are good suppliers to use? These are all viable questions!

For most people it starts with a Pinterest board of 100+ images that confuse you even more when you go to show someone your ideas.

So in this blog post I’m going to run you through a simple design process and how I plan for a renovation with my clients, which will give you a good starting point for your renovation too!

Do your research

Do lots of research! Start to understand the changes that you're wanting to make and if they are cosmetic or structural. Cosmetic changes are anything that will not alter the building structurally. Meaning, knocking out walls, adding windows or extensions are all structural renovations. Structural renovations will need to be assed by a certified builder before any work can commence.

Cosmetic renovations can be something such as; changing tap ware, flooring, splash backs, re configuring your kitchen or bathroom.

What’s your concept? How do you want your home to look and feel?

Building your concept can be confusing. What I like my clients to do is start with a wish list, by thinking about how they live and understanding what their requirements are and how they would like to add to this type of living.

For example; are you empty nesters who love to entertain and cook? Maybe you would like a big open kitchen with a large island where friends and family can gather while your cooking? Maybe you have a house full of young kids and require the materials such as flooring and fabrics that need to be easy to maintain? Or maybe you live by the beach and an amazing outdoor shower might be useful to rinse off. Think deeper then what colours and type of furniture you like.

From here create a Pinterest board and start to refine your images. Start with saving ideas you like, don’t go crazy it will only confuse you even more. Then go back and refine this. So overall, look at what you are seeing that is being repeated in each image. Maybe its black tap ware, grey bathroom tiles, or bright moroccan colours. Maybe all your interior images are all monochrome styles. Many of my clients come to me with many styles and this is where a designer can come into play and really help to refine your style down.

Having refined concepts will also help when you start gathering your trades as they can visualise exactly what you are trying to achieve and also in return give you a more accurate estimation. Another great way to explain the look and feel you love is find a Instagram account that can communicate that look well for you. If your not sure where to start and love a modern coastal home with natural tones and materials head over to @henryandcointeriors because thats what I'm ALL about! :)

Design Development

Now it's time for project estimations. I would always suggest asking friends or family for recommended trades that they have worked with to know you can relay on them and know the quality of their work. But if your working with a designer, luckily we always have a little black book handy of our best trades to work with.

Once you have your trade quotes its time for the design development. Developing your ideas further and finding the right materials can be overwhelming as there are so may materials on the market and places to look. Start by asking your trades who and where you can go to look for materials and items such as tiles, tap ware, flooring etc. Ask friends who have renovated. Also know your budget and what is affordable and what isn't.

Sizing of items is where a lot of people can go wrong. Purchasing a bath that is too large for the space or a basin that’s too small. Go into a supplier and ask the staff about standard sizes. Don't just buy because you love it! You need to be accurate as the wrong size vanity may mean the bathroom is tight etc.

As they say.. Try before you buy! So don't be shy, sit on the loo and jump in the bath in the showroom. It's normal trust me you will thank me later.

There are also a lot of free programs and apps that you can use to draw up your space using the dimensions and adding your items in to make sure you have the right spacial planning. Another alternative is to mark out the sizes out on the floor using tape. This will give you a great visual understanding!

There you have it, some simple steps to follow to help get you moving along. Of course there is a lot more to it but I hope this has given you a starting point and some helpful tips to finally get started on your exciting project ahead! Have fun with it, as renovating can be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience!


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