ARE YOU THINKING OF RENOVATING? GEORGIA EZRA SHARES HER TOP 6 TIPS ALL AVID RENOVATORS NEED TO HEAR!
1. Choose your materials before getting prices from Builders!
STOP! Before you think about sending out those plans to get quoted, you need to choose every finish, fitting and material throughout your home. Plans are just simply not detailed enough and every element throughout your home (your sinks, tap-ware, basins, flooring options, door handles, tile scope etc) vary in cost from project to project. Without these detailed schedules, it is absolutely impossible for builders to accurately price your renovation.
Without this information you are lying in the dark, and your builders will still have hundreds of questions…It’s a “lose-lose” situation for all. The more transparency you bring to the quoting process, the less likely you will be faced with variation fees down the track, specifically when your builders are pricing on standard specifications. As a result, when you start choosing your materials you will learn that those higher priced items were ‘not allowed for’ and you can throw the original builders costs out the window - Sometimes you can be faced with 10’s of thousands in variation fees!
If you are better prepared and provide your builder with specifications, materials, finishes and fittings, they have to quote on those items - which means transparency, no budget blow-outs, less stress, reassurance and clarity of both the client and the builder. A “win- win” for all!
2. Learn to dissect your Pinterest board!
We all have a booklet or collection of inspiration images.. our dream kitchen or bathroom.. BUT when it is time to renovate, most of us struggle understanding what exactly it is about the images we love so much and HOW to make our spaces just like them - “the dream end vision.”
Learn to understand what elements about each image you like, dissect the image into material type and colour – e.g. flooring type, flooring finish and flooring colour, wall colour, bench-top finish, bench-top colour etc. This will allow you to break down the elements within your aspired space and recognize exactly what and how you wish to bring these into your own home.
3. Be realistic about your lifestyle and what is practical and functional for you and your family!
For most of us, renovating is a ‘one time only’ experience and so the pressure to do it right the first time can become overwhelming (to say the least!) We want our homes to look beautiful but most importantly they must be practical and functional for your family lifestyle.
Choosing a beautiful finish that will easily damage and quickly deteriorate is not necessarily the right answer for a family with young children. For example, although stunning, a cararra marble bench top will easily mark, scratch and stain after 1 week!
Make sure you are well informed about the materials you use and find out if they maintain well for years to come. Keep valuable questions in your mind during your research… Can the materials be cleaned easily, renewed if scratched or marked and how will they perform in the future?
4. On a shoestring budget? This is the time to be creative!
A small budget does not mean a simple result - get creative with your options and bring your space to life. Some of my best interiors had small budgets to work with, which caused me to think outside the box and become inventive with ways to apply materials as well as cleverly spreading budgets evenly over the overall plan.
We are all faced with the dilemma of wanting finishes that seem well beyond what we can afford. Don’t be discouraged as there are a number of ways to face your budget blues! I tend to suggest featuring a small area of a very nice material (that may be costly) and then collaborating this with something far more cost effective. i.e a feature tile splash-back in your bathroom with the rest being a more standard cost effective tile can give you a high end, beautiful end result. In the picture below, I created this gorgeous and effective splash-back using one of my all-time faves - the Tilesofezra aqua Morroccan Zellige Mosaic.
I also like to use cost effective tiles in creative ways. Use a subway tile in a herringbone pattern, use soft colour tones, like a soft blue and you will create the high-end wow factor you desire!
5. There is no such thing as right or wrong design, only your design!
I’m often asked to talk about ‘trends.' I don’t like this word at all. I believe every individual has his/her own unique style, taste and aesthetic.. following trends based on magazines, TV shows and what other interior designers are doing does not lend to expressing ones individuality! I say embrace your personal connection with styles, furniture, decorative pieces and colors and when insecurity creeps in your decision making, remind yourself that it is all subjective -there is no such thing as right or wrong design, only YOUR design!
6. Compare apples with apples!
When sending out your plans and specifications, I highly recommend allowing 2 to 3 builders to provide quotes. This way you are able to ensure that the prices that come back to you are competitive and that you are not being fooled. We are not builders and we are really relying on their professionalism and advice to guide us on this daunting experience. This comparison also ensures all builders’ quotes include the same allowances for these items, so you can easily compare quotes - ‘apples with apples’.
I hope this helps!
What are your other concerns about renovating? Have you had any nightmare experiences you want to share? Let's chat about it in the comments section below!