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Things To Consider When Renovating Your Home

10 questions you should ask when engaging in a building designer

Renovating a property can be rewarding, but can also throw a few challenges especially if it’s an apartment. There are neighbours to consider, but there are also the issues of access, council or body corporate approvals, let alone hidden issues associated with the age of the property. There are a slew of upshots to renovating, but you need to have a savvy plan in place to avoid some potential traps.

Make a Plan

A roadmap is crucial for making your renovation journey smooth as well as cost and time-effective. “You don’t want any surprises,” says Refresh Renovations’ Evonn Reyno.

Consider what you’re trying to achieve. Create mood boards, put together a folder with brochures from suppliers, tear sheets from magazines and swatches of your colour and material preferences.

Talk to the Experts

If you’re considering structural changes it’s advisable to talk to an architect as to possibilities. Other experts include builders, plumbers, electricians, painters, glaziers and cabinetmakers. There are far too many stories out there of unreliable tradies who turn up late or not at all. 

There may also be challenges with access to the site so there needs to be a strategy for bringing materials in and disposing of detritus. Some materials may require a cherry picker to lift heavy or large items in/out through windows and doors.

Make Friends With Your Neighbours and Body Corporate

In apartment situations, there are often neighbours beside, below and/or above. 

“Body Corporate rules say you can’t affect someone’s quiet enjoyment,” says Andrew Murray of Apartment Specialists. “Reserve active renovation mode for working hours and let your neighbours know what’s going on. If you’re going to be making serious noise like polishing a concrete floor ensure you check it’s OK with them.”

Body Corporates can have strict rules of what you can and cannot do. “If you’re going to be structurally affecting the apartment or making externally visual changes you may need council and Body Corporate approval,” says Andrew. “You might not be able to take an internal pillar out or change the colour of the deck and some buildings have rules about window dressings like a requirement for Venetian blinds or colour rules.”

Even putting in a new kitchen may need approval, and if you’re laying a new floor an acoustic membrane may be mandatory to help reduce noise transfer to an apartment below.

You can save yourself a lot of grief if you speak with your Body Corporate and neighbours first. The last thing you want is delays halfway through because you failed to ask permission.

Get Your Basics Right

Generally speaking, apartments are smaller spaces than stand-alone houses so you need to use design strategies to make each room look as spacious as possible.

White paint on the walls opens up the rooms and creates the illusion of space. “Basics like fresh paint are very important; you need to do them no matter what and they need to be done really well,” says Andrew. An open-plan layout also creates an illusion of space and Andrew suggests choosing furniture that you can see under to further enhance that feeling. 

“If you’re looking to resell, get a pro in,” he says. “It’s not good to start playing around with taste if you don’t have it, it’s far better to get in a professional.”

Refit The Kitchen

A sleek and modern kitchen can seriously improve the value of your property, not to mention its livability. Key areas include benches, cabinets, floors, appliances, handles and splashbacks. A new bench, faucet, handles, floors and appliances can transform the room. 

The addition of a glass splashback is simple to do and brings the room into the 21st century. “If you’re on a budget keep the fronts of cabinets and change handles from dated, round edges. Ensure appliances are all one colour, add splashbacks, change lighting and change the benchtop,” advises Andrew.

Remodel The Bathroom

All bathrooms sparkle when they’re fresh, light and bright. Simple, inexpensive changes can make all the difference including replacing the lighting, tapware, cabinet handles and stained grout. 

“Other easy fixes are to change the mirror and any old-school basins,” says Andrew. If you’re doing a complete update, white is the perfect choice for your tub and vanities as it doesn’t date (remember avocado green bathtubs, anyone?).

This article was supplied by Refresh Renovations. Refresh Renovations will be exhibiting at the Sydney HIA Home Show from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March 2020.