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5 things to consider before starting your renovation

· Buying a property

Renovations

Things To Consider

Renovating a home can either be daunting or exhilarating. We picked the brains of three industry professionals to compile a list of things to consider before embarking on your renovation. Roystern Goh, principal of 0932 Design Consultants; Erricson Wong, an interior designer-turned furniture retailer who runs Made & Make; and Eileen Tan, marketing manager of Space Furniture.

1) Know thyself.

It helps to know your lifestyle and habits, and those of the other occupants, say, your partner or family. How much time do you spend at home? How much time do you spend in each space? Goh offers: “You need to discuss the priority of the space with whoever is going to live in it. Don’t be overambitious and plan to put a lot of things in! Obviously, the more things you put in, the less space you will have to move around.”

Wong adds: “If you’re someone who likes to cook a lot, you might want to install a big oven. This will need to be provisioned for in your budget.” Meanwhile, Tan says: “If you’re a busy working executive who dedicates more time in the office than at home, the last thing you need is an elaborate setting for those measly hours you spend in the living room.”

2) Budget, budget, budget.

Once you’ve identified your lifestyle, working out a budget will help you set aside enough funds. Down the road, it’ll also help you control costs by discouraging impulse buys. “Your renovation budget,” says Goh, “Can be broken down into construction costs and suppliers’ items. Construction costs include built-in items, wet works, electrical works etc. Suppliers’ items include furniture, soft finishes, white goods, appliances etc.”

Goh adds that as a general guideline, it costs $65 per sqft. for carpentry works; $95 per sqft. for minor demolition and wet works, such as overhauling a kitchen or toilet; and $125 per sq ft. for a complete overhaul. As a general rule of thumb, it helps to provision an extra 20% for any unexpected situation that might arise.

3) Do your research.

Beyond knowing basic facts like the TOP-, key collection-, and move-in dates, it also helps to engage in some due diligence. The type of property – HDB, private or commercial – will determine the type of administrative work that needs to be carried out before renovation can begin. Goh explains: “For private properties, you have to deal with the building management. Generally, the rules are similar. But prestige developments tend to have more stringent guidelines on what can and cannot be done. This includes things like the temperature of the lights or the colour of the curtains.”

“Sometimes it helps to experience spaces,” offers Wong. “Visit places that give you an idea of how you want your place to feel. A good place to start is a furniture store or fashion boutique. In a furniture store, there are different settings and configurations, which will help you better visualise your space. Boutiques can offer ideas on how you might want your walk-in-wardrobe designed, for example.”

4) Know your style.

his has to do with aesthetics. Tan explains: “Usually clients have a vague idea of the look they like. ‘Scandinavian’ is quite popular because of its pared down approach and clean lines. This is also helpful for clients who are thinking of hiring an interior designer but need some guidance. We work with a pool of designers and understand their styles, so we can easily recommend those we deem fit.”

Wong adds: “It will help your designer define your style if you compiled a scrapbook of images, say, on Pinterest .To define it even further, you could shortlist three images for each space (living, dining, kitchen etc). Some people like every style imaginable, so editing is important. Also when you set limits for yourself, you’ll tend to know what to work towards.”

5) Be realistic.

It’s important to remain level-headed about what you can and cannot achieve. One of the most important things is the timeline: there are certain processes that cannot be rushed. “For my company, construction usually takes two to three months, minimum. This includes demolition works. If it’s just carpentry works, it would take less time,” says Goh. Tan adds: “If you need the furniture urgently, it’s best to consult with the sales representative. Find out what existing stocks they have, instead of pinning hope on pieces you like that are not in stock.”

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