As you begin to embark on the renovation journey, it certainly helps if you pause and read about what are some of the learning points the recent homeowners went through. Hopefully, we can distil the most vital lessons learned and factor them into account so that avoid the mistakes for your dream home project.
1. Set Aside Sufficient Buffer For The Renovation Project Costs And Schedule
Design: Violetta Design Studio
“Due to the pandemic, my renovation was delayed. To add to our woes, one of the family members is diagnosed to be COVID positive. As a result, the moved in date had to be pushed back. Fortunately, the landlord was willing to extend the rental for another 2 month.”
The COVID pandemic has upended almost everything in our lives. As a result, costs have gone up due to either the manpower shortage or the higher costs to ship the materials from overseas. Furthermore, it takes longer for the materials to from overseas arrive too. Usually, inexperience and bias in project performance will cause the schedule and cost to overrun. For instance, you might realise that you might need more revisions in your interior design since certain materials might be either not available or out of your planned budget. Unfortunately, since the pandemic is ongoing, it pays to be vigilant when it comes to the costs planning and schedule. As a rule of time, set aside at least 15% of the project costs as a buffer, and factor in at least 1-2 months prior to the move-in date. For instance, then you might realise that you might need more revisions in your interior design since certain materials might be either not available or out of your planned budget. Unfortunately, since the pandemic is ongoing, it pays to be vigilant when it comes to the costs planning and schedule. As a rule of time, set aside at least 15% of the project costs as a buffer, and factor in at least 1-2 months prior to the move-in date.
2. Consider How The COVID Pandemic Has Impacted Your Lifestyle
Design: The Local INN.terior
“We have just moved into our newly renovated place when I tested positive for COVID on New Year’s eve. This unforgettable experience has deeply affected us . Now we are more conscious of personal hygiene and will check out our bags at the entrance way, instead of keeping them in our wardrobe. On hindsight, the discussion on how to ensure that our place is designed to accommodate the change of lifestyle due to the pandemic was never brought up. However, if we are doing it all over again, we would custom built a proper cabinet at the doorway for our bags. In addition, we would have invested in an antimicrobial kitchen countertop.”
The long-drawn COVID pandemic has affected every one of us in many ways; some of us have to convert a spare room into an office so that we can work from home or for the children to learn from home. There is also a renewed interest in cleaning, disinfection and sanitising, especially if one of the family members has to self isolate at home. Since the pandemic is still raging on, you should consider how the home interiors can be designed to cater for these changes. One of the areas of consideration would be to choose materials that are easy to clean and utilise antimicrobial surfaces where possible.
3. Aside From Getting The Home Interior Design Style Right, The “Infrastructure” Is Also Important
“We were too caught up in achieving the look and feel of our dream home interior design. Erm…we spent too much time to match the furniture with the design style…so much so…that we neglected the practical aspects of the renovation. Little things such as installing enough electrical plugs and deciding on the right location for the WIFI router were over looked. Ugh…these flaws showed up and affected us badly, when we had to work from home for an extended period.”
Although it is good to incorporate the designs from the latest interior trends, the basic “infrastructure” needs matter too. This is because the location of electrical points affects the performance of the home appliances such as the robotic vacuum cleaner and WIFI router. For instance, the robotic vacuum cleaner will find it hard to dock if its base is placed in an awkward corner and the WIFI router’s strength will be impacted when they are situated at a poor location. Furthermore, although extension cords can be used when there are insufficient electrical points, powering multiple appliances with one cord is hazardous. In addition, the extension cords should be covered with childproof covers or taped to the floor so that they do not pose a danger to the elderly or young.
4. Perform The “Red-Team” Paper Exercise Prior To Confirming The Design
“We did not take into consideration the ‘moving parts’ of built-in carpentry when the electrical points and ceiling fans are installed. As a result, we had to change the cabinet door from casement to sliding, so that it will not obstruct the ceiling fan when opened, and moved the location of the electrical points. This meant more time and money than planned. Ouch. “
In cyber security, a Red Team exercise is carried to reveal security vulnerabilities and blind spots. Similarly, you can do the same thing by doing either a paper or visual walk-through exercise to uncover the blind spots in the renovation design. Prior the exercise, the carpentry, electrical points are super composed together with the floor plan, before “carrying out” daily activities in each room which can be done either on-site or on paper. As an example, to gauge whether the proposed carpentry design is suitable, the “moving parts” such as the casement doors and flips out are studied to see if they obstruct any fixtures or furniture when daily activities are carried out.
5. Prioritise The List Of Renovation Works And Furnishing
Design: The Local INN.terior
“We realised that once the curtains are up, they made our home much darker than we envisioned. In the afternoon, we had to turn on the lights when our children had to learn from home. If given a choice, instead of blindly following the interior design proposal, we would have scraped the curtains and saved some money. On a separate note, we should have made the curtains half an inch longer, since they shrunk after they were sent to the laundry. They look so ugly now! Ugh! “
After you have delineated the list of renovation works that need to be done, it is prudent and wise to review and prioritise the ones that are mandatory and delay those that are not in a later stage. In this way, you can manage the cost and time more effectively. The general guideline is to skip the ‘bells and whistles’, such as the decorative work (like ‘wallpaper’ and ‘curtains’) and focus first on the essentials (such as wet works, electrical and carpentry), which lay the foundation of your dream home. In this way, if the unexpected hiccups caused by a material shortage or delays brought about by the COVID have eaten into your budget or time, you can either choose to omit or work on them later.
6. Being Different And Just Being Original, Is Perhaps The Very Thing That Makes An Abode Successful
Design: LemonFridge Studio
“Honestly, after going through the whole thing, we realised that we should dare to be different, celebrate the special uniqueness that makes our abode distinctively ‘us’, and not worry about chasing after the latest trends.”
The pursuit of an Instagram worthy home design should not be done at the expense of functionality and comfort. Despite the amount of time and effort invested, the latest trending designs would still be the designs of yesteryear in a few years’ time. The best interior design is not only about creating an aesthetically pleasing abode, and is also about creating a comfortable, unique home interior identity that uniquely belongs to you. That means not being afraid to break the design norms, fearlessly embark on uncharted waters and daring to experiment with something radically different.
This article was originally posted on Renonation.sg, Singapore’s leading renovation and interior design site.