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Advice to anyone taking on a renovation

In addition to numerous renovations and large scale projects we've taken on through our construction business, we've completed 4 personal renovation projects. Twice, we've lived on site and twice, we've lived off site and moved in once completed. Having experienced doing it both ways, our favourite homes, without a doubt, have been those we've lived in throughout. 

 

It's so important to live in the house for a few months at least, before starting any major work.   You need to get a feel for the house, the flow, where does the light hit? What are the cold/warm rooms? How does noise travel? Are the electrics and plumbing fully functioning? Are the windows too draughty? All of these things will impact your design choices. Having lived in our current house for a week, we completely changed our original design. The kitchen was initially going to be on the other side of the house, until we realised that side was colder and darker. 

As tempting as it is to get a builder in and get the work started as soon as you get the keys, you are bound to make costly mistakes doing this. We're still adding finishing touches to our kitchen and it was installed 20 months ago! 

Secondly, don't buy anything until the room is decorated. If you're anything like me, this will be near impossible. But, take my advice, I'd have saved myself a lot of money had I resisted the urge to buy what I thought would look good. Don't rush to the shops just to get the room filled and finished. Most of the stuff in our house has been gathered over a decade, it has a story or means something to us. Unless you LOVE it, don't buy it.

Look to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, but remember don't copy - just be inspired.

For example, that Moroccan garden that's inspiring your outdoor space will be getting intense sun for a lot of the year, so as beautiful as that pergola looks online, it's function is to provide shade.  How practical will this be in your English garden that only sees decent sun for 6 weeks (if we're lucky)?  Likewise, the high ceiling in that Parisienne apartment may be able to take that gigantic chandelier - but will the low ceiling in your cottage?

Try to remember the function behind each design choice you make. Ask yourself the question, will this work in MY space?

On this subject, measure, re measure and measure again for sofas, window dressings and items of large furniture. Items must be able to fit in through the doorway.

At the beginning of a project, I start with Instagram/Pinterest for inspiration and then edit these saved images, considering what would ACTUALLY work. My next step would be to work out from the remaining images what elements I like, chances are, it's not the entire look. Is it the colour? The sofa? The light fitting? Take notes and then once you've ticked off your key design choices, STOP LOOKING, otherwise you'll be overwhelmed. And remember if you get the colour wrong, you can repaint, its not the end of the world. You will make mistakes! Just try not to make them on the most costly decisions. 

Good Luck and feel free to get in touch with any questions, I'll do what I can to help. 

Oh, and lastly BEWARE OF THE DUST!