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21 Solutions to renovation blues

1. Before beginning, ask a builder to check the house foundations, Repiling is the least glamorous job, but should always be talked first, as settling can crack wall Gib, ceiling plaster and even window frames. Wellington repiling specialist Denis Morgan advises that most jobs require a council building consent, so always use a specialised replier, who will give you a free quote and deal with engineering reports and council inspections for you.

2. Bring housework into this century by installing a central vacuuming system. A lightweight, flexible hose plugs into the wall inlet and the motor and filter system are stored in the basement, making vacuuming virtually silent, with no stale air exhausted back into the room. Most systems can be installed for around $2000.If this seems extravagant, fit the venting in advance and buy the motorized system later. Phone Beam Vacuum Systems on 0800 102 526 to locate an agent in your area.

3. Although project management is time consuming and often frustrating, you can save money be doing it yourself, especially if you have knowledge of the building trade. A word of warning – you will need to be super- organised, synchronizing contractors and materials so that builders aren’t waiting for windows to arrive at your expense. Talk to local suppliers about trade discounts for bulk purchases.

4. Who will draught the plans for your extension or renovation? At the top end of the scale, a registered architect carries both a degree qualification (B.Arch.) and extensive practical experience. Less expensive is the architectural designer, who may or may not have a draughting qualification. A good designer will visit your home, discuss its layout potential and your expectations and budget. For further information, visit the website of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, www.nzia.co.nz.

5. If you are borrowing, make sure you understand your bank’s policy on releasing funds – all at once, or in installments. Most banks require at least one report from a registered valuer to keep track of their investment and ensure you are not overcapitalising. For large jobs, they may require several valuations – before, during and on completion of the renovation. When seeking a valuer, check to see if a discount is available for repeat services.

6. You may want a kitchen or bathroom that reflects your personality as well as your needs. Maria Telfar, of Wellington’s Interior Design Concepts, says “Interior designers offer the latest trends, colours and materials from here and overseas, and each design is personalised. Therefore, no tow designed kitchens or bathrooms are alike.” Tender the blueprint out to three reputable joinery companies. The range in price can be staggering, so ask for a schedule of inclusions and exclusions in the quote. Joiners who are registered with the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association guarantee both the quality of manufacturing and their back-up service.

7. To avoid misunderstandings, discuss terms of payment clearly with all trades people. A long –term project may require weekly or monthly progress payments rather than a lump sum at the end. Whatever the terms, it is a good idea to withhold at least 10per cent of the final payment until the job is finished, but agree this with your contractor first.

8. Kitset kitchens have come ahead in leaps and bounds recently and will appeal to the budget-conscious DIYer. Place Makers’ informative Kwik Kit Kitchen Planner has helpful tips and a scale grid with cabinetry “cut-outs’ so you can experiment with different layouts.

9. Insist on a firm time frame from your builder for completion, allowing that bad weather may hamper outside work. A contract clause with payment penalties for non-completion or unreasonable tardiness should keep your project on track.

10. Make a generous allowance in your financial plan for the unexpected. Repainting the house can quickly develop into replacing rotten weatherboards and window frames, so accept the unavoidable, and do it right. One the positive side, it is a good time to insulate external walls when you renew weatherboards.

11. Plaster and paint dust ravel on the slightest breeze. Minimise the mess by sealing off the room with a plastic sheeting product like Hand Masker by 3M. This can be bought cheaply, by the roll, from most hardware stores and will absorb minor paint spills and prevent damage to your furnishings.

12. Up until 1983, many building materials and products carried asbestos, especially cement sheeting, vinyl flooring, textured ceilings and corrugated cement roofing. Asbestos dust can create serious health problems. If you suspect asbestos is present, contact the Health Protection Officer at your local hospital for information on safe handling and removal, before you pick up a hammer.

13. Busy homeowners should consider employing a project manager, tasked with bringing the job in on time and budget. Terms of the written agreement depend on the individual but could include sourcing labour-only contracts, negotiating the best price for goods and services and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Price depends on the size and term of the job but expect to pay around 10per cent of the total cost, including a performance bonus if all objectives are met.

14. Avoid costly mistakes when choosing paint by consulting a colour specialist – most paint stockists provide free in-store advice. Resene stocks drawdown’s, A4-size colour samples which, at $2 each, are a cheaper alternative to sample pots and handy to carry when matching curtain and carpet fabrics.

15. If you are rewiring, walk through the house with your electrician and discuss your plans for each room. For minimal extra cost, you can wire your house for future appliances such as a home theatre system or extra Internet phone lines, saving you a repeat visit later on.

16. Recycle, recycle, and recycle! Ask your draughts person to reuse windows and external doors in the design. Edge gardens, paths or driveways with demolition bricks and sell old bath ware, unwanted taps and light fittings to recycling companies, or advertise them free in a “trade and exchange”-style newspaper.

17. Nothing beats the glow of polished timber floorboards, “Long-handled rollers leave a slight orange peel effect, while brush application takes linger, but achieves a glass-like finish,” says Wellington floor restorer Phil May. “If you polyurethane yourself, you can choose an oil-based product such as Cabot’s CSP, which is harder-wearing, dries to a honey –amber shade and can be recoated within 24 hours. Alternatively, a water-based product such as Cabot’s Clear floor dries to the same shade as your wood grain but takes up to a week to cure. A gloss or satin finish is harder wearing than matte. However, deep cuts and bruises won’t sand out, so appreciate the recycled look.”

18. Sometimes tree and shrub removal is unavoidable when extending. Save yourself some time and labour by advertising unwanted trees – interested parties can then dig them out for you. Also, the Parks Department of your local council will often take leafy donations for public projects and will remove them at no cost. If you decide to shift the plant to a new location yourself, dig around the circumference of the branch spread, to minimise root damage.

19. Are you suffering from budget blowout? If you know a tradesperson, offer to do a labour swap. Can you update their books, paint, dig holes or do gardens in return for their labour? Alternatively, think about improving your own DIY skills by taking a course or evening class.

20. Try to stay organised amidst the chaos. Store quotes, business cards, plans, magazine cuttings, fabric swatches and paint samples in a box file, keeping each “room” in a separate plastic folder. Laminate a copy of your home’s floor plan as you will use it over and over again.

21. Finally, enjoy, Renovation is an adventure, despite its challenges and frustrations,. Be prepared to compromise on the small things and when you’re finished, throw a party for those who have helped along the way, sit back and bask in the compliments.

Where To From Here?
Hopefully, this report has given you some insight into a small part of decorating your home. It may also have prompted a whole new set of questions.

To get all of the answers you need, simply give me, Kristina Cope, a call on (09) 578-0704 or (021)-641-530 to schedule your free, no-hassle, straight talk consultation. I will arrange a time convenient for you, and it shouldn’t take long at all.

In about 30 minutes, you’ll receive more time and money saving interior design, decorating information than most people learn in a lifetime!

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I am not like most Interior Designers or Architects. (I am qualified in both fields). I concentrate on providing quality information to those who need it.

“But why would you just give away all of this valuable information?”

I know that you may be asking that question in your mind. I know it’s not what most Interior Designers do, and it may seem a little odd. It’s just that I have learned that good things happen when you concentrate on really helping people.

Yes, I make my living consulting to clients as their interior designer, and yes, it would be my pleasure to work for you to transform your house into a home you love to bring friends, business associates, and guests’ home to.

BUT ONLY IF THAT’S WHAT YOU DECIDE TO DO AFTER YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION!

A half-hour is all it takes to get the information you need to make smart decisions for your future. We'll discuss what you want to accomplish, and look at the different options that you have.

Well, I’ve said just about all I can say. The next step is up to you. As I said before, there is absolutely no cost or obligation attached to your free consultation.

Pick up the phone and call me now, while you are thinking about it. I know that you may be a little skeptical, but one phone call isn’t much to risk, especially when you could save yourself lots of aggravation and thousands of dollars!

You can reach me at (09) 578-0704 or (021)-641-530, or send me an email with some suggested times and dates you are available to get together with me.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kristina Cope DipInt, BArch
Interior Designer
www.HomeInteriorDesign.co.nz
 
P.S. Procrastination keeps more people from ever reaching their dreams than anything else. Don’t miss out on information that can make all the difference!