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Doing it just right

Bindu Gopal Rao, Sep 13, 2013 :
Open and inviting: Given enough time, any design would evolve into something beyond your expectation .  (photo by author)

Redoing your home involves almost as much time, energy and, in some cases, more money than you spent on its construction. Bindu Gopal Rao lists out ways to bring down the costs and tension.

Redoing and renovating a home can be a tedious task simply because there is so much to do and you may not know where to start from. If you have to renovate your home and have similar doubts, fret not. Read on to give your home the new look it deserves.

Doing your homework


Getting the basics right in terms of planning and setting the objectives is of paramount importance. Be realistic in terms of what needs to be done and talk to friends who have renovated as well as renovation experts.

Sarita Mantri, a realty expert opines, “You must ensure that you hire the best contractors to do your job. Besides the reputation and the experience the contractor has, you should also make sure that they have proper registration papers, licences or work permits. It is always a better idea to get your work done by a licenced builder. That will help you to keep away from any sort of legal issues that might arise in the future.”

Interior designer Honey Jolly emphasises: “Since you have already lived there, no one better than you know what the problems are and to what extent you want to go to, in order to resolve them and live comfortably. List out all the problems and space issues the family is facing, the budget and the time you have to get the house renovated.” Make sure that you ensure that you make alternative arrangements for your stay during the course of the renovation. Anand Tiwari, an architect explains, “It gets really difficult to stay in the same house where renovation work is happening and after some time you start showing hurry to finish the work before it is actually detailed out well or finished as per the standard.”

Interiors expert Manish Jain adds, “When you get home and enter a space that exudes quality and character, you automatically feel more at home. On the other hand, if you go overboard with quantity because it’s the knee-jerk response to generate change, you end up with a lot of uninspiring stuff. By creating a room that’s comfortable to be in, we are motivated to care for and sustain its beauty.”

As you go along with revitalising your living spaces, you will encounter several outmoded perceptions that may lead you into pitfalls. Not taking into account power points, water connections and effective drainage aspects when renovating are common mistakes to avoid. Jitender Pal, architecture expert, says, “there are many things people do during a home remodelling that may end up doing more harm than good, such as picking the wrong types of fixtures or making unrealistic budget assessments that ruin their day.”

People sometimes try to save time or money by cutting short the design process. Instead, you should allow enough time for the design to evolve.

“It is important to consider all the aspects of your renovation project and progress through each stage from concept to design development. Design is an iterative process, and the more the design is refined, the better the result. A well-considered and documented project will be quicker for an interior designer to complete, and easier,” says Abhishek Chadha, a home expert. Obtain at least three quotes from reputable builders and tradesmen and ensure the quotes compare like for like.

“And then, even when the quotes are accepted and contracts are finalised, ensure you have a contingency budget. Speaking to others who have project managed renovations beforehand will be a wise investment of your time,” explains Meenakshi Taneja, a furniture expert. Every aspect needs to be carefully thought of like lighting control, fan control, air-conditioning control, home theatre control etc. “Also things like what will be the source of the digital content needs to be pre-decided – will it be through an Ipad, Tablet or any other source. Renovations are the best time to lay cables and this aspect needs to be given extra attention,” says Abhimanyu Gupta, a technology expert.

Doing the math

Renovation is not something that will be light on the pocket and hence it is imperative that you set out a budget upfront. This will also help you to focus on the important aspects first. Also make sure that you keep some amount as a buffer so that you are not caught off guard when the need arises. “One should make sure to make a budget for each step — carpentry, furniture, painting, flooring— and buy the materials within that budget.

This helps us not to go over the budget significantly.

In case you get your home renovated by an interior designer make sure that they are well informed for the same,” says Firadus Variava, flooring expert. It is important that the site is inspected by the person concerned before commencing the work. “The materials specifications should be discussed in advance so that the same is taken into considerations while budgeting. One should avoid any kind of major design changes once the work starts. As these changes may increase the cost and affect the overall budget,” says Manoj Kumar Gilada, an interiors expert.

The specifics

Renovating an existing home involves ascertaining the extent one wishes to renovate. “One can renovate a home by simply changing the color scheme and lighting and with a few accessories which can be done in a couple of weeks,” says architect Sanjay Puri. When you are renovating invest in brands that are reliable and do not cut corners as far as quality is concerned.

Says Vivek Talwar , another flooring expert, “important technical factors that one should consider before designing floor are whether they are anti-skid properties, stain resistant, scratch proof, easy to clean and maintain, durable and able to cope with different weather conditions especially monsoons. One should check whether the tiles are made with high purity clays and minerals and fired at very high temperature to make it impervious and stain resistant.” When renovating your kitchen, make sure that there is enough countertop space with chopping/work area and a deep sink.

Explains Sanjeev Wadhwa, a kitchen expert, “the first and foremost aspect would be an elaborate plan before you “cut” into the kitchen - better utilisation of the space you already have, adding functionality or integrating the space with other areas of your home, ergonomic placements for built-in appliances.” While renovating your home one should add as much natural resources as possible.

Usage of nature friendly techniques should be high as it will protect one’s interior and exterior in long run. “Undertaking work yourself can allow you to control costs and quality, but don’t be over-ambitious and plan to do more work than you really have time – or the skill – to undertake successfully. You could end up slowing the whole project down and living in a building site for years, which can in turn lead to family conflicts and potentially to accidents,” advises Kumar Bharat, a realty expert.


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