… This post is getting waaaay too long! There will be a part 3. Hope you find this helpful. If I left out anything please comment! I’m no pro, just writing what I’d learned
- Do you have a reliable contractor who’s reasonable? If so, GOOD FOR YOU! Recommend him/her to us please!
- Talk to friends, friends of friends, family… until you find one you think is good enough/ on the same level as you/ understands what you want.
- Look at the workmanship at friends/ family’s/ stranger’s houses… and ask for contractor’s contacts if you like the work.
- In my case, I saw a feature wall at a lighting shop which I loved! Asked the store guy if I could have the contractor’s contact. They were kind enough to give me his number and he scored himself a 1400 sq ft apartment to play with!
- Alternatively, your designer would probably have quite a few under their belt, which leads me to the next point…
- Do you need/ want one? (Designers will take into consideration things that may not even occur to us eg. emergency lighting, fire exits etc. That’s why they get paid the big bucks)
- (Again) Shop for your designer. End up with one who comes close to sharing your views/ taste.
- Make sure the designer knows the place is yours, not theirs. YOU will be living in the space at the end of the day. Opinions will almost definitely clash at times.
- “Set a realistic budget right from the start and leave out NOTHING! If you like a certain luxe piece MAKE SURE you factor that in” in the words of my friend Min. True that – cuz things add up man! You have no idea!
- ALWAYS make room for unexpected extras: To paint my living area (about 800sq feet – 3 walls and the entire ceiling) would cost RM2000 – RM 4000, said my contractor at first. It became RM8000 because I wanted the concrete wall effect, which resulted in 3 types of paint and extra workmanship fee.
- Have a spreadsheet of ALL your costs to be considered. (I’m not too good at this so I have pieces of paper lying everywhere).
- Prioritize: If the amount to achieve the desired look for your entire space is too much, leave out some and start with the most important areas – the ones you use most – bedroom and bathroom. If you don’t mind seeping on a mattress until you figure out what to do with your room – start with the living area and bathrooms/ If you’d like to entertain as soon as you move in – consider the living area and kitchen to be top of the list as well/ Eg. My 3rd (supposed guest room) was so small that I left it till a year after moving in to transform it into a walk in wardrobe (BOY did that burn a hole!)
- Jade wrote about renovation on a budget with a realistic timeline here.
Manage your time!
- Unless if you have a decorator you trust 150% to oversee the entire process, you are gonna have to find time to check on the renovation process.
- For 3 months, I must’ve been at my place EVERYDAY before/ after work! If I hadn’t done that, my wall would’ve been a patchy artwork of a trigger (or rather, paint)- happy worker of my contractor’s, and my concrete built-in bar slab would’ve been half it’s depth! That’s just 2 eg.s. A lot more could’ve gone wrong.
- Give yourself a timeline, work with your contractor. And ALWAYS allocate time for extension – there will always be things that will drag/ unexpected issues will pop up.
- Try not to renovate your house around these periods – year end/ CNY/ Raya/ Any festive seasons really. Contractors have large volumes of work around these times and will likely not meet your timeline, that’s if they’re even available.
In the next (hopefully final part), we’ll consider practical stuff like spacing, electrical points, lighting and storage.
Again, please feel free to expand, I’m pretty sure I haven’t covered ALL bases!
Now for something fun, another celeb home! I LOVE snooping, don’t you?! I thought her taste would be a bit over the top but I gotta say, I’m loving the toned-down Jenny From The Block: