Adding Value

Questions to ask yourself before renovating

It may seem obvious to many, but many people are not clear why they renovating and what they envisage the final result looking like. Often it can be hard to define exactly what you want but its worth investing the time to really be clear from the start so that everyone is on the same page.

The first question to ask yourself is why are you renovating or extending? Is your dwelling run down, too small, or has that shagpile carpet just got the better of you. Often renovations happen because of larger life events such as the arrival of a new child or newly married couples building life together. Maybe you are upscaling or renovating to make a profit and move on to the next house. Whatever your reasons, be clear about them as they will majorly affect the end result of the build.

The next question is how do you like to live? Rather than simply giving an architect or designer a list of rooms and what you want in them, delve a little deeper and look at your live daily routines and how you use spaces. Do like cooking and entertaining?, do you have kids that like to play outside?, do you want open plan spaces? or smaller intimate areas? All of these questions will go a long way to helping an architect design the best possible spaces for you and your family. If you are looking to create more open plan spaces with more connection to the outdoors, take a look at Brio who have a variety of designer bifold doors and exterior folding systems to suit all tastes and budgets. Their door hardware is featured in many cutting edge renovations and includes stainless steel fittings and quality handles.

It’s also a good idea to create a moodboard of everything you love. Obviously, focus on house related images and ideas but don’t discount less obvious things like what you do in your spare time, your work, your interests or values as this can help a designer have a good, rounded idea of what makes you tick which in turn informs decisions they will make when it comes to designing. Browse design and architecture website and save images you like to folder.

Be honest and clear about your budget! This should be your entire budget, including professional fees and council permits, architects fees etc. Also remember to include GST in your estimates and always have an amount of money set aside as a contingency in case there are blowouts in construction.

Budget bathroom ideas to add value

We all have dreams of the type of bathroom we’d love to have. However, often dreams are out of the realms of budgets so here are some cost effective ideas for adding value and style to your bathroom without maxing out the credit card.

Use Wallpaper
Wallpaper is very on trend at the moment and for good reason as it can dramatically transform a room for little cost. It can be used to mask blemished walls or create a stunning feature wall in your bathroom. Because of the new types of wallpaper available now, virtually anyone can install it making it easy to update should your taste change.

As with pretty much every other part of house, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for updating the look of an ageing bathroom. These days there is no need to stop at the ceiling and walls with good paint available that can be applied over tiles also. To prepare the tiles, use a tile cleaning product and once dry, use sandpaper to lightly rough up the tiles and remove the glaze. This will help the paint stick to the tile. For durability go for a gloss finish rather than matte – remember water has a nasty habit of penetrating even supposedly non porous surfaces.

Going one step further than simply painting tiles, adding new tiles will go a long way to modernising any bathroom and is not very expensive. A good idea is to go large scale on the walls in a gloss tile and smaller on the floor in a darker tile. While the painting and wallpaper are DIY friendly, best to employ a professional tiler for this task as even minor mistakes can have bad repercussions and be very visible.

Uncover those floorboards
Contrary to what many people think, timber floorboards can work well in bathrooms provided they are correctly sealed. So why not uncover the potential beauty that lies beneath those outdated tiles or vinyl. Sand the timber back using an electrical sander then varnish with a water proof product.

Make a good investment initially to reap the rewards later

A house is more than a home, it is an investment and most likely your biggest asset and financial commitment. We all get emotional and can fall in love with a property, buying with our hearts instead of our heads which may not be the best long term investment.

Is the house very “Now” or will last the test of time?
If you are inclined to be drawn towards the latest trends (and lets face, most of us are), also think about the overall bones of the house and which looks might date quickly. To my mind, well designed and natural light filled spaces never go out of fashion, but cutting edge or quirky exterior features can as trends change.

Will the bathroom and kitchen need updating soon?
More than any other rooms, the kitchen and bathroom make huge difference to the overall impression and resale value of house. If these will need updating soon, make sure you factor this in to you ten year plan to make sur you get the best return for your investment when it comes time to sell. Go a for a classic style in both as these will not date as quickly as the latest on trend colour. White, timber, grey seem to always stand the test of time and fickle design trends.

Are you letting your heart influence your decision too much?
Stunning features such as a glorious established garden or beautiful pool can make you forget reality and flaws that are present in a house. Take a step back and be objective about the pros and cons, or enlist the help of a friend to point out negative traits that you may be tactfully ignoring. Be sure to accurately check which direction the house is facing – in Australia ideally north – to let the winter sun in and avoid the harsh westerly sun of summer. If a house is cold or hot at the inspection, ask yourself why and be aware that this could make it much more difficult to live day to day.

How far away from your work is it located?
Its easy to fall in love with a property that may be some distance from where you work. If the commute will be longer than 1 hour each way, be aware that you will most likely get sick of the travel time after a few months. It may seem doable at first, but from experience, sustaining a long commute takes it’s toll on you both emotionally and financially. Having said that, if you enjoy going for ride or surf before work, then adding a little time to your commute may be worth it! You can also look into working from home a few days a week if possible.