Serious mistakes people make at the beginning of their renovation project.

Over the years working on projects, we have been called to fix many disasters. Saddest part is, that most of them could have been avoided. It is inevitable that mistakes will happen. Bumps are expected along the road of your property renovation project. But trust when we say, more prepared you are, less problems you will have and smoother your home making journey will be. 

1. Rushing the process without understanding it. 

When you start your home making journey, there are steps to follow. Getting ahead of yourself is risky and potentially costly. Make sure you understand the process and the tasks within it. 

2. Cracks in your Design Brief.

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You must have clarity on what you need. 

If you focus too early on what the solution is, without properly identifying main problems, you will probably end up with bad design. Take time to correctly identify core issues. Ask the right questions from the start. 

3. Prioritising aesthetics over functionality.

Begin with your VISION BOARD, then prepare your project DESIGN BRIEF

Yes, it is important that your place looks good, but it is the functionality that will make design successful. You need your space not only to look beautiful but also make sense and offer the best user experienceFocus on solving problems, consider maintenance, practicalities, usability, usefulness etc. and then make sure that the solution also looks good.

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4. Going to planning or obtaining permissions without solid design scheme.

We have seen it over and over again, clients come to us with a problem of not knowing how to arrange their internal space after they obtained planning permission. This approach often results in having permission for something that isn’t useful or suitable. Although permission to extend or convert or build will provide larger space, you have actually created constraints and limitations, into which you are now trying to fit your life style. 

You live inside your house, therefore your internal configuration and requirements need to inform the external form and structure. Make sure that the space addresses your needs and that design solves your problems. Only then you are ready to submit your planning application.

If you haven’t explored the space you have, if you haven’t identified your needs and did not justify or understood your wants, if your new design does not address the pain points clearly, then you are not solving anything. Despite of making your house bigger, it is unlikely it will be functional. It is unlikely you are maximising its true, full potential or that it will improve your wellbeing. Initially you may be satisfied with the outcome but there is a possibility, that honeymoon with your new, “improved” house will be short lived.

5. Hiring the wrong professional or not hiring one at all.

When it comes to house projects, there is no question about how important seeking professional help is. Your project is like a long and expensive trip. You need the right guide to get to the end without injury.  And don’t even think about doing it alone! It is almost guaranteed you will get lost. Understandably, hiring a professional can be intimidating task. How do you choose the right person or a team to guide you along your project journey? 

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There are so many of us. Our portfolios mostly look great, most of us also have amazing reviews, some hold prestigious awards, some may have been recommended by a friend, neighbour, family member…

Before you appoint a professional to assist you with your project, it is important to be clear on the task at hand. Architect, architectural designer or interior designer are here to assist you with defining your brief, identifying problems and helping you find solutions. If you are prepared, it will be a lot easier to choose the right person. 


Your chosen professional needs to:

  • ask the right questions and be able to listen well
  • help you identify and understand the challenges you are facing
  • be good problem solver 
  • be able to approach your project holistically but also keep an eye on the detail 
  • to not only have knowledge and experience but be able to demonstrate it  
  • to add value to your project 
  • question your choices 
  • help you to see value in your own decisions         

In the final stage of your selection, I strongly recommend that you ask for the contact details of referees – not just past clients, but also builders and other consultants such as structural engineers. You’ll be able to gauge by their responses if the architect is capable of providing the standard of design that you require, such as complete project follow through, adequately detailed technical drawings that minimise cost variations and on site administration.

Good communication is essential when building trust. For your project to be successfull, it will require collaborative, collective effort.

6. Setting the incorrect budget. 

Don’t trust Google with your project budget. No online platform, article or post will tell you correctly how much is your project going to cost. 

There are several times during the entire design process when you will need to revisit the budget question. However, first of all, you need to set it right. You will not be able to work with the absolute accuracy but it is important to draw a line. 

Your financial circumstances will determine your project budget. Good consultant will advise you on how to best allocate your funds to achieve desired result. Potentially, they will also add value by designing in a cost effective way and allowing you access to trade costs of materials.

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7. Underestimating the length of the design process.

Design process takes time. Preparation is everything. If you are well prepared before building work starts, you will have far greater chances to have smooth construction stage when the work on site begins. Make sure your design is well thought through and well considered. Allow enough time for the ideas to set in. If you rush design process, chances are you will miss something. 

Make great effort to finalise as many design details as possible. It is easier, quicker and cheaper to change your layout on the paper than it is on site during construction. 

If you want to talk about your project, call us. We are good listeners.

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