Renovating your home can be a hugely rewarding and exciting process. It can also involve some trepidation and a lot of questions about the change and unknowns throughout the process.
What will it look like? How will it turn out? Will it meet our needs? How much will it end up costing?
The importance of good design
If you are only doing a small rudimentary renovation or extension then you may not need an architect. If you are considering anything larger than this then it is highly recommended to work with an architect for these 2 reasons:
1. Architects are the most highly trained and skilled design professionals to assist you achieving a great outcome and can create value in the project far outweighing any potential small increase in fees.
2. Their design skill, creativity and, very importantly, problem solving skills are essential to giving you the best chance of success. Creativity & problem solving when it comes to transforming an existing home through renovation is an asset that can not be underrated.
Our lifestyle and the way we make use of the spaces in our homes has changed considerably since many of our homes were built. With so much exposure to good design and what it provides through TV shows, magazines & the internet, our understanding of quality design and appreciation of natural light has never been greater.
Many old houses that are ripe for renovation are often poorly designed with small enclosed rooms and limited natural light. The approach to redesigning these houses is critical as there will often need to be a reorganisation of space within the dwelling to increase natural light and maximise functionality.
The challenges of renovations
The competing demands of each project, client requirements, regulatory authorities, budget etc. require understanding and ingenuity to find the unique resolution that is right for each project.
What’s behind the walls?
The main challenge with a renovation from a construction point of view, as opposed to a new build, is that you can only really design for what you see. When construction starts it can sometimes be a bit of a discovery tour as to what is behind the walls and how will the integration of the new work with the old. Quantifying a new build, starting with a clean slate, is relatively easy. Renovations can be a lot more complex, and complexity means costly. The unknowns with renovations are things you will discover only as you get into the project like structurally unsound timber, false walls, structures and services that may not comply with current building regulations and the interface between old to new that will require resolution as you go through the building process.
How much will my renovation cost?
Due to the somewhat exploratory nature of renovations, depending on size and scope it would be wise to allow a reasonable contingency for ‘things’ that crop up during the build. This will give you some breathing room so when an issue rears it head any impact to the project will have been factored in and will not be too stressful. As a bit of a guide renovations can cost an extra 25% – 50% compared to that of new build of equivalent design complexity, quality and size depending on the specific nature of each project.
Inspiring & unexpected spaces
If you are still reading here’s some good news. Usually there can be a beautiful fusion that happens when incorporating a renovation or extension to an existing home. Whether a dwelling, or part of a dwelling, is being retained for heritage reasons or just a personal appreciation of the existing home the integration of the new, and transformation of the old, can often lead to innovative ideas, ingenuity of design and unexpected details and spaces. Often the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.
Renovating a home can be a great opportunity to bring light into often poorly designed and ill-lit houses. Reorganising rooms and changing their orientation can create a completely different atmosphere and experience of the internal spaces.
Blending old & new
Even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint, replacing a tired old banister with a sleek glass balustrade and adding some polished boards can bring a crisp contemporary edge to elegant period details. Clean lines and a sympathetic approach can bring your home into the 21st century while respecting and honouring its origins. Mixing and matching furniture, decorative objects and artwork is a playful way to integrate old and new and create eclectic points of interest.
Want to get an idea of how much your renovations will cost?
Try our Rapid Estimate Renovation Calculator!