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Guide to Renovating


Once you have selected a renovation company and before the buzz saws start to spin and the drywall dust starts to fly, consider the following 3 P's of renovations.


Patience. Delays happen. There is a chance that the odd unforeseen quirk of your unique renovation project may add up to being weeks over schedule, which, can be disappointing, but not unusual. There is also a chance the renovations may be a week under schedule - be optimistic!

Renovations take time, money, and patience. But in the end, the storm of chaos will seem like a blip in time compared to the dream kitchen or bathroom you will enjoy for years to come.


Plan. Work out a preliminary schedule ahead of time with your renovation company before work starts. This timeline will help you keep track of what is or is not happening throughout the renovation process.


Prepare. Your home will be dusty and noisy for the duration of the renovation. However, a good renovation company will attempt to minimize any inconveniences to you. Some examples of inconvenience minimization provided by conscientious companies include: ensuring running water remains available in the kitchen area; creating a pseudo-kitchen for use while the renovations are in full swing; frequently used items should be disconnected at the last possible moment and hooked back up at the earliest opportunity.


Renovating your house can produce wonderful results once the dust has settled.


My first renovation


My first renovation was an old 3 bedroom flat. The two difficult obstacles already was that it was old and it was a flat. I learnt a lot. Unfortunately, the fact that it was old and it being a flat, although very big, meant that I had a few restrictions. My biggest restrictions was, except from everything being old and out-dated, was the working hours, rubble removal and access.


My most important lessons learnt was that I was a jack of all trades, but a master of non. It is always better to get in a professional. I did however save money by doing all the labour intensive work myself. I even tried my hand at plumbing, which I must say, I did not do to badly.


Because of my inexperience, the renovation took much longer than it should have, than if it was done by a professional. So perhaps I did not save that much if you take into account the extra two months of bond payment that I had to cover, instead of getting a rental occupant sooner


Below you will find some information on renovating your home, bathroom, kitchen and more.


If you have some renovation tips or advice, please send it to us.

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Where do you start?

At some stage in our lives we have all lived in a house that has seen better days, so chances are that sooner or later you will get the opportunity to try your hand at renovating. If you do not want to give up halfway, first conduct thorough research, make sure that you balance your budget and rather leave the jobs that require a more experienced hand to the experts. Regardless of whether you want to redo the kitchen, sand the floors or knock down a few walls, start at the beginning.


Are you living in the house or do you want to move in after the work has been completed? If you have already moved in you should be aware that you will need patience to cope with all the dust, buckets of paint and countless nails that will be scattered all over your home. If you are undertaking a big project you should seriously consider living elsewhere on a temporary basis, which will generally entail further expense.

Do you have a deadline and is it feasible? Add extra time to your planning because unforeseen hitches might occur.

The process of getting plans approved can be particularly time-consuming.

What is your budget? Don't start a project if you don't have the money to complete it because few things are as unpleasant as living in a half-renovated house. Be wary of what appears to be the cheapest option, as in some cases it can work out to be the most expensive.



Why renovate?

I find a dwelling with small, dark rooms, little natural light and old-fashioned finishes irresistible. The reason? It makes my hands itch and I love the challenge of transforming it into a stylish, comfortable open-plan living area, even when I am on a tight budget. Such a passion for fixing up and making beautiful is one reason for restoring a place but there are others as well, especially when it is time to decide whether you need to pack up and sell or grit your teeth and renovate:

You want to sell eventually but you want a better price than what you will get for your property in its present condition.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Your circumstances have changed: perhaps you have exchanged the office for a business run from home.

The finishes in your bathroom and kitchen are dated.

Your home receives too little natural light.



When should you submit plans?

When you want to make structural changes (including outdoor alterations) to your house, the plans must be approved by the municipality. This protects both you and your neighbours, and satisfies the municipality that nothing will collapse, no drainpipes will burst and that the entire neighbourhood will not suddenly be left without electricity.

Even though this can be a time-consuming process, as many municipalities are struggling with a backlog, it is advisable to wait patiently for approval. Should the house be sold one day, or if one of the unpleasant scenarios mentioned above ever becomes a reality, you will know that you are protected.





An effective bathroom design should address all your needs, physical and spiritual. Here are the most important tips to consider when updating your room.

Choose elegant fixtures.
A pedestal sink with graceful lines is more attractive than a blocky cabinet vanity. A classic claw-foot tub is like bathroom sculpture. Even enclosed in a deck, the simple lines of the lip have an inherent beauty that surpasses most acrylic versions.

Sit in a bathtub before buying it.
Bigger isn't always better. A 60-inch tub is fine for most people. It offers enough room to stretch out and provides a secure foothold, so you don't float into oblivion when the tub is full. Assess the angled back and lip for comfort and neck support -- a tub for two people slants at either end and has taps in the middle. If you only have enough space for a small tub, buy an extra-deep one.


Select durable flooring.
Ceramic, marble and stone tiles are all excellent durable and water-resistant choices for a bathroom. Subfloor heating coils will make these hard surfaces warm. Well-sealed hardwood floors offer natural warmth and act as a foil for the other hard, cold surfaces in a bathroom.

Hang a stylish mirror.
One beautifully framed mirror over a sink is more attractive than many surfaces covered with mirror. Supplement it with a wall-mounted adjustable makeup mirror, and consider installing a lighted, mirrored shaving niche in your shower stall.

Use found space.
Take advantage of space between wall studs by recessing a tall storage cabinet into the wall to maximize vertical storage while saving floor space. The cabinet should have an interior depth of at least three inches and a door flush with the wall.


Build a shower area.
Consider building an open-concept shower area that doesn't need a curtain or door and is less confining than a standard shower stall. In addition to well-designed drainage, a ceiling-mounted rain showerhead and/or a high wall-mounted showerhead that splashes less water will keep the area outside the shower drier.

Share space for added function.
In homes with back-to-back bathrooms, a shared shower with access doors to each of the bathrooms maximizes limited space. Or turn a closet located next to a bathroom into a small en-suite with access to the neighbouring bath.


Design lighting that works.
Good lighting is imperative. Combine halogen pot lights with wall sconces beside or over the mirror for lighting with no shadows. Always install dimmers.

Buy a quality toilet.
When buying a toilet, it's not necessary for you to spend big bucks, but you don't want to scrimp too much, either. Models with elongated bowls and seats are usually most comfortable.

Incorporate luxury into your room.
If you're fortunate enough to have lots of space to work with, indulge yourself with an expanded spa like bathroom that includes a dressing room -- a haven for privacy and relaxation. Outfit it with a television, fireplace, exercise equipment, makeup vanity and even a large comfortable occasional chair upholstered in thick white terry-cloth.





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