Revamp like a Champ: Renovating gets a bad rap for being dirty, noisy, stressful and costly, and yet it is such an exciting thing to do. You are investing in your house – likely your biggest asset –which makes financial sense, and making changes to your home, which should bring you great pleasure. Here’s how the pros say you should do it, if you want to minimise delays and struggles.
‘Keep it simple,’ says Lauren Bolus, partner at Fabian Architects and Make Architects + Interior Studio, who has been involved in many renovations in a professional capacity, and also recently renovated her own airy Sea Point home. ‘Don’t follow too many trends – you will need to like it for another 10 years, so try to balance simplicity with something contemporary. Embrace open-plan living and natural light.
‘It all happens in the kitchen,’ Lauren says. ‘Life, socialising, entertaining. Keep it open plan and celebrate the kitchen island.’ Use natural materials that will weather and improve with age.
The building contractor
‘The big thing is to plan everything,’ says Nontsikelelo Babes Sokujika, director of Exodos Cleaning and Projects. ‘Make sure that everything you do complies with the specifications of industry bodies such as the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), to ensure things don’t go wrong. Get your planning and project management right, and it will make every-
The interior designer
‘Don’t rush into it,’ says Temi Stallings, managing director of Design Decisions. ‘Have proper, dimensioned drawings made up and mark out these measurements on- site; and make sure that you approve the marking-out before the contractor starts. Drawings can be wrong or misinterpreted.
‘And remember to see the larger picture. Often, when you renovate just one area or surface, the space next to it starts to look odd or stick out. Let the overall look of the home have harmony in its materials, style and architectural language.’
The estate agent
‘Homeowners often ask: How do you know if you are spending too much, considering overcapitalising means that you may not recoup your outlay when reselling?’ says Carol Reynolds of Pam Golding Properties in Durban. She suggests that you do your homework regarding the values of other properties in your neighbourhood. If they are relatively low, it is only worth spending a little, to avoid overcapitalising.
‘One of the best and most cost-effective ways of enhancing a home is with a coat of paint,’ says Carol. ‘Generally, light, bright, sunny homes will attract a higher price than darker homes.’
‘We find that sellers who have gone to great expense to install quality solid-wood kitchens and floors do not necessarily reap the benefits when it comes to selling their properties. People are more impressed by a clean, light, bright home with good flow and open spaces than they are by very expensive finishes.’
‘Living in your home while renovating sucks,’ says Marie Prinsloo, an artist and mother of two who did a major renovation on their family home, adding on a second floor. ‘But, if you are project-managing and owner-building, it is your only option.’
Marie suggests you get unlimited WiFi and earphones for the kids to keep them busy and quiet in a limited space. If you don’t have a kitchen, find a good supplier of home-cooked, delivered meals.
A top tip from Marie’s husband Stefan is to seek expert advice from a structural engineer and architect. ‘You want their advice because, ultimately, it saves you lots of money if you have a good strong design,’ he says. ‘Then you can use normal builders and project-manage yourself, depending on your skill set.’
Renovate your kitchen in 5 easy steps
All of our experts agree that the kitchen is the heart of any home, so getting this part of your revamp right is really important. Carol Reynolds suggests the following:
1. Ensure your countertops are beautiful. If budget allows, a Caesarstone, quartz or granite countertop speaks volumes and is one of the first things buyers notice. Rather have chipboard cupboards with quartz tops than spend money on a solid wood kitchen.
2. Cupboard handles make a significant impact. Sometimes, all that is needed are modern new handles.
3. A coat of paint works wonders. Consider spraying old cupboards to give them fresh appeal and painting walls to add light.
4. With clever lighting, you can turn an ugly duckling into a swan. Think about adding hanging lights as a feature above
a breakfast nook and installing lighting in the bulkheads to add flair.
5. If you need to spruce up old cupboards, keep the original framework and simply replace the doors. This will make the kitchen feel brand new.
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