Many homeowners have had their home renovation plans abruptly put on hold and are uncertain how to proceed during this public health crisis. But for anyone in the early stages of planning a home renovation project now is a good time to get the groundwork done. Here are some things you can do to ensure you use your time wisely and come out ahead once normal working life resumes.
Figure out exactly what ‘you’ want
When planning a home renovation, no matter how big or big or small the project, it’s essential you spend time evaluating how you currently use your home. You want to make sure the work you do will improve your quality of life. With all of us spending so much time at home, it’s the ideal time to assess our home and our needs.
A fun exercise is to monitor how you and your family use your home for one week. You could use a tool like our Weekly Tracker Workbook. Get the whole family involved and make a daily list of all the things that are working and things that aren’t. By identifying why your house isn’t functioning, you will have a clearer idea of where to focus your attention and more importantly, your budget.
Without this kind of analysis, it’s easy to decide you need more space and end up with a large extension to the rear of the house that doesn’t improve anything. You also risk jumping into a small project when there is a much bigger issue to deal with.
Try to identify wasted or underused space. Unused rooms, long corridors, over-sized bedrooms and bathrooms, are all areas that could be reworked to create more space in your home. By analysing how you use your home in this way, you might find that all you need is some internal reconfiguration and you don’t need to build an extension after all.
”Studies have shown that clutter competes for attention, which reduces the amount of attention you have for the things you need or want to do every day. Clearing clutter can feel good as it reduces this competition for attention and the feeling of overwhelm, leaving us free to think more clearly,Dr. Michael Keane, Neuroscientist
There was a great show on Channel 4 a few years ago called the Home Show, Hosted by UK architect George Clarke. The show focused on helping homeowners maximise the potential of their home through renovation or extension. Each episode started with George clearing out the featured house and spray painting everything, from the walls and floors to the ceilings and staircase, brilliant white. He then invites the clients back in to see their home in a completely different light.
As if by magic, the homeowners were suddenly able to see the potential that their home had to offer, and could finally visualise what changes were needed to improve their day to day lives.
I’m not suggesting you adopt this drastic method to uncover your home’s potential. But, when planning a home renovation, it’s important to understand the possibilities and limitations of what you are working with. Often the potential can be obscured by an accumulation of stuff.
Now is the ideal time for a good old fashioned clear out. Skip bags can be ordered online from several domestic waste companies. You can schedule delivery to your home and arrange collection whenever you are ready.
Not only will you be breathing a whole new energy into your home by tackling a clear out, but you will reap the benefits too. I asked Neuroscientist, Dr. Michael Keane about why a spring clean of our homes can have such positive emotional benefits.
‘Studies have shown that clutter competes for attention, which reduces the amount of attention you have for the things you need or want to do every day. Clearing clutter can feel good as it reduces this competition for attention and the feeling of overwhelm, leaving us free to think more clearly,’ says Dr. Keane
Start the design process
A home renovation project can be a lengthy process. Even if you don’t need planning permission, the time to get to the point where the builder starts work can take a while. So now is a great time to get working on the design stage. This is where your architect or interior designer explores all options for achieving your brief. How quickly this process moves along depends how decisive you are and how well your design professional interprets your brief. But you should allow between four to six months on average.
Some architects and interior designers offer online consultations and manage projects virtually. So you don’t need to worry about not being able to meet face to face. Our Optimise Home team, for example, are using Zoom and Google Hangouts for client meetings where clients send photos and videos of their homes as part of the initial briefing stage.
Architects and designers will also have relationships with tradespeople and suppliers to make buying and sourcing fixtures and fittings both more affordable and less stressful. And now when many factories have closed due to lockdown, they will be able to advise you on any impact to supply. They will also be able to help you source alternative companies where necessary.
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