Kondo your construction…
There’s no doubt that when it comes to contemporary home trends, minimalism is hugely popular and the success of Marie Kondo’s, ‘The Japanese Art of Tidying Up’, is a testament to this fact. Marie’s publication has inspired a cult-like following of avid fans asking if each of their possessions ‘sparks joy’. We know this trend can be valuable inside the home, but what about the big picture? Can this approach be applied to renovation and construction? Absolutely.
Discover the benefits
The benefits of embracing minimalist building trends are inviting, from the upshot of creating eco-friendly living solutions to having less clutter to clean. However, perhaps the most exciting thing is the aesthetically pleasing nature of the designs. Clean lines, continuous finishes and a tendency towards natural materials leads to the creation of buildings which are as much a treat for the eye as they are for the environment.
Minimalist buildings focus on practicality and natural beauty. They allow you to use every space of your home for an intended purpose, with a ‘waste not, want not’ philosophy that inspires mindful living.
Tiny home, big life
So, how can you make minimalism part of your home renovation? One way to embrace this trend, particularly in well-populated urban areas, is through the construction of a ‘tiny-home’. Tiny homes are not only cost-effective to build but have the bonus of being incredibly low-cost to run, eliminating all that is unnecessary and focusing solely on shelter and use. Ranging in style from incredibly modern, to rustic nature cabins, the tiny home offers affordability, and functionality, with environmental friendliness thrown in to boot.
Of course, not everyone is ready for the tiny-home lifestyle. A tiny-home need not be your primary place of residence, it could be a granny flat, holiday home or studio office. A minimalist escape! Create an area in your home to clear your mind; a space that doesn’t take any extra effort to clean or maintain, but that provides you with peace.
Landscapes with purpose
Another great way to embrace minimalism is through fuss-free landscaping solutions. Pay particular attention to fencing and hedges – ensuring clean lines. Use neutral colours and natural materials, such as stone, to create a tranquil ambience.
There’s such a vast range of natural stone and timbers for decking, patio flooring and retaining wall construction. Funnily enough, it takes a bit of extra thought and consideration to get the ‘simple look’ just right. Get samples from your local supplier to find the right combination. Remember to avoid extremes in colour, texture and style. While a minimalist renovation might take more work in the beginning, the reward is worth the effort.
If you’ve been thinking about moving in a minimalist direction with your home or building, talk to us about how to make it happen. Ideally, the new approach will help you focus less on ‘things’, leaving more room to enjoy the experience of your new surroundings.
Image credit: Kari Shea
Build your own happy returns…
Even if you plan on staying put, it’s helpful to know that the money you spend renovating will bring a return. For our friends the property flippers, a return means short-term monetary gain and the thrill of the experience. For most renovators, improved lifestyle will be all the value they need for many years to come.
Following on from last fortnight’s blog post about renovating without blowing your budget, we acknowledge that cost is a key factor in home renovation decisions. Here are our thoughts on which projects provide the greatest return; increasing your home’s value, as well as your lifestyle value.
Start with the obvious
Kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living areas sell homes in Queensland. They don’t have to be state-of-the-art; quality fittings and modern design are all it takes to appeal to buyers in most areas.
Think of the people
When we walk into a home, we imagine living there. We consider and often purchase based on the emotional connection. Of course, emotions run hot and cold, and you can’t appeal to everyone. So, we suggest looking at what other people are investing in, in your area. Do you live in a heritage suburb? People in your area are more likely to place emotional value on original fittings that keep with the style of the home.
Likewise, if you’re at the top-end of the market, you’ll get more of a return out of installing high-quality big brand appliances. Whether you’re renovating to sell or to stay – the changes you make will be influenced by the human need to fit in. We’re afraid to say it, but the adage of keeping up with the Joneses applies to renovation investment!
In saying that, you don’t need to end up with a carbon copy of the house next door. Be guided by what’s going on around you, and then add your personal touch. In small doses, the right buyer will also buy into the personal investment someone has put into a project.
Play to their aesthetic
Stump replacement, new wiring and plumbing are all things that make a house safe for its inhabitants, secure your asset, increase its liveability, and provide an investment in health. Unfortunately, if it’s not tangible and can’t be seen, it’s not going to give you bang for your buck in the short-term. The good news is, if you’re planning to renovate as part of a project, rather than piecemeal, these items will come at a lower price and cost of inconvenience. Get them sorted in the context of the big picture!
An instant visual appeal will give you a quick return if selling and a good feeling if you’re putting down roots. Remember, a home’s appeal starts before we set foot on the garden path. A new front door or gate, a neat retaining wall, a beautifully designed low-maintenance front garden, fresh paint and shiny new floors are all worthwhile investments.
Have great expectations
If you have a four-bedroom home, an ensuite is an expectation. The same goes for air conditioning in the main bedroom and living – particularly in Queensland. Ample storage is another deal-breaker. If it’s a problem for you, it’s likely to be an issue for a future owner. Solve it now, add value to your home and to your experience.
Open yourself to possibility
If there were one word we would use to guide your renovation, it is ‘open’. When you open your living spaces, you open your home to return on investment opportunities. No-one wants to live in a rabbit warren except rabbits!
If you’re adding a new deck or extension, make it a useable size – think about the average furniture most families have in this space and allow enough room to dance around it in the good times. Back in the day, a deck was a place to station your bbq; now it’s an extra room.
Probably the most important thing you can do to guarantee a return on your renovation investment is to enjoy the process. There’s no more valuable gain than a feeling of achievement and satisfaction.
A few words from the wise…
If you’ve ever watched The Block or Grand Designs, you’ll know all about the highs and lows of building and renovating. You’ll have seen what happens when a renovation budget gets blown and tempers fray.
Ideally, we all want more highs than lows; in life, and certainly when building our dream home. If there’s one way to ensure you’ll come out feeling great about the finished product, it will be getting the most out of your budget.
Having seen several renovation projects and new builds over the years, and many different approaches, we have a few tips.
Most of us don’t renovate on a whim. We want to solve a problem. We want to realise a dream. In the early planning stages, it’s great to dream big and think of all the possibilities. By doing so, you’ll work out what your end game is. If the end game is to find space, don’t get sidetracked. Make this the priority.
Quality over quantity
Sticking to the budget is a lot easier when you don’t spread your resources across too many areas. There will always be something else you want to do with your home, whether it’s now, or a year or two later and even if your home is straight out of Vogue magazine. It is one of those ironic laws of human nature. We all want just a little bit more.
The seasoned crew knows they can have a little bit more, but not all at once. Instead, they focus on getting this project right. A keen renovator installs quality fittings that stand the test of time. When they come to their next project, they immerse themselves in getting that right and don’t have to focus on unnecessary repairs and maintenance due to low-quality fittings.
If you focus on quality over quantity the first time around, you may appear to be getting less return on investment, but your investment will endure, saving you money in the long-term.
Build a strong rapport with your builder
Talk to your builder about your budget. Find a contractor who operates alongside a drafter and designer to detail your needs from the beginning. The clearer you are upfront about what you want to achieve, the more likely you are to achieve it. Once everyone is on the same page, it’s smooth sailing.
Give yourself a buffer
Let’s go back to that human nature thing. A reputable builder will plan with you to meet your budget and requirements as best they can. They will foresee a lot of the unanticipated costs and raise them with you from the beginning. However, there will always be something unexpected or something that you would like to add ‘while you have the builder there’. Always. Give yourself a buffer of at least five percent of the project cost.
With these few initial thoughts, you are set to be one of the home renovation success stories! Watch out, Kevin McCloud.
It all started with a dream, right?
Or maybe a wish… or even just a whole heap of frustration? We’ve all been there. You kind of know what you want the end result to be – more open space, a functional kitchen, a granny flat, a pool for the Summer. You may even have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to tiles and paint colours. With that kind of inspiration, you are definitely on the right track! So, what’s next?
If you’ve started heading down the path of getting quotes, you know it’s a time-consuming task. Most likely you are receiving quotes with a variety of inclusions (and exclusions), and attempting to compare apples to oranges. If you happen to have landed upon a couple of easily comparable quotes, that’s great! This post may help you with the steps that follow.
The essential steps to a seamless home renovation
Design – A drafter will draw up plans based on your budget and their knowledge of the construction process. You may decide to have designs drawn up separately and submit these to a number of builders to obtain quotes. Alternatively, your builder may organise the design process for you. Ask as many questions as you need to at this stage. This is where you share your dream with the experts. They’ll let you know what will work and what won’t, and possibly give you some options to keep within your budget.
Council Approval – If you have a builder, at this stage they will submit your plans to council for approval and manage this process for you. It always takes a bit longer than you think. This is a good time to talk to your builder about those Pinterest board tiles and start packing up the area ready to move out for construction.
At Award Winning Home Improvements, we have a natural stone range to view in our Brendale workshop. This is the stage in the renovation process when we look closely at your materials list and advise you of the best place to view products in person.
Construction Certification and Documentation – Again, this is a job for your builder and gives you a little more time to prepare for the next stage.
Demolition and Construction (aka the exciting part) – The Construction Manager and On-Site Supervisor are you go-to for communication. If you have a builder you trust, this is the part where you can sit back and watch it all take place.
Cleanup and Handover (aka the really exciting part) – Needless to say, with any home renovation project, there’s a bit of mess involved. At this point, we clean it all up and make sure you’re happy with the final product.
Call in an expert
The Award Winning Group can manage your project from start to finish – from inside to outside your home. We have expert design and drafting staff to make sure your plans are aligned with the final product. In fact, this is probably one of the greatest benefits of our service. However, it’s not the only benefit. Consider us your local Brisbane experts. We are keen to quote on any part of your Brisbane home renovation and give you honest advice so you can make your dreams a reality. Click here to get in contact.