Finally Bought My Dream Home. What Next?

Now that you have finally bought your dream home, it is time to ‘beautify’ it to make it the perfect “Home Sweet Home”, a phenomenon that can be experienced nowhere else except your one true Home.

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Why Should I Renovate My Home?

A house is the reflection of its owners, whether the pearl white walls indicate that the home has been recently repainted or whether the rotting fences indicate years of wear and tear with no care from its owners. Even a low cost apartment of only RM50,000 with mould-ridden walls can look entirely different on the inside with just a neater interior, better looking furniture, and a few well-cared for potted plants.

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What’s The Definition Of Remodelling A Home?

This is an article that will educate property owners on how to go about engaging an interior designer and contractor to remodel their homes. Firstly, renovation and interior designing are distinctly different. Renovating a home includes having restoration, extensions, additional walls or demolition works done to your home. Interior Designing on the other hand involves the finer details which usually reflects the owner’s character with its ambience, such as wallpaper, light fixings, soft furnishings such as sofa, beds and lounge chairs, and the texture of the curtains.

How you go about renovating and redesigning your home will depend entirely on who you appoint, and who you wish to get involved in the project. There are however certain integrated elements to the above, as there are a number of service providers out there who cover the entire scope.

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What’s Out There In The Market Today?

Today’s renovation / refurbishment market is very large and exciting, with many suppliers, specialists and professionals offering a wide array of products and services. There is also the ever popular internationally renowned furniture mall of IKEA which offers many home interior design ideas, with many local brands looking to penetrate the furniture mall business such as Viva Home in Cheras. It is a consumer’s market out there.

This could however prove to be a disadvantage as it will be more difficult to compare and select without sufficient knowledge. For example, that garden chair from the furniture mall that you wanted to buy to put in your garden. Is the wood that it is made out of, weather hardy? Did you know that teak wood is the most weather hardy wood, and not all types of wood can stand the sun and rain of tropical weather?

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It is crucial that you know exactly what you want from the start, be it a bigger kitchen, brighter room, more electrical points or whether you need ideas on wallpapers or finishes. Knowing exactly what you want will save much time and set the project brief straight; as only you, as the end user, will know your own habits, lifestyle and preferences best. It is important to note that the Interior Designer will not be able to give you what you want if you yourself do not know what you need. From then onwards, you will have a clearer picture on who you need to engage to get the job done.

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Who Do I Engage Now?

Who you engage to help you renovate your home depends on what you need done to your home. Below is a list of handymen you can choose to engage, along with the pros and cons of getting one:

SUB-CONTRACTORS (Electrician, Tiler, Plaster Ceiling)

Pros:
• This is the most cost efficient way to go about a renovation project as you save on mark-up costs by middle men (usually the main contractor, although not without valid reasons)
• Your intentions and requirements can be translated directly to the layman

Cons:
• Most time consuming as you are now the Main Contractor, liaising and coordinating with different parties that are probably working together for the first time
• It is advisable to know the sequence of the work and the organisation of the workers on site as one job may affect another
• There is no one to be responsible for any dispute on site

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Contractors

Pros:
• You have a one-point contact person to all matters on site, responsible for organisation of manpower and project schedule
• Good contractors have a wide array of leads to obtain certain products, and they provide innovative solutions to unforeseen issues caused by your desired designs

Cons:
• They may not always have the best design sense, and you will need to show them reference images (some contractors outsource their design work)
• As they may have many jobs at hand, they are not always keen on having discussions on your designs or wish to mull over the minor details or material selection

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Design & Build Id / Contractor

Pros:
• The majority of the renovation these days are operated by contractors who also double as Design & Build ID contractors
• All-in-one package, from construction to even furniture selection and purchase. You are more likely to see what you are going to get through visualisation or the design plans

Cons:
• As their revenue is based on the margin of the construction work, it is in the designer / sales team’s best interest to affect the pricing via material selection or by using selected suppliers / specialists

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Architect / Designer / Consultant

Pros:
• Beneficial for larger scale projects, by having unbiased design decisions and solutions
• They are your contact point with contractors and construction works. It is however best to visit the site once in a while to ensure that your desired designs are being materialised, as information being passed through too many hands tends to get distorted and you may not get what you want

Cons:
• Consultation fees are incurred as they are separate from the construction team
• It might be a slightly longer time before construction works commence, as major design details have to be confirmed before any work on site can begin

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When Should I Start On My Renovation?

If it is a major renovation it is advisable to do it before moving into the house, otherwise you will have to find an alternative home for a couple of months while the renovations are being carried out.

The minute details should however always be put on hold until the unit is completed, as there are cases where the S&P (Sale & Purchase) Agreement or layout plans do not tally with the actual construction. For example the plan may show 3 metres long, but the actual part in question in the house could be slightly longer or shorter than 3 metres. There are also cases where there are some corners or kinks that are not shown in the plan.

Do however make your desired move-in date clear to your designer and contractors, so that the feasibility of the project can be set from the get go.

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Where Do I Look For These People?

The contacts and services of these people can be found in home & lifestyle magazines, property websites and design magazines. Magazines often have good leads on where to obtain these services and products. You can also look it up on Google, which is one of the quickest and fastest ways to get a wide selection of interior designers if you need one urgently. An alternative way is via contacts’ recommendation. When you visit somebody’s home and the design appeals to you, try asking them for the contact of their Interior Design firm. If you like the design of their home, the owner will surely be more than pleased to share the contact details with you.

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–PROPSOCIAL

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