Renovating for Profit: Getting the Best Return on Your Investment

When you are renovating for profit, it can be difficult establishing what needs doing to maximise the return on your investment.

renovating for profit

Getting it right can reap considerable rewards, getting it wrong results in a waste of your time and money.

Investing a little in many areas of your home can make a real impact when it comes time to sell.How do you know which areas are worth investing time and money into and which ones aren’t?

Here are a few tips to get started. (more…)

Posted In: Auckland, Interior Designers, Project Managers, Ruapehu, Selwyn, South Taranaki

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For its size, the kitchen is one of the most complex spaces in the house to design. A good Kitchen Designer is worth their weight when it comes to achieving the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics for your home.

The kitchen is one the busiest rooms of a home. Nowadays, it often features prominently as a part of the open-plan living area, so it must not only be a hardworking, practical, robust space, but also needs to look great.

A beautiful and well-planned kitchen will also add to the value of your home when you come to sell.

Given the kitchen’s important role in a home, when it comes to building or renovating it’s worth investing in the services of a kitchen designer  to make sure you get it right. But how do you go about hiring a good one? And once you’ve made your selection, what does the process involve?

Some companies that make and supply kitchen cabinetry will offer a ‘free’ design service when you order a kitchen. But be aware that not all of the so-called designers are qualified or experienced.

They may simply be sales consultants with some design flair or good knowledge of kitchen layout.

While professional kitchen designers may use preferred cabinet makers and other suppliers, they will act independently, and design a kitchen according to your brief, not according to the limitations of the materials available.

It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you are looking for before you start. It’s useful to look through home design magazines and compile a scrapbook of ideas that appeal. Conversely, also take note of things you don’t like. Go to home shows and take note of the designers whose work you like.

When selecting tradesmen on Builderscrack look out for experienced, certified kitchen designers with National Kitchen & Bathroom Association (NKBA) qualifications. This is a four-year course that covers all aspects of kitchen design. The qualification is kept current with ongoing training for a practising certificate.

It ensures designers are knowledgeable about the products and up to date with design trends. If you work with an NKBA member, when disputes arise, a mediation service is provided to try to resolve issues.

Make sure the designer has been in the industry for a while, continuously, and they haven’t just returned after doing something else. They must have current knowledge of the latest building codes, products and suppliers. Look at feedback posted on Builderscrack and ask to see examples of the designer’s work.

Ultimately you should hire someone you feel comfortable with and respect, as you’ll be spending a lot of time together over the next few months. A kitchen may occupy a confined space but it contains so many elements and design details, that there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Good communication is crucial, otherwise the design process can be extremely difficult.

Discuss the budget and timeframe so you know what to expect. Be prepared to pay well for good design. There’s no such thing as a quality, cheap kitchen. A $10,000 and a $40,000 kitchen may look the same when first created, but several years later, the quality kitchen will still look good. You need to create a kitchen of a quality that matches the rest of your home.

Using a Kitchen Designer

Talk to the designer about your lifestyle, your wants and needs. Show them the rest of your home so they are familiar with your personal style and preferences. Don’t feel intimated – express your opinions but be prepared to listen as they have a lot of knowledge.

Establish the ground rules right from the start. Check charges and stages of progress and what the designer expects of you to avoid any misunderstandings. Test their listening skills. Don’t just assume they’ve heard everything you have asked for. Check they understand. Be prepared to change your mind and tastes.

You’re bound to learn about things during the process that you don’t already know.

Be trusting. Some ideas may sound off the wall, but if you’re convinced you’ve selected a good designer who knows what they’re talking about, then you can be pretty sure they’ll get it right.

Study the plans carefully before they are finalised. Make sure you are happy with all details – both function and form. You pay a lot for plans, so you should expect decent ones that provide all the information you need. Expect both a plan view (looking down from above) and elevations (straight on).

Don’t show the design to all your friends and family. Everyone has an opinion and if you’re swayed by those, the design will end up being compromised. Remember, it’s your kitchen, not anybody else’s.

Check that the designer has regularly used the kitchen manufacturer. Ask to go to the workshop to see that it’s tidy and well organised.

Mistakes are often made in messy environments. Work as a partnership. To get the very best kitchen for you, stay involved every step of the way. This means visiting product and appliance showrooms with the designer and helping to make choices rather than leaving it all up to someone else.

Meet regularly to review progress and discuss any issues so there are no unexpected surprises along the way.

Remember, you are the boss and the designer is working for you, not the other way around. Don’t abdicate responsibility.

Posted In: Choosing Tradespeople, Kitchen Designer

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With thousands of shades to choose from in paint – let alone all the other materials that make up your house – you can easily become paralysed by choice when it comes to picking the ideal scheme. A colour consultant can help you today!

Perhaps the safe palette you’ve seen in every showhome turns out to feel ‘not me’. Or perhaps you turn into a kid in a candy store and go wild with an all sorts assembly of colours, which then looks too disjointed. Whichever applies, help is at hand. Colour consultants can pin down your preferences for an overall result that suits your house, budget and lifestyle.

Colour ConsultantFirstly, decide how much help you need. Some Colour Consultants focus just on colour and paints, while others will work through a whole scheme, including fabrics and flooring, right down to the accessories on the shelf. Some architects will also develop colour schemes for you (and yes, they will branch out beyond designer whites).

Choose well

A flick through the classifieds will not give you much sense of whether a particular Colour Consultant will suit you. Post a job on Builderscrack for a Colour Consultant and read their feedback and reviews from other homeowners to get a feel for their reputation. Also ask them for referees you can call or visit. If you like something you see – at a showhome, in a store, at your hairdresser’s or in a cafe – ask the owner who did it. And when you look through local magazines, make a note of  the Colour Consultants whose work (or own home) appeals.

Working style

When you call your consultant for the first time, ask about how they operate. How do they charge? Some do an initial introduction or an in-store consultation for free, then charge to come to your house; some charge a one-off fee; others an open-ended hourly rate; others a percentage on materials or tradesmen. Will they present more than one idea for you to choose from? How much back and forth do they expect? How long does this generally take?

Smart brief

Consultants don’t work well in a vacuum. The clearer you are about your brief, the better they can meet your needs. Start a scrapbook of ideas that appeal to you – magazine clippings, favourite pieces of china, a shell, a leaf, a garment you love. Be explicit about your budget. Do you want to prepare a whole house scheme, but will be undertaking it in stages as money allows? Do you want to look just at a particular room, or do you want help with an exterior look? Be clear about what cannot be changed (existing flooring or furniture, for example), about your likes and dislikes and about your timeframe.

Roll your sleeves up

painted-rainbow-color-houseAfter briefing, a consultant will come back to you with a scheme or two. This may include swatches of paints, flooring, cabinets and other materials, with pieces in approximate proportion to the way they will be used in your home – big pieces of flooring, for example, with tiny chips for an accent pillow. This is partnership time. Be very clear about what you like and don’t like, and listen to how this might be resolved.

Your consultant has seen what works and doesn’t work, but they should also be taking your thoughts on board.

“Colour is too scary, I think I’ll just stick to white.”

For colour ideas view the inspiration Gallery at Resene ColorShops or the Using Colour section at www.resene.co.nz/homeown/use-colour/usecolour.htm and the Decorating inspiration Gallery at www.resene.co.nz/homeown/decorating-inspirations/index.htm.

Happy customers

Be sure all the people who will have to live in the space feel included. Your partner or children may prefer not to discuss every paint chip, but might like to have a final OK. A good consultant is skilled at hearing everyone and finding a satisfactory middle ground.

Read more about painting & colour consultants

Article (modified) courtesy of Resene Habitat magazine.

Posted In: Choosing Tradespeople, Interior Designers, Painters & Decorators

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tilerTilers are responsible for all aspects of tile laying in several environments. These often include domestic kitchens and bathrooms.

Another common area of their work is in swimming pool construction. Some tilers will specialise in certain areas, such as marble fixing, restoration, or underwater tile repair.

Others will specialise in mosaic tiles, thus their work contains an artistic element in the laying process.

You will need to hire a professional tiler whenever you require tiles to be laid. Virtually all tilers work on both walls and floors, and they are able to work with a variety of materials, from ceramics to slate. If the job is only a small one then just a single tiler is needed. However, with larger projects, for example laying swimming pool tiles, a group of tilers will be needed.

A tiler must be able to work out the quantity of materials needed by taking measurements or by looking at job specifications or drawings. Other skills a reputable tiler need include being able to:

  • look at plans, measure and mark surfaces to be covered and lay out work
  • prepare wall and floor surfaces by removing old tiles, grout, cement and adhesive
  • fill all holes and cracks, and then clean surfaces
  • attach tiles to surfaces, using correct adhesive, making sure that patterned tiles match
  • use tile-cutting tools to cut and shape tiles needed for edges, corners, or around obstacles such as fittings and pipes
  • space and even the tiles by using tools such as spirit levels, squares and plumb-lines
  • prepare and apply grout, remove excess grout, clean and polish tiles
  • lay floors of cement, granolithic, terrazzo or similar composition
  • apply waterproofing systems

The services offered by a tiler include:

  • Bathroom tiling
  • Floor tiling
  • Kitchen tiling
  • Tile repair
  • Tile removal
  • Tile fixing
  • Tiling for splash back
  • Tile polishing
  • Tile sealing
  • Fireplace tiling
  • Shower tiling
  • Pool tiling
  • Outdoor tiling

Posted In: Auckland, Hamilton, Hastings, Invercargill, Tauranga, Tilers

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kitchen designerA kitchen designer is a professional who will work with you to plan the layout of a new or existing kitchen. They may also supervise construction and installation or assist with decoration.

They are skilled in technical drawing and CAD and will have an understanding of the principles of interior design and architecture as a kitchen remodel will require an in-depth knowledge of these.

Kitchen designers will know about local building requirements and codes and often will have worked on the construction side of design, therefore being knowledgeable in building practices, techniques and laws.

Kitchen DesignerA good kitchen designer will be able to work well with the homeowner to understand their needs and wants.  They’ll help you to choose flooring, appliances, cabinetry, countertops and colours to fit your home, budget and lifestyle. The first consultation often takes place in a showroom, your home or a home improvement centre.

Once they have seen the kitchen space, they’ll offer some ideas around the type of appliances, cabinets, materials and products.

The next step is then to prepare a few design concepts to the homeowner, or else working on a single design while making changes through the process in consultation with the homeowner. Hire a kitchen designer today.

Posted In: Kitchen Designer, Tasman, Taupo, Tauranga

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flooringA flooring contractor installs, repairs and maintains floor coverings in residential homes and commercial properties.  They often specialize in a specific kind of floor material, such as tiles, or offer services for all floor types.  Other specialists  may focus on groups of materials, such as vinyl and lino or wooden flooring.

Floor coverings include different types of materials like hardwood, tile, laminate, stone, carpet, vinyl and linoleum. Homeowners hire flooring contractors to prep the floor before laying of the covering, or to repair or refinish existing floor coverings. A contractor is also used to restore historic floor materials including hardwood, tiles and stone.

Homeowners will usually contact several flooring contractors to request pricing and information for their home. A contractor will generally visit the home to discuss this before providing a quote or estimate.  A contractor may also organise cleaning up and disposal of existing floor products.

Their work involves carpet, polish, sanding, carpet strippers, strip cutters, vinyl tools, knee kickers, flooring clamps, moisture meters, laminate, hardwood, softwood, cork, tile, mosaic, floorboard.

The services of a flooring contractor include:

  • Laying carpet, hardwood, vinyl, tiles, laminate flooring & other flooring materials
  • Sanding and polishing hardwood
  • Carpet modification
  • Floor repair and replacement
  • Carpet repair
  • Carpet edging
  • Floorboard repair and replacement

Posted In: Carpetlayers, Flooring Contractors, Masterton, Matamata-Piako, Napier

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cabinet makersCabinet makers use woodworking skills to create cabinets, shelving and furniture. The fundamental focus of cabinet makers is the production of cabinetry. Although they may also produce items that would not be recognized as cabinets, however the same skills and techniques apply.

A cabinet may be built-in or freestanding and is usually custom-made for a particular situation and it is fixed into position, on a floor, against a wall, or framed in an opening. Freestanding cabinets are more commonly available as off-the-shelf items and can be moved from place to place if required. Cabinets may be wall hung or suspended from the ceiling.

A Cabinet Makers skills include:

  • Creating appropriate joints
  • Dados & Bevels
  • Chamfers and shelving systems
  • The use of finishing tools like routers to create decorative edgings
  • Use of computer-aided design (CAD) programs to design furniture
  • Selecting timber and other materials, and cutting to size
  • Repairing or replacing furniture parts
  • Knowledge of furniture styles, and timber and cabinet-making materials
  • Technical drawing skills and the ability to read diagrams
  • Knowledge of production standards
  • The ability to operate machinery and use tools correctly

Their work involves the following tools: Shaper, Moulder, Router, Planer, Sander, Saw.

Cabinet components include: Bases, Adjustable feet, Compartments, Cabinet insert software, Tops.

Find professional cabinet makers

Posted In: Cabinet Makers, Coromandel, Furniture Repair Professionals

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