Reno, reno, hello hello!

Post-lockdown – the first one – we touched on the ‘whys’ of taking on a renovation at your place. Here we’re looking at reeling those ideas in before you go jumping around and heading online looking for tiles.

So, before you get excited, sort your renovation must-haves. Define your ‘Wishlist’ and make friends with your budget.

We know that renovation prospects are definitely something to get excited about – yippee new stuff, more space! But, before you go frantically ringing tradies, sit down with pen and paper and nut out the specifics. This includes . . .

  • Your ABSOLUTE must-haves i.e. The areas of your renovation you definitely want to achieve i.e. new ensuite and walk-in wardrobe, dining onto new deck, kitchen/lounge/dining expansion.
  • Plan for the future i.e. Even if you are not planning to carry out all your renovations in one hit, it’s important you factor in any future build plans you’ve got in the pipeline. Why? So, you can avoid overspending, doubling up i.e. busting down walls that only went up a year ago now that you’ve saved enough to do the kitchen.
  • Budget speak, the more honesty you throw at it and the harder line you take from the start, is a greater safeguard the deeper into your build you go.
  • So, keep home truths at the fore i.e. older homes do typically cost more to renovate, it costs more to build up from the ground, a kitchen and bathroom will typically cost you more than moving walls around to create an additional bedroom.

 Budget tip – We often suggest adding an additional 10% onto your margins – it’s better to budget up and save later, rather than budget on the downlow and find yourself caught short halfway through your build.Renos are something to have a song and dance about – but make sure you boogie with the right ideas and the best people guiding you.

Lockdown Over – Time to Lock Into Your Home Renovation Plans

With extra time spent at home in the past two months – tidying the garage, playing with the kids and turning a hand to bread making (FYI did you know bread maker sales have increased 1184% between March – April). And with all that time spent at home, you might have also thought more intently about future reno plans. And that’s a good thing! Why? Because it’s good to give all renovation dreams serious thought before you go jumping into them down the track. Mulling over, jotting down and coming to grips with all the ins, outs and whys of alterations in your pad, ensures that money’s well spent and time invested when push comes to shove.
We know that everyone will have different reasons for wanting to bust through walls and expand spaces – or shrink rooms.

Here’re just a few points that might sway you towards changing up your space . . .
– Nothing flows together – i.e. the kitchen’s jammed next to the main bedroom, which is down the other end of house, miles away from the lounge, which is facing the road instead of north towards the backyard, which means the front deck never gets used.
– It’s locked up – i.e. the kitchen, dining and lounge are all packed into a space which are hidden away from each other with wall, after wall – which means you run a rabbit warren just getting from couch to kitchen sink.
– Old bones playing up – i.e. remedial works might be needed if you’ve sprouted a roof leak, the cladding’s coming away or joinery needs replacing.
When it comes to getting the most out of any reno – big, small or in between – speak up, ask questions and don’t be afraid to keep talking.

The right architect will have a listening ear, great communication pathways and expertise to ensure a job well-done from beginning to end.

House Done – It’s Time to Go Native

So, why plan your planting early? Because it means that once the windows are in, the cladding’s been painted, drains and spouting done, and driveway marked out, you can start to get stuck in to specific areas. And the sooner you plant, the sooner they grow and begin filling out spaces and softening exteriors.

Once you’ve ticked the boxes on your architectural design and you’ve got your build rolling, it’s a good time to step up and smell the corokias. Say what? We’re talking landscaping speak, which although is something that mostly gets planted out at the end of your project, it’s something that can be planned in advance. And, the great news is, you don’t need a physical building to plan it in and around – simply go off your drawings. Easy!

Whilst there’ll be a garden genre/fit for every home, we’re currently in the business of native speak – dishing out Kiwi plant advice to a few clients who are hoping to up the anti on homeland planting around their new spaces. We’re not plant or landscaping experts, but we do appreciate the language of landscaping done well, and native trees and shrubs that lend themselves to the home environment – and don’t detract from its architectural speak.

So, what are our clients planting in their new scapes?

  • A combination of corokia, hebes and flaxes – think Jack Sprat, Chocolate Fingers and Thumbelina – which all compliment and contrast in shades of ruddy browns, warm purples, soft greys and rich greens.
  • Hedges and backdrops – in Griselinia Lucida which has a larger leaf – unlike the broadway mint which is more commonly used.
  • Manuka hedges – both white and red varieties.
  • Titoki – as a stand-alone feature tree (won’t drop leaves), also makes an ideal hedging tree.
  • Chatham Island Forget-me-not, which is ideal for our beachside/coastal clients wanting a glossy, large leaf plant that clumps.
  • Pittosporum – such a Mountain Green – ideal for hedges, Tom Thumb – which is dense, slow growing, but provides good contrast in colour with small reddish-brown leaves.
  • Tussock speak, for dry sites – a silver tussock like Poa Cita is ideal, for damp ground, Juncus Edgariae grows well. For an eye-catching grass – Carex Albula – is a pale, pale silvery green.
  • If you’re wanting a glossy native climber, you can’t go past Tecomanthe Speciose – famously discovered on Three Kings Island in 1946, it is one of the rarest in the world – and with its creamy white flowers and dark glossy leaves, we think one of the most attractive too!

Happy native landscaping!

People Power – Don’t settle for just LIKING the people behind your project!

They say home is where the heart is and when it comes to designing your space, we’re hearting the people behind the project – they bring the love. Just as a picture can speak a thousand words and a fragrance can take us all the way back down memory lane, a building too will continue to pay homage to those who journeyed through its construction.

So, what’s more important than flashy pictures, beaming references and a resounding portfolio of works, when picking your designer? The designer himself – and the rapport you strike up with him.

“Architecture is such a personal thing and you need to be completely comfortable and confident in the company of your designer to articulate your true wants and needs,” says Dylan Batenburg, director of Coalesce Architecture.

“As architectural designers it’s our job to ensure we ask all the right questions and provide the right guidance to turn dreams into a finished project – and you want your clients to feel completely at ease discussing all the ins and outs of the design process,” he explains. “From a client’s perspective, you know when you’re feeling a connection with someone – and you know when you’re just nodding for the sake of nodding. My advice to anyone is don’t settle. Choose an architect you can drum up a meaningful connection with.”

Aside from feel-good vibes and positivity, there are a few forward thinking actions a ‘good sort’ architect might put into play when meeting new clients for the first time too. So, keep a watch out for these and you know you’re onto a winner . . .

  • He’ll bring a measuring tape to site on the day he meets you.
  • He’ll discuss the WHOLE process of how EVERYTHING works – not just design and aspects and features. He’ll discuss consents, working with builders, give honest feedback about budget, realistic timeframes.
  • He’ll ask the questions that matter to you and your needs – i.e. How is the house not working for you now? Why are you doing this – how do live now and how do you want to live?
  • He’ll leave you with things to think about and feeling inspired – not tell you “I’ll get back to you next week.”
  • He’ll get to know you – not just your site plan – in a good way, not creepy way. He’ll ask about your family, your work, your kids, your hobbies – these all intrinsically link to your project’s speak.

In a world that’s dominated by screens and tap tapping, getting in front of people and truly connecting with someone, is surely still the most real avenue to achieving our hopes and dreams. We’re in it for people – not portfolios, let’s coalesce.