Renovation is important – so is getting it right first time

Three top architects and designers reveal what they consider the best things to prioritise with your renovation budget – spoiler: it's not all about kitchens

1. Architect Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper Architects

The first thing is good design.

When people are wanting to reduce their budget the first thing they do is decide to cut the architect – and that's probably the biggest mistake because good design is something that carries right through.

So to that end, it makes sense to keep the architect on board right through the project – this is because the devil's in the details and a lot of those details happen as the project goes through.

Another consideration, however, is not being afraid to reject the existing layout if required.

This means investing in a good layout rather than saying, ‘yeah, we're going to keep the kitchen where it is’ – because then the whole thing is a compromise.

Of course, if you do change the layout, that means you've got to change everything with it.

So it just depends, within reason – there are always options to do a 'halfway house', so to speak.

2. Architectural designer Jason Higham, Higham Architecture

The first thing to invest in is a professional designer – you want some professional advice on the overall plan of attack. An ad hoc approach to your renovation is not going to result in a great outcome really and you are pouring a lot of money into it, so you want to get it right.

Beyond that, it's often the typical kitchens and bathrooms that everyone will go to. 

However, I think you really need to look at whether it is some sort of short term goal – to do it up and flick it on – or is it a long term goal to invest in the home and get it really well laid out as high performance home – in which case you want to be investing in your insulation and your glazing and all those things where you're losing heat. 

3. Architect Paul Leuscke, Leuschke Kahn Architects

What aspects of a renovation do I think people should always invest in? An architect.

Alterations are complex and expensive and you can spend an awful lot of money and get a bad result if you don’t plan properly.

People often come to us with the request ‘I need another room’ – but sometimes you have to find out what their problem really is to find out what they want for the alteration.

Often they want an alteration and extension, but sometimes the house is big enough and they just need to pull down one or two walls and they’ve got what they wanted without having to do a big extension.

Plus, with alterations, you think 'I'll just do this bit' and if you're not careful, it's gone up the corridor and to every room and suddenly you're rebuilding the damn thing – so you need a lot of control with alterations – it's really all about engaging an architect and getting the planning done upfront.

And beyond engaging an architect? I think get in your insulation and maybe your double glazing. Definitely get in it in the roof – the roof's the biggest loss, really. 

Basically, you're looking at the whole house, so you're looking at what's under the floor, what's in the roof, what's in the walls, and they do it. Basically, an architect will do it elevation by elevation. 

With heritage homes replacing the old double, you know, sash-hung windows – new ones are a bit more sensitive but they've got brush seals to stop the wind whizzing through. 

So, it's not only the double glazing, it's the air coming fromthe holes around the actual joinery itself. Basically, for an extra grand you can double your insulation – a no brainer.

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Story by: Trendsideas

02 Jul, 2023

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