Utopia    Guest Blog 12 Jul 2017

Property expert Selena Quick gives her top tips on how to ‘renovate right’


We spoke to Selena Quick, a property expert and the founder of independent property consultancy PAD, about the best ways to renovate your house and incorporate great design without extreme costs. Here are her top tips…


Start with why it’s important to balance what you paid for the property against its value and your own personal circumstances. ‘Is this an investment property? Are you going to live in the home for five, ten or twenty years? How much can you afford? Did you purchase the property when the market was up or down? What have similar renovated properties nearby recently sold for?’ Evaluate your situation and create a realistic budget that you stick to. Every property has a ceiling, you need to do more than make it look pretty to add value so prioritise adding square footage and the kitchen.


Architectural lines can make or break the finished look so make a point of understanding the basic structural details. ‘Is there a down-stand? What is the ceiling height?’ Addressing this pre-build will enable you to control how staggered your ceiling will be. Think ahead ‘Is the main beam big enough to cope with a loft conversion? How big is the internal wall return on an extension? What is the width either side of the external doors?’ The latter will also help consider your kitchen and furniture placement. There are often alternatives that can be implemented when time is on your side so engage an architect you can work with, ask questions when you’re not sure and spend time planning to keep the build time to a minimum.


The kitchen has a lot to live up to, whether you love cooking, socialising or you’re just design conscious. Practicality and functionality are key, focus on how you use a kitchen when working on the design. Avoid over-use of end panels and standard sizes, bespoke kitchens can be fairly priced. Light, space and clean lines are imperative whether opting for a modern or traditional finish. Invest in your on-show appliances and research all specs, technology is evolving. Consider quartz for the worktop, there’s a style and colour for everyone in all price brackets.


If you’re installing bi-folding or sliding doors, establish your specification. Ensure you understand the garden transition and different threshold options. ‘Will there be a step down? Standard or low threshold?’ Be aware of how detail combinations can affect this, for example, if you would like the same flooring as the inside space and you’re on a hill, a standard threshold with no sill is better suited to avoid rainwater coming in. If your property is exposed or south facing, you may want to consider solar control glass or integrated blinds. Think about how many doors, less is more cost-effective and lets more light in. Check the height, bespoke doors up to 2.4m shouldn’t cost you any extra. Finally, check the U-value and tender to specific spec, you will be surprised at the variations.


Be consistent with flooring throughout your home, it will make it look bigger. Downstairs weigh up wood, luxury vinyl or tiles. If you can’t bear the maintenance of real wood, opt for UV oiled wood flooring, it’s low maintenance, durable and can be used in the kitchen. Be careful of luxury vinyl when mixing concrete and timber sub-floors in an open plan space. Tiles on a concrete sub-floor are very cold so consider underfloor heating as essential. Carpet works well for the upstairs, it’s warm and better for the budget. Go for a medium pile so you can keep it consistent and avoid wool if you have kids.

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