You don’t often get a second chance at your renovations and for most people once in a lifetime is plenty. Here, our panel expert architect Andrew Benn informs us on the traps to avoid from the get go.


1. Not having a master plan
If you don’t properly establish a plan for the building, renovations are often done in a piecemeal manner and become disconnected to the building as a whole. It’s an incredibly important document to have in place because with it you set the bones of the house, the core ideas such as managing privacy, structure, natural light and architectural composition. Once you have a master plan, you will always have a design reference to fall back on when it comes to testing your latest ideas, even many years later.


2. Rushing into things
People often rush the early stages of design as they’re impatient to see results, and yet this is when the most important decisions in the project are made. I cannot stress enough how important it is to give these early stages time to develop as this is when the core ideas are set and you spend the remaining months building them and then eventually living with them.


3. Making late changes
Late changes can really hurt as you might not see the knock on effect these can have, particularly once construction starts and everything becomes rushed. Make sure you’re happy with the main ideas early on in the process (see point 2!).


4. Employing substandard trades
Poor workmanship can be a disaster. Make sure whoever you’re dealing with is up to the task and select them specifically for your project. If you don’t know the builder or tradie you’re potentially working with, I’d recommend to choose those within your architect’s network, then go see some of their previous work and ask for references.


5. Being too ‘on trend’
It’s always best to avoid being overly fashionable to the point where its irreversible. Better to focus on loose furnishings as a means of trend styling then have the architectural elements sustain the amenity of the spaces for the long term. Again, it’s important to have a long term vision for the house that can incorporate a level of flexibility in the latest trends, but is always inviting and comfortable.


For more handy renovation advice, try:
>> 6 stages of a renovation
>> Keith The Foreman’s renovation rules

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