Sunday, 1 December 2013

Dollar and Cents of Renovating a House (Choosing Interior Designers and Contractors)

It has been a long while since my last post as I was away to France for a free and easy tour with my family which I will try to do a posting on it. Also, I am currently doing my renovation for my new apartment.

I hope to share my experience for the renovation process so others could perhaps benefit from it and be able do a better budgeting with cost savings in mind.

Before the renovation and short-listing of interior designers and contractors for our home, I have been religiously buying the Home and Decor magazines and also browse the other interior design magazines in the petrol kiosk rack since the start of the year to get ideas for our home. We also google and research on the web whereby renotalk and hardwarezone forums were very useful. There are also individual blogs such as those of Xiaxue and there is one which is really good whereby he actually went to around 10 interior designing firms to get a quote (I can't recall off hand his blog address but will upload it if I managed to find it). Along the way, my wife and I started to short-list those designers that we kind of have a good feel  from their portfolio showcase in the magazines and reviews from the web.

We ended up with a final list of 3 Interior Designing firms (1 is from the magazine approach, 1 is introduced by a client and another is my wife's contact) and 1 contractor (Recommendation by a friend).

This is the short-list of things we wanted to do:

1) Hack 3 walls and erect 3 new walls
2) Overlay Kitchen floor tiles and walls tiles
3) New wardrobe for master bedroom and two other rooms.
4) 2.2m full height console
5) 2m full height console for master bedroom
6) Hack master bedroom toilet and total overhaul
7)Overlay floor tiles for common bathroom
8)False Ceiling for Master Bedroom and Son's Bedroom
9)Polish marble floor, parquet and common toilet marble walls.
10)Custom made shelving and study table for son's room.
11) Custom made study table with shelving in master bedroom.
12) Kitchen Cabinets and a standalone cabinet for built in microwave and built in oven.
13) Electrical Works
15)Vanity top and mirror cabinet for common bathroom with a new shower screen

There were some good ideas suggested by the Interior Designers that we have met especially the one that was introduced by my client whom is very experienced in the business. We got quotes from all of them whereby the contractor came in with the lowest quote and we were tempted to pass the project to him as my friend have rave reviews of his work. However, my friend just did his kitchen and not the whole house.

We decided to go with my wife's contact at the end cause we feel an interior designer might be able to execute our theme better. Moreover, his rates are reasonable and not way off the contractor quote. As for the other Interior Designers, their quotes could be around 30-50 percent more than the quote I got from the interior designer that we went with.

Partly, they are from a more reputable interior designing  firm which means they do charge 7% GST which my current interior designer and the contractor does not charge as he just started his own company for around 3 years. This could be quite a lot of cost savings which you can utilise to make another wardrobe or for your furniture budget.

That's all for now and I will carry on with further posts on my renovation process. We are in the midst of buying the appliances, furniture, curtains and etc.


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