There are so many tile options out there, how does one know where to begin? Commonly people tend to stick to what they know and opt for the safe white tile; however, this is mainly due to a lack of confidence in choosing that perfect tile.
If you have a designer involved with your project, let them source tiles for you. They won’t confuse you with hundreds of different tiles. I always pick one or two for my clients to choose between. If you haven’t engaged a designer, here are some of the latest trends for you:
This are the safe option in colour with a twist. They are Cobsa 3D Diamond porcelain mosaic tiles and will add a bit of class to the room. They are available in black or white.
This lovely mosaic tile is called Refin Bisel Petrolio.
The sea green colour could bring some wow factor
to your feature wall.
In this scullery I’ve used a brick tile called Ribsealbes Bisel in Blanco; it gives the room the feeling of an Italian deli.
Ribsealbes Bise available in White or black
Why not add glam and texture to your space with these Vidrepur mosaics.
This wood look tile can add warmth and texture to a room.
Tiles aren’t limited to floors and bathroom walls; why not impress your guests with a visually breathtaking entrance hall. Have a study that exudes warmth and comfort, a feature wall in your lounge that is like a piece of art. This all can be achieved with the right tile choice, but do be careful as unlike paint you can’t just change the feature on a whim.
One final titbit for you, it is imperative that you engage a superior tiler. Tiling is an art form, I’ve seen it all too often where people of gone with the cheapest option and that’s exactly what they got, a cheap inferior finish.
Images supplied by Tile Warehouse
You’re taking the leap, you are going to renovate! I’m sure you are very excited and raring to go. Not to burst your bubble, but it can be a very stressful undertaking and not as straight forward as one may think.
I’ve seen it all too many times; cost overruns, delays, frustrated owners and builders, which was nobody’s fault and couldn’t be avoided. I’ve had cabinetry ready to be installed on the date I’ve been given, but due to problems on site, we’ve had to store it for several months until the issues have been resolved.
Here is some advice that I give my clients and pitfalls to expect:
- Where possible get a fixed priced contract for building work to be done and if possible, have the firm organise all sub trades needed, like the plumbers, painters, electricians and tilers.
- You know the total cost involved
- They will co-ordinate all sub trades
- In my experience, the job is run very quickly
- The payments are made by progress payments throughout the job
- Covers the cost of materials and labour
- Can seem quite expensive, however you have to remember they are covering the cost of sub trades as well.
- The fixed price won’t cover anything unforeseen. You never know what is lurking behind a wall until it’s pulled apart, this can cost more and lead to delays. However, a good builder will communicate well with you and have quotes for the extra work, and the problem resolved within an agreed time.
- I’m not personally keen on hourly rate or charge up. In my experience it gets very expensive and the majority of the jobs I’ve been involved with that do it this way have been a very slow build. If you had a very small job, this could be an option for you.
- Remember, no one can tell what’s lurking behind the walls or in some cases floors. You may be in for added time and expense if the structure behind your walls needs repair.
- Be realistic about where the bulk of your budget should be spent. It’s all well and good wanting designer furniture, but if the budget won’t allow it, don’t be tempted to cut corners with the bathroom and kitchen or the building work to enable you to purchase that stunning dining suite. At the end of the day, these are the areas that will add true value to your home. The extras can come later.
- If it is a major renovation, try to avoid living on site. You never escape from the project and can be very dangerous, especially if you have children. I understand that sometimes budget doesn’t allow for rent, but perhaps a good friend or relative could help out.
- Allow around 10% over your budget for overruns. It is a rare thing not to have an overrun!
- Know who the manager is on the project. Nothing worse than talking to 20 different people trying to establish when something will be installed. Know who the manager is for each part of the project and only deal with them.
- Same can be said at your end. Have one manager that all the trades can deal with and make sure that person communicates with the others living in the home. Work out the budget together and go through the design process together, but when it comes to installs and building, it is better for everyone involved to be dealing with one decision maker.
- Trust each professional working on the project. Don’t ask the plumber what colour the wall should be, just like you wouldn’t ask an interior designer how to plumb a toilet. If you ask 10 different people, you can expect 10 different answers and then you will be totally confused.
- Have a list with all the names and telephone numbers of all the people working on the project. Like your designer, plumber and builder, etc. Provide a copy of this list to everyone.
- It’s a good idea to have a project meeting with the trades involved to nail down a timeline and for everyone to meet each other.
- Make sure you have Builders Risk Insurance. Or check your existing policy to see if it will cover the type of renovation you are undertaking.
- Have meals prepared and frozen. Have a list of your local restaurants, or break out the BBQ. If you are replacing your kitchen, you could be without one for a few weeks.
- Time-out – have a nice place to relax and forget about what’s going on.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and there is certainly a great deal more you need to know when you’re renovating. However, try to enjoy the process; it is worth it in the end.
The opinions viewed in this blog are only the views of Mal Corboy Design and in no way reflects how all companies operate.
Preparing for your design brief
So, you’re about to embark on your interior or even landscape project. What an exciting and yet stressful time you are going to have!
Even before you have decided which designer you are going to engage, you need to prepare for the design brief. This can often affect who you engage, as not all designers’ styles will suit your brief. Whether you are completing a new build or a renovation, the design brief is extremely important. A good brief will save a great deal of time toing and froing between you and the designer trying to get what’s in your head into an actual design.
Here are some things for you to think about:
- Who is the main cook and what sort of cooking do they like to do? (baking, stir-fry etc)
- What sort of small appliances do you need to house?
- How much storage will you need for china, plastics and cutlery? just to name a few
- Will you entertain in the kitchen area? Do you need seating?
- What oven, hob, dishwasher and fridge do you want to include?
- Do you want a wine fridge?
- What kind of lighting you will need
- Bench top materials and heights
- Floor to ceiling cabinetry or more modular
- Styles – traditional, contemporary or art deco, etc.
- Do you want to incorporate a bathtub?
- Will your children mainly be using a particular bathroom?
- Will there be a specific guest bathroom or toilet?
- Average or large size shower area?
- Heights of the main people using the shower
- Storage needed for towels and personal effects including hair dryers, GHD’s and shavers
- Make-up lighting
And the big one…VENTILATION
- Who is the main person using this space?
- Do you intend to iron in the laundry?
- What size will your washer and dryer be
- Storage needed for cleaning supplies and linen
- Good access to the outside
- Would you like a drying cupboard?
Rest of the interior
- Do you need a lot of storage for children’s toys and personal effects?
- Who are the main users of each space? For example, the formal living room may only be used by adults,
whereas the dining and living area is for the whole family
- How much entertaining do you do?
- What sort of feel do you want each room to have? Luxurious, comfortable, relaxed, formal and the list goes on
- Any inside pets?
- Is anyone in your family allergic to certain plants?
- Do you want low care/easy maintenance or do you enjoy gardening?
- Will you spend a fair bit of time outside? Will you entertain in the space?
- What sort of BBQ area do you want?
- Is there, or will there be a pool?
- Do you have any pets?
- Will you need a children’s play area?
There is so much more that could be added to this list; however we could be discussing this all day. When I meet my clients I have a list of comprehensive questions that I go through. I always ask my client to do some research on the things they like and more importantly what they don’t like. This isn’t an expensive exercise as a lot of it can be done through the magic of Google, and having visuals with you when you discuss your design brief, will help you to explain what look you are after to your designer.
A good designer will take your brief and come up with a plan that will see it come alive. We also will ensure that colours and materials will add to the structure of your home, depending on its style.
I decided to write this blog about outdoor kitchens as I recently recommended one to my client and his words were, “All the ones I’ve seen don’t flow or work well and quite frankly, look ugly”, then a moment later he clicked and said, “It was probably because they weren’t designed properly, so let’s do it”
Outdoor kitchens are becoming very popular and I’m not just talking about a BBQ that has all the bells and whistles. People want a more functional outdoor space that includes some of the conveniences from their indoor kitchen. For example, a large bench space, good storage, sinks with running water, pizza ovens, fridges and even dishwashers are starting to make an appearance.
Americans cottoned onto this great idea, and have been adding these spaces to their homes for years and to a lesser degree so have Australians. New Zealanders, although great outdoor entertainers are relatively newcomers to this concept, but are rapidly catching up.
Unlike our American counterparts, most Australasian consumers like to go for a more contemporary clean line approach. My clients generally like to have a similar look and feel as their inside kitchen.
I’m sure many people think that it would be easy to create an outdoor kitchen, how hard can it be right? Don’t be fooled. There are strict guidelines and regulations that need to be adhered to when using any appliance outdoors, plus there are difficult design requirements. I need to ensure that the space visually makes a statement without looking out of place to the exterior of the home, but also ensure that it functions like a well oiled machine. To me this area is like adding another room to your home; it needs to be inviting and a space where everyone feels like they are involved with what’s going on in the kitchen.
Another more popular request I’m receiving is to incorporate a drinks prep/bar area. You can have fun with the design of this part, keep it simple, or add colour and LED lighting to add drama at night. I like to use a wine fridge and incorporate all the gadgets you need to make a great cocktail, nothing better than after a fantastic meal sitting in oversized chairs sipping on your cocktail whilst you enjoy watching the fire from your pizza oven.
To keep this room protected from the elements I like to use a modern louvre system, that will close the room in or open it up, depending on the day, plus this way the room can be used all year round.
Enjoy your summer BBQ’s.
Pictures supplied by BBQ’s & More. Visit their website: www.bbqsandmore.co.nz
Why use a Kitchen Designer
A question that is often asked of me is, “What is the benefit of using a Kitchen Designer?” So I thought I’d attempt to answer this and provide some insight into what to think about when choosing who will design your kitchen.
There a numerous reasons to engage a Qualified Kitchen Designer early on in your renovation or new build. Whether or not you have an Architect or Interior Designer involved; you should always seek the services of a Kitchen Designer to work in with these professionals. I liken it to this analogy; every six months you will see your Dentist for a check up and maybe a filling, but if you needed to have an impacted wisdom tooth extracted, wouldn’t you seek the advice of an Oral Surgeon? Your Dentist may be perfectly adequate to complete this procedure for you, but given the option wouldn’t choose someone who does this day-in day-out? If something should go wrong, wouldn’t you want to have the very best advice on hand? In a strange way the same applies to Kitchen Design, sure most professionals could “Design” a kitchen adequately, but few could design something uniquely yours, that meets all the regulations, that has flair and functions beautifully. I guess I’m saying employ the people that specialise in their field.
Kitchens are not that easy
Contrary to popular belief, Kitchens aren’t that simple to create. Drawing pretty pictures is one thing, but ensuring all regulations are meet and having a design that works is quite another.
The regulations regarding kitchens are constantly changing and as a qualified Designer I need to ensure I am up-to-date with every change. Believe me, there is a colossal amount of regulations that I need to consider when I’m designing for my clients, it certainly isn’t the sexiest part of my role, but the most important. These come into play more with renovations, in particular when it comes to heritage homes and leaky buildings. You may have a kitchen now that met the criteria in the 80’s, however we may now have to look at the building structure to ensure it meets with the codes of today. I have come across people that have put in their lovely new kitchen, but it was illegal and all it would have taken was a little more money to put it right before the kitchen was installed; now they have to remove the kitchen to correct the issue. You guessed it….they have to employ the trades to complete this and will cost a great deal more.
Do you know all the latest and greatest products available on the market? I do, and I get trade discounts. Think about all the amount products available on the market, all I have to worry about what is new for the kitchen (ok in my case the bathroom and laundries too), again comes back to specialising in the field. The various suppliers in the market know who specialises in kitchens and will release the information to them before any other designers or the general public, as they often want their opinion.
A Designer needs to fully understand how you will use your kitchen, funny question I know, but you would be surprised at how many companies design a kitchen without asking the right questions and you as the client don’t have a kitchen that is specific to your needs. For example, who will be using it the most? How often would you use your oven and what for? (This will determine the type of oven we recommend), what small appliances do you use on a regular basis? The list goes on.
Cookie Cutter is what I would consider a lot of Designs, same upon same. Great Designers need to know what the Trends are, and actually I believe we should lead the way. Personally I travel a lot, to not just trade shows around the world, but I also like to get amongst it and I find the most interesting things outside these shows will inspire me; even a pair of shoes may spark an idea inside of me. When you employ someone to complete your kitchen, wouldn’t you like to know that no one has a kitchen quite like yours?
We’re your allies
At the end of the day we work for you, no one else on the project. Therefore we can work together to get what you want in the end. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been told, “it’s nice, but not exactly what I wanted” or “We felt pressured to do it this way” A Qualified Kitchen Designer needs to work with you to come up with your dream kitchen, if they listen to you at the beginning the end result will be perfect. We then work in with the other professionals to assist them to see that the end result will enhance the space.
We also relieve you of the pressure as we will ensure the project runs smoothly from beginning to the end, after all our name is ultimately attached to the kitchen. It’s our job to ensure the kitchen is delivered on time and within budget.
To sum up
- A qualified Kitchen Designer is up-to-date with the regulations
- Knows the latest trends
- Has access to the latest products
- Will design a functional yet visually stunning kitchen
- Specialists in their field
- Can save you money
- Works to your budget
- Will work with other professionals to achieve the best outcome for you
- Provide you with a bespoke kitchen – not a cookie cutter kitchen
- Manage the entire process
- Ultimately is working for you