Tag

renovation costs

Revolutionize Your Bathroom Renovation

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

Your bathroom renovation should be as essential as any other area of your living space. You will discover that there are particulars you may not have considered, yet will make substantial differences.

Toilet

The traditional seat height has been 15 inches until a few years ago. Now, the trendy “comfort height” of 17-19 inches is all the talk about toilets. You do not have to conform to trends, do what is comfortable for you. The same goes with oblong seats vs round seats. Take into consideration that oblong will take up more space, and are generally a little more in price. For additional information, glance over this quick about home article that reviews what to take into account while toilet shopping.

To Tile or Not to Tile…

Tiling is a great investment that lends itself to creativity with no boundaries. When it comes to the specifics of what sort of tile to use, what size tile to use or how to interchange multiple styles and sizes, you can use a few different resources. Browsing the web is always a convenient resource, such as Daletile’s visualizer, which includes various unique layouts to play with. But going to your local remodeling stores or consulting with an interior designer will prove more useful. Your remodeling stores will have displays that incorporate combinations that can assist with ideas you already have. You can also get an idea of the textures, durability and the endless styles and colors.

If cost is getting away from you, discuss options with the retailer. Incorporating larger tile into the project can be more cost efficient, while still accenting with more detailed trims or backsplashes. If you feel the need to get a glimpse now, here’s an article that explores floor-to-ceiling tile looks, with a few tips and suggestions.

Repurpose?

If the vanity is part of the renovation, consider whether you can repurpose it. This will save on cost and allow finances to be distributed elsewhere. This can depend on how you are showcasing your renovation, in essence to how much of a “wow” factor the bathroom tends to be. If you have an interior designer and carpenter, discuss this option with them. A carpenter can fix up or add onto an existing vanity, or make a new one.

Light it Up!

Lighting is everything, everywhere you go! It sets a mood, it provides for functionality and it adds to design and cohesiveness of the area. Take advantage of any natural light you can utilize, but also “layer” lighting. Lumens has some quick technicality lighting suggestions, while HGTV provides “13 Dreamy Bathroom Lighting Ideas.” Lighting options are extensive, with prices starting at under $100 at larger retailers such as Lowes, and ranging through the hundreds and thousands for more sophisticated and original styles. Again, consult with an interior designer to get the most out of your lighting needs, while still staying creative.

 

Discover the look you desire, in addition to the functionality you have room for and strive for. The assistance of our professional interior designers can ultimately provide you with the most cost-effective approach while getting what you want out of your renovation. Contact us today to maximize your space and budget.

Bathroom Renovations: What You Should Consider When Getting Started

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

If you’re a business owner, or looking to upgrade your residential space, a bathroom renovation can be an involved–but highly necessary–project. With some prep work, a quick checklist, and an understanding of the time and money this will truly take, you’ll be able to plan and update your bathrooms in the way you want!

For homeowners, the average budget for bathroom renovations in 2015 was just over $9,000. The high-end spend was around $20,000 (be aware that for a large, extensive bathroom upgrade, especially for a commercial space, this number could rise even higher). As a rough estimate for your needs, you can begin with $175 to $225 per square foot, as approximated by a principal at Collaborative Design Architects. With these calculations, note that if you plan to be very thrifty and save, your cost may run closer to $100 per square foot–and if you plan to replace counters, floors, tub, and more with extremely high-end materials (the works), you could be looking at over $300 per square foot.

Compare these numbers to your project’s size and scope, and estimate from there to begin to develop a budget.

For time frame, you should be aware that bathroom remodels can take anywhere from one week (for a fast, efficient, and round-the-clock team) to six weeks. This will depend on your contractor and your efficiency in getting set up, so determine what factors you’ll be working with in your situation to assess.

As you go further, think through the details that will make differences for your time and budget:

Materials. Your budget will greatly depend on the materials you use. If you’re going for a luxury look, natural materials for walls and counters, like granite, marble, or teak will impress, but may run your expenses up. For a budget-friendly option, look to materials like laminate for your countertops, to upgrade lightly.

Contractors. Before you choose a contractor, be sure to know your options and do your research; carefully check your contractor’s references to be sure you’ll be getting the best return on your investment. Talk to at least three different contractors to assess a baseline budget, and to see where each falls. Consider, also, the flexibility of your contractor. Will he or she be able to work the hours you need in order to finish your renovation on time? Are you more flexible, and able to work with a longer timeline if it means a smaller budget?

If you plan ahead and know what your non-negotiables are–and what you can be open on–you’ll have the bathroom upgrade of your dreams in a smooth, simpler process. For more information on renovations and redesigns, contact us today.

Your Home’s Renovation Fee: How do you figure it out?

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

Your home is your biggest investment, and naturally, if you want it to maintain its value, you’re going to have to renovate it periodically.

So, you meet with an interior designer — or a construction company — and they give you a quote for their services. There’s just one problem: you don’t know if the quote is too high, not high enough, or just right. So, how do you determine the right renovation fee for your home? Here’s our list of things to keep in mind before determining if you’ve been quoted a fair price:

  1. Make a list of all of the materials you need. For example, if you’re renovating your kitchen, list the amount of tile you’ll need, any appliances, the amount of drywall, etc. Be sure to take accurate measurements of the room (or of the entire home, if you’re doing a complete home remodel).
  2. After you get a complete list of the materials, get a few price quotes — don’t just settle for the first quote that was given to you. You may even want to get some of the prices yourself — many “big box” home improvement stores periodically have clearance sales that can save you hundreds of dollars!
  3. Next, calculate the amount of labor hours that will be needed to renovate the room in question. Again, be realistic, and be aware that when drywall is removed, especially in high-moisture places like kitchens and bathrooms, other problems with plumbing, mold, and faulty wiring may be uncovered, which will cause an increase in labor and materials costs.
  4. When factoring in the cost of materials, be sure to bear in mind that materials will vary in price, as well, and this variance is dependent on the quality of the materials procured. While a typical porcelain or ceramic tile in a “big box” store can be relatively inexpensive (sometimes as low at 99 cents per square foot!), a tile made from travertine or imported Italian marble can be significantly more expensive. Travertine tiles start at approximately $10 per square foot; Italian marble tiles start at double that price!
  5. When getting a quote from a contractor or designer, be sure to ask about the quality and type of materials they’ll be providing for their price as well.
  6. Once you get all the costs of the renovation together (materials and labor) that you then compare it to the price that a designer, or contractor, gives you. Again — don’t go with the first price that’s given to you. Compare a few quotes, and go with the one that provides the most reasonable price for the proper amount of work.
  7. In comparing prices, be careful of the designer or contractor giving you the lowest prices. Sometimes the cheapest is not always the best, as their experience, quality, and speed of construction may be lacking, which can cost more in the long run.
  8. To that end, too, you’ll need to set aside a contingency budget (better known as an “emergency funds” reserve) that’s equal to about 15% of your total renovation budget to account for problems that may be uncovered during the renovation process.

Contact us today to discuss your home’s renovation project.

Preparing for Your First Interior Design Meeting: 3 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

You are beginning to worry that staring at those drab beige walls in your office day after day might actually be sucking the life right out of you. How can you be expected to be inventive and clever when your “creative space” looks about as exciting as the inside of an elevator? You’ve seen pages upon pages of awesome office designs in magazines, and you think, wow-now that is a space that could really get the creative juices flowing… You know what you like, but you’re not quite sure how to make it happen-so you decide to bring in the big guns. You’ve hired an interior designer to help you achieve the master work place you’ve been dreaming of. You look forward to your first meeting with anticipation, but you really need to get your ducks in a row to ensure that your designer truly understands your vision.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for that first meeting:

1. Create a profile. Your interior designer will need to understand how you use your space in order to create the most functional design possible. Create a profile of your office space – what tasks are performed on a daily basis, do you see clients in your office, is your business style formal or informal, etc.

2. Outline the scope of your project. Once your designer understands how the space is used, they will need to understand what you want to have done. Clearly outline exactly what you expect from the design changes-are you looking to create space, liven up the place, or completely change the entire layout? If you have a vague idea of what you want, but are unsure of the details, explain which details you need help nailing down. Maybe you know you’d like to bring some color and life into your office, but don’t know what colors best suit your business. Make a list of these specific questions in your outline and be sure to present them to your designer.

Your outline is also the place to include your expectations as far as time and cost are concerned-have a budget in mind and let your designer know how much time you are willing to invest in the project. The more information you have ready for your designer, the quicker they can get to work.

3. Create an inspiration portfolio. Since you made up your mind to redesign your office, you’ve probably been noticing potential design elements everywhere-carpet swatches at the home improvement store, a unique armchair and vintage desk in the antique store window, that really awesome eye-popping new paint color at your favorite coffee shop. These little bits of inspiration are important parts of your vision, and keeping track of these can be of enormous help to your designer. Snap a picture on your phone if you are out and see something inspiring, grab paint samples, and clip some magazine images to create your own portfolio. Having a visual reference, such as a pinterest board, will make it much simpler to explain your desired outcome.

For example, here is openUU’s Cafe Design board for some inspiration.

Follow openUU ltd.’s board Cafe Design on Pinterest.

Redesigning your office seems like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating an inviting new space that fosters creativity is an exciting event. Remember to prepare a list of any questions you might have for your interior designer before your meeting, and organize your information to ensure that you are both on the same page. Please feel free to contact us for more information about interior design.

How to Estimate Office Renovation Costs

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

One of the largest mistake building owners make is underestimating the renovation costs for their home, office, restaurant, or store. This can lead to very sticky situations, as once you’ve started a renovation project it’s difficult to stop, and it can be even more problematic to have decided to buy a house because you underestimated the renovation costs, only to get an accurate estimate and realize you’re in the hole for thousands of dollars.

If you’re planning on making renovations (or buying a building with the intention of renovating), make sure you can accurately estimate how much those renovations will cost. This includes both materials and labor, as well as intangibles such as not being able to use the room you’re renovating. If you’re doing renovations yourself, labor doesn’t cost you financially, but it still has the opportunity cost of taking up your time and energy. Additionally, doing renovations is a very physical process, and doing it yourself will make you fatigued and sore. Always have a 10-15% contingency to cover extra materials or additional variation work during the construction.

When estimating the cost of materials, make sure to account for things like missed items and breakage. And don’t just use the least expensive products in your calculations; figure out which materials you will actually use and price accordingly.

When estimating the cost of labor, get multiple quotes and check up on the contractors’ reputations. Some contractors will charge less but have a history of lower quality work, or billing for addition variation changes to cover the initial low cost. Hiring skilled, experienced contractors is essential to the success of your renovations. It is worth investing a little bit of extra money on reputable and experienced contractor teams, so you don’t need to stress out over the other items.

For example, an office renovation in Hong Kong can cost HK$510 per square feet and up. A 2,000 square feet space can range from HK$1,020,000 (at $510/sqft) to HK$1.92M (at $960/sqft).

Office Renovation Budget*

Economy

(in HK$)

Mid-Range

(in HK$)

Upscale

(in HK$)

General Construction
carpets, floor finishes, wall finishes, ceiling finishes, partitions, window blinds
180 240 300
System Furniture
desks, chairs, filing cabinets, conference tables
160 250 400
M&E Services
electrical, a/v equipment, fire protection, a/c, plumbing
140 170 210
MISC
management fees, security deposits
30 40 50
 Total cost per square foot 510 700 960+

This article is meant to provide a guide to what to watch out for if you are considering renovations. If you keep this advice in mind, you’re much less likely to run into unexpected costs and much more likely for your renovations to be successful.

Contact us for more information about renovation costs.

*The total budget may vary depending on requirements, such as the number of employees, conference rooms, manager rooms, etc.

Top Renovation Tips For Your Commercial Space

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

blog-tips-for-your-commercial-spaceWhether you just want to freshen up your office space or you’re going for an all-over renovation, there’s no getting around the messy and time-consuming nature of an office renovation. Here are our top renovation tips to help make this as short and easy a process as possible so you can get back to work… in style:

Think long term

How you need to use your office space now might change in a year or two if you’re planning on expanding your business. Before you start renovating, make sure you know what your five-year plan is for the business so you can make renovations accordingly. You don’t want to go through this process more often than you need to so work with your designer to develop a renovation plan that will allow your business to grow. Introducing smart storage solutions is one way to make sure your business doesn’t outgrow your space or your renovation.

Think about your employees

You might be making the final decisions about paint and carpeting, but consider how you want your employees to work when you start your renovation project. Adding in ergonomic and/or standing work stations in offices can help your employees by reducing the strain on their bodies that can come from desk work. As the research keeps rolling in on the negative aspects of a sedentary work style, more and more employees are searching for ways to work while walking or standing. Be proactive now in order to keep top talent working for you and boost their productivity.

Go light

In general, light colors are more conducive for work spaces, but don’t go too crazy with the coloring. Neutral colors along with windows that let in natural light give offices an inviting feeling in contrast to dark colors that tend to bring down productivity.

Natural lighting

Along with keeping your paint and furniture light, make sure to incorporate natural light in your office. It’s no secret that people generally don’t appreciate the look of fluorescent lights, but research has concluded that natural light really does help people work better. A study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that employees who were exposed to natural light in offices overall had a better quality of life than those who were not. These improvements include “longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.” Incorporate windows and/or skylights into your design to help your employees and to make your commercial space a brighter and healthier place.

Think about the benefits

Adding up the cost of money and time for the renovation might have you start second-guessing the project, but remember that there are a lot of benefits to renovating your office space. Customers and clients will appreciate your updated look, especially if your current space is sporting old trends. In addition, updating your windows, lighting, even your faucets can save your company a lot of energy usage, which translates to a significant amount of money saved over the long haul. In addition, your employees will be happier and more productive in an updated, contemporary space, which will translate to a boost in business.

Working with a designer is the best way to make sure your office renovation will serve your business now and in the future. For more ideas on how to renovate your commercial space, contact us today.

5 Great Reasons to Hire a Professional Interior Designer

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

blog-reasons-to-hire-professional-interior-designerWhen it is time to think about giving your professional space a facelift, it is a good idea to employ strategies that have worked in other aspects of your business. For instance, when you need a good accountant, you do not hesitate to find one that understands your business needs and can meet those needs successfully. When you need an executive assistant, you carefully consider the qualified candidates and choose one that matches your goals and objectives. When you choose to renovate, the same principle applies.

A good interior designer can do much to make your renovation a smooth and pleasant journey. Here are five great reasons to hire an interior designer.

1) A professional interior designer can save you a great deal of money.

While some think that hiring a designer will be cost-prohibitive, often the reverse is true. A designer with a good working knowledge of structural matters as well as aesthetic concerns will be able to steer you away from  costly mistakes in the renovation process, thereby saving you both time and money. And with additional money to spend, you can achieve more of the look that your professional space deserves.

2) A professional interior designer will use a trained eye.

What does that mean, exactly? A designer has been trained to recognize what is right and what is wrong with your space. Often, a designer can make suggestions that you may have never imagined to maximize the potential of your space.   Are you interested in a more traditional office space with individual partitions, or are you thinking of a more open design?  If you are having trouble deciding what will work best for your business, a designer will discuss how your enterprise works and make suggestions that will help you achieve your goals. Designers are often experts at “thinking outside the box”, thereby making your space unique and wow-worthy.

3) A professional designer will know people.

As you know with your own business, there is much value in having good, dependable contacts. The same is true for designers. Often a professional designer knows a variety of people you will need as work commences on your project.  This will save you both time and money, as you will not have to find reliable carpenters, painters, plumbers, and other workers in the building trades without expert advice. And with solid workmen supporting the professional design at every step, the finished product will meet or exceed your expectations.

4) A professional designer can help you budget and plan your renovation well.

With the knowledge of standard costs for various aspects of a renovation, the designer can work with you to find the best resources available for your needs. Taking the guesswork out of your projected budget is a real bonus for you, as it alleviates anxiety regarding the renovation process.  Often, your designer can suggest upgrades that will enhance the value of your space considerably, while still keeping an eye on making you and your employees comfortable.

5)  A professional designer can help you plan and visualize your space.

You inhabit your office space for hours every day and are accustomed to the way things are arranged there.  Sometimes, when you think about renovation, it may be difficult to truly visualize what changes can be made to bring your space back to life.  A good designer can see things with a fresh perspective, offering ideas on a wide variety of design options that will get your creative juices flowing again.  Then, once you have a clear picture of where you want to go with the project, the designer can ensure that your vision is honored throughout every step of the process.

These are just a few of the benefits of working with a professional designer. To learn more, please contact us. We will be happy to show you how we can benefit your project today.

Estimating the Cost of an Interior Designer

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

blog-estimating-cost-of-interior-designerMaking the investment in great interior design is a decision that will benefit your home or business for years to come. If you love the idea of working with an interior designer on your next project, you might be wondering what the designer cost will be. Here are a few practical steps that will help you build your budget.

Define the Scope of the Project

In order to establish a realistic budget, you’ll first need to define the scope of your project. Interior design costs can vary greatly based on style, size, materials used and complexity of the project. By taking the time to asses the project and develop a list of priorities, you’ll increase the chances of hitting your budget objectives. The American Society of Interior Designers offers a sample scope of work that sheds light on the intricacy of this process.

When establishing your scope of work, consider your target time-frame, practical concerns and project needs. Working closely with your interior designer and clearly communicating your requests will minimize unwanted costs. It is important to understand that requesting last-minute changes to your project can increase your expenses and cause delays, especially if construction has already commenced. Careful planning can save you headaches in the long run.

Understand the Billing Process of Your Chosen Designer

Not all interior designers bill in the same way and billing practices often vary from project to project. As you discuss the design plan, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask about billing procedures. The Life of an Architect website offers some great resources that explain the difference between hourly, per square foot and combination fee structures.

Here is a basic breakdown:

Hourly– This fee structure is fairly easy to understand. You will be charged, using an hourly rate, based on the service provided. This rate will differ by the project being completed. Designer or Architects can range from USD$50 to USD$500 depending from the type of work and years or experience.

Percentage of Cost– This form of billing involves using a percentage, typically 8-15%, of the total renovation cost. This generally does not include the cost of coordination of services or specialty items (like upgraded furniture). For example, if the overall renovation cost is $2M, then 10% of the cost would be $200,000.

Cost per Square Foot– Just as with the percentage of cost method, this will not include specialty items and services. This is similar to the hourly structure, but is based rather on a flat fee per square foot. Again, this can range from USD$10 and up per square foot. So a 1,000 square feet project can cost USD$10,000 for the design fee.

Combination Structure– By far the most common, this billing structure combines costs, usually breaking them into a cost per hour, percentage of construction cost and fee for special service.

Additional charges may come into play if the scope of the project changes due to unforeseen circumstances or changes to your requests. Keep in mind that professional interior designers utilize their network of contacts to keep overall prices as low as possible. Having a clear understanding of your designer’s billing practices will help you to build a design budget that is realistic.

Entrusting your project to a qualified interior designer is a great decision. Contact us to learn more about the interior design process and how we can assist you with achieving your goals.

3 Key Tips to Estimating Construction Cost

By | Blog, Renovation Resources

blog-3-tips-estimate-construction-costWhen starting a new construction project, it’s important to maintain a budget and know the construction cost, from beginning to end. But what components go into the project cost, and what should you keep track of with your designer?

Here are three key considerations for creating and managing your budget.

1. Account for hard costs.

Within a project budget, hard costs cover everything that involves the construction of your project. This can include excavation and demolition, plumbing, electrical, roofing, windows, appliances, painting, lighting, foundation, and more. Each component is necessary for the project to be completed, but you have options when it comes to customizing what you want, and finding designs that work for the project in mind.

2. Account for soft costs.

Construction materials and tasks are not the only expenses in an overall project. Soft costs account for the rest of the project budget that do not fall under construction. They can include permits, taxes, consultant and professional fees, landscaping, even recycling and refuse services. Your contractor or architect will talk to you about these costs, but it’s good to do some research on state laws or ordinances that might apply to your development project. While it’s not always easy to know what soft costs will come up, it’s good to add room in your budget for unexpected costs.

3. Get a description of what a dollar amount means per square foot. 

Typically, you’ll see contractors give the cost of a project as $ per square foot (ex. $200/sq. ft or $300/sq. ft.). As you can imagine, that cost can add up as the size your project grows, but what do you get? Most contractors will say that it equals the total construction cost, including contractor fees, applied to the air-conditioned areas of the project.  When given the option between rates, the difference can mean more detailing or design options at a higher cost. For example, building a brick house at $150/square foot would include a composition shingle roof and wood windows on a slab on grade foundation, while a $200/square foot option can cover steel-framed entry doors, masonry stucco, tile roof, and pier to beam foundation. Again, it’s good to get a description of what each rate brings, and to prioritize your needs and desires to maintain a budget.

When looking at each category, consider your priorities and run a cost-benefit analysis for each one: Ask what options do you have when it comes to design, and track which ones are required or flexible to change. For example, the roof might not be as important as the lighting, so allocate the budget towards lights over roof design.

Whether your project is residential or commercial, making an effort to track and manage your project costs will help you find the best medium between design and functionality. For more information and advice, contact us.