Friday, April 11, 2014

Renovating Tips for New Home Owners

This is a guest post from Turner Freeman, a law firm providing care, support and outstanding results to clients for over 60 years.

Turning the key in the lock, you try to quell your frothing excitement. The realisation that you have your very own home is finally sinking in and as you wander through the deliciously empty rooms, visions of future experiences overwhelm you. Dinner and drinks with friends, birthday parties, lazy Sunday mornings and cooking sessions that would make Jamie Oliver jealous; your new life and new home await you. Yet as you look around, noting the wall colours, fading façade of the kitchen and the er, unique carpet, you acknowledge that there are a few tweaks that need to be made. Before you rush headlong into your renovation project, read the tips below for ideas on how to make the process that much easier.


The first stage of any project is the planning process. Clearly define what you want to achieve, the timeframes for these goals and how much you want to spend. A budget will act as a guide, letting you know whether your spending is on track or out of control, while a timeline can assist in seeing the bigger picture. Taking the time to really think about the actual renovations will also help you avoid headaches or regrets down the line.

Work with All your Spaces

A common mistake that many aspiring renovators make is to focus solely on the house, instead of the entire property. During your planning phase, take into account your garden and backyard and determine whether any landscaping works are required. Outdoor space can be a very precious commodity, so ensure that you are making the most of what you have.

Don’t Overcapitalise

What is overcapitalisation? In the renovation world, this refers to a situation where the cost of renovations exceeds the actual added value to the property or item. Avoid this trap by spending your money wisely. Kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor areas are major features of any house, so invest in them by using high-quality materials and functional designs. On the other hand, overly expensive and garish décor can turn off prospective future owners and decrease the property’s value.

Use Professionals when Necessary

Inundated with grandiose ideas and innovations, it is incredibly easy to be overly optimistic when it comes to DIY projects. After all, how hard could it be? The reality is that DIY projects can go very wrong, becoming expensive and stressful. Unless you are qualified, it is best to call in the experts for any electrical work, plumbing, major structural changes and demolition.

Consider Asbestos

When was your house built? If it was constructed before 1990, the likelihood that it contains asbestos is quite high. Asbestos is a toxic substance that was commonly used in building materials until its harmful effects were established; since then there have been numerous medical cases that have resulted in legal action. Asbestos can be found in areas of your house such as wall sheeting, metal pipes, roofs, concrete and under floors. If you suspect that you have asbestos and are determined to continue with your renovation work, hire the services of a licensed asbestos removalist. For legal matters, contact a law practice such as Turner Freeman to confirm all the options available to you.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Have you recently completed some renovations? Leave a comment below to share your advice and/or personal experiences.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stress-Free Bathroom Renovations: 5 Types of Contractors to Have on Speed Dial

This is a guest post from Clearly Glass, designers that thrive on the challenge of maximum use of naked glass for minimum visual impact.

Looking to upgrade your home for your own personal satisfaction or to increase its market value before selling? Either way, a bathroom renovation is an ideal way to achieve that goal. However, they aren’t minor undertakings – they require planning, as well as help from the right people. A successful bathroom renovation relies on having reliable people at every step of the journey. Below we look at five contractors that you should find and save into your phone before getting started with your bathroom makeover.


If any of the main fixtures (e.g. toilet, bathtub, shower, or vanity) are being repositioned, there’s an extremely high chance that the plumbing will need to be rearranged to match the new layout of your bathroom. This really isn’t something you should attempt to take care of yourself (DIY plumbing efforts can lead to disaster!) so make sure to put a quality plumber on speed dial to help with this.

Glass Repairer

A large shower is a centrepiece of contemporary bathroom design. And why not – they look great and provide more comfortable showers! So if you’re upgrading to a more modern feel for your bathroom, you’ll probably be giving your shower some extra breathing space… and this is the perfect time to modernise the shower’s look as well, with a stylish glass shower screen. Make sure to have a contractor who specialises in glasswork (e.g. Clearly Glass) on speed dial for this part of the project.


Particularly if your vanity is making a move to a different part of the bathroom, your power points will most likely need to be shifted. Having a dependable electrician saved in your contacts makes it easy and stress-free to get help with having power coming from the perfect places to let you comfortably use appliances like electric shavers, hairdryers, hair straighteners, and phone chargers.


Most bathroom facelifts include some foundation… by which we mean the ground has some work done. If you’re replacing outdated tiles with fresh modern ones, you should have an efficient and affordable carpenter on standby to take care of this task. A carpenter is also extremely useful to have on call if you’re moving, refitting, or replacing cabinets in your bathroom or the vanity.


We’re only half kidding. For your bathroom renovation to be a success and to reflect your dreams of what it should look like, it’s important to be as involved as possible throughout the process, even if tradies are doing all of the actual work. Staying across everything that happens (though without getting in anyone’s way, or course) is the only way to catch any mistakes that your contractors might make. Remember: only you can see exactly your vision of your perfect bathroom. The workers can only perform their tasks based on what you’ve told them, and there’s never a guarantee that what they hear is the same as what you’re imagining. With your ideas and the expertise of each of the above contractors, a stress-free and successful bathroom renovation is entirely achievable.