We’re all quite excited at the moment as things have really kicked into gear at the house – windows are starting to go in, insulation starting to go up, and we’ve had a complaint from a neighbour (that must be a key project milestone for all city renovations, surely?). We’ve assured them the percussion drill will be kept to very social hours only.
I like the “before/after” part on home renovation programmes. We’re way from finished so to attempt a flash-forward I’ve been having a play with photos I took on monday, comparing them with some of the interior design models we had done for the lounge/reception. Somewhat unconventionally, we got our interior designer involved from the day of completion and had her drawing possible “what-if” models to include as input to the initial planning drawings, working with our main contractor (Mark), architectural consultant (Richard) and eco-consultant (Marine). Note: already proving to be an awesome combination!
Our interior designers name is Francesca (from Preview Interiors). We love her style – we’ve lived with some of her design for the last 5 years after she “did” our current place. We’d bought off-plan and when we moved in the place had all the walls and doors but not much of anything else – no shelves, wardrobes, mirrors, bathroom cabinets. “Oh great”, we thought, “a blank canvas!”. After living in the place for about a year, I was the first to break and admit that I am no interior designer beyond basic utilitarian principles. I have married a good shelf-and-cabinet installer however.
Luigi was initially dubious about getting in an interior designer, but became a convert about 5 minutes after Francesca arrived. For one, she’s Italian (I am sure there’s a secret handshake!) Apart from being a great designer, she’s a great listener. And a realist. I am (she says) more of the “eclectic” persuasion, while Luigi tends to prefer “minimalist style”. Also, as a woman I genetically like storage. Translated: I’ll go for pretty much anything so long as there’s brightly coloured stuff and cabinets involved, and Luigi likes straight lines.
We really appreciate her use of 3D modelling – the models and photos uploaded to this post show how it helps to imagine the place in its to-be state. During the initial design/planning phase we used her models to work out the usage-patterns of the house, basically figuring out how we would live in it. With them, we played with configurations of the space; worked out which fireplace to keep open – I really wanted a wood burner – and whether to keep the separate rooms or open-plan everything. They were also great for working out structural details. As you can see from the alternative model, we were looking at how deep the “entrance hall” would be (and its impact on the room arrangement) – and we were discussing where to store bikes, we use them a lot. I love the creative solution that Francesca came up with, hanging one up as decor, but it won’t make the final cut. The partition wall is gone now and the room will just have a steel support post. The half-wall near the kitchen stairs is designed to let light into the main staircase, and lessen the ‘corridor effect’ between the front and the back of the house. All very different from the furry-velvet-wallpaper lined rooms we were starting from.
The models were useful in identifying and translating to Richard and Mark how we were thinking/what we wanted. From that came practical (and cost-impacting) considerations of how much steel to use (and where); how big to make the back window; and where to put the lights, light switches, powerpoints etc. In the kitchen models, (I’ll upload in another post) we changed the entire workspace layout which had impacts on the piping and ventilation requirements. From the EnerPHit/ eco-consultants perspective, it gave Marine insight into how we will use the house and anything that may impact the airtightness (eg: the wood-burner, the dog-door) was included in the predictive modelling (and therefore the insulation requirements).
At this point of the renovation, the models are proving to be very reassuring. The photos show what the place looks like as of this week. The kitchen has even more rubble in it since they knocked down the side and rear walls and the upstairs has even had the internal partitions stripped, so having the future-state modelled is giving us a beacon of hope that it will all be liveable in the end.
And I love that couch.