London is a specific place. It’s a big pot where we have a mixture of cultures, British heritage and modern taste. It’s one of the most popular fashion capitals, heart of classical architecture as well as a modern night life spot. Everyone can find something for themselves here. Something they will fall in love with and will want to re visit over and over again. And believe me! I’m saying that with a full back up of personal experience. I came over to London for summer 12 years ago… haven’t left yet.
At the same time, London is a really popular place for homeowners. People that experience constant lifestyle development, need a home upgrade or simply desire a change. London renovation market is ideal for them. We are surrounded with Kitchen designers and flooring workshops pretty much around every corner in town. In order to help you with your renovation endeavours I put together those few tips that you should keep in mind every time you plan a home alteration.
Is your property in a Conservation area or do you live in a Listed Building?
In London we have over 18 thousands of listed buildings and several hundred of conservation areas. If you live in central London, that pretty much means there is a good chance of your property falling into one of those groups. Its not a major issue but there are different laws and regulations these fall under. Something worth keeping in mind.
Check the rules you need to comply with
Yes its quite vague but depending on the property you own there will be loads of authorities you have to keep happy. Starting with the British Heritage, your Council, possibly an estate of some sort managing your street, building management company if you own an apartment etc. Definitely check that before starting any work and any of those authorities is capable of stopping your works if you do not comply with their rules.
Consider the neighbours
Neighbours in London can be real nightmare. If you think that you don’t have to worry about them planning your renovation… then I wish you all the best trying to live next to those people once you finished your project. Spending ten quid in your local supermarket on a bunch of tulips or bottle of a semi-discounted wine doesn’t hurt and definitely allows keeping a good relation with the neighbours. Even if you have to spend an hour of your life listening to moaning… just give a damn! It will pay off sooner than you think.
Be prepared for everyone’s advice.
Home renovating in general is an area where people who have a house and hold a paint brush at some stage think they are masters in this craft and, not only can, but SHOULD share their advice with others. In London given the amount of people and dated properties that need regular refurbishment – this trend is even more visible. You decide if that’s good or bad. It can be overwhelming it can also be quite helpful. As long as you have a person to bounce these ideas off – Project Manager, creative Builder, multiskilled Interior Designer – who will help you filter through, you will be all good!
Do your due diligence!
There is loads of companies here caring about your wallet more than about what you get in exchange. There is nothing wrong in asking your builder for company accounts but knowing someone’s financial position can save you a lot of time and hassle. I’m not a master I chit chat sale talk. I’m very far from it. But I know a few people who could sell air and have their clients assured they are getting gold worth. Definitely something to keep in mind… not only in relation to home renovating! If you need help on this you can now download our free Guide
Remember that at the end it has got to work for you.
I love to start the conversation with the client describing the ultimate goal. As in, it’s a lovely wine in my hand, really nice chat we are having but why am I here? Am I hear to make your dream a reality? Am I here to make sure no one rips you off? Am I hear to take the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on paint colours? What exactly do you want from me?
Loads of people, usually designers or architects without Project Management background loves to omit this stage and build trust and assurance of being in control. But how can you be in control without knowing what it is you are trying to achieve? So as a client, do not let anyone lead you into something that you do not want. Write down your goal, write down how do you want to get there and make sure you stick with it.
There is probably another dozen of tips I could share with you, if we were sitting over wine or a nice coffee, probably couple of dozen. But I feel like the last tip is really the most important one. I really feel sorry for the people who put too much trust into someone else and then feel their goal has not been achieved. Its frustrating. Its expensive. And its time consuming. If you feel like having a chat with us over your London renovation project, you can find a booking link below.