As well as designing shops I have the privilege of designing homes for many wonderful clients. This is a whole other design process to retail. Most of my domestic work is renovation designs of existing houses. Over the years I have found that there are common questions everyone asks as we embark on their design process. The first question is "should I pull down and start from scratch or renovate?"
Renovating is expensive. It is often cheaper and faster to build from scratch.
Sometimes you aren’t able to pull the house down or maybe the original house has characteristics that you like and don’t want to lose.
You need to also check the condition of the house. Does it have good strong bones? If there are no building controls on the house, don’t take on a reno if you are going to end up replacing almost every wall due to rot or damage.
Renos become expensive due to the unknown. Whilst builders can provide a provisional cost estimate a lot of them are hesitant to give a fixed price for a reno as they just don’t want to get financially caught if they should discover a major issue once they begin building. Time and money can disappear quickly while you are trying to match timbers and moulding profiles, remove hidden asbestos or sand back old lead based paint. It’s commonly known that renos always cost more than your initial budget. It’s worth getting a few opinions from builders about your house before you make the decision to renovate or pull down.
Keeping in mind these factors if you are still leaning towards a reno, it often comes down to making a decision about how much the existing character is worth to you on both an emotional and monetary level. It may even be possible to do a new build and incorporate some of the features from the old house you’ve pulled down. For example old worn bricks can be cleaned up and used for new feature walls.
Old floor boards can be re purposed on walls or other surfaces.
Clever forethought can put character back into the house whilst allowing a more cost effective overall new build.