renovated area

Undertaking a renovation can be an overwhelming prospect for many, particularly if it is not something you have ever done before. It may be that you don’t have the language to be able to coordinate such a project effectively here in Israel. Perhaps you don’t have the time to invest or lack the practical knowledge as to where to begin. You want to make the change, but just don’t know how to go about it? I am passionate about helping my clients love their home. I believe that home is where we should feel safe and secure. It should feel inviting and be functional. Hopefully I can help you feel a little more confident to take the first step in transforming your home.

Firstly, get clear about a budget. Know how much you have to spend and keep in mind that once work begins, unexpected costs have to be added due to unforeseen circumstances or decisions that you make during the process. If the budget is limited (as is always the case!) think about your priorities and consider what would be a good idea to do as a renovation now and what you might postpone to a later date. There are areas that can be done as a stand-alone project, for example, a bathroom. But it is a good idea to think about the order of work. I would not advise doing custom carpentry first on top flooring that you are thinking you would like to replace in the future.  

Set a budget for home styling – it brings life and character to every room and really makes your home your own. Adding art, rugs, wallpaper, window treatments, throw pillows, plants and accessories infuses warmth, interest and texture and creates a unique feel for your home.

Don’t underestimate the planning stage. A well-planned renovation will make for a smoother and less costly process. Plan thoroughly how you would like to use each area to make the most of every bit of the space. How are you going to plan for more storage? Where do you need more workspace? Where are you going to do and hang laundry? Where will you place your TV or charge your devices? Contractors prefer to come, go through everything that needs to be done and do the job once. If additions and changes are made, you will be paying extra for the same job. This can be avoided by ensuring, that all electric outlets and lighting points for general, ambient and task lighting are outlined in advance in plans and then marked with the electrician on site. This process is the same for plumbing and tiling. Clear plans for the contractor mean that mistakes are less likely to happen.

I also recommend planning for your outside space when doing a renovation. Think about lighting, water and gas for the BBQ. It would be rather frustrating to have to open walls and floors for electrics and gas once a renovation has been completed.

Before signing with any contractor or vendor, check references. Make sure those references come from someone you trust and recommendations you can rely on. It is also useful to ask for references of someone who has used them recently and also a year prior. Does this contractor consistently show up and does he return if there is a problem or issue? Does he guarantee his work?

When getting quotes from professionals, get two or maximum three quotes. But make sure to get like for like quotes. Be specific about what you are looking for with a list or plans from a designer or architect. This is true for any supplier too. It would not be helpful to compare a quote for internal doors, for example, where one has ma’am, delivery and installation included and the other quote this is not included. It is also important in such cases to understand quality of the product. In the doors example – what are the doors made from? Are they sound and waterproof? What styles, handles and extras are included in the price quote? Understand the product and what is included in the quote.

Make sure contractors and suppliers take their own measurements before manufacturing a product. They should take responsibility for their work and then should any problems arise at the fitting stage, they are accountable.

Think about what furniture you may want to keep and what you need to buy new. Ensure to take accurate measurements before purchasing new furniture and make sure not to overfill a space with too much furniture. Many olim bring furniture from abroad, which is often too big for Israeli homes, so think about room sizes and what you can fit comfortably in the space.

Go to stores prepared with a shopping list with quantities to ensure that nothing gets forgotten. It is more likely for things to go wrong and confusion if the order needs to be changed or added to and it may increase the delivery costs too! When purchasing tiles always add extra in case tiles arrive chipped or there are breakages during installation. It is also useful to have a box or two leftover should you need in the future.

Check deliveries as they arrive. Should anything go wrong, any of the order arrive damaged or missing the company would then replace. 24 or 48 hours later it is much more difficult to get the order to be completed at no extra cost. I had clients recently where the whole order that was delivered was wrong. This was easily fixed it was picked upon in a timely fashion.

At the selections stage of your renovation make sure to understand what products the store has in stock and, if not, what is supplied from within the country and what is imported from abroad. Corona has made expected delivery times on imported items long and unpredictable. Depending on your timeline for your renovation it may be a good idea to stick to items easily available.

Whilst the renovation is taking place, visit the site, keep track of the budget, timeline and progress of the project. Bring hot/cold drinks and snacks for the contractor and his employees. It shows a little appreciation for the work that they do and everyone likes to be recognised for the value they add.

Lastly, try to have fun! Include the family members who live at home in the process, for example, let kids have a say about their bedroom colours, so that they feel part of it. Listen to and include their ideas where possible (Pinterest is a great tool for this purpose) and that will hopefully make the disruption that the renovation makes to family life during the build phase, a little easier to endure.

Some of these tips may seem obvious to you, others you may not have thought about before, but I hope this extensive list of useful tips and advice help you if you are thinking about embarking on a renovation or update of your space. A renovation done right can be life changing, go for it!

If you would like to discuss any project with me, don’t hesitate to contact me for a consultation in your home. Check out my Instagram @designby_efrat or on Facebook @designbyefrat