5 Top Tips for a successful Character Property Renovation

September 10th, 2020

Georgian End of Terrace Full Property Renovation

  1. Find a company that understands the process from beginning to end.

We can manage every aspect of your Character Property Renovation for you so that you can stay focused on what you do best. We have been helping clients with top to toe Character Property Renovations for  a decade and a half, so there isn’t much that we haven’t seen. More importantly, we get a real kick out of remodeling tired old dames back to their former ‘Belle of the Ball’ status, and this is important because this fuels the stamina required for this style of project. We are well versed at updating within the original character of the home so that the final result delivers contemporary living, but doesn’t feel out of touch with the ‘roots’ of the house. There’s an art to getting this right, and a lot more to it than meets the eye, first off.

Drawing Room antique furniture paired with contemporary art from artist, James Harrigan.

 

2. Understand the vernacular that you are dealing with.

Of course it’s critically important to understand the vernacular that you are working with from the start, whether it’s Victorian, Georgian, English Baroque, Tudor or Modern.

Do you have a clear vision of how you will work with it in the 21st C? A great little tip here is if you understand the language of the vernacular you will understand it’s ‘rules’. You have to understand the rules if you are going to break them and all contemporary re-workings of a vernacular have to break a few rules here and there, just make sure you are consistent with this. Character Properties can take re-invention, but make sure you retain enough of the original character to ensure you are constantly adding to the property value and not minimising it through loss of character.

 

Paintings by Mark Kaiser and Rug by the London Rug Company, this one designed by Paul Smith and called ‘Swirl’ helps to bring the room up to date.

 

This bespoke bookcase was our clients pride and joy and we were delighted when he chose to finish it in Zoffany’s ‘Heat’ eggshell.

3. Decide whether you have the capacity to project manage the programme or whether you need to entrust this to someone else.

Any character property renovation requires specialist knowledge. With a full house renovation there are  many different strands to the project that need to be woven together seamlessly to create winning results. A project of this nature requires sourcing from many different suppliers and specialisms, each of which have their own way of working and timelines for delivery. Do you have the time to research this and do you have the bandwidth to take this on, or would you be better off entrusting it to a company who specialises in this area?

This plan captures all the interior considerations for this floor

This plan shows all necessary building interventions, bespoke cabinetry inclusions, electrics, new bathroom layouts, paint colours and wall coverings.

 

4. Don’t underestimate the time requirement.

Unfortunately things go wrong. A few examples of this that we have had to deal with recently:

  •  Tiles don’t get delivered in time because the factory in Italy hasn’t had enough orders to run the run that you lot was scheduled for. No pre-warning was issued and there is no-one else in the world who produces a tile of this nature or similar. This has a two month knock on effect to the fitting of the bathrooms. How do you rebalance the programme effectively and with the least disruption to the other trades?
  •  Expensive worktops – the third-party templater has read the brief wrong and  the worktops have been produced without the up-stands that had been ordered at the same time. This means that the work surfaces do not fit to the wall through no fault of your own. What’s the best way to fix this?
  • A steel has been placed in the wrong place and this means that the opening to receive the staircase is not wide enough. What happens now?

Don’t let these scare you from your decision to renovate, but don’t underestimate the time required for trouble shooting either.  Add to this the budgeting, order placement and facilitation, quality control and communications. This is a full-time role if you want to complete a project within a decent length of time.

Luckily, there are companies like ours who actually get quite a buzz out of a challenge like this and have seen enough to be un-daunted by the task at hand.

 

5. Seek professional advice up front.

With any character property renovation it is best to involve the professionals from the onset. If it is too early, we would always advise, but usually the earlier the better. That said, every project will have its own specific requirements which we will dictate your requirements. A good example of why it is usually beneficial to engage with an architectural interior design house early on is that a little internal remodeling can go a long way to making the most of your home re-design and it’s better to get this planned in up front. There is very little point on spending good budget on a home that doesn’t flow, so we need to make sure that the structure and the flow is right first. To do this effectively we will also need to know about you and your families lifestyles so that we can ensure layouts support your everyday needs.

  

A few good reasons to entrust your project with us:

We have the supplier base to source effectively, the project know-how to affect the correct sequencing of trades and the project management expertise to orchestrate it all on your behalf. The piece de resistance is that we know intuitively what needs to be done at every stage to maximise real estate value. There are many key junctures in a project of this nature and if you can be sure that you are making the right decision at every turn you will be in good hands.

If you have a busy life and a big project then you need us. Through our front end workshopping process we work hard to understand your objectives for the project and your style affinities. You may have a vision of where you want to get to, but it may not be crystal clear yet. We help our clients find that focus, so that when the project work starts it’s straight sailing. This saves everyone time in the long run and precious budget, too.

We can guide you on best approach and save you from some of the pitfalls, and a lot of the stresses and strains that can accompany a project of this nature.