Archive for the ‘About Interior Design’ Category

Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Your Renovation on Budget

renovation on budget

It is possible to keep a renovation on budget. We’ll tell you how. Image: Darren James Interiors

Keeping a renovation on budget is a top priority for a lot of homeowners, but many find it much easier said than done. Renovations are variable by nature, so if you don’t stay on top of your costs and fees, they can easily add up — and leave you with a final bill you’re unprepared to handle.

We’re here to help prevent that. With just a little planning and diligence on your end, it’s completely possible to keep your renovation budget under control. Don’t believe us? Keep reading. Below are some of our best tips for staying on top of your remodeling costs. Whether you are renovating now or in the future, it never hurts to be prepared.

stay realistic

Start your project by making a realistic budget. Image: Arbib Hughey Design

Be realistic from the start

Too often, when people try to save money during a renovation, they make the mistake of setting their budget too low. They try to cut corners by saying they’ll do work themselves or shop around until they find wholesale materials and create their budget using these anticipated figures. And if they’re unable to stick to these promises, they’ve already set themselves up for sizable overages.

The better thing to do is be honest about how far you’re willing to go to save money, even if it ends up inflating your initial budget more than you’d hoped. If you know you’re not one for DIY, be realistic about how much it will cost to hire a pro in your area. Work your budget off of a middle-of-the-road estimate rather than the most affordable.

Remember, the whole point of having a budget is to feel prepared. If you work out realistic figures and decide those numbers are too expensive, you can always hold off on the renovation while you save up enough money.

specific details

Give contractors specific details about your vision for the project. Image: Highgate House

Get specific about what you want

Have you ever gotten quotes from contractors only to have them come back with wildly different estimates? If this has happened to you, it’s likely you weren’t able to offer many specifics when talking about your vision for the project. This led the contractors to fill in the gaps with their best guesses, which may or may not be in line with what you’re hoping for.

When you have to stick to a budget, specificity is one of the best tools at your disposal. The more you can tell your contractors about what you want the end product to look like, the closer they’ll get to a realistic estimate of your final bill. Ideally, your goal should be to get so specific that the only variances between each company’s estimate are labor costs and fees.

To pull this off, you need to do your research. Before you hire a contractor, make sure you have a clear picture of what you want the end product to look like. Think about the materials you want to use and what changes you want to make to your current layout. Use sites like Freshome as a starting point for design inspiration.

stick to the plan

Don’t let changed plans blow your budget out of the water. Image: The House Designers

Stick to the plan

Once a remodel is underway, it can be tempting to add on to it. All of a sudden you may find yourself standing in your kitchen remodel, looking at the dated flooring in your living area and thinking that could use a makeover as well. While it may be easier to take care of that project while your house is already torn apart, if sticking to your budget is your first priority, we’d advise against following this urge.

If you keep adding to your project’s to-do list — or changing your mind about what you want midway through — it’s going to come at an added cost. Plus, you likely won’t have as much control over what those costs will be. At that point, you’re at the mercy of your contractor’s judgment and you likely won’t even know the full extent of the charges until you have the final bill in hand.

Instead, it’s best to stick to the plan you have in place. File away that other project on your mental to-do list of home maintenance tasks and treat it as it’s own entity. Take the time to plan and budget it the same way you did your current remodel. That way, even if it happens shortly after this project, you’ll feel in control of your spending.


Leave room in your budget for unexpected incidentals. Image: CMM Custom Homes

Plan for the unexpected

That said, even the tightest remodeling budgets need to have wiggle room to cover unforeseen expenses. Sometimes remodeling uncovers a maintenance issue that needs to be taken care of and sometimes it really is worth the cost of changing your vision along the way. Plan for these costs ahead of time, so you’re not surprised as they crop up.

Conventional wisdom says to add 15-20% on top of your winning contractor’s estimate to safely account for these contingencies. That may seem like a lot, but this is one occasion where it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t have enough room in your budget to cover that amount, you may want to take more time to save or scale back the project.

renovation on budget

Use these tips to help you finish your renovation on budget — or even under. Image: Evens Architects

Let’s face it: It’s incredibly easy to blow your budget out of the water when remodeling your home. While keeping the renovation on budget may take more work than letting the costs add up, it’s far from impossible. Let these tips help you pull it off. Whether you’re planning a renovation now or sometime in the future, this advice can make all the difference in your ability to keep the budget under control.

Have you ever budgeted for a remodel of your own? Do you have any tips or advice to add to this list? Share them with us in the comments.

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Sweet Apartment Interior For A Baker

A sweets baker resides in this 49.57 square meter(534 square feet) Banqiao, Taiwan based home, created by A Lentil Design. The project, sweetly entitled ‘Meio’s kitchen’ was designed to include many details, with every single corner crafted with focus on refinement and exquisite taste, whilst still reading as clean and unadorned – just like one of Meio’s classic scones. “People who don’t love scones only never eat good scones.” says the baker. The designers explain that this minimal, relaxing space has been cooked to be enjoyed with a cup of tea, and to house two people – oh, and one furry friend (who probably gets to enjoy a lot of cake crumbs).

Besides the bathroom, but including the bedroom, there are only two separate rooms in this modest scaled apartment. We begin in the sitting area of the open plan living room, where a small tufted back sofa sits in front of a sliding window and door. The small space is packed with side tables, a bar cart, and a step to reach up to high shelves that doubles as a plant stand.

One side of the black aluminum framed window slides open over an adjacent recessed shelving unit. The displaced glass appears as an attractive display cabinet door in its secondary position.

The sliding door too moves into position over the display case, where the black frames align so as not to obstruct the view of the contents.

A desk has been placed in a passage of space between the living room, bedroom, bathroom and a storage area. From here the homeowners are able to see through the glass of the sliding window into the living room. When the window is closed, the study area becomes a quieter place for working, particularly as one of the inhabitants works in music. Opening the window up allows the option of a more sociable space when the desk is not in use, or when the user is just casually perusing the internet or using social media.

The bathroom is located opposite the living room door, directly past the study area. The only bedroom is located to the right.

A cheerful yellow rug zones the living room off from the kitchen-diner. In front of the sofa, a console unit and shelves house a few indoor plants. A pegboard wall to the left of the console provides a handy place to hang a few frequently used items. Instead of trying to hide away the utilitarian equipment, they have been picked out in a bright hue to bring colour to the small space. The entire floor is covered in a white gloss tile to give the packed room a smooth and cohesive finish.

Leading straight off the lounge area, a fresh white kitchen has an extensive run of base and wall cabinets that are installed in a ‘U’ shape, ending with a breakfast bar – or is it a cake-bar in this bakers home? The surface is littered with baking equipment and yummy treats! A french window bathes the cooking area in bright natural light.

A kitchen chalkboard feature wall sits above a run of white tongue-and-groove, and is covered in illustrations of more sweet treats.

The kitchen utilises another pegboard wall to hold pots, pans and cooking tools. Three orb pendant lights mark out the only eating area in the home.

The countertop and kitchen bar stools are all matched to the cabinets in a pure white finish, to keep the limited space looking clean and uncluttered.

The well equipped kitchen can be used as a small baking studio, which gives further importance to the implementation of the dividing door. The private space beyond this point can be kept screened off, whilst the clear glass keeps each side looking bright and spacious.

The expense associated with property located in the metropolitan area means that homes are of a small scale. Therefore careful space planning is imperative to achieve a practical and comfortable home.

An independent room with plenty of neat storage space was an important part of the brief. The designers managed to incorporate 1.65 square meters of functional storage for large reference books and an electronic piano. Despite the small scale and multi-use of this core area, the space remains clear and tidy.

Despite the small scale and multi-use of this core area, the space remains clear and tidy.

Whilst plain white paintwork is the backdrop to the rest of the living area, this core zone is painted in bright blue.

Sitting somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, pale sky blue paints a relaxing scene across the bedroom. Zany geometric bedclothes energise the scheme and bring in additional pops of warm yellow and bright red. A little bird ornament sweetly marches along the headboard.

The study/storage zone was initially a separate private room with its own door, offering no open walk-through. The cooking area was just a tiny kitchenette.

By opening up the third room to become a core area, the designers have provided an extended living space with multiple uses, better flow and a sociable feel. Removing sections of the partition wall between this and the living room connected the space further and created an opportunity for the attractive recessed shelving unit at the sliding window. A fully grown complete kitchen gives the homeowner a dream kitchen for conducting her baking in, despite the potentially limiting proportions of her home.

Recommended Reading: Open Plan Home Decor With Interesting Layers

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Magnificent Modern Miami Mansion With Ocean Panorama

This phenomenal 7 bedroom home resides on prestigious La Gorce Island, with views stretching from Biscayne Bay all the way to Downtown Miami. Built on a lot of 23,000 sq ft, the 11,000 sq ft home has an outdoor living area that is designed as a natural extension of the interior space. At $38,000,000 this kind of luxury doesn’t come cheap, but you can expect a 200+ bottle wine room, 8.5 bathrooms, cinema room, gym, elevator, walk in closets, chef’s kitchen, staff kitchen, maid’s quarters, mezzanine and rooftop decks, zero-edge infinity pool, outdoor shower and kitchen, meditation garden, 3 car garage and a guest house.

On entering the home, a magnificent panorama dominates an enormous open plan room. The lighting in the centre of the room is recessed into the ceiling to allow an uninterrupted visual flow from inside to out.

Sophisticated high-end decor has been created in neutrals, allowing the room to take on nature’s palette of orange sunrises, blue skies and red sunsets. The light from the window reflects over the stepped surface of a large glossy coffee table, which is grouped with two movable side tables, and a menagerie of decorative items.

When the glass doors are retracted, the view only becomes more breathtaking. Sunlight floods in over a soft beige leather sofa and a sculptural woven leather bench, set around a plush area rug.

A second living room area has an L-shaped sectional sofa, situated around a square of coffee tables and ottomans. Two accent chairs and a bench sit by the windows so as not to obscure the view.

Behind the living rooms, a sweeping staircase has one solid balustrade and one glass balustrade, which faces toward the view.

A third sitting area is set in a circular formation, zoned by a round cream rug. A round coffee table sits at the centre, the bright blue sky reflecting off its glass surface. A pair of white balloon vases adorn the top. Above the central table a cascading modern chandelier visually anchors the third lounge in place.

A chunky slatted room divider makes interesting shadows across the pale floor.

Beside the wooden feature wall, an open plan dining room holds an impressive 12 place dining table, perfect for dinner parties. An enormous orb pendant light with a cutaway copper shell illuminates the spot.

The head and foot of the dining table is set with special dining chairs that appear to be the Pipa chair we featured in our post on sculptural chairs.

Twilight bathes the dinner party setting in warm golden light.

The entry walkway passes by three bodies of water, two flanking either side of the spectacular staircase, and one opposite.

RIch dark woodtone covers each of the floating interior walls, adding decorative weight to the light and airy decor scheme.

Outside the home a generous deck serves as another room for entertaining, conducting meetings or for relaxation. The view of the ocean rushes up to meet private pools and a 400 sq ft dock.

The twisting staircase design rises from the centre of the indoor reflecting pool.

A sprawling collection of outdoor sofas, twin loungers, rattan chairs, large coffee tables and smaller side tables, are all in matching pale grey.

The outdoor kitchen and al fresco dining area sits at the far end of the pool.

Exterior warm woods complement expanses of reflective glass and pure white concrete trims. Bright blue skies flow over the surface of the infinity pool, which stretches away from the house to meet with the ocean.

After a climb to the top of the custom staircase, another sitting room awaits. A driftwood coffee table brings a touch of the ocean up onto the first floor. Potted palms add greenery and life.

A terrace offers another pitstop to take in the mesmerising view.

As the evening draws in, the terrace becomes a peaceful place to sip a relaxing drink or two.

An enormous rug covers the master bedroom floor with a subtle chevron pattern. Glass bedroom pendant lights hang low in front of a wide padded headboard that extends behind each of the bedside units.

The bedroom has its own small lounge. A mature potted plant brings some of the greenery indoors to blur the barriers.

This shower is not so much a cubicle as it is a hallway. Colour changing LEDs shine down over the glossy wall from a recess in the ceiling.

Outdoor splendor can be enjoyed from each level of the house.

The only accent colours in the home come from the green of living plants and from real ocean blue.

Three plush stools sit at a marble bar.

A small desk extends from a single set of drawers.

Furnishings are simple and minimal, soft furnishings add texture and interest.

Modern outdoor chairs fill yet another deck.

A stepping stone provides passage across the pool to the outdoor dining area.

Another bridge with floating volumes passes right by the guest house.

The glass walls of the guest house can be retracted completely, allowing direct access to a plunge pool.

The house would be an awesome party pad by night…

… With walls drawn back, guests could move freely between each space.

His and hers exercise bike reside in the home gym.

The home theatre seats six on movie night.

A smaller version of the interior sweeping staircase climbs the outside of the home.

The floor of the deck is as pale as the interior to maintain flow.

Exterior lighting ensures every area of the home can be enjoyed no matter the hour.

Check out a spectacular video tour of this home:

The home is listed on the The Jills.

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Small Modern Apartment Design With Asian And Scandinavian Influences

Home style influences from Scandinavia and Asia meld wonderfully together as they have the same relaxing and serene ideal in mind. The simplicity of this mix works in homes of all sizes but is a particularly great choice if you have a modestly sized place. The small footprint of the home will benefit from the feeling of balance and calm that this interior style brings in its smooth textures, crisp geometrics, cohesive colour palettes, neat statement lighting, natural accents and quirky accessories. Take a look through these five inspirational small modern apartment designs for ideas on how to bring a little Asian and Scandinavian aesthetic into your space.

Visualizer: Ngoc Nguyen  

In our first apartment we are immediately grabbed by the presence of contemporary pattern on the wall. These bold yet neat elements are teamed with natural wooden furniture, like the crate coffee table, side unit and wall shelves. The wooden arm sofa has an Asian flavour but is Scandi in its scatter cushions. There is botanical feel in this living room, not just in the living indoorplants but in some framed artwork too. This brings the garden that can be seen through glass doors right inside the home.

A calming blue-grey colour has been selected as an accent, used on one scatter cushion, one door of the entertainment console, two small pendant lights and just the central island and lower cabinets of the kitchen.

In this visual we’re given an alternative more formal dining option, where a natural wood dining table chair combination takes the place of the blue-grey glossy island and bar stools. Blue pendant lights have also been swapped out for more industrial style lighting.

A botanical theme continues in the bedroom, with wall art and live potted plants. The bedcovers have a muted green stripe to tie in with nature’s palette.

The bed and entertainment console match the warm tone of the floor. The unit is topped with a grey tray style surface that complements the woodtone beautifully.

The child’s room sees a splash of colour in striking geometric pattern. Monochrome prints on the wall shelves keep the fun scheme cohesive.

A gallery adds interest to a plain wall.

Visualizer: Ngoc Nguyen  

Our second home has a grey living room scheme.

The soft neutral palette helps the small space appear more spacious.

Quirky owl decor decorates one end of a floating console. The unit becomes a single bookshelf at one end, and both are backed by a light reflective black finish. Glossy surfaces are an ideal way to bring darker colours into a small space as light reflections prevent base notes from appearing too dominant in the room.

Gold dining pendant lights sing in a grey scheme. The backdrop to the dining room is a selection of grey, black and white tiles set in geometric formation. The large pattern tricks the eye into reading this as a bigger space than it actually is.

A clear decorative vase and wine glasses adorn the table.

A white and grey kitchen matches the neighbouring living room.

Good storage is key in a home with Scandinavian and Asian style, to maintain a calm and tidy space. This bank of storage cupboards has an LED strip light running through a display shelf to showcase a dainty collection of prints and vases.

Gold makes a comeback in bedroom pendant lights. The shimmer continues across the headboard.

A closet has glass doors to display an organised capsule wardrobe.

Visualizer: Ngoc Nguyen  

A refreshing splash of aqua awaits in our third home design. Most of the furniture in the room is pure white, like the Scandinavian sofa, coffee tables and floor lamp.

The duo of scandinavian style nested coffee tables step the eye up and out to the view beyond the windowpane.

Crisp monochrome accessories pepper the shelves. A lovely wall mounted shelf has an unusual return in its shape, where a small library of books can be stood upright and clear of the main display.

Three different colours of chair stand at the dining table.

A huge ceiling light anchors the eating area to its spot.

White kitchen wall cabinets and black base units are parted by an aqua coloured backsplash.

A rustic wood block feature wall balances out bold modern geometric pendant lights and strong accents.

A comprehensive study area completes the bedroom.

Visualizer: Phúc Nguyễn  

Our fourth home is pretty in pastels.

Furniture and accessories have been kept minimal to allow the tiny space to breathe, but the sweet hues add personality.

Wooden legs on the kitchen stools tie in with accent wall cubbies.

Powder blue returns in the bedroom, covering the wardrobe doors and desk drawer fronts.

The desk is floating design to maximise floor space. The desk chair is a slimline design that could be utilised anywhere in the apartment.

Visualizer: Hung Le  

Our fifth and last home design is a vision of light teal, amber and grey.

A mid century modern coffee table stands in the centre of a soft area rug.

The home incorporates a myriad of pendant light designs. Each are very different but all work together thanks to similarly sized shades and neutral colours.

A slatted partition wall segments the space without closing it in or blocking out light.

Banquet seating surrounds two sides of a modern dining table. Additional seating comes in the form of dining chairs with a cheerful dipped paint effect. A simple potted plant and a modern fruit bowl make up the table centrepiece.

Three kitchen pendant lights line up above a bright breakfast bar.

The kitchen is zoned with a gorgeous patterned tile.

If you liked these designs, check out: Scandinavia Meets Japan In These Minimalist Work Spaces

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Here Are 12 of the Coolest Pieces From Stockholm Design Week 2018

Stockholm was packed with the world’s biggest retailers and designers looking for the latest in Scandinavian design at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, the world’s leading event for Scandinavian design. The city also hosted Stockholm Design Week 2018 for the public so everyone could get their Scandi-fix. Here are our favorite 12 pieces from the show:

1. KLASSIK daybed

Poul Volther’s 1959 daybed has been put into production by KLASSIK Denmark in collaboration with Volther’s family.

2. Apollo 79 pendant

stockholm design week 2018 highlights

Pholc presented the new Apollo 79 pendant lamp by Broberg & Ridderstråle. Cone-like shapes in brass or aluminum are accented in seven muted tones and several sizes.

3. Air sideboard

design week stockholm 2018

Design House Stockholm’s Air sideboard uses rattan in a modern way. Place a lamp inside the sideboard to really make it pop!

4. Pax chair

Fredrik Mattson designed the versatile Pax chair for Materia. It’s designed to be small in scale with a curved shell.

5. Mame chair

Luca Nichetto was the star of Scandinavian Design Week 2018 with several stunning designs. The Mame chair, produced by Fogia Sweden, is the perfect fusion of Scandinavian design and sleek, Italian styling. 

6. Levier shelf system

Voice’s Levier bookshelf, designed by Cate Högdahl and Nelson Ruiz-Acal of Cate & Nelson, is perfect for small spaces.

7. Mimic mirror

The Danish brand Muuto presented Norma Studio’s Mimic mirror, which is functional on one side and decorative on the other.

8. Nestor modular sofa

Skandiform’s Nestor Collection was designed by Lars Hofsjö to be mixed and matched in configurations and colors.

 9. Alphabeta floor lamps

The spun-steel shades of Luca Nichetto’s Alphabeta lamp are grouped in pairs to direct light down and up. Customers can mix and match the shades to create a custom lamp of their choice.

10. Rose chair

Massproductions developed the Rose chair using 3D printing technology.

11. Barn & Fences cubicles

Swedish designer Johan Kauppi created this office system for Glimakra of Sweden. Inspired by the small farmhouses of the Swedish Lapland, the houses and dividers are semi-transparent and sound absorbent.

12. Palais Royale table

Anya Sebton and Eva Lilja Löwenhielm designed the Palais Royale table for Asplund, made of lacquered oak panels and an oak veneered top.

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