The Top Five Expert Renovation Tips You Need to Know
8 May 2021
When it comes to a successful home renovation, being armed with helpful information can make the process a whole lot smoother. Whether you’re doing home improvements or looking to flip a property, it’s important to consult the experts.

We asked Ed Davis of Davis Architects to share his tips when considering home renovations.

When considering renovating a home, what are the top 3 considerations you would recommend to home owners?
Don’t overcapitalise! Each project and block is different so try to maximise what works really well for that site without overdoing it. Sometimes simple, clever and efficient is the way to go. It comes down to good spatial planning and picking building materials that look good but don’t cost the earth. A good design will meet budget and be appropriate for the surrounding context.

Engage good professionals
It’s so important to put a great team together for the project especially if it is a major renovation. From the architect , builder, to engineer, landscape designer the list goes on… a good team is key. If the team members have worked together on a project before, then even better!! Once you have engaged the professionals then really try to trust in the process and their input. Aiming for a “healthy collaboration” is the most satisfying and rewarding way to approach any project.

Get to know your neighbours and Council
Two main stumbling blocks for renovations (other than cost) can be Council or neighbours. This is an area where your Architect can assist, but before deciding on an Architect it is a good idea to start researching the relevant Council codes and controls for your area. This can be done by visiting the Council website or setting up a very informal meeting with your Council duty planner to go through “Council things to look out for when renovating”. I always think that early on in the process it is also important to look around at what other people have done in the local area in terms of renovations and before you commence the renovation process try to meet and talk with your neighbours to gauge whether they might also be planning to renovate and whether they might be supportive of your project.

What are some of the most innovative renovation tips to make smaller spaces appear larger?
High ceilings: If you can make the room seem taller, that has an immediate effect. It is a fact that people feel more at ease in taller spaces. A minimum of 2700mm is good and up to 3000mm if you can.

Natural light from different directions: A room with light or outlook in two or more directions will naturally feel more expansive and enjoyable to be in. Even on very tight blocks this is definitely possible with some clever design.

It’s a bit cliched now but that seamless indoor - outdoor experience to living spaces is an absolute must! Large multi sliding doors that open directly to a deck or covered outdoor entertaining area is what we try to prioritise on every project, be it a renovation or a new build. The external spaces need to be designed as if they are another “room” of the house, not simply a “tack on” or afterthought.

What do you think should take priority when renovating, interior or exterior, and why?
Overall I would say both have to work in total harmony on every project. There is nothing worse than a house with a pleasing interior and a drab exterior or vice versa. On smaller renovation projects though I would say that we definitely spend much more time considering the design of interiors but that is not to say we ignore the exteriors, they would logically flow from our material choices that we had selected throughout the home and would be informed by the style of the existing house of course!

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Images: Annie Buck.
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