The Press

Less is more when ren­o­vat­ing

Go­ing it alone when you’re do­ing up your home can be a hard slog. But there are ways to make it work, finds Mikae­laWilkes.

- Productivity · Lifestyle · Lifehacks · Builderscrack.co.nz

‘‘I found the sheer vol­ume of choices and de­ci­sions quite over­whelm­ing at times.’’ Jeremy Gray

The para­dox of choice is that con­sumers think hav­ing more of it makes them bet­ter off. A wealthy per­son with ac­cess to the wares of the most ex­pen­sive stores is thought of as bet­ter off than some­one who can only af­ford to shop at a se­lect few. But, ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­o­gist Barry Schwartz, too much choice makes us feel the op­po­site.

The more op­tions we have, the less sat­is­fied or happy we tend to feel about a fi­nal de­ci­sion, and some­times ex­tra op­tions paral­yse us into not mak­ing one at all.

When some­one holds up two out­fits, art­works, or paint swatches, you could eas­ily say which you like best. Given 10 op­tions to con­sider, you are more likely to have doubts.

Cou­ples tak­ing on a home ren­o­va­tion project to­gether can share the de­ci­sion-mak­ing load. If you’re un­der­tak­ing a kitchen or bath­room makeover alone that’s great, be­cause there’s no need to com­pro­mise on your artis­tic vi­sion. And also prob­a­bly ter­ri­fy­ing, be­cause all the big (and lit­tle) choices rest firmly on your shoul­ders.

‘‘Quite of­ten, clients de­scribe me as in­te­rior de­signer/mar­riage coun­sel­lor,’’ said Christchur­ch­based de­signer Kate Carter.

Cou­ples have the ad­van­tage of val­i­dat­ing the thought process be­hind each choice with one another, but on the flip side, their de­sign aes­thet­ics and opin­ions may not be to­tally aligned. ‘‘That has its own chal­lenges.’’

Carter said sin­gle­tons of­ten fall into the trap of over­com­pen­sat­ing by ap­proach­ing lots of fam­ily and friends for their opin­ions.

‘‘I have an older sin­gle wo­man as a client. She wants each de­ci­sion to be val­i­dated by all four of her adult chil­dren,’’ Carter said.

‘‘The prob­lem is, ev­ery­one has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion. My ad­vice is to care­fully choose one, or a max­i­mum of two, peo­ple who you re­ally trust, or who have a sim­i­lar aes­thetic to you, and lean on those peo­ple for the en­tire process.’’

Builder­scrack.co.nz spokesman Jeremy Gray has ren­o­vated homes on his own and with his part­ner, Alana Shinn. ‘‘I en­joy the ren­o­va­tion ex­pe­ri­ence more as part of a cou­ple than as a sin­gle. I think, like most peo­ple, there are as­pects of a ren­o­va­tion I’m more at­tracted to than oth­ers,’’ he said.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, I’m not par­tic­u­larly con­cerned with a spe­cific shade of colour, but I amvery in­ter­ested in mak­ing sure the lines and space of a room feels bal­anced and com­fort­able.

‘‘As part of a cou­ple, I find it lib­er­at­ing to be able to in­vest less en­ergy in the as­pects of the ren­o­va­tion which my part­ner is more ex­cited by than me.’’

Iden­ti­fy­ing where your strengths lie is a great place to start. Gray is strong at se­lect­ing ma­te­ri­als from a func­tional per­spec­tive, and in the siz­ing and de­sign of the spa­ces and flow of liv­ing ar­eas. Shinn has amore so­phis­ti­cated eye for de­tail and de­sign­ing a pal­ette of fin­ishes and dec­o­ra­tions.

‘‘When ren­o­vat­ing on my own, I found the sheer vol­ume of choices and de­ci­sions quite over­whelm­ing at times, es­pe­cially in ar­eas which I didn’t have a lot of strong feel­ing in, such as dec­o­rat­ing.’’

This is where he would seek ad­vice from friends, fam­ily and out­source to pro­fes­sional con­sul­tants. ‘‘Whether you are DIYing, us­ing a project man­ager, or project-man­ag­ing the reno your­self, hav­ing a close team you can chat to and weigh de­ci­sions with is es­sen­tial. If you’re tak­ing a DIY ap­proach, make sure you in­clude peo­ple­with ren­o­va­tion ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said.

Sec­ond to your close team will be your pro­fes­sional con­sul­tants. De­pend­ing on your ap­proach and size of ren­o­va­tion, this may in­clude your ar­chi­tect/de­signer, in­te­rior de­signer, project man­ager and trades­peo­ple.

The fewer as­pects you wish to be deeply in­volved in, the more you will need com­pe­tent pro­fes­sion­als to take care of those as­pects.

Al­ways meet pro­fes­sion­als be­fore adding them into the mix. Have a cof­fee to­gether and en­sure there’s good chem­istry, ad­vised Carter. ‘‘As a ren­o­va­tor, you need to feel safe in that re­la­tion­ship to push back on the de­signer when you don’t agree.’’

She asks peo­ple to put to­gether a vis­ual style guide for their dream re­sult. Ver­bal­is­ing what we want and like is hard, but point­ing to a pic­ture and say­ing yes or no is not.

The idea is to spend a good chunk of time hon­ing in on the over­all look and feel you’re go­ing for. ‘‘If you can nail that to start off with, it cre­ates a blue­print for all the lit­tle de­ci­sions later on.

‘‘Then all you need to do is re­fer to the mood board when you’re ner­vous to see if a par­tic­u­lar han­dle, or colour, or light fix­ture is on the right track,’’ she said.

With­out a part­ner to share the men­tal, phys­i­cal and emo­tional load, amod­er­ate-to-large ren­o­va­tion will be a big job. Even a sim­ple re­dec­o­ra­tion will in­volve many evenings re­search­ing, prep­ping, sand­ing, and paint­ing.

Al­though some peo­ple thrive on work­ing to their own time­lines, it is likely there will be the need for at least some work to be un­der­taken by ap­pro­pri­ate li­cenced pro­fes­sion­als.

‘‘If you’re tak­ing a DIY ap­proach, any­one pre­pared to help, pro­vided you have good chem­istry – and even some you may have to grit your teeth with from time to time – will help lighten the load,’’ Gray said.

‘‘Once you be­gin to del­e­gate work to pro­fes­sion­als, the pace will pick up, and the qual­ity of fin­ish in most cases will be bet­ter.’’

In the grand scheme of things, try not to get too stuck on in­di­vid­ual de­ci­sions rather than the big pic­ture. Whether you are ren­o­vat­ing in a part­ner­ship, or go­ing it alone, there will al­ways be com­pro­mises.

‘‘I don’t say this to put peo­ple off, but it will be stress­ful,’’ Carter said. ‘‘There will be days where you feel like you’re nail­ing it and oth­ers, not so much. That’s all part of the process.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Jeremy Gray and Alana Shinn shared the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of ren­o­vat­ing their home, left, in­tro­duc­ing light and neu­tral shades to their kitchen and bed­room, right.
Jeremy Gray and Alana Shinn shared the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of ren­o­vat­ing their home, left, in­tro­duc­ing light and neu­tral shades to their kitchen and bed­room, right.
 ??  ?? Jeremy Gray and his part­ner Alana Shinn di­vide the ren­o­va­tion project by de­cid­ing where each other’s strengths lie.
Jeremy Gray and his part­ner Alana Shinn di­vide the ren­o­va­tion project by de­cid­ing where each other’s strengths lie.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand