A House Renovation In Progress

Returning to a house renovation when you have been away on holiday can be very exciting.  It can also be worrying.  Because if you haven’t seen what has happened and have not been there to witness the work being completed, you are often not sure what will face you when you walk in the door.

At the Chelsea house I knew that lots had taken place whilst I was away.  I needed a thorough walk through to see what has been included and what was still left to do. I knew it would look different from the last time I was there...

Was the contractor happy with progress?

Were the workmen happy that they had the right equipment and tools? 

You could say that as a designer this should not be your responsibility but you should make it a priority, because this is your job and you are beholden to your builders to finish the work on behalf of your clients.

A house renovation can take time and although I was only away for a week, a great deal had been completed whilst I was gone.  This is often the way.  Projects often look as though they get off to a slow start.

But there comes a time when things fall into place very quickly and things can be finished more swiftly than you would imagine.

Today we take a trip around the property and see exactly what the workmen are up to.  We see the flooring that has arrived, the paintwork that has been applied to the walls, the electrical work that is in progress, and how difficult it can be moving around when the floorboards are all taken up!

In this series of videos, I am showing you warts and all what it can be like on site.  It can be a moveable feast.  Which means everything is happening but it’s constantly changing.  It’s good to have understanding clients who let you get on with the job and these clients, thankfully were just that! 

It’s very much like a jigsaw puzzle during the main body of work.  Deliveries are coming in and out, workmen are being scheduled in; but even they are subject to change, often at a moments notice.

house renovation


What will you see?

In this video we see some of the new windows that have gone in whilst I’ve been away.  These windows have been arranged and bought separately via the client. Whilst I am not averse to clients buying separately to my own body of work, you do have to watch that these new suppliers, these suppliers direct to the client, have been told the correct information on what they can and cannot do.  

There is often a knock on effect when suppliers come in to take out windows, for example, but leave the repair work surrounding the window to be done by others.  I had already briefed my own contractor that this indeed would happen, and it is best to be honest if you think, or know, that this will be the case. 

Knowledge is very important on a house renovation and communication between designer, contractor and client and any other supplier, is of paramount importance.

Thankfully the windows are all in and are looking good. But there is notable repair work that has been done to the plaster and this extra cost will be reflected back to the client.

We also take a look at how the bathrooms are taking shape.  Plumbing is one of the first items to go into a house renovation.  It is part of the fabric of the house, along with the electrical supply, and needs to be installed early. This is almost always called a ‘first fix’.

This means that the piping and the ‘back office’ of the plumbing work is created and installed.  This is not when you add in bathroom suites or kitchen appliances. I’m talking very much about the pipes that go into the walls and run down the vertical sections of a house or apartment.  

The plumber will be back to fix the external items, such as bathroom suites, when the main part of the house is finished.  There is no point adding in finished products when the workmen are still working on the messy parts of a house renovation.


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..and onto the next job..

Finally after completing our house tour we take a trip up to the central part of London where we walk through Regent Street and up to Marylebone.  The architecture is truly wonderful, although it is a bit busy among some of the busiest retail streets in the world!

After my visit to one of my most favourite clients, I have a long list of things to buy and sort for her.  They are currently in the process of moving house and many items will be going into storage ahead of the renovations at their current apartment.  The next question is going to be how do I fit everything in?!  It seems this is going to be a busy time for the next few months at least. 

Happy designing!