Renovation Series
Bathroom Renovation
PART ΙΙ: Costs and Future Value.

Click here for Part I.

The bathroom is one of the most important parts of our home, a place of basic hygiene, relaxation and rejuvenation.  That’s why it must meet certain requirements to be as functional, comfortable and stylish as possible.

In the previous article we discussed how you can optimize your bathroom space and upgrade its aesthetic with the appropriate interior design selections.  In this article we will share tips on renovation costs and future value. 

Future Value

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is the area that usually shows the most how old and how well or poorly maintained a house is. Renovating your bathroom does not just bring up-to-date the aesthetics, it also ensures a better value for the house, if you were to sell or rent in the future. It also future-proofs your house in case your needs or family situation changes. For example, a double sink could be useful if you live with other people, and an accessible bathroom is the best option in case elders move in. You can check out our article on future-proofing for more insight on this matter.

More on this design here.

Technical is not Technicality

First things first. In the renovation of a bathroom, attention must be paid to the good quality of the technical elements that are installed (such as plumbing, electricals and joints). This can save you large expenses of damage that may occur in the future. It is very important to ensure all you technical elements are in good condition before you proceed to the design and furnishing!

Costs

The cost of a bathroom renovation differs from case to case. The two main scenarios are the full renovation (including rerouting of plumbing, replacing electrical, maybe even structural changes) and the partial renovation (where it is only about the finishes, such as surfaces and equipment). In the partial renovation, the cost will depend most on the brands of the finishes, sanitary equipment and furnishings you will decide on.

When it comes to a full renovation, the cost will depend on more factors, such as the replacement of water and sewage pipes, changes in the electrical installation, the plumbing network and the installation of new tiles. If there is mold, a leak, or any other damages, this will also affect the cost.

The last and most important factor in estimating costs is the total area of the bathroom. Most items will be a function of how large your bathroom is.

Here are some high levels estimates of the most common items in renovating a bathroom:

  • Bathroom tiles: low average 20€/sqm | average 40-60€/sqm | high average 80-90 €/sqm
  • Bathroom equipment (incl. installation): average 8-10K
  • Removal of current bathroom equipment and tiles: average € 1500
  • Wall adjustments: € 4500 -5000
  • Plumbing adjustments: € 1000 – 1500
  • Electrical adjustments: € 1500 – 2000
  • Tiling work: floor tiles average 95€/sqm | wall tile average 45€/sqm
  • Electrical floor heating (if needed): € 900

Tip: Where it would be good not to make discounts, is the bathroom taps. Low-value tap solutions are not reliable and often malfunction.

TIPS TO SAVE MONEY:

Combine expensive tiles with cheaper tiles. For example by placing expensive tiles on the floor and cheaper ones on the walls.

Wall tiles do not need to go all the way from floor to ceiling – with the exception of the shower – so you could have wall tiles until 120 cm from the wall and then just paint on the upper wall

Shower cubicles are generally more expensive than a walk-in shower

If possible, try to stick with the original bathroom layout so you can save some money on the water/electrical adjustments. 

Ask for professional help

Although your interior design taste may be great, the bathroom is one of the rooms you should avoid renovating on your own. You will need professional advice to keep your project under control and within budget, specially when it comes to technical questions and plumbing and electrical installations. From your architect to your contractor, make sure you get the best help you can. This will save you a lot of efforts, money and trouble in the long run.

How to start? It’s easy to get lost and go off-budget. Get a cost estimate so that you have an organised plan from the start, know how much the renovation will cost and, most importantly, where and how the budget will be used.

Request a Cost Estimate Now

If you are considering renovating your bathroom and would like some help, get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have.

Renovation Series
Bathroom Renovation

The bathroom is one of the most important parts of our home, a place of basic hygiene, relaxation and rejuvenation.  That’s why it must meet certain requirements to be as functional, comfortable and stylish as possible.

It is also the area that usually shows how old and how well-maintained or not a house is. Renovating your bathroom does not just bring up-to-date the aesthetic but secures the future-proofing of the house, as this space is essential when it comes to selling or renting.

Here are 5 smart tips on bathroom renovation that will renew the space and improve your daily life.

1. Embrace Colour

The traditional white bathroom, apart from being a predictable and outdated idea, exudes a cold atmosphere. For small bathrooms with low natural light, beiges and pinks are ideal and add warmth to the space. In other cases, if you are looking for a feeling of a therapeutic spa, you might prefer shades of light green or blue. If you have enough natural light, you can also go for grounding earthy tones of browns and beige with possibly colourful touches in small details. Avoid dark ceilings, which make the space look smaller.

More on this design here.

2. Optimize the space with Double Sinks

If you live with others and share a bathroom, a great trick to create the illusion of more space is the double sinks installed on one counter. Not only it is easier and more pleasant to have your own space, but the bathroom would also look and feel instantly more spacious.


3. Tidiness is Everyting

No matter the size of your bathroom, with the right storage, even the smallest bathroom can feel luxurious. Besides the usual cabinets under the sink or behind the mirror, look around and use the unused surfaces, such as walls, corners and even ceiling to hang from. You can install shelves on the walls to fold and place your towels and other bathroom items. A stylish idea that provides more room, is hanging basket shelves! Remember to choose carefully between open or closed shelves. While open shelves would give the illusion of more space, they need to stay tidy and neat. In contrast, closed shelves may look tider but may give the impression of more filled-up space.


4. Choose for Elegance

Did you know that a key factor for a hotel to get an extra star in its category is to have a cabin in the bathroom instead of a curtain? With a glass door, either in the shower or the bathtub, elegance as well as practicality are achieved. Make sure the glass panel is large enough and well sealed to avoid splashing and flooding of water outside the shower area. 


4. Add Depth and Style

Most bathrooms have face mirrors above the sink. However, if you want to maximize your space, or at least create the illusion of a larger bathroom, you can choose a larger even full-body mirror that will extend from the floor to the ceiling. Not only you will achieve the feeling of a larger and brighter space but you will also be able to spend time on personal care with more comfort. Getting-ready time will definitely level up.

To sum up, optimizing bathroom space by choosing the right colours and equipment upgrades the entire value of your house. The right interior design can grant depth, perspective and the illusion of a larger space.

In the next part of this article, we will analyze the costs of a bathroom renovation that will helyou future-proof your property. 

If you are considering renovating your bathroom and would like some help, get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have.

Fall Interior Design Ideas

Fall Season is here and there is always time for a home update to mark our farewell to summer holidays and welcome new beginnings. Fall interior design resembles warmth and comfort.

Here are 5 interior design ideas for the ultimate fall atmosphere to watch the rain outside your window!

 

Yes to Earthy Tones 

Autumn colours vary between warm and earthy tones. Timelessly stable and safe earthy colour options are brown, beige, and for the more daring ones orange and olive green. You can play around with these colour tones by adding small pieces like layers and pillows if you do not wish to repaint the walls. 

Coziness with Layering

Layers do not only look good but they also have a practical use which is of course warmth and coziness. For example, a cover blanket for the sofa adds up to the living room’s style and it’s also of perfect comfort during movie time!

Woolen Elements

Wool, apart from its beautiful and soft texture, is an integral insulator that helps to keep you warm in cooler and colder climates. Choose woolen layers in many colours and patterns and give a vibrant and essence to your space!

Wooden and Matt Style

Wooden and Matt elements and decorative items add up to a seasonal rustic natural vibe and create an authentic traditional interior design. Remember, small details always matter and reflect good taste and structured interior philosophy. 

Vintage into Modern

A homey atmosphere with character – perfect for indoor days – usually needs some vintage and retro additions. However, the exclusive vintage style can become claustrophobic and of course, you don’t have to proceed to a complete home renovation. A quiet modern home with vintage touches is the ideal combination. 

To sum up, fall is here, so is Halloween and the weather definitely is chilly and there is a need for coziness and cocooning. There are small changes with large impact you can make to your home’s interior design to get ready for this moody but at the same time enchanting season! 

Finally, if you are interested in small changes and updates check out our articles Easy Home Updates and Ideas on a Budget.

If you are in the mood for a change that resembles fall atmosphere or even an entire renovation and you want some help, get in touch with us. We will be happy to help.

Renovation Series
How to Deal with Dutch Stairs

Houses in the Netherlands and especially in Amsterdam, are built in a “tall and narrow” structure and because of this, Dutch stairs are famous for being narrow, steep and tight, an outright adventure for non-Dutch people, not used to them.

In fact, in some cases, these staircases can even be dangerous. Think of the occasional morning rush, kids or older people. Based on the many renovations we did for our clients over the years, we have collected our best tips and advice on how to deal with the special case of “Dutch Stairs”.

A Small History Lesson

Around the 17th century, the housing taxes were based on width, so in order to avoid high taxation, people used to build narrow tall houses. In addition, urban capacity was limited and at the same time a typical Amsterdam building used to host the average low class worker’s household. That is why in the suburban areas and the countryside, you may find bigger houses with more wide “lazy” stairs – which where a status sign for the elite. 

Transformation Solutions

Expanding the Stair Space

The obvious solution to Dutch stairs is to demolish the whole staircase and rebuild it from scratch, taking more space to create a less steep staircase. This is a renovation process that can be substantial yet, it safe-proofs the entire house.

If you’re wondering why a simple staircase replacement will need to to be a substantial renovation, you’re not the only one! What is good to remember is that, the staircase occupies a specific area of the house, a kind of well if you will, where the ‘hole’ in the floor is. This means that changing that hole requires demolition and reconstruction. And no touching the hole does not give you the freedom and space to change the slope of the staircase and make it longer. So if you want to reduce the slope of the staircase to make it comfortable, you also need enough extra space in plan around the new staircase. And it’s rare to have empty space lying around, in most modern houses.

In the event that you are not able to make more space and expand the staircase, the best alternative would be treating the steps themselves.

Let’s discuss 2 possible solutions.

1. Tilt the steps at a certain angle, so the angle between the step and the riser is not 90 degrees but a bit less. That way your feet will have more space to step on without changing the angle of and the entire staircase and without needing more space. A little side bonus is that your stair will have an unconventional modern shape.

2. Replace the entire staircase, within the same footprint, or well. Re-build a staircase with open steps. If you remove the riser from the steps, your feet are allowed to stick out a bit from the step itself, which will make the experience a bit more comfortable. This can also be cheaper and quite an elegant design.

 

Alternative considerations.

If you wish to avoid an entire construction process you can choose the path of maintenance and improvement.

1. For a wooden staircase: Αnti-slippery wood varnish

This special material is resistant to abrasion and particularly non-slip. Many of them also have preservatives that protect or even cure wooden surfaces from rot, from the growth of septic fungi, mold, wood-eating insects, etc. At the same time, the natural beauty, warmth and robustness of the wood is maintained.

2. Carpet / Runner

A carpet across the entire width or only in the center of the staircase, apart from being a non-slip solution, is also a cozy and warm interior design choice. In addition, this method significantly reduces the annoying noise of footsteps and provides warmth and insulation during winter days.

3. Robust handrails – even from both sides if possible

A practical solution that does not involve any treatment of the staircase itself is the installation of robust handrails. For kids and older people, consider even having the handrails on both sides of the staircase if possible. This way, everyday life is made easier and safer. The material of the handrails aids does not have to be the same as the material of the stairs. In fact, you can even make a design feature out of it!

Remember, safe staircases prevent unwanted accidents, ensure safety for residents and make the house suitable for children, elderly people and anyone with mobility difficulties.

So, do Dutch Stairs seem like trouble to you? Do not despair! There are always smart ways to replace, transform or even improve them, within every budget and timeline, depending on your needs and style.   

If you are considering improving or rebuilding your staircase and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Renovation Series
How to make the most out of your Basement.

Basements are often synonymous with storage spaces for unwanted items and that is why most houses end up with old dusty – sometimes kind of scary looking – ones. However, basements can be amazing spaces that can be transformed into innovative rooms of many kinds, especially when a house has limited above-ground space. 

What can I turn my Basement into?

A Playroom or a Game room.

If you live with children, a playroom full of toys and activity spaces can be created in the basement. On the other hand, a Game room with high-tech consoles or even traditional options like ping-pong and table football is a fun area for everyone, especially teens and adults who need a relaxing bonding time. 

A Gym or Sauna

Many fitness fans would love to create their own gym and the basement can be perfect for that. That way you can work out whenever you want during the day or night and for free! Another idea is to install a small sauna in the basement, if you can fulfil the technical requirements of course! A sauna helps reduce toxic stress, it can ease muscle pains and of course it is a great way to relax!  

Home Cinema

If you are a fan of movies, you can transform your basement into a home cinema, installing comfy sofas, a projector and a cinematic cloth. It is an easy process and it definitely makes this space the most interesting part of the house. Remember to include a popcorn machine!

Wine Cellar

For wine lovers, the basement is an ideal place for storing wines, bottles and barrels, as the temperature can be ideal. You can also install a mixer’s bench or a small bar and spend quality tasting time there. 

Home Office

If you often work from home and need a space to concentrate on your work, you can transform the basement into a private office. For more tips on the home office concept, you can check out our articles “Home Office Solutions” & “Working from Home with a family”

Artist Studio

An artist’s studio can be a messy place, especially when it comes to painting, sculpting or generally hand-made art.  Turning the basement into an arts studio gives you the opportunity to concentrate on your creativity and keep the rest of the house intact. 

Music Room

If you are a musician you’ll probably love having your own studio to practice in. That also applies for people who have podcasts or make videos. With the right soundproofing equipment, you can install a recording studio at home. Not only will you be able to do your work or hobby whenever you want, but you won’t disturb any roommates or neighbours. 

Before the Renovation

First and foremost, you need to know what to take care of.

Check for Moisture – Mold

In basements, there is always water in the surrounding soil, either as an aquifer or as rainwater drainage from roofs and gardens. One tiny crack or hole and the damage is done. So if you want your basement to be clean and dry, you need to re-insulate your  walls. When it comes to mold one thing you should not do is paint over it.  An efficient technique is  cementoid spread. You can also apply a self-adhesive bituminous membrane on the walls, to absorb the humid. A good final solution is commercially sold dehumidifiers.

Check for insects – Τermites 

Many basements can have termites or other insects that can damage the building and transmit diseases or cause allergies, especially if there is wood construction. Before you start the process of renovating the basement, it would be a good idea to ask for an inspection by experts in disinsectisation.

Especially if you live in Amsterdam or the Netherlands in general, you should be extra careful with flooding risk.  One measure to avoid flooding is to clean the gutters. Blocked gutters will cause all of the roof water to seep straight into your home, increasing the chance of basement flooding. In the event that you do not prevent any damage, it is a good idea to have an automatic emergency generator installed in the basement, to provide power to the home’s basic electrical circuits.  

During the Design

  Things to take care of:

Τake care of the staircase that leads to the basement. 

For aesthetic and most importantly safety reasons, the staircase that leads to the basement should be well considered and regularly maintained especially if it is made of wood. 

Select the right materials for flooring, walls & ceilings.

Since basements can be filled with moisture, selecting the appropriate insulating materials during the renovation is of no small importance. 

Ventilation , Heating & Cooling. 

Since basements were not necessarily built for regular use, but indeed as a storage space, many have inadequate ventilation, heating and cooling. Ventilation in basements is of particular importance. For more insights on ventilation, check out this article. Dehydrator machines will prove very efficient. At the same time the regulation of the temperature in the basement is of utmost importance and there should be provision for heaters. 

Major focus on the lighting.

Many basements can have no windows and therefore no source of natural lighting. For some functions, such as s home office for example, you will need to introduce natural lighting. For others, it might be ok not to have it. Either way, lighting (natural or artificial) remains one of the most important aspects to work out. Start your lighting design from the approach to the basement, for example as you come down the stair, it is important to have proper lighting. Automatic light sensors can be a good idea here. Moreover, whatever room you turn your basement into, the light is an important factor for this place to function well but also achieve the atmosphere you are trying to create. You can invest in ceiling, floor and wall lights, depending on the overall design. 

To sum up, transforming your basement adds up to the entire house, literally in additional space to use and figuratively as well! However, before diving into the design you should take care of major construction and technical factors that will save you time and money in the future. It is a process that in the end, refreshes not just the underground space but your entire lifestyle. 

If you are considering renovating your basement and would like some help, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have.

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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA

 

 

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