Halloween Special | Design Disaster

Building or renovating a house can certainly be a daunting process. Especially if you don’t have the right professionals by your side, the dream of the ideal home can quickly become a living nightmare.

For this Halloween Special, we are sharing the spookiest real-life horror stories that we heard in the field of architecture. These are all architecture, design and renovation disaster cases that happened to people before they came to us for help. Over the last 10 years, we have often been asked by people to fix a disaster they found themselves in. For one reason or another, – whether they had decided to do the renovation themselves, or hired the wrong professional or even tried to go for a cheaper alternative -, their project had turned from a dream to a nightmare. This is where we came to the rescue.

The two followings are testimonials are from a client that got in touch with us after the disaster.

Story #1

Halfway through the renovation, we noticed that the tiles of the terrace were not the same but completely different from each other. In the beginning, the builders were installing the design we had chosen. When we visited the house a few days later to see how the process was going we saw them installing a completely different pattern from the middle of the floor and all the way to the edge. When we panicked and asked what had happened, we were told that the original design had proved to have limited pieces and so they would continue with other similar ones, they chose!  It wasn’t similar… The first design was black square tiles and the next one was horizontal green ones…

We fired them…

Story #2

We hired this company to do a semi – renovation and mainly help us get rid of the mold in the walls. When we explained the situation, they were happy to help and reassured us not to worry about nothing, claiming they were experts. After the process we moved back into the house just to realize – three weeks later – that the mold was beginning to show again! We called them and they replied “That’s probably because of the humidity(!?)”. I told them that they just stated the obvious and asked about the exact procedure they followed to get rid of it in the first place. What they normally replied was “We painted over it!.

They painted over it…

The following are indicative situations of clients who had a change of heart and came back to us, after “doing it on their own” didn’t work!

Story #3

This is an indicative story of the importance of having professionals on your side. The clients informed us that they “decided to go with a different designer within the very tight budget”. Their wish to reduce costs made them take a step back from their original plan to create their Dream Home and compromise with cheaper but mediocre options. As AKKA we respected that.

Fast Forward to 6 months later.

“Help! We decided to do everything on ou own but after all these months we are right where we started. We have regretted this, we are in the middle of a whole mess. At the same time we discovered some steel beams which are structural and cannot be moved. We definitely can’t go on like this. You and the team were completely right that a project manager would be a huge asset. Do you have time to undertake the renovation again?”

We gladly accepted and helped them out. A few months later they had their perfect house. As we mention in our piece “Invest in Quality”, quality is not a luxurious option but a safe-proofing decision that reduces future maintenance and extra renovation costs. In other words, an early and smart investment.    

Story #4

This client contacted us for some advice on their upcoming Renovation. A few days after our discussion they informed us that they decided to go with another architect, a friend of theirs who would help them us a favour.

Fast Forward 3 months later.

Their architects friend did help them with the drawings and very first steps of the process. However, this was definitely not a professional relationship but a casual favour between friends. The architect preferred to focus on his main projects at his office and did not have the time to undertake the renovation from the beginning until the end. As the clients stated “We need a project manager to who can manage and oversee and all things from constructors to furniture.” AKKA Architects came to the rescue and within a couple of months the entire renovation was completed.

Story #5

At one point during a kitchen renovation, the client decided along with the supplier to change the layout without consulting or even letting us know! The counter top sockets we positioned on the backsplash ended up to be in the wrong place. Even the plugs ended up behind furniture. Fortunately we managed to re-do everything because at least the backspalsh tiles weren’t installed yet.

Final advice?

The equipment suppliers are sales-people. It is their job to try and sell you more products even if you  do not actually need them. Always consult your architect, not only to make the renovation job easier but to save time and money.

Renovating and afraid of a Design Disaster? We would be happy to help with any questions you may have! You can also Request a Renovation Cost Estimate Now!

Tips on Buying a House in the Netherlands

Are you considering buying a house in the Netherlands? Owning property in the Netherlands, whether it’s in Amsterdam or another city makes good financial sense in the long term and it can be more beneficial than renting – depending on your mortgage arrangement. Finances aside, psychologically speaking there is no better way to start a new chapter of your life in a new city than owning your very own home. Here are 6 tips on buying your first House in the Netherlands.

Before you start looking for a house

Before you even speak to any real estate agents, and before you start browsing on Funda.nl or any other site, spend some time to think about your needs, your wishes, your lifestyle now and in the near future. You will not find your dream house, if you don’t know what your dream is!  

Find the Home that “Feels Right”

The components that usually lead to the “right” home are:

  • Location (close to work, schools, market, nature/parks, etc.)
  • Condition of the building (historic – listed, newly built, etc.)
  • Structure (will it accommodate your specific lifestyle needs?)
Arrange viewing

Before you make an offer it is for the best to arrange a detailed viewing of the place, gather as much information about the space, the building, the neighborhood etc., and absorb all the above so you can be safe by the time of your final decision.  

Organize a Building Survey

Especially if you are in a location where most houses are older than 50 years, a Building Survey will describe the condition of each element of the house, the urgency of repair and maintenance options.

If you are an Expat, Be in touch with an Expat Advisor

A professional expat advisor will assist you with serious bureaucratic procedures like:

  • Mortgage
  • Visa
  • Permits
Get A Cost Estimate

Before creating your dream interior it’s wise to get a Cost Estimate, an accurate budget to help you get a realistic preview of what is ahead of you. This will determine whether you get the best possible result for your project and in some cases, whether you can complete the project at all – at least the way you had it in mind, in the first place! Some take the time and effort to invest in creating a cost estimate for your renovation, that is the first step toward your successful project.   

Are you thinking of buying a house, renovating your current one, or just considering an interior upgrade?

Request your Cost Estimate from us Now. We will get in touch with you to gather all details and create a realistic cost estimate for you. Let us help you start your project on the right foot!

Design your dream house, make your vision for your lifestyle

Browse through our residential projects to get some inspiration!

Bonus: Move In!

To ensure this experience is a positive one, and that by the time you move in, you are not exhausted, 1 year late and out of money, make sure you get professional guidance throughout the project. From a great real estate agent to an outstanding architect, when you invest in the best help, you will end up saving money, time, and hassle overall.


If you are planning on buying a house in the Netherlands or renovating your current home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.


DREES & SOMMER Reasl Estate Talk | Mixed-Use Urban Districts

It’s the Mix that creates a real society!

“What’s your favourite thing about Amsterdam?”, asked a young TikToker, a pedestrian on the street in Amsterdam Central.

“I walked in a cafe yesterday. I do not remember watching a table where the sitting people were of the same race. I was also hearing many different languages and a variety of English accents. So many styles and colours. That’s my favourite thing about Amsterdam.” 

Drees & Sommer, an international company for project management and real estate consulting, hosted a Real Estate Talk on “Mixed – Used Urban Districts” and the current need for sustainable communities in modern architecture. The talk took place in Amsterdam, World Fashion Center and it was broadcast live. As AKKA Architects, a firm that trusts in Architecting Interactions, we were happy to be invited to attend this valuable discussion.

The Dysfunctional Cities

Cities are placed for Human Relationships. Human Interaction. Although in the last decades we faced the realization of cities dominated by cement driveways and private cars.

At the same time, districts are divided into cold – Industrial, suffocative – Commercial, Upper and Lower Class. Consequently, people are divided and daily routines and interactions become harder and severely dysfunctional.

The 20-min Communities

The 15-20 minute distance is a goal for districts-neighborhoods that eventually become Vibrant  Communities. A Community consisted of small markets, private residences, medical practices, workplaces, etc. A person will be able to live holistically and gain from work, culture, leisure and social life – all within a walking distance maximum of 20 minutes. At the same time, local shops benefit and the micro-economy flourishes, while every community has its own small market where basic necessities are covered and a “homey” feeling is cultivated.

Flexible Buildings

Especially in the Netherlands, many buildings are listed and have a historical value. They do carry a heritage and a common – public collective memory. Just like communities, buildings are not just soulless bricks. In a building like this, it is possible for different elements to co-habit and interact. A family household, a lawyer’s office, an NGO etc. can be hosted under the same roof and re-introduce, establish new meaning to urban architecture. At the same time, communities will preserve their identity and each city will maintain their special unique aesthetic. A step closer to gray-free city centers.

Urban Planning

Urban Planning is not just about Architecture. Especially after the phenomenon of the Great Resignation and after the Post-Covid Era, young generations care about a holistic lifestyle. Equality, inclusiveness, mental health, ecology etc. are major values that are appreciated more an define someone’s life. Governmental infrastructure, social housing, care for affordable, safe, smart and green  neighborhoods can bring the sustainability change which is a hot topic, a topic that cannot wait any more. As the future never waits.

If you are considering buying a property, or renovating your current ont and need help, get in touch with us, we would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Luxury with Wild Wonder | How to make Colour of the Year 2023 yours.

A soft gold with hints of green, Wild Wonder has been named the Colour of the Year 2023 by Dulux. This bright yet warm tone is the ideal option for a luxurious yet peaceful interior design. Wild Wonder complements a sophisticated lifestyle and upgrades the aesthetics of the whole house. 

Natural Elegance

Reminiscent of golden grass wheat, Wild Wonder lives up to its name and brings the pure and wild side of the natural environment into our homes. Bright yet quiet to the eye, it is ideal for helping with well-being and mental health. After all, our homes, as a place of relaxation, work, leisure, connection and daily activities, should be treated as a personal refuge. It is safe to say that Wild Wonder can bring (visual) balance to a busy life.   

Positive & Glowing Feel

Luxury does not mean excess. Luxury, just like beauty, is a necessity that transforms lives. It is all about well-being. Natural colors can make us feel uplifted, energetic and help us heal. Wild Wonder provides luxurious calm and comfort.

Powerful Combinations

The best aspect about Wild Wonder is how versatile it is. You can play with a large palette of colours to create harmonious combinations or even innovative contrasts.  Green and olive match the “homey” peaceful aesthetic, darker earthy tones create a warm atmosphere, while some shades of light blue, work as complementary colours to Wild Wonder.    

Are you interested in colour palettes and colour trends? Check out our articles 2022 Colour Trends and How to Implement Colour.

While it evokes natural simplicity, Wild Wonder brings a feel of elegance and luxury. It  can be combined with a variety of other colours and shades, making it an ideal starting point for any style. This soft gold with hints of green creates the perfect calm yet bright environment bringing balance to the whole house and to everyone in it.

If you are debating whether to renovate or not to renovate, request your Renovation Cost Estimate here.

It is crucial to have a cost estimate before you start, so you know what you’re getting into. With a detailed cost estimate in hand, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions and carry your renovation project to success!

If you are planning on renovating your home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.


Renovation Series
Renovation Cost Estimate | Why is it so important to estimate the cost of your renovation before you star

When it comes to renovation, architecture or interior design projects, we tend to underestimate the amount of time and the budget it will take. This is common even for industry professionals. Without an accurate budget estimate, you risk starting a project you will not be able to complete, leaving you worse off than before you even started.

So to avoid this disaster scenario, make sure you take the time to create a realistic estimate for the costs of your renovation project. 

When it comes to renovating or upgrading your house, many tasks may seem easy and simple to do – even without an architect’s help. However, once you really dive into the process it is very common for things to get more complicated, for unforeseen things to emerge and for the whole project to get chaotic and spin out of control. The wisest first step to take before even beginning the renovation is to realistically plan the project, and that includes a cost estimate of all that may be ahead of you.   

What you Can & Cannot afford

Among the many ideas and the plethora of trends on social media, it is important to take a step back and recognize what you can and cannot afford. While it is important to pay for quality, beware of succumbing to timely trends, or impulse last-minute buys. When you have an initial budget from the beginning, it can act as a guide and prevent you from diverging too far.

Beware of Unforeseen Costs

A big trap that leads to distress in architecture and interior projects is the hidden and unplanned costs that usually come up during the process. While we cannot know what unforeseen items may emerge upfront, we know something will. So failproof your budget by adding an extra 15 to 20% over the costs as a contingency to cover any surprises and unforeseen complications. It is best to have that contingency and not needed, than to scramble and have a hard time covering those unplanned expenses.  

Time is Money

Underestimating the duration the project will take and not having a specific timeline to stick to often leads to the project taking more time than it needs. This can also lead to miscalculating the entire cost estimation of the project. Time definitely is money when it comes to construction, so ensure you have a timeline estimated, along with your cost estimate. Having a realistic timeline will ensure constant awareness of where and how the budget is used.

Permits’ Reminder

Depending on what your project entails, you may need to apply for a permit from the local authorities. Proceeding without a permit can lead to costly fines, and you may be forced to undo what you did too. So make sure your cost estimate covers permits if needed. Remember to account for that in the timeline as well, as permits can have a long lead time before you get approval.   

Don't be afraid to Ask

Dealing with budgets, timelines, permits, design decisions, materials orders and construction commotions, can be overwhelming. Having professional help by your side is a major relief and can even save you actual money. That is both by planning ahead of time, as well as knowing the best solutions to implement.  An architect will help you prioritize your needs and wishes to meet your budget, while they will be able to advise you on efficient yet quality ideas and solutions. They can help you preserve your budget and only spend it in the most optimal way. To ensure this is the case, ensure that incentives are designed in a way to align your interests. For example, make sure your architect is not being paid as a percentage of the final project cost.

Realistic, may not be Αccurate

In many cases, projects take time and things change over longer period of time. This means that even the most realistic cost estimate may turn out to be less accurate than you would have liked as the project progresses. This can be due to a number of reasons, including the design itself evolving beyond the original idea, your wishes changing, but also costs of external parties, inflation and supply chain issues as we have all experienced lately. Regardless, starting off with an as-realistic-as-possible cost estimate is better than starting with no estimate at all.

A budget can be liberating!

Believe it or not, but a budget is not only restricting, it can also be liberating. How you ask? The secret is in keeping your budget up to date. As the project progresses, update what things are actually costing. If something costs less than you had budgetted, you can maybe spend more on something else.

At the end of the day, having a realistic cost estimate before you start your renovation or interior project is of utmost importance. This will determine whether you get the best possible result for your project within your budget, and in some cases, whether you can complete the project at all! Some take the time and effort to invest in creating a cost estimate for your renovation, that is the first step toward your successful project.  


Are you thinking of renovating your house or considering an interior upgrade?

Request your Cost Estimate from us Now . We will get in touch with you to gather all details and create a realistic cost estimate for you. Let us help you start your project on the right foot!

If you are considering a renovation and need help estimating a budget, or a second opinion on a budget you already have, get in touch with us, we would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Are you looking for help with your project?

Fill in the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


“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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