Renovation Series
Floor Renovation

When it comes to renovation, we do not only speak of furniture rearrangement and design options. If you are thinking of a change, while you are looking around  you may also look down. The floor is the most important surface of the whole house and apart from the practicality that it offers, it is also a decisive part of the decoration and the overall aesthetics of the space. 

When should you go through it? 

Depending on the use and care one gives to a floor, its lifespan is determined. However, in many cases, floor renovation seems inevitable. In that case, the reasons are various.

Unfixed Damage

Everyday life can certainly leave its mark over the years. Walking with shoes on a wooden floor or accidentally spilling water on it can cause damage. Marble and tiles can also break. On the other hand, even the most cautious residents can receive a visit from termites or a flood. In these cases, floor renovation is unavoidable.

Old Fashioned Design

Design trends come and go and while furniture and wall painting alterations are oftenly made, floors can’t always be left aside. For example, marble floors where a trend in the 90s but then wooden surfaces kicked in. It is a matter of style and a matter of blending in with the rest of the home’s aesthetic.

Another Renovation

Speaking of aesthetics, in many cases, even if the flooring is perfectly fine, you can’t avoid replacing it. This can be necessary due to some other change or renovation. For example, in case of wall painting or kitchen renovation, the flooring is also affected and it is difficult to ignore it and leave it untouched.

Tip to avoid!

Some people install a new floor over the existing one to save time. Well, this is not the best option. In fact, it’s the worst. By doing so, you won’t give the new flooring the optimal under-layer, and while this quick option may seem effective in the short term, it’s almost guaranteed to cause problems in the future – the near future.
Check out our “Invest in Quality” piece to learn more about how to aim for long-term efficiency.

Underfloor Heating? When and why.

The use of the floor as a radiator. Underfloor heating works with low-temperature water circulating in pipes embedded in the floor. The heat is distributed evenly in the room through radiation, warming it and providing a sense of thermal comfort, with lower operating costs. Some of the benefits are a pleasant atmosphere, heating autonomy, energy efficiency, and silent function.

Design & Cost

Carpet

One cozy option is carpet floor. It provides insulation for heat and from sound while there is a wide range of colours and finishes. On the other hand it’s not ideal fore people with allergies because of the dust and also people with pets because of the hair. 

Cost Estimation: 20-80 €/m2

Laminate

Laminate is easy to install and also easy to clean. It is in general a non expensive – non-noisy material And it has a wide range of colors and finishes. One negative about laminate is that is vulnerable to moisture damage and that is something you might consider depending on the location and the state of your residence. 

Cost Estimation: 35-85 €/m2

Hardwood

Hardwood is the most elegant option that shouts out “home”. It is an Easy to clean, non-noisy material, most valuable material. Fun fact, it is also CO2 neutral. Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to heat and sunlight while it is not as durable as other options.

Cost Estimation: 40-160 €/m2

Marmoleum

Marmoleum is an easy-to-install and clean, CO2-neutral, material, the most environmentally sustainable one (natural materials, quickly recoverable, recycled content) and it comes to a good price for its value. Like hardwood, it is less durable and vulnerable to sunlight.

Cost Estimation: 35-105 €/m2

Tiles

A popular solution is tiles. They are easy to install and maintain, they are very durale, they do not stain and they are perfect for people with pets. Of course, tiles are a relatively cold material and if you choose extremely large ones or small with a specific or complex design the costs are going to be higher than expected.

Cost Estimation: 40-100 €/m2

Poured Concrete Floor

A contemporary and aesthetically modern option is poured floor. It is sustainable, extremely durable – it can be redone if scratched and lasts a lifetime and it is seamless which means you will not face design issues in the finishes and corners. However, it can be costly and takes 3-4 days to install. 

Cost Estimation: 40-150 €/m2

LVT

Finally, there is LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles). LVT is easy to install and maintain. Like tiles, it comes in a variety of designs and it is suitable for people with pets.  Because it is made out of plastic, it is not sustainable or recyclable and can also be a little bumpy, while it is also vulnerable to sunlight.

Cost Estimation: 40-100 €/m2

Ultimately, for whatever reason you decide to go ahead with a floor renovation, make sure you invest in the right and most suitable materials for your personal situation that will prove reliable in the long run. Always make sure you have the right professional by your side to help and guide you every step of the way, from technical to supplies. Remember that although there are many options, each situation is unique and there can be a customized solution for your needs and wishes.

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

 

Renovation Series
Kitchen Renovation
PART ΙΙ: Costs and Future Value.
Click here for Part 1

Kitchens are one of the most functional parts of our homes, a place where we spend time with our loved ones and ourselves and engage into favorite recipes, meals, a relaxing tea and even coffee rituals. It is important our kitchens meet certain requirements to be as practical, comfortable and stylish as possible.

In our previous article we discussed how you can make the most out of your kitchen’s interior design and upgrade its aesthetic with the appropriate  selections.  In this article we will share tips on kitchen renovation costs and future value. 

Future Value

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is the area of the house that usually shows the most how old and how well or poorly maintained a house is. Renovating your kitchen does not just bring up-to-date its aesthetics, it also ensures a better value for your house, if you were to sell it or rent in the future.  You can check out our article on future-proofing for more insight on this matter.

Technical is not Technicality

First things first. In the renovation of a kitchen – (as well as that of a bathroom, check our corresponding piece here), attention must be paid to the good quality of the technical elements that are installed (such as plumbing, electricals, materials and ironmongery). This can save you a lot of hassle and expenses in the future. It is very important to ensure all your technical elements are in good condition before you move your attention to the design, the look & feel and the furnishing! Don’t forget that the electrical elements are of major importance due to the fact that the kitchen is the room with the most technical equipment (oven, stove, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, ventilation, extractor…etc).


Costs

When it comes to renovating your kitchen, there are two main scenarios: the full renovation (including the rerouting of plumbing, replacing electrical, and maybe even structural changes) and the partial renovation (where it is only about the finishes, such as carpentry, surfaces and equipment). In the partial renovation, the cost will depend mostly on the quality of the carpentry, brands of the equipment and level of 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 equipment. If there is mold, a leak, or any other damage, this will also affect the cost. All of this is in addition to any structural changes, such as if you need to demolish a wall or create an opening in a wall for example.

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

Kitchen tiles: low average € 20/sqm | average  € 40-60/sqm | high average € 80-90 /sqm

Kitchen equipment (incl. installation): average € 8-10K

Removal of current kitchen equipment and tiles: average € 1,5 K

Wall adjustments: € 4 – 5 K

Plumbing adjustments: € 1 – 1,5 K

Electrical adjustments: € 1,5 – 2 K

Tiling work: floor tiles average € 95/sqm | wall tile average € 45/sqm

Ask for professional help

Although your interior design taste may be great and you might already know exactly what you want, the kitchen 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, especially when it comes to technical questions, 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 effort, money and trouble in the long run.

TIPS TO SAVE MONEY

Combine special expensive tiles with more standard and cheaper tiles. It is possible to create a stunning space by using a combination of tiles. You can use some special tiles on one surface to create an accent wall for example, and use more standard tiles in the rest of the space.

Whenever possible, try to stick with the original kitchen layout so you can save some money on the rerouting of the plumbing and electrical wires. If this is not possible, try to plan the kitchen layout with as little moves as possible, and with the shortest distances.

While most projects start off well, many derail soon after kickstarting. It’s easy to get lost and go off-budget. When it comes to renovations, most people tend to underestimate the amount of time and the budget needed. 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, it is important to take the time to create a realistic estimate for the costs of your renovation project. Get a cost estimate so that you have an organized plan from the start, know how much the renovation will cost and, most importantly, where and how the budget will be used.

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

Renovation Series
Kitchen Renovation

The Kitchen is one of the most functional spaces in the house. However, most people in their effort to maximize its utility end up neglecting its design. The risk of that is not only a sub-optimal design, it can also lead to an incorrect flow, making the use of the kitchen less pleasant and even detracting. Renovating your kitchen can definitely be a big project, especially when you think about the variety of trends, commercial models, suppliers, choice of equipment, utilities and technical requirements. On the other hand, renovating your kitchen can be one of the most satisfying improvements you can make. Needless to say, a new optimal kitchen can transform your daily life and enrich your family interactions!

 

 

Here are 5 smart tips on Renovating your Kitchen.

1.Think about how will you use your kitchen.

One of the most common questions people think about is the open vs. closed kitchen question. But it doesn’t stop there! Everything revolves around personal lifestyle. Do you cook or order in? What is your taste and how advanced are your cooking skills? Will you need a stove or just a microwave? And of course… Will you combine your kitchen with a dining area? If yes you will have to think about how to optimize your space efficiently to fit in a dining table and chairs for you and your guests! 

Creative Tip? Sketch up different scenarios: A day in the Life / Home Alone / Dinner Party / After Work Cooking / Quick family Breakfast /  Lazy Sunday Morning?

2. Think about Style, Colours, Textures

Rustic? Minimal? Modern? Remember to combine the kitchen’s design with the style of the rest of the interior design! This does not mean that everything has to be the same, just consider how the kitchen style and colours can work with the rest of the house. Do you want the kitchen to blend into the rest of the house? Stand out? Contrast? Be a totally different oasis?


3. Create a smart kitchen

A ‘more than meets the eye’ kitchen, is not only contemporary problem-solving, it creates a calm atmosphere with no disruptions. Choose elegance ad built-in &  smartly “hide” your equipment. For example, maybe you do not wish for your dishwasher to be visible or even your clothes washing machine if it’s located in the kitchen – which happens a lot.

Moreover, you can maximize every corner of the space and create room for all your dishes and cluttery and other domestic utensils, with smart cabinets.

Are you high-tech? What about a smart fridge? Smart fridges allow you to see what is in your refrigerator in real-time from anywhere and some also provide the feature to see expiration dates on all of your groceries


4. Use Nature’s Assistance

Get beautiful plants that you can also use in cooking. Herbs such as thyme, basil, rosemary, or even oregano add an essential aesthetic and smell to the space, while they can be used in almost every recipe. 


5. Make the kitchen more than a kitchen

Whether you are a social cook or an loner, design the kitchen that will suit you best.

If you want to invite people in while cooking, make sure the setting is welcoming for them and protective of your work space. Add stools for the guest but keep them out of your way and out of the splash zone.

If you are more of a loner cook, you may like to transform your kitchen into a ‘me-time’ space, where you can retreat while preparing the most delicious meals.

Bonus

Get inspired from our latest projects.

To sum up, the kitchen is not just a practical room but also a space to personalize your lifestyle, be creative, and spend me-time or time connecting with your favorite people. This space can be optimized to be efficient and stylish / cozy in order to facilitate interactions.

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

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

Luxurious Illumination: Task, Accent, or Ambiance Lighting

Light is one of the most important – yet often overlooked – elements of interior design, both on aesthetic and functionality levels. It is even one of the key criteria in determining the value of a property. Before you redesign your lighting, it is worthwhile to understand the different types of lighting, their strengths and their effects so you can best decide how to illuminate your space in the best and brightest way. 

General Lighting

Natural light is a major player in ensuring our well-being day in and day out. If natural lighting is scarce in your house, consider increasing it by using large mirrors – strategically placed across windows and by selecting furniture with reflective surfaces – metal, glass and light colours on shiny surfaces all can work. For more insight on light and windows check our related piece.

To complement natural lighting, we turn to artificial lighting. While we need artificial lighting to simply see and function around the house, the potential of artificial lighting to transform our home experience is tremendous, and often a missed opportunity in most interiors.

While there a numerous things to consider with interior lighting design, here’s one key piece of advice: Never rely on just one lighting source.

Task, Accent or Αmbiance Lighting

Task Lighting

Task lighting is essential for illuminating a certain area, or even a restricted corner, in order to complete a specific activity, a task.

Usually task lighting can be found in offices where desk lamps are used to help you work, but also around living room sofas and couches where floor and desk lamps help you read and of course on bedside tables for the evening wind down.  

Moreover, task lighting also applies to the lighting on the mirror in the bathroom, the sink, the oven and the hot-plates in the kitchen, as its purpose is just to illuminate the space where practical daily activities like cooking, take place.

Accent Lighting

On the other hand, accent lighting is a form of decorative lighting and it focuses on a particular area or object, in order to highlight its aesthetic, give the feeling of depth and create a pleasant atmosphere in the interior design.

Accent lighting can be created with hidden led lighting in staircases, or in ceiling corners.

It is also very common to use accent lighting on shelves to illuminate books and other artefacts, and of course paintings on walls or beautiful plants around the space.  

Having said all that, accent lighting is not only to shine light on beautiful objects. When done correctly, accent lighting can transform even a boring corridor into an exciting space by creating contrast between light and dark, and structure throughout the space.

Ambiance Lighting

Ambiance lighting is a form of general lighting that provides a comfortable level of illumination without too much glare. Aside from the basic lighting functionality, ambiance lighting improves the sense of warmth and depth of a room or space. Although with ambiance lighting you do not have to illuminate a certain restricted area, you will need to think twice about where to install the light, the dimming and the luminaire you will choose. 

Final Advice

Since we said don’t rely on just one source, always consider every room and every space in terms of primary light, secondary lights and even tertiary lights. Make sure you include dimmable optionality. And make sure your switch connections allow you to control these lights separately so you can create different lighting scenarios. When your living room is hosting a cozy movie night, a romantic evening or your kids’ playtime on a winter Sunday afternoon, it will need very different lighting schemes for each of those scenarios.

To sum up, avoid having one light source in any given space. Not only can it be tiring to the eye, it also lacks depth and style, and in many cases, it won’t even be practical. As light is a major interior design factor, it is best to analyze which areas of the house you wish to illuminate and for what reason. Smart task lighting, strategic accent lighting, and elegant ambiance lighting should all work together to upgrade your interior and facilitate your daily activities and interactions in the most natural yet luxurious way.

If you are planning on redesigning your lighting fixtures or 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.

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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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