New Year's ~Home~ Resolutions

New year, new you, new home! We have all been there, every new year’s eve, making resolutions that are probably too hard to keep! Whether you plan on losing weight, spending less, being more tidy or other self-improvement if you want to succeed you have to design your environment to help you succeed. So this year, we are bringing you new year’s resolutions for your home! What better way of welcoming the new year than refreshing your interior

This is our suggestions for some New Year’s Home Resolutions!

1. Dare to go White

A clean and fresh start! Whether in one room or in your whole house, refresh the walls of your house with a stunning white. White makes small spaces look bigger, dark spaces brighter and gives all rooms a fresh feeling. What greater choice to mark 2023? More on white and how to style a white space here.

2. Upgrade your Lighting

A clean and fresh start! Whether in one room or in your whole house, refresh the walls of your house with a stunning white. White makes small spaces look bigger, dark spaces brighter and gives all rooms a fresh feeling. What greater choice to mark 2023? More on white and how to style a white space here.

3. Use more Greenery

If one of your resolutions include reconnecting with nature and enriching your lifestyle in a healthy and sustainable way, getting into greenery and taking care of plants, is the hobby for you. Mark 2023 by upgrading your interior with all sorts of plants and greenery. Learn more about indoor plants here.

4. Finally get around to redesigning your Terrace, Balcony or Garden

You thought about it many times. Then you got tired just thinking about it and left it for another day. If your outdoors space is abandoned and full of clutter, this is your sign to redesign. If one of your resolutions is to be more social, expand your circle or reconnect with old friends, an outddor space is the perfect help to support you. This New Year you’ll host barbecues and terrace parties under the sun and stars. Start now to have it ready for the summer. Here is how you can create your own Oasis in the City.

5. Renovate your Kitchen and Bathroom

Two of the most functional spaces in every house are the Kitchen and Bathroom. The conditions and design of those two rooms are not only major factors in your everyday life, but they also determine a property’s market value. Why save it for later? This year, renovate your kitchen and bathroom. You will feel better literally every morngin and every day and you would have invested in raising your home’s value for the future. Learn how to begin here and here.

home renovation Akka Architects architecture studio Amsterdam
6. Future-Proof your House

Speaking of future-proofing, as the new year is just around the corner, it is time to look into the future and plan accordingly. Take the next smart step by trying to predict possible life changes and creating an efficient and flexible environment that secures comfort in any major life change that may come your way. Here is your guide.

BONUS

Get a Cost Estimate from Us

Whichever home improvement you choose to go for, make sure you approach the project correctly. When it comes to renovation, architecture or interior design projects, most people tend to underestimate the amount of time and the budget it will take. 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.

Request a Renovation Cost Estimate and get a step closer to your dream home.

 

From here in Amsterdam, AKKA Architects wish you a happy 2023!

 

If a new dream-home is in your New Years’ Resolutions, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Alternative Ideas for Christmas Decorations

It is the most wonderful time of the year …. to decorate! If you love Christmas and Christmas decorations but cringe at the idea of a huge tree taking up your living room and a cluttered house full of the same old decorations, you will find the following alternative – space efficient yet festive – ideas really helpful.

Instead of a Tree

Instead of a Christmas tree you can always decorate a plant (or all the plants) you already have in your house. If you don’t have any, why not get a new plant that you can decorate now and keep forever after!  You may also prefer to decorate simple tree branches or metallic miniature trees.

And then there was Light

Sometimes simple lighting spreads the Christmas joy and serenity more than any decorative object. Furthermore Christmas decoration trends always change and it is not cost-efficient to purchase new items every year. A minimal and bright option is to decorate your plants, the staircase, a cabinet or whatever item / area you choose only with garland lights. Clear white led is a popular option. As a bonus, garland lights you can reuse in summer, for those bright summer evenings and park barbecues!

The Xmas Corner

The Christmas corner is a place in your house that is exclusively devoted to the Christmas Spirit. That way you can have all the Christmas fun without changing the entire aesthetic of your house or overdoing it with decorations. Usually, this corner is in the hall or the entrance of the house. It could be a small table, a place under a window, or even the fire place – if you have one-   for a more homey feeling. This limited Christmassy space can be a focused area where handmade Family Cards, Cherished Photos and Presents can be placed.

Bonus
Christmas Greenery

Holly, Mistletoe, and the ultimate Christmas house plant Poinsettia.

These plants are not only great natural and colorful solutions but they can also be thoughtful and meaningful gifts to your loved ones these festive days!

In the mood for more inspiration?

Check out our article “Festive Colour Schemes

 

If you are renovating or building your house or just refreshing your interiors, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Presents for Architecture Nerds

Christmas holidays are for family, friends and of course present giving! Before you end up exchanging impersonal gift cards, get some inspiration from architecture and treat your architect or even architecture-nerd friends, in the most fun way! Are they not into architecture? Well after these presents they will be!

 

Presents to Play with:


LEGO Architecture

Lego Architecture is the best gift for architects and architecture & landmark lovers. From Paris to New York City, Tokyo and Singapore, you can create from scratch your own models of your favourite places in the world! All you have to do is connect the pieces. Check for Lego deals first!


Origami Building Blocks

Folding, connecting, and creating. Origami Building Blocks is a gift for those who love architecture and also the art of origami. You can make anything you wish, from typical abstract geometric solids to realistic models of real-world buildings.


Skyline Chess

If your loved ones are both architecture and chess nerds, well this is the perfect gift! This Skyline Chess brings the iconic architecture of New York City to your chess board. Chess will never be the same!


Shapes of Mondrian Toy Diorama

Easily create famous art at home! Mondrian is best known for his abstract paintings made from abstract shapes and primary colours. This specific pattern – Shapes of Mondrian – is synonymous with the neoplasticism movement. Why not help your friends set it up in a 3D version and place it in their own homes?

Presents to Decorate your Home with:


Art Deco Print

Art deco marked the “roaring 20s” and had a huge impact in architecture, interior design, product design and of course fashion. Having an art deco print may suggest a great sense of design as well as art history knowledge! And if not, then just the colours and shapes shout out “elegance”!


CityFrame of a favourite city

You and your friends definitely have a favourite place in this world. Maybe it’s a place you dream to visit together, or you maybe have already visited and had the time of your lives! Get a CityFrame to be reminded of this favourite destination constantly! 


Scented Architectural Vessel Candle

Scented candles bring peace and harmony. These pieces of art resemble famous landmarks and re-fresh your whole space at the same time!

Presents to Wear:


Blueprint Scarf / Tie / Handbag

Alternative, kind of hipster but always stylish – this is the ultimate gift for architecture nerds because it makes a complete statement on its own. A blueprint pattern on a tie, scarf or handbag will certainly be remembered!


City Plan Jewellery

Finally, this one doesn’t need much explanation. Give your loved ones the opportunity to carry their favourite places, with them, no matter how far they actually are.

Have a holly jolly Christmas with the most architectural presents!

If you are considering renovating, updating, or just refreshing your house this year, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Renovation Series
Renovation Timeline .

You thought about it, you asked around, you made a plan and you even did the math. That’s it, you have now decided to do the renovation to create the home you always dreamed of. Before you embark on this project, make sure you have considered not only the costs, but also the time element. As most people, you have probably considered your budget and even did some research to understand the costs of a renovation. (If you haven’t yet take a look at our series of articles on renovation here, and here, and here…). You can even request a cost estimate from us here.

Anyway, besides budget and costs, time can quickly become a headache in renovations, if you do not plan prudently. After all, in renovations, time definitely is money.

The time required for a renovation is different depending on the work to be done. The key is to work with reliable professionals who will provide you with a comprehensive plan for each stage of the renovation and inform you of possible delays, as early as possible. The key to a stress-free renovation is to have an idea of the general timeframe needed from the start but to also have a plan B (and maybe even C and D) if the renovation takes longer than anticipated.

It is safe to assume that renovations will (almost) always take longer than you would expect them to.

 

By the end of this article, we hope you will have a clearer idea of renovation timelines, but most importantly we hope you will be well-equipped to know when to expect delays and how to deal with them. 

Start Early!

If you have a deadline in mind, for example a moving out date or the start of a new school year (if you are moving district with children), start the process as soon as possible. Get in touch with your architect and any other professional you will engage as soon as you start thinking about a renovation. Most people and even some professionals tend to underestimate how long things will take. If you add to that, the current delays and supply chain complications happening around the world, your renovation can suddenly take twice as long as originally expected.  

What can Take Time
1.Don’t underestimate the time you will need to give feedback.

The better the quality of your feedback, the better results you get from your architect.

Α. You need to think about the feedback, not give the first reaction that comes to your mind.

Β. If you are not alone, you have a partner a spouse…etc, you need to coordinate your feedback and agree before getting back to your architect.

Giving your architect uncoordinated and contradicting feedback (if you and your spouse have different opinions for example) can lead to delays and complications down the line. You better to take your time and come to an understanding among yourselves before you get back to your architect. The best architects are even able to help you two come to a shared understanding and create a shared vision, so ask your architect!

Check out our residential projects to get ideas and go through different styles!

C. Like a good meal, feedback needs time to simmer and cook, so some decisions may need a few rounds of back and forth. Keep that in mind!

2. Third Parties

Εxperts, contractors, suppliers: when asking 3rd parties for advice (like a foundation expert), quotes (for example from contractors), or product information (such as from suppliers), it is easy to expect immediate answers. Answers are never immediate and it has become ‘normal’ these days that some 3rd parties take weeks before coming back with a comprehensive answer. Don’t be frustrated by this, just be ready for it. 

3. Permits

If you are undertaking a project which requires structural changes (wall demolitions, building a new roof terrace etc…), you will need to submit a permit application to your local municipality.

You can find out more about permits in our related articles.

Especially if you are considering a big project with many alterations, you may need to consider both a draft and a final application as well as the time the authorities will need in between, to give you the right feedback. While each municipality has its own variations, 6 to 8 weeks is standard for municipalities to review your application and approve/disapprove it.

4. Production Lead Times and Deliveries

Construction supplies, equipment, appliances and even furniture are an important part of every renovation. While the kitchen and bathrooms are the big ones (don’t worry – here are our pieces on kitchen and bathroom renovation), there are a lot of other items that need to be sourced as well. Supplies like electrical items, lighting fixtures, finishes or equipment are often shipped from abroad (or at least their parts and components may be) and there may be delays, especially in the current environment. In addition to that, any custom-made items will take time to be manufactured before they are ready for shipment. Speaking of which, shipping and transport will also take time, so keep that in mind!

Expect unforseen circumstances and have fall back plans

A good architect will tell you that while unforeseen circumstances are… unforeseen, what can be foreseen is that every project will encounter a few. You cannot and should not try to predict everything. Unforeseen changes can come from a variety of reasons: unresponsive contractors, overbooked suppliers, shipment delays, product mix-ups, wrong deliveries, …etc. While unwanted, these things happen quite often, unfortunately. When you are setting the renovation timeline, a smart hack is to be flexible and built in extra time for whatever unforeseen issue might come your way.  

Engage a Professional, an Honest one.

Whether it is out of optimism or not to avoid discouraging a new client, some architects may not explain what realistic expectations of a renovation timeline can be, upfront. While most professionals hate to admit it (especially at the initial acquisition part of the project), we can tell you delays and longer timelines are to be expected. Having a trusted professional on your side will allow you to know which delays are ‘normal’ and which are not, and most importantly how to avoid them or remedy them. For example, when we know that supply chains from Asia are disrupted, it may be wise to procure materials and equipment from Europe. While the initial cost of the products may be a little more, the shipping costs that will be saved and the delays that will be avoided, will value and make up for the cost difference. Having a trusted professional on your project means that you won’t feel lost during the process and you’ll be informed and guided through every step of the way.

The best advice on renovation timelines is patience. Since there are most definitely going to be delays, the smartest thing to do is to expect them. Not just expect but have space built in for them and focus on the most important thing, the result and quality of your dream house. This way you will avoid chaos, have everything planned and be a step closer to your dream home!     

If you are planning to renovate your home and would like some help, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have.

 

Styling a White Room

White colour in interior design is classic and modern at the same time. It makes small spaces look bigger, dark spaces brighter and gives all rooms a fresh feeling. If you’re thinking «but white is plain and so boring!», we’re here to show you it doesnt have to be!

Here are 5 tips to style a white room that is anything but basic, while maintaining elegance and avoiding monotony.

Before we dive in...

Let’s get something clear. There isn’t one white. There are many shades of white, and thankfully so, since every space has its own needs. For example, in a small room with artificial lighting, a warm shade of white, closer to beige or cream is suitable. On the other hand, rooms with large windows that have a lot of natural light will have a warm tone by default, so choosing a cool white shade with some blue or gray hues, can balance the aesthetic. Choose the best tone to suit your space, taking into account its size, layout, lighting and intended function.

1. Combine but don’t over do it.

It is advisable to limit the shades to a maximum of 3 tones of white in any given room. More shades can look confused and be confusing. Try to stick to one to two tones for the walls and you can always play with additional shades within the furniture and accessories.

2. Say yes to Different Textures.

What is often overlooked is texture. Even when using only one shade of white, introducing different textures can bring enough variations, playfulness and even contrast in the space. Break up the smooth white with some interesting textures. White bricks οr white-washed wood in parts of the walls, a white cozy rug or a white leather armchair will add a different perspective to your space. An easy solution is to add a couple of cushions with different textures that offer the eye interesting nuances.  Who said you can’t combine, leather, fur (artificial please!), and cotton?

 

3. Luxury with Metallic Details

White can be perfectly combined with metallic objects that can add a modern touch and contemporary aesthetic. Gold, silver, brass, or the currently trendy rose gold, can all elevate the sense of luxury without cluttering the space. The key is to limit the number of metallic accents only to sharp details, such as the thin legs of a chair, the edge of a coffee table, or thin frames. Avoid large surfaces of metallic materials.

4. Add a tiny bit of colour.

Once you have mastered your whites, you can stop there and have your elegant white interior or you can go on a colour adventure. Colour in the tiniest amount and the most discreet places will highlight the whole room without distracting. A pop of colour on a single armchair, cushions or a throw will bring out the dominant white even more.

5. You can never go wrong with green.

Green is beyond any trend and always in fashion! You can include green in your space no matter what interior design concept you are following! By filling your white room with green plants you add a touch of colour and at the same time give the room a sense of freshness, which is complementary to the freshness of the white aesthetic. Consider if you want your greenery to stick to shades of green, or if you want to use your greenery as an opportunity to bring in that pop of colour (flower, buds or else) we mentioned earlier.  

Check out our piece on indoor plants!

Bonus: Cleanliness is everything!

White doesn’t communicate luxury for no reason! White is hard to keep white and that is a luxury in itself. Needless to mention that white needs special care because even the slightest dirt and the smallest stains will show. To show off a white floor, a white wall, white furniture, and white decorations in your home, make sure to keep them clean at all times! 

To sum up, white rooms is an old-time classic, however, make sure you mix up the shades, the textures and the accents to create a sense of modern freshness, interesting stimulation and even luxury. Dare we say white is the new black? 

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.

 

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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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