Halloween Special | Design Disaster

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!


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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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