Sunday, June 5, 2011

Renovation -- DIY or Hiring ID

I felt a lot better after taking a break.

Want to take some time to jot down my thoughts on the subject. The easy way out of course is leaving it to ID. The trouble of leaving it to ID is that they will not know what we like or what don't like. This can be tough especially when you have different family members with different ideas of what they want.

The second path is to order all the main stuffs we like and ask ID to design around it. We can order all the lights, furniture, kitchen, wardrobe, etc. Well, if we have done almost 90% of the work, why we do need them? They probably will advise us what color to paint our wall, pick some wall paper, improvise here and there. But this is not a bad alternative because they are good at what they are doing for a living. Besides, they have a pool of contractors for civil, electrical, carpentering, plumbing, etc. If you don't like to deal with contractors, let ID earns the money. They probably will charge consultation fees between RM $ 5 - 15 k.

The other advantage of ID is their 3D drawing that allow you to feel the concept. However, this is only from their perspective. Unless you do your own homework like you want to include your grandfather clock, a grand piano and etc, it will be left out and end up rojak after you move in.

One disadvantage of ID is they could been over zealous to show off their design. Based on the feedback that I got, if I let ID guy to design downlight for me, they could have doubled the number of lights I would need. Like artist, some of them will really want to create something different to carve out a name for themselves, you may ended up paying something you don't need.

I suspect we will still need to go through the same mess as much as DIY.

The greatest advantages of DIY are

i. obviously, saving on consultation fees,
ii. much more user base design -- it will force you think through all your needs.
iii. take advantage of specialist knowledge
iv. take advantage of great offers ( you may pick up some real good deals especially from furniture fair on many items)
v. blending your old furniture with new furniture

DIY, coordinating with various specialist has it own draw back.

The biggest challenge of doing DIY is to iron out all the nitty gritty details. I'll need to work through most of the sketches or drawings so that I can visualize what kind of design I want. Some of them are easy for example, where am I going to have wall lights. If I decided to have wall lights, how high do I need to put them - 6 ft or 6 ft 3 in? The answer would pretty much depend on the height and size of the wall light.

I've ordered my kitchen. They provided me the details of wiring for cabinet lights, switches for appliances, water filter, in-let piping, outlet piping, etc. But I need to get the contractor to prepare all these details.

I hit into a problem earlier of the week as the location of exhaust pipe was not matching -- too far out. When we decided to move in 30 inch nearer, that location hit the building structure. So we got to back off and I need to rework the plaster ceiling dimension. I just got back from my house and finally I think I've it done. I earlier wanted a big airy window for our kitchen, now I need to give up about 1 feet so that I can keep the whole design in balance.

It's very easy to access to a lot of specialists but I need to be a synthesizer to process all of them so I can keep the big picture view. Each of them are very good of what they are doing. The kitchen specialist design for example, can easily beat ID's design hands down. They offers latest technology such as melamin board, solid surface, quartz stone, granite, etc or accessories for lazy man. Gone are the days that you and your wife need to wipe your plates dry before putting them into cabinet. They design a through hole tray and you just place them into cabinet and let the water drip into your basin bowls.

We actually try some simulations of what we need when we move into our house. There are some simple things like how are we going to vacuum our staircase since there is no power outlet socket around that area? We ordered a new bed with about 11 feet wide(with built in side table), so how far out do we need another power outlet socket to place our next bed light? Since we are going to put our this piece of furniture here or there, how many more sockets do we need for our standing lights? Daddy, I need a socket for my piano heater. You can see how tedious is the planning process. I'm glad that our family members have done enough what ifs, and we got that electrical plan nailed down. The electrician is going to start work tomorrow.

I do have curtain specialist to advise me. But there are questions like do you like the conventional daylight curtain or roller bind? Do you need to make curtain to cover exact sliding door or extending them? There is one corner for example that I plan to place our piano and there will be another 2 feet to the sliding door. I was thinking whether I should let the curtain run closer to the piano so that I don't get the "funny" gap or place a painting in between them or a standing light, etc....

My wife and I share a lot of common interest. We like simplicity and at the same time with classical flavors. We don't mind to borrow some ideas from magazine but we certainly do not want to copy wholesale. At times, we do have clashes. To resolve the differences, we will have to drive around the town/island to search something that we both can agree to it. I can tell you this will really wear you down.

When I post I'm hitting the wall this morning, we have spend almost 2 months on planning, coordinating, shopping but still feel pretty much work-in-progress. I guess the toughest part of building a house is laying the foundation. Once we get over that stage, the rest will feel much more satisfying. I guess we just need to be patient because there are certain steps need to be completed before we can see our blueprint will finally be materialized. Those guys still need to bang the tiles, lay the cable, lay the bricks, cleaning up the mess, etc before we can ask for delivery of furniture, lights, plants, grille, etc...........

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