If there is one thing a lot of us share in common in a post Covid lockdown world, it would be a greater understanding of how our homes work for us – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Don’t get us wrong, there is a whole host of stuff covid taught us, but on this occasion, we’re focusing on our homes.  

Spending so much time at home, working, playing, relaxing, celebrating (in varying numbers depending on restrictions) taught us so much about our homes.  Commonly, our home discoveries were around aspects that didn’t work for us, resulting in many of us wanting to change things a little… or a whole lot.  

For some of us it was either a lack of space or an ‘ah..ha’ moment with a desire for a sea change or tree change, or simply get out of inner-city areas to burbs for a backyard to have our own piece of dirt.  We spent so much time at home, the whole concept of our home being our castle became so true we wanted better castles for ourselves – even if we were a sole occupant.  

Given it’s now more than two years since we first understood the full force of the term ‘lockdown’, many have either sold up and moved house, renovated, or simply restyled or updated.  More of us across the country than ever in our history made major changes with our homes in one way or another in a two-year period.  

The question we ask now is, how did that change work out?  Did the move, addition, reno, or restyle land you with what you hoped for.  Did everything go smoothly, did you get what you asked for, would you change anything in hindsight?  

Having done more than our fair share of renovations and rebuilds, and running a home styling/renovation consultative business as well as our mitch and mark HOME online and flagship store, our life is consumed with all things home improvement from major works to cosmetic changes.

From our experience, when you’re looking to make a change, whether its renovation, selling, buying or just re-styling, and way before you speak to designers, architects, builders or even real-estate agents, do yourself a big favour and do loads of research.  

If you’re buying or selling, make sure you know the market inside and out to be realistic and clear on property values independently, before a realtor suggests a price guide. When it comes to improving your home, spend as much time as you need working out exactly what you want to achieve from the end result.  We often use a phrase…”keep the end in mind” …start at the end and work backwards. Start with your vision.

The more you know about what you want and the more research you have done in advance, the more likely you will be to end up with what you want.  You will also save a lot of time and money by being clear on your intent.  The more time you spend with consultants trying to get clear on what you’re looking for, the more it will cost.  Or even worse, making corrections or changes once works have commenced will causes loads of pain and inevitable budget blowouts through ‘variations’.  We’ve all experienced invoices with lists of alterations to the original brief because we hadn’t done our homework!

Research will help you gain an understanding of what you need and want, as well as finding a style and colour scheme that works for you.  The last thing you want to end up with is the perfect home… in the opinion of the architect, the builder or design consultant, but something that’s not right for you.  Believe us when we say this is a common result, and something you as the homeowner/ home occupant need to take control of and manage.  

We are currently doing a lot of interior styling consults to help people make their recently renovated or refurbed homes more personally connected with themselves.  It would be wrong for us to suggest that we are better at this than others, as the fact is often either the details get lost in translation or the homeowner leaves too much of the style direction in the hands of the professional.  This can result in your home being perfect for the stylist but lacking that special touch that makes it personal and just right for you, …and a home.

Getting to the point finally… When it comes to anything related to the home you live in, the one you are improving, the one you are selling, the one you’re buying, do your research up front before you engage anyone. Search the internet, check out magazines, collect inspirational pictures, look at property listings and even go and inspect lots of homes when they’re on show. Be curious, ask lots of questions.  All of this will help with your vision.

There is so much information available to us all now, the better equipped we are up front, the more time and money we will save and most importantly, we are so much more likely to end up living in a home that is just right for us, as opposed to someone else’s interpretation of us.  

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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