Design Visualization for Your New Home

 

What is design visualization for your home?

Design visualization is an important part of any home interiors project today because it helps customers see what their space might look like before they start their project. No longer do you need to start your project blind, and discover that you don’t like it once its complete.

Options for home design visualization

Today there are a few different types of design visualization modes out there.

2D Home Views

B2DImg

These are the line drawings, or architectural drawings of your space that help you understand the dimensions and layout of your floor. They are also typically done for woodwork, such as wardrobes, modular kitchen, and TV cabinets.

3D Home Models

3D models are built to help you see your space in a way that’s as close to real as possible. It starts out as a 3 dimensional rendering of your space, on top of which layers such as walls, flooring, furniture etc. can be added. These models aren’t usually shared with customers because they require rendering software to be able to see and navigate through them.

3D Home Views

B3Dview
Given 3D models are complex to work with, usually designers and architects offer you 3D views of your 3D models. These can be thought of as snapshots or photographs of your virtual space, which you can print out if needed. Each view tends to be charged at anywhere from Rs. 2,000 – 5,000 or more depending on the modeling complexity of your space.

VR Home View


VR in design and architecture is relatively new, and is starting to change the way we visualize new spaces. Our 3D models serve as the starting point in a series of steps that then allow us to view our space in the VR world. Imagine putting on a VR headset and looking around every corner of your new room. What’s more, you can navigate (or walk) from room to room and experience every detail as if you were there.

Why does this cost money?

Visualization of your home requires a combination of design, modeling, and technology professionals to work on your space to give you the views you want. Additionally the technology systems to host these models, and view them (VR headsets) are also quite expensive. Therefore, someone charging you to see these models is not an unreasonable ask – it costs them money to produce. You can reduce the number of rooms you want to visualize to lower costs. However, in the grand scheme of things spending 5-10% extra to see your space before you invest all that money in redoing it is totally worth it and the end of the day.

How real is my image?

Visualization is not perfect, it is after all a virtual image/model that you’re looking at. The quality of renderings is constantly improving though, and sometimes its hard to even tell which one is real and which is computer generated.

Can you tell from looking at these two?

BR1Two BR1One
Source: RonenBekerman.com

(The one on the right is real)

Bathroom standards to keep in mind

Bathrooms are important to get right, a badly designed bathroom can get you off on the wrong foot each and every day. Keeping this in mind here are a few things you must incorporate into your next bathroom remodelling project.
Bathroom Colors

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Pick the right colors to reflect your personality. Weather you go for a contemporary charcoal and white palette or a Mediterranean blue theme take the time out to research your color choice and if possible find the right reference image to start with.
Bathroom Clearances
Make sure basic standards are met. Here is a list of things that you must make sure of:
WC location – Minimum 20 inches is recommended from the center of the toilet to the nearest wall or obstruction.  This means a span of 40 inches is recommended for the toilet.  The recommended clearance in front of the toilet is 30 inches.
Toilet paper holder – The standard placement is 8-12 inches from the front of the toilet seat to the center line of the toilet paper holder, at a height of 26 – 30 inches.
Standard washbasin height – Standard vanity height or washbasin height starts at about 30 inches high and goes up to say 43 inches.  At the lower heights most people will have to stoop to use the sink. Standard vanity cabinet depth is 2 ft.
Standard Shower dimensions – The minimum recommended size is 32 x 32 inches. If you can fit in a rectangular shower of 36 inches by 48 inches or larger you’ll be more comfortable.
Note: Shower enclosure door should open outwards (for unobstructed entry and exit into the wet area)
Bathroom Lighting

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Good bathroom lighting needs to be a combination of overhead and task lighting. Use a mounted or recessed light overhead for general illumination. You’ll also want to light the vanity area with some excellent task lighting, which can be a fixture above the mirror or sconces on either side. Additionally, you need to light the shower area with a dedicated overhead light.
You also should avoid light pointing directly down on your head because it will be harsh and unflattering. Instead, position your ceiling light over the walkway area so you’re lit from behind rather than directly in front of the vanity.

We hope these tips will help you with your next project. If you have any suggestions or opinions on this please do share your comments with us, we would love to hear your renovation stories.

What goes into a Bathroom Renovation

If you’re tearing down and renovating a bathroom, you may not know what exactly it involves. All you may have seen are bathroom designs you’ve found online and shared with your contractor. Here’s a brief checklist to educate yourself.

 

Bathroom Demolition
The first step is tearing down the existing bathroom. It could be entirely internal if the walls don’t need to be moved. Specifically you may need to remove the wall tiles, floor tiles, fittings, and woodwork. Demolition always goes hand in hand with debris removal, so make sure you have someone to manage it for you (contractor or 3rd party).

Lighting & Electricals
A well-lit bathroom makes your daily experience a lot more pleasant. Given that false ceilings are becoming common practice in the bathrooms nowadays, ceiling lighting can be considered. As for the rest of the electricals make sure to provision for a water heater, at least 1-2 open points for things like an electric razor or hair dryer, a pressure pump if needed, and an AC if you feel like splurging.

Bathroom Plumbing
Plumbing is fairly typical in a bathroom. Check your water pressure before the walls are plastered up and the fixtures are installed, so that if pipe routing needs to be adjusted, or provisions for a pump need to be made it’s a LOT easier.

Waterproofing your Bathroom
It is extremely critical to get waterproofing right. We recommend that you waterproof the floor and about half the height of the walls in the bathroom for extra protection. This is done before any tiles or flooring is installed.

Bathroom Tiles
There are plenty of options out there for bathroom wall tiles. It all comes down to your choice and budget. From multiple Indian and imported wall tile brands, to unbranded ‘Gujarat’ tiles, you’ll find a lot out there. If you have storage space, buy an extra box for later (years to come). Sometimes you need to break a small section of the walls to resolve plumbing problems and matching tiles come in handy.

Flooring
You can use tiles, marble, or granite for your bathroom flooring.

False Ceiling 

It’s not uncommon nowadays to have a false ceiling in your bathroom. Keep it simple would be our suggestion. One downside of false ceiling is that if there is some kind of water seepage from the floor above, the false ceiling will need to be replaced. Regular ceilings on the other hand are cheaper to fix.

Woodwork
You may choose to get some storage constructed under your sink (vanity), or elsewhere in the bathroom if you have space. This comes in handy to store things like bathroom cleaners, towels, soaps, shampoos etc. Using waterproof board is a good idea to give your cabinets extra protection against moisture.

Counter Top
You may want to put in a granite/marble counter top around your washbasin based on the type of look you’re going for.

Doors & Windows
More and more people today are choosing UPVC doors and windows. While UPVC doors may not quite work out in the bathroom, windows are a good idea given UPVC is more resistant to moisture than wood and last longer.

Shower Enclosure

A modern bathroom today isn’t complete without a shower enclosure. It adds character and utility to your bathroom. Toughened glass is pricy, so an enclosure adds a significant expense to your bathroom renovation.

Bathroom Fittings
Last but not the least is the bathroom fixtures, which includes your washbasin, WC, and plumbing fixtures like your shower fittings, sink faucet, and WC faucet. The pricing of these vary vastly depending on the brand you choose. Some of the brands in the market include Hindware, Jaquar, Kohler, Grohe.

 

 

Reducing air pollution during home renovations

One of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution in apartment buildings are home renovations. If not done carefully the dust and chemicals spread through the ducts and shafts and are able to cause damage to quite a few residents. While there is no way to completely remove this unfortunate side effect of home remodeling, there are things that can be done to keep it in check.

Painting walls of an empty room. Renovation house.
TIMING
Whenever possible, work at a time when residents are likely to be out; 9 AM to around 6 PM is a fair window. While it is tempting to maximize working hours, it starts to become disruptive to the other residents.
BARRIERS AND CONTAINMENT
Cover all ducts and openings in the apartment during the process, this will contain the particles and one can control the damage.
Keep containers of paint and other chemicals closed whenever possible. And keep it all confined to as small an area as possible, for example if painting a room, keep the door closed and windows open so that the chemicals aren’t spreading to the other rooms unnecessarily.

Painting supplies

CLEANING
Get the site cleaned every day at the end of the day. Remove debris in proper containers. Also ensure that workers on site, clean their feet and clothes before leaving a site so as to not spread particulate around the area.

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VENTILATION
Keep the appropriate windows open and consider putting a standing fan on site to be able to direct the air out.
STAY OUT
And finally the most basic thing to do, stay away from a work site as much as possible, if inspecting the site make sure work is stopped and the site has been ventilated. Wear a mask whenever you do visit. Definitely keep children and pets far away from site.

Keep these tips in mind when renovating or share them with anyone who is planning a renovation, a little consideration will go a long way to improve the indoor air quality in your building.

Tips to Improve Air Quality in your Apartment

Source: WSJ Blog, Air Pollution in Delhi
Source: WSJ Blog, Air Pollution in Delhi

Most major cities in India suffer from poor air quality, and there are times it becomes a serious health hazard for the entire city’s population. Delhi NCR and other parts of northern India have seen some severe episodes of pollution in the past few years. While policy makers try to determine what they can do at a broader level, here are some things we can do in our homes to reduce the level of pollutants.

Plants for air purification

Peace lilies
Source: Mother Nature Network, Peace lilies

We live in a day and age with fancy expensive gadgets. However, whatever you can do naturally is preferable to using gizmos. NASA has published a list of plants that naturally remove the toxins from the air and make it more breathable. As a thumb rule one plant per room in the house will make your air much cleaner.

Link: Some plants to consider

Invest in an air purifier

Having an air purifier around the house may be a good supplement to your plants, especially when conditions are extremely bad outside. While we aren’t going to begin to try to evaluate the air purifiers in the market, we will say that go for a purifier with a HEPA filter and no ozone emissions.

Clean your filters

Clean your filters
Source: Crucial Vacuum, Clean your filters

Make sure you keep you filters clean, whether its for your air purifiers, or your ACs and heaters.

Air out your space

If possible, during the time of the day when the air is the cleanest, open up your windows to let some outside air in. There are some toxins, emissions that are produced inside your house that no purifier will help with.

Buy a vacuum cleaner

While vacuum cleaners aren’t common in India, it may be time for us to start investing in one if we have carpets in the house. Carpets accumulate plenty of dust, and what’s thrown up during sweeping can be quite harmful to inhale. A vacuum will help suck in the dirt so it doesn’t spread into the air around us.

Avoid Incense sticks

Incense sticks are common around the house whether for religious purposes or fragrance. However, its yet another source for particulate matter in your house that can be avoided.

Use natural cleaning products (non-toxic)

Some of our house-cleaning products have chemicals in them, which are harmful and make us uncomfortable when inhaled. While this may be hard to do, it can help to try to find natural alternatives to the chemical cleaners so you don’t spread air pollutants in your home every day.

Groom your pets

Groom your pets
Groom your pets

Your pets are fuzzy, furry creatures that you like to cozy up to. However at the same time the fur attracts dust and particulates, which can do you harm. Keep your pets groomed regularly to minimize impact.

 

Some of these may not move the needle largely on their own when it comes to reducing air pollution but they are small things you can do in your home to make things better.

Home Renovation on a fixed budget

Blog Cover Renovation Budget

 

Source: Houzz.com

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, you’re surely starting to wonder how much does a renovation cost. Often design professionals and storeowners you meet will ask you what’s your renovation / product budget. Early on in the process of renovating your home this can be a very tough question. In this post we will lay out some fixed budget renovation plans to help you start to understand pricing.

 

The 5 Lakh, 10 Lakh, 20 Lakh Home Renovation

Based on projects BuildingBlox has completed for 3BHK clients, we have compiled a suggestion list for you. We assume the use of mid-range, good quality products from brands such as Jaquar, Kajaria, and Merino Laminates.

The Rs. 5 Lakh home renovation is for those who are looking to revitalize their home without a complete overhaul. The Rs. 10 Lakh home renovation is for those with a reasonable budget who are looking to get most things upgraded. The Rs. 20 Lakh home renovation is for those who would like a complete redesign of their space.

 

3BHK 5 Lakh 10 Lakh 20 Lakh
Kitchen Y Y
Bathrooms 1 3
Flooring 5 rooms 5 rooms 5 rooms
False Ceiling 5 rooms 5 rooms 5 rooms
Painting Y Y Y
Windows (UPVC) Y
Electricals Y Y Y
Lighting Some Y
Woodwork TV Unit TV Unit Wardrobes, TV Unit
Appliances Kitchen, few others Kitchen, ACs, Gysers
Furniture Not Included Not Included Not Included

 

For those of you looking for a new kitchen, but lacking a very large budget can consider an alternative 5L plan. This would entail a new modular kitchen, basic appliances (hob, chimney), new flooring and false ceiling in your living room, and a full apartment repaint.

 

How to design your home like a pro

Girls-Bedroom-Color-Ideas

Interior design is a specialised job and no one can replace what designers bring to the table in terms of combining functionality with design. Still, there is a large section of home owners who don’t have the kind of budget that allows them to splurge on the personalised services of an interior designer.
For those home owners, who deeply care about design but would just like to do up their space themselves, here are some tips on how.
Find Home Décor Ideas online, and break them down into elements
There are high quality home design ideas all over the web, websites like pinterest and houzz will allow you to browse thousands of designs for each room. Start saving the ones you like and break each image down into elements. For example if you like a kitchen image, identify what you like about it, whether it’s the colour scheme, flooring material, woodwork, accessories, lighting, wall tiles etc. this will help you list your requirements.
Map images to products
Carry the shortlisted images to the market and start selecting materials that will help you achieve the final look you want. Show these images to the shop owners and they will guide you.
Room Color Schemes
Pick a colour scheme that best defines your look, once established try and be consistent through different rooms.

Girls-Bedroom-Color-Ideas
Feature walls
Design feature walls into your rooms. For bedrooms pick the wall behind the bed and give it contrast in colour or consider using wallpaper, for the TV lounge create a wall feature behind the TV and maybe a picture wall in the living room where you can arrange family photos in an aesthetic way. This adds an element of personality to the rooms.

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Lighting
Design the lighting with care, pick rooms where you want to create a false ceiling with embedded lights, decide where you want to add some hanging lights (dining table, breakfast counter, living room)

40-lighting-ideas-for-living-room-cool-modern-living-room-lamps-16-454
Accessories and décor
This is the most personalised part of the process, be picky about the kind of mirrors, decorative bowls, planters and baskets you want to have displayed in your home. Identify the locations and design the appropriate shelves and tables that need to be installed in order to create the look you want.

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Keep these thoughts in mind when designing your own home, if so inclined make some sketches to discuss with your contractor, and we are sure you’ll fall in love with your new home once it’s ready.

Have you designed your home recently? Share your experiences with us in the comments section.

Modular Kitchen Accessories: What to keep in mind (Part 2)

Here’s a few other modular kitchen accessories that you might want to consider when setting up a new kitchen.

Vegetable Basket pullout
A vegetable basket pullout gives you a space to keep all your fresh produce. Things like potatoes and onions will always be kept outside even if you choose to keep the rest in the fridge. Instead of keeping your vegetables in a basket on top of the counter, this just makes your space look neater.

Note: One often has a choice between wicker baskets and stainless steel baskets. While wicker looks nicer, it can be harder to clean than stainless steel. You will also need to choose whether to put a shutter on your baskets or leave them open – a shutter can help keep the dust out and the smells inside.

VegiBasket1
Source: Howdens

VegiBasket2
Source: 3plModularKitchens

Kitchen Pantry Unit
Pantry units come in a few different variations, and generally are in the form of a tall pullout with multiple shelves. The advantage of a pantry unit is that the things lying in the back of your cabinets become easier to reach, as opposed to needing to pull out all your jars in front to access the ones behind.

Note: Given the tall nature of these cabinets, you’ll still need a stepstool or a small ladder to access the upper shelves.

PantryUnit1
Source: Hettich

PantryUnit2
Source: Hettich

PantryUnit3
Source: Hettich

Appliance Garage
Appliance garages are becoming popular in India nowadays. They can be thought of as small cabinets on your kitchen counter to keep your appliances plugged in, and pulled out whenever you want to use one. There is usually a shutter on the front of the cabinet, hence the use of the term garage.

ApplianceGarage2
Source: Houzz.com

ApplianceGarage1
Source: Houzz.com

Drawer systems
Drawers come in many shapes and sizes in your kitchen. You can use drawers for cutlery, pots and pans, grains, flour and much more. They are often referred to as tandem boxes.

Note: The larger of these tandem boxes have weight capacities, so its important to figure out what purpose you’re going to use your drawer for. Also keep in mind that the pictures your modular kitchen company will show you usually show divisions/compartments in these drawers, but those attachments need to be purchased separately.

DrawerSystems1
Source: Hettich

DrawerSystems2
Source: Hettich

If you missed the first post in this series click here Modular Kitchen Accessories Part 1

Modular Kitchen Accessories: What to keep in mind (Part 1)

BottlePullout1

When redoing your kitchen you’ll be spoilt for choice on the types, numbers, and brands of modular kitchen accessories out there. However, kitchen designers and hardware sellers are not likely to tell you about some of the more practical considerations of these accessories. So in the following post, we’re going to introduce you to some of the possible accessories you could install in your kitchen, while also giving you things to keep in mind when making your choices.

Inbuilt Kitchen Cutlery Trays
If you could only choose one accessory for your kitchen it would have to be a cutlery tray. This is one of the most useful organizers to have in a kitchen, and likely you’ll want more than one.

Note: Cutlery trays come in specific sizes, ensure your drawers are built to size else they may not fit properly, or you’ll have left over space on the sides. Rectangular trays (below image) tend to be more efficient on space, than angled ones (2nd image). Cutlery trays that are made of a firm plastic or metal are sturdier than the flexible plastic ones.

CutleryTray1
Source: Hettich

CutleryTray2
Source: Kaff

Garbage pullout
While you can easily ignore having a garbage pullout in your kitchen, it ends up being a neat way to organize your kitchen trash. Given the multiple boxes, you can start to segregate your dry and wet waste easily.

Note: Its important to note that most of the garbage pullouts in the market are quite small in size, and leave you feeling like you are wasting space below your sink. However, its best to go with what’s in the market than try to have your own built. Additionally, in our experience a pullout (left image) is more stable than the one you attach to the door (right image).

GarbagePullout1
Source: Hafelle

Kitchen Magic corners
Magic corners generally come recommended by kitchen manufacturers when you’re building a new modular kitchen. They make corners easier to use, and the things you store in there become a lot more accessible.

Note: However, there’s plenty you should know about magic corners before you decide how many, and what types to install in your kitchen.
• Magic corners can be frightfully expensive, especially if you go with the branded ones.
• Given the number of moving parts they have, they can get spoilt/damaged easily (be especially cautious when going for local brands).
• Do check what their max weight capacity is. The heavier they get, the more likely they are to break
• Often the storage space you get in a magic corner isn’t very much (pay close attention to the images below). You can’t stack your piles of dishes too high on there, if that’s something you were used to in the past.

Therefore, one would highly recommend taking a look at an installed magic corner in store before you give your kitchen company a go ahead.

MagicCorner1
Source: Hettich

MagicCorner2
Source: Hettich

MagicCorner3
Source: Indiamart

Bottle Pull Outs
Bottle pullouts are a convenient to put away your oils, vinegars, condiments and other jars you have.

Note: Measure the size of the largest bottles you expect to fit in there (e.g. 5L oil bottle) and make sure your pullout size is appropriate. Bottles when vertical can be a bit unsteady so you’ll need to keep the space quite packed up. Often pullouts are designed such that only one of the sides is fastened to the walls of the cabinet, making it a little shaky when pulled out.

BottlePullout1
Source: Hettich

BottlePullout2
Source: Hettich

Interested in more: see Modular Kitchen Accessories (Part 2)

5 Tips to a Smoother Home Renovation

It is natural for homeowners about to embark on a remodeling project to have a lot of insecurities about the process. How will the final output turn out? Will the project stay within my budget? How long will it take before I can move into my new space? On top of that the noise and mess is extremely unpleasant and frustrating.
So here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you deal with the process that is about to unfold in your home.

Plan your Home Renovation
Have every detail of the process mapped out before starting work on site. Identify your vendors, make space for storing materials, figure out your building approvals and speak to your neighbors to let them know (including the apartment above and below).

Buy your Renovation Materials/Products
Make a list of materials required on site and divide them into 3-4 lists based on when they are required on site. For example, if you are redoing your kitchen, you’ll need your floor tiles a lot earlier than your counter stone or chimney, this will help you deal with a manageable amount of decision making, and avoid rushing through selections.

Trust your Renovation Contractor
Once you have interviewed a few contractors and are ready to hire one, ask yourself this, do you trust them? It is very important that they seem trust worthy to you otherwise the project is sure to be derailed. Once you have established a certain level of trust make it a point to allow them to manage the project in their way and resist the urge to micro manage the process.

Schedule Contractor Payments alongside Milestones
Payment schedules are key, decide the project amount and make a schedule with dates for the release of payments to vendors, it is advisable to link the payments with milestones so that the contractor is pressured to stick to a work sequence, this way you don’t have to deal with sporadic requests for money.

Create a Renovation Contract
Document all change requests, include budget increase and extra time required, and treat it like a mini contract agreement so that the bill at the end of the project doesn’t surprise you. Also allow the contractor time to plan and execution these changes.

Although this might seem like lot of planning for a seemingly simple remodeling project, it will save you a lot of inconvenience as the project progresses, and it’s totally worth the effort.