Vaastu tips for apartment owners

As an apartment owner there’s not much you can control in terms of room orientations, plumbing, entrance direction etc. Still it’s important to bring as much positive energy into your home as possible. With this in mind we’ve curated some Vaastu tips that are relevant for all types of apartments.

1] Never have exposed beams visible in your home, in case you do, consider a false ceiling with recessed lights.

2] Recommended vaastu colors are blue, green and yellow.

So find ways to incorporate these into your interior palette. Avoid painting any wall black.

3] Wooden furniture in regular shapes are good for harmony, avoid round or oval shaped furniture. Sheesham, Chandan, Sagawan, Sal or neem wood are auspicious types of wood for homes. Keep furniture atleast three inches away from walls.

4] Place mirrors on north and east walls only, as positive energy comes in from these directions and you don’t want to reflect those away. Use square or rectangular shaped mirrors and place them 4-5 feet above the floor. Don’t place mirrors opposite your bed.

5] Cleanliness is important. Make sure wall paint, flooring, appliances etc. are fresh and well maintained. Dirt and faulty electrical appliances attract negative energy.

6] In the kitchen, place the cooking hob in the south east, cooking should be done facing east. North east direction is best for kitchen sink

Hope these help you create a positive home that brings prosperity and good health for you and your family.

Picking the right color palette

Picking the right color palette and style is key for a good renovation project. But most of us are confused about how to go about this, It’s hard to know where to begin; here is our advice on how to get started.

Inspiration piece

This is a great way to begin. Think about an artifact, a piece of furniture, a rug, lamp, clock, anything that you already own or plan to get for this room, once you have this in mind use it as a jumping off point and pick a color that either compliments this piece or contrasts with it. Your room style should also be in line with the style of the selected inspiration piece.

 

References

In case you don’t have an inspiration piece in mind, you can browse reference images and identify a primary room color that you would like to incorporate into the design.

Complete the mood board

Mood boards are made up of colors, textures and patterns that define the style and design of the room. Once you have a picked a primary color you’ll need to create the entire mood board to complete the design, the color palette will be a set of colors that are either monochromatic (shades of the same color), analogous (corresponding colors) or contrasting the primary color selected.  The patterns and textures are derived from your preferences of style (contemporary, minimalist, classical etc.) and habits.

Hope this gets you inspired and helps you get started on designing your dream home.

12 Balcony Design Ideas you will Love

Here are some balcony design ideas which we have curated from various online sources. We hope you like them!

Balcony design with a bamboo wall, swing sofa, wooden and pebble flooring (source: Cuded)

 

Rustic balcony design with some plants, wooden flooring, and raw wood furniture (source: Cuded)

 

European balcony design with some plants, magazine rack and basic furniture (source: DecHQ)

 

Balcony design with a wooden feature wall, log wood table, and bench seating (source: DecHQ)

 

Balcony designed centered around colorful furniture and decor (source: DesignRulz)

 

Balcony design with plant beds and artificial grass (source: DesignRulz)

 

Balcony design with metallic orange furniture and a colorful rug (source: DigDig)

 

Balcony design with simplistic modern furniture and plants to liven the space (source: DigDig)

 

Balcony design with a metallic mesh screen, outdoor rug, kitchen herb garden, and simple furniture (source: MigDesign)

 

Balcony design for the golfing enthusiast (source: Orvis Grand)

 

Chic, modern balcony design with glass windows, and a metal-wood fusion rack and black patterned tiles (source: Slideco)

 

Modern Balcony design with a wooden feature wall, plant racks, full glass windows (source: Urban Ladder)

 

Checklist when Starting your Interior Design Project

If you’re starting to plan your renovation, here’s a starting checklist which will help you get off the ground and also help you plan the early phases of getting your project off the ground.

General

  • List out your scope of work so you don’t forget when talking to a designer/contractor
  • Meet 2 contractors and get quotes
  • Think about where you will store all your stuff (if any) in the rooms/apartment you plan to renovate
  • Think about where you will stay during the renovation

Budgeting

  • Pick a tentative budget, keeping something aside for décor and furniture, after you have a rough estimate of what things cost (for which you can use the BuildingBlox estimator)
  • Identify what you want to retain in the existing home, this could be furniture, flooring, woodwork, doors, windows, electrical wiring etc. this will help you remove these items from the budget and get a more reasonable quote.
  • Determine the goals of the project (e.g. increase storage, modernize space). This will allow for a meaningful discussion with your team, as well as prioritize decisions

Design

  • Browse the internet for room design ideas; this will help in creating the final look and feel of your space
  • Think of a color palette; pick a primary color for the room and some complimentary colors to match

Balcony Design Ideas for Home

The balconies in our homes are often significantly under-utilized, mostly because we don’t know what to do with them. If you live in a city like New Delhi where the heat can be extreme and the winters quite chilly, that problem is compounded because your window to use the balcony is not very long. Yet a nice balcony design can accentuate your adjoining room and bring a cozy feel to the apartment. Here are some of the major components of balcony designs that help define that look.

Plants

Balcony plants are one of the best ways to make your space come alive and break the monotony of bricks and concrete. Depending on the season, flower pots can add a lovely burst of freshness. You can also buy colorful pots to give that pop of color. Get creative and hang planters on the wall or from the ceiling instead of putting them on the floor. Depending on how far you’d like to go, you could even construct a green wall.

Source: digsdigs.com

Balcony Furniture

Instinctively you might think of putting a couple of chairs and a small table in your balcony, but you can vary it up with a Chaise lounger or a small foldable table for your laptop. You have plenty of options to play with in terms of colors and materials of furniture; there’s the cane furniture look, or the eclectic color look, or ethnic Indian look, or the modern straight line feel.

Source: onekindesign.com

 

Flooring

The balconies of your house probably come with standard tile flooring but you could modernize it with the wooden look, or even consider putting a rug. Though the latter may be tedious to maintain and keep clean. Artificial grass also a popular option these days if you’re going for a garden theme.

Source: home-designing.com

Décor

Like with every room, the décor is one of the final elements which help your room really come together. Balcony décor elements to play with include cushion covers, pots, lamps, and even rocks/stones.

Source: decorating-hq.com

10 tips to Save Money on your Renovation

Image Source: Moneycontrol.com

So here you are, ready to start a new renovation project. Surely, one big thing on your mind right now is the money that you’ll be spending. You’ll have plenty of people come to you and try to increase your budget, but we’re here to suggest a few ways you might be able to save money on your project.

  1. Compare quotes from a couple of companies
    • Don’t just go with the cheapest, look at the detailed specifications closely and judge professionalism
    • Often your local contractors will leave smaller details out which impact costing later on, or won’t tell you the brand of material they plan to use thereby reducing your quote in order to get the project.
    • A professional with proper documentation and scope definition up front leaves less ambiguity for some of these scenarios
    • Professionalism comes at a cost in the short term, but in the longer run
    • Note: BuildingBlox is happy to discuss any other competitive quote you might have received (that includes details)
  2. Commercial tiles where its not visible (behind kitchen cupboards)
  3. Repair doors & windows & get them polished instead of putting new ones
  4. Pick and choose where you want to spend more (e.g. hardware is a good idea)
  5. Designs – if you’re one for trendy designs, keep in mind that you might have want to redo it once the trend changes in a few years, at which point it will be expensive. Consider going with something that you will like for a longer time for items that are harder and more expensive to change (e.g. tiles, flooring)
  6. Make sure your specifications are as detailed as possible. The more you detail out and think of up front, the less likely you’ll want to make changes, which then cost money and time. In other words do invest some time and money in planning up front
  7. Bathroom design suggestion – use basic sanitaryware but pick nicer taps, faucets
  8. Plan 10-15% for contingencies because it does happen
  9. Reuse components if possible
    1. Wood chaukhats, doors for example. Other wood if sure its termite free
    2. Glass if you are replacing windows or partitions
    3. Latches
    4. Electrical fixtures, appliances – fans, lights, ACs, gysers
    5. Kitchen appliances – microwave, oven, toaster, mixer, fridge
      (take a look at our appliance calculator sheet to budget your appliance costs)
    6. Furniture
  10. Products
    1. Pick product brands that fit your price segment. E.g. Jaquar, Kajaria/Nitco, Crabtree fall in the midrange good quality product band. One can always go up the price range but you don’t need to if you’re trying to save money
    2. Use 1-2 shops to make your purchases as opposed to spreading them out. That allows you to negotiate better

 

Wardrobe Design for a man’s closet

Designing the perfect wardrobe in a limited amount of space is the key to keeping your clothes well organised and always looking your best. These tips should help you plan the perfect closet.

Modular Wardrobe

As a general rule a man’s closet should be modular and divided into 2 sections, the larger area should be dedicated to hanging space and a smaller section should be given to shelves and drawers. The main hanging space can be divided in two halves (top and bottom) as nothing in a man’s closet is longer than a shirt, at the bottom of the hanging space one can plan a shoe drawer which does not need to extend beyond the height of a running shoe. The open shelves are used for casual wear like t-shirts, shorts etc. and drawers for underwear, socks etc.

Reach-in8

Maximise Hanging Space in your Closet

For men it’s all about hanging, provide the most amount of hanging space for jackets, shirts, pants, suits etc.

Organizing Accessories in the Cupboard

Belts, socks, ties etc. tend to get lost easily in unorganised closets. The key is to keep them visible and easily accessible. For ties and belts use efficient slide out racks. For socks and briefs use compartmentalised drawers to make sure they are all in pairs and easy to find.

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Shoe Storage

Men’s shoes tend to be simple and don’t usually extend beyond the height of your average padded running shoe, so build a show drawer across the whole closet to maximise shoe space.

Packing Away Seasonal Clothes

If your closet height is more than 7 feet add a loft area on top for seasonal clothes like sweaters and jackets.

IMG_3376

These basic principles can be achieved in a number of configurations, so browse through options online and find the one that suits your requirements. If you have more space some of these concepts can be extended to a walk-in-closet.

 

Wooden or uPVC Windows and Doors

Updated Feb 2019

Doors and Windows today are not just restricted to being made of wood, but are also done in UPVC and aluminum. When it comes to windows, in our experience, more and more people are opting for UPVC over wood. This post should help you get a quick sense for the plusses and minuses of one over the other.

UPVC Windows and Doors

Nowfloats_DoorsWindows

A shift from wooden to UPVC windows and doors is happening in India because UPVC tends to cost a little less and requires less maintenance over its lifetime. They are less susceptible to moisture, which also helps in our hot and humid environments. They are also fire proof and termite resistant to top it all off.

Where UPVC doesn’t score well is in their design and color selection compared to their wooden counterparts.

In terms of brands of UPVC windows and doors in the Indian market today, you’ll find Finesta, Encraft

Wooden Doors and Windows

wood_windows_cacueg_org

Wood is a good insulator, and therefore provides better protection from the heat and cold than other materials. Wooden windows are also eco-friendlier, given they use wood (natural) vs. PVC (manufactured) and also require less energy to manufacture. Most of all they tend to look better than UPVC windows and doors. If maintained well, wooden doors and windows tend to last longer than UPVC.

On the flip side they are more expensive to make, require more time and money to maintain, and under moist/humid weather conditions show more wear & tear. For your reference, our experience suggests that the cost of wooden doors and windows is around 50% higher than UPVC. However, if you’re still looking to go with new wooden doors, you might consider reusing the existing frame (chaukhat) and save some money.

Repairing Old Doors & Windows

If you don’t need new doors and windows you could always consider the repair option. A good carpenter can fix up your old wooden window and frame, and the painters can help paint or polish it to make them as good as new. This turns out much cheaper than any of the above.

PLEASE NOTE: In both the wood based options above, please make sure you don’t have termites (deemak) in any of your other woodwork or else you risk it spreading to any new wood being brought in.

New False Ceiling in your Home

Updated Feb 2019

If you’re remodeling an old house or apartment, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about false ceilings. False ceilings have become a central feature of modern homes today, and come in various shapes and forms. False ceiling, coupled with the right ceiling lighting helps give your space a cozier feel. Here’s a quick intro to the types of false ceilings out there today for homes.

POP False Ceilings

theconstructor-pop-false-ceiling

Plaster of Paris false ceilings are typically found in residences today. The ornate patterns you see on some ceilings, and along the edges of ceilings are done using POP. It takes a good quality craftsman to make elegant/intricate patterns, so choose wisely. POP is applied to a metal mesh (murga jaali), and suspended from the ceiling on metal channels. POP ceilings allow a lot more options in terms of design as compared to Gypsum ceilings. The picture above represents one type of ceiling possible with POP. You can do many more, including the one you see below under Gypsum ceilings.

Gypsum False Ceilings

gyproc_LIVING ROOM ceiling

Gypsum boards are manufactured by pressing gypsum between two sheets of paper or cardboard. Something you may not know is that Plaster of Paris is actually gypsum as well. Gypsum boards are easy to work with given they are light, and can be cut/drilled into easily. These boards are usually placed on a metal grid and fastened, and the joints between boards are filled and smoothened. The joints if not done properly can start to crack and give a shabby appearance some years down the road. Gypsum false ceilings are easier to construct, and take less time to dry and waterproof than POP ceilings but don’t allow the same range of designs that one can achieve with POP ceilings. So if your false ceiling design allows for both options, one would recommend using Gypsum boards over POP.

POP Cornice

IMcornice-moulding-250x250 jayswal-gypsum-cornices-center-flowers-beading-plaster-of-paris-cornices-moulds-pop-cornice-bangalore-karnataka-suppliers-distributors-dealers-3manufacturers-3

You may hear the term POP Cornice used and wonder what it is. It is the POP edging one sees usually along the edges of the wall & ceiling. Some part of these may be readymade and installed by a craftsman.

Wooden Panel False Ceiling

theconstructor-wooden-false-ceiling

Wooden false ceilings can give you a great look, however they are expensive not easy to maintain. As with most things wooden, they are prone to attacks by termites and other insects, and can wear out quickly in the presence of moisture. Regular termite protection is essential, and one must hope that the room isn’t prone to seepage from above.

Alternatively, if you’re just interested in a wooden look, you could consider High Pressure Laminate (HPL) or PVC options with a wooden finish. Both HPL and PVC ceilings will be cheaper and more resistant to bugs and moisture than wood. Between the two, HPL will likely be more expensive than PVC.

Other Types of False Ceilings

Other types of False ceilings include: PVC false ceiling (in other non-wooden styles), Glass false ceiling, Acrylic false ceiling, and Metal false ceiling. These are less common in residential spaces, and tend to be used in offices, shops, and other commercial establishments.

How much does False Ceiling Cost?

Surely you’re wondering what a false ceiling might cost you in your home. If you’re looking at a simple Gypsum false ceiling it would cost Rs. 85-95/sqft. If you want some design then you’d be looking at a POP false ceiling costing between Rs. 110-120/sqft.  However, if you’re just looking for a POP cornice that would go at about Rs. 35-40/running foot. These estimates are based on rates in Delhi NCR, and are always subject to the design + scope of work.

Interior design to match your personality

Interior design matters. After all, the environment you create for yourself ends up shaping you. So be mindful of what your preferences are. To help with this we have some suggestions on what interior design style will match your personality.

For the creative extrovert
The creative extrovert loves being around people. They relish change and use their imagination to solve problems. They don’t believe in To Do lists, and want everyone around them to get along. They also tend to avoid commitment.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect your infectious enthusiasm. You are a risk taker, so use bold colors and forms to decorate, your space should excite you! Infuse your home with personal memories, photos, objects and maps that reflect your journey. Make sure to secure a command center to keep yourself organized, weather a desk or a room, have a space that’s just for you. Create multiple sitting areas around the house as you will most likely always have company.

vardo-farrow-and-ball

For the introvert who is in control
You love your ‘me’ time, have fact driven conversations and live in the present. Overall you tend to be task oriented and are obsessed with getting things done.
Your interior design style
You strive for tranquility, so choose peaceful colors and decor. Use heavy doors that make you feel secure. You appreciate structure and logic so arrange your furniture symmetrically and create a uniform theme for your apartment. Display pictures of loved ones to stay reminded of their presence. You crave for order so keep your interiors minimal and de cluttered.

transitional-bedroom

For the relaxed introvert
If you think a lot before every move, prefer one on one chats to large groups, are creative, sensitive and don’t get things done till the last minute.
Your interior design style
You like to decorate with unique pieces that reflect your socially conscious personality. You like to reflect on things by writing or sketching (or some other creative but quiet hobby) so make sure you have the right space for this. Your interiors need to be restful, so use neutral and subtle colors. You like uncluttered spaces and tend to prefer beauty over function, so go ahead and get that marble counter you love even if it’s more expensive and harder to maintain.

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For the extrovert who loves their to-do lists
You draw energy from larger groups, use common sense to get to practical solutions, base all decisions on facts and accept conflict as part of relationships and life. Generally you get things done on time.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect strength, so keep things neat and organized. You love entertaining big groups so plan a large dining/ gathering area. A guest bedroom is key to maintaining your status as a great host. You aren’t an out of the box kind of person, so avoid crazy decorating choices as you won’t appreciate it. Stay on top of things with calendars, clocks and mirrors. Display your achievements for all to see.

dining-room-wall-decor-ideas-hanging-lamp-large-round-table-bedroom-mirror-standing-lamp-pub-chair-ceramic-floor-flower-vase-blue-wall-storage-cabinet

Hope you are able to find the right tips to suit your personality. Of course these are generalized assumptions that might not always hold true, but if nothing else this will get you thinking about design in a much more personalized way.