Waterproofing the Walls and Floors in your Apartment.

When renovating your home one of the most confusing aspects to plan for is the waterproofing. It’s something that doesn’t seem to add much to the aesthetics of the room, but can actually have the biggest impact on a space by protecting it from seepage and preventing structural and health damages caused by dampness and mold. The worst thing about damage caused by seepage is that you won’t realize anything is wrong till it’s too late.

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There are several reasons that cause damp walls, some of the more relevant ones are listed below:

  • Cracks on the exterior wall that allow rainwater to seep in.
  • Gaps in the floor tiles allow water from bathrooms to seep through and damage adjoining walls.
  • Water collects in the balcony due to improper drainage and seeps into interior walls.
  • Cracks in plumbing pipes.
  • Insufficient air circulation in bathrooms cause buildup of moisture.

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Remember as a thumb rule that water needs to be guided out, which means wet surfaces need to be properly sloped and sealed.

Waterproofing requires a lot of demolition of walls and floors, so combine it with a larger home renovation project. Use a reputed company, like Dr. Fixit, Fosroc or Asian paints, for waterproofing and get a warranty even if it’s a bit more expensive. Ideally your waterproofing should last up to 10 years without damage if applied correctly.

Types of waterproofing commonly used in India

Floor Waterproofing

For floor waterproofing one suggests using URP chemical above the cement concrete along with a waterproof membrane under your floor tiles and turn the membrane up around 4″ up onto the skirting on the walls. Make sure you re-grout your tiles every 18 months or so, this will avoid any moisture going through to the substructure.

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Wall Waterproofing

In order to waterproof your walls, remove the existing plastering, add a layer of tapecrete chemical (approx. 2-3 mm thick) followed by the wall plastering and paint.

Hope you found these tips useful, do share your renovation experiences with us in the comments below.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Budgeting your kitchen renovation

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It’s never easy to commit to a kitchen renovation. One is always concerned about the noise, disruption and the cost of renovating. While some disruption during the process is inevitable, at least when it comes to budgeting your project we can help. Here are a few tips on how to establish a renovation budget.
Identify what you want to keep
If looking to do the project within a budget one should consider re-using parts of their existing kitchen. Your oven, fridge, chimney and hob could be reused if in proper condition. If you are fine with the location of your water inlets and outlets then you can save on redoing the plumbing, and the same is true for electrical work. You might even consider reusing the original flooring.
Set priorities
What is the goal of the renovation? Do you want to Increase space, change the look and feel, or make it more functional for your changing requirements? Make a priority list of what you care about, this will help you pick and choose tasks when fitting the renovation into your budget.

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Modular Kitchen Renovation Cost Breakdown
Most modular kitchen companies will give you a rate that seems quite low, but one must note that they are only referring to the cabinets. When it comes to a holistic budget one needs to consider the cost of plumbing, electrical, tiling, painting etc.
The cost of renovating a typical 8’X 10’ size kitchen with branded materials and midrange specifications should be around Rs. 4 Lacks. The budget break down per task is as follows:
Modular cabinets: 40% (includes good quality hardware, and laminate finish)
Electrical: 17% (includes hob, chimney, fans and geyser)
Plumbing: 11% (includes kitchen sink and faucet)
Tiles: 7% (floor and walls)
Doors and Windows: 12%
False ceiling: 3% (includes recessed lights)
Kitchen Counter: 3%
Misc. civil work: 7% (includes demolition of existing kitchen, waterproofing, painting etc.)
Please note that this budget doesn’t include larger appliances such as a fridge, OTG or microwave oven.
Also it is always advisable to keep an additional 15% of the budget available for unplanned tasks that might come up once your old kitchen is removed.
This basic thumb rule guide should get you on the right track in terms of preparing a budget, you can go high end with your cabinet finishes if your budget allows it, or cut some costs down by choosing not to redo the electricals and plumbing as mentioned before.
And finally to avoid going above budget, stick to the plan
How much extra you spend is completely dependent on you, once you have decided on a reasonable number, stick to it. Making changes through the course of a project leads to cascading budget increases that will surprise you at the end.
Hope these tips help you plan your upcoming kitchen renovation.

Maximize your bathroom storage

While bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, they tend to have a lot of stuff in them and usually this leads to clutter, everyone would love a little more space in the bathroom, but most of us don’t have the luxury of a large apartments with ample square feet available. Here are some ideas on how to maximize storage space in smaller bathrooms and make them feel more functional and spacious.

Use narrow cabinets to fit into wasted spaces, maximize every square inch.

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Add a shelf above your sink, this can be used for placing items that are needed often.

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Use spice racks for makeup and toiletries.

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Hang your towels behind the door, why waste wall space when you can use the door.

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Increase the hanging rod space.

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Stick shelving above your door, another space that is usually wasted.

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Maximize the area above your toilet, don’t neglect this space.

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Medicine cabinets are a classic space saving item, there are quite a few designs available in the market.

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Add a long cabinet to your bathroom vanity, if you have a little space after your sink dont waste it.

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We hope these tips will help make your bathroom experience more pleasant! Let us know if you have some innovative ideas to maximise bathroom storage in the comments section.

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.

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.

How to design your home like a pro

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Source: Howdens

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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.

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Source: Hettich

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Source: Hettich

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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.

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Source: Houzz.com

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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.

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Source: Hettich

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Source: Hettich

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

Tips on Being Considerate Towards Neighbours During Renovations

noisy neighbours

noisy neighbours

We all live in a closed society, amongst neighbours, and are interdependent on them. It is therefore, extremely important for all of us to ensure that we care for our neighbours. Many a times, we ignore our neighbours’ convenience while constructing and renovating our homes and offices. This isn’t really unethical, but being considerate would certainly go a long way in building a relationship with your neighbours. Here are a few tips on how you could be a bit thoughtful and integrate your neighbours’ conveniences while planning your project:

1)    Inform your neighbours’ about your renovation project and the scope of the same, weeks in advance. Say, you are planning to change the tiles of your apartment along with other things, the neighbours below should know about the dates when the same would happen, so that they can plan accordingly.

2)    Discuss the work schedule you have in mind, with your neighbours. They may have guests on certain days, or may have a baby or an elderly person at home who needs to be shifted out during the process. Some people may work in shifts and may find it inconvenient if your construction work takes place on certain days. Try and accommodate their needs as much as you can, and be extra sensitive if you have a baby or an elderly person as a neighbour.

3)    Share your contact details and that of your contractor, especially if you plan to shift out during the renovation process. This will communicate to your neighbours, that you will lend a ear in case they face any problems during the construction process.

4)    Let your contractor know how important the convenience of your neighbours is, to you. Ensure he addresses any concerns they have, especially those related to seepage, cleanliness, the work schedule, and the parking areas used by construction vehicles and the contractors etc.

5)    If your renovation process causes any damage to their premises, ensure your contractor tries to rectify the same, without charging them.

 

6)    If possible, invite your neighbours for dinner once your project is complete, so that they get a chance to see your new home/office.

All in all, try putting yourself in your neighbours’ shoes and make your renovation process as seamless as possible for them. If you cannot reach out to them for whatever reason, ensure that you don’t schedule any renovation that would result in excessive noise (demolition, marble work etc.) before 9.30 am, and post 8pm. If you can, also avoid the afternoon nap hours as well.

That said, some neighbours are never happy no matter what you do, so don’t fret over them excessively.

Home Office Ideas in Small Spaces

Work is no longer a 9-5 ordeal, and we often tend to bring back things to do. As a result it’s important that we have our working nook in the house so we can isolate work and personal space as much as possible.

 

  • The room under the stairs: The space, the famous Harry Potter lived in, can be well utilised to carve out a fancy work space. If you are a space optimiser freak, you could also build a cabinet in the staircase.

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  • The landing between the stairs: This usually is the most under utilised space, as it is used more as a pathway between the rooms. However, this space could be used to build an unobtrusive work area with a table built in within a cabinet, and a chair.

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  • Folding tables in cabinet: Tables take a lot of space, but a book shelf with a folding cabinet can really cut a lot of space while creating an office like nook, when one wants to work or transforming into a library of sorts, otherwise.

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  • Table extentions in bed side tables: You could create a small laptop extention in your bed side table, if you end up working into the night.

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  • Having sleek and nifty work tables allows you to be more creative, as they can fit into any space and concept. Such tables can in fact become an essential part of your living room or bedroom, adding more layers to your rooms and your identity.

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Hope these little space optimisations and furniture innovations help you create a small office space at home.  For more such tips, stay tuned.