Project rental squat has been an altogether different experience than the original dust bowl. Not being woken up at 7am to the dulcet tones of Polish camaraderie and the sweet scent of cigarettes and instant coffee is, if I'm honest, a blessed relief. The absence of endless hammering and the gritty dust up the nose sensation seems to reduce the stress levels of house renovation. But it does have its downsides...
As a semi-qualified interior designer, I am ashamed to admit that I have committed many design sins. I should and DO know better and I only share them now in order that you yourselves are never tempted down the same dark paths. My excuse was lack of time it's a poor excuse and it does not warrant forgiveness. Here are my top 5 don'ts of renovation.
1. NEVER pick paint colours off a computer screen - you think you are getting a nice matt grey, grey, you are actually getting a faintly purple/ greeny/ blue. When we tell you to paint generous testers on the wall of each room - we tell you this for a reason.
2. NEVER trust your builder to get paint mixed on your behalf- it will always end up ever so slightly wrong.
3. Do NOT try and rectify above mistakes by using Farrow and Ball paint in a rental house. Yes it is beautiful, but it will cost you a fortune you will never make back. Sarah Beeny I feel your
4. Don't skim read adverts on ebay, such that you think an advert for 6 panel doors is for 6 doors, not 1 with 6 panels. There is a difference, it is significant.
5. Finally, please DON'T find yourself, unable to miss an opportunity, buying all your furniture before the work is done then having nowhere to keep it so you end up with, say, for example, I mean as if anyone would, a massive wardrobe at the bottom of your stairs blocking the entrance to and from your house for approximately 6 weeks!
All that aside, things are going swimmingly and despite what everyone tells you, I stand by my ethos of putting your heart into your project. DO think about the standards you would want to live in, do use interesting colours and finishes where you can, it doesn't have to cost more and I firmly believe will make all the difference to your tenants. Let's hope I'm right....!