Portrait of… Our design consultant

Rocio Lereah joined Goodbody & Co. in 2011 and has worked with many of our clients to transform their visions into reality. We chat to her about what you should be thinking of when starting your own refurbishment project.

Don’t know where to start?
Whether you have just bought a place or you have been there for a while, you should always start with making a list of what isn’t quite right currently and what you would like to achieve. Do you need more space? More storage, or more light? Could the layout be improved? Ask the advice of an expert: a good, professional, designer will help you organise your ideas and thoughts and make a proposal within your budget and timetable.

Architect or Designer
The scale of the project and the works involved will usually determine whether you need an architect or designer. If structural works are anticipated or you are plan to change the layout of the house, then you will probably need an architect. For refurbishments, extensions and general upgrading, hiring a designer will be more cost effective.

The design: a long-term investment
As a rule of thumb, interior design might account for 10% of the renovation budget. Think of it as an absolute investment: the more you plan and try to pre-empt possible problems, the more streamlined and efficient the building process will be — so it will save money in the long run.

If you need help creating your vision but have a limited budget, remember that many designers also work on a consultancy basis, where the fees can be adjusted according to the size of the project. You may need help deciding on a layout, a general scheme or a lighting plan: a designer can help with the more tricky, technical areas of the renovation, leaving you with the task of sourcing materials and fittings, for instance.

Planning a renovation project: disruption & best time to start
Building work can be very disruptive. Ideally, have all the documentation and specifications ready before you begin, and start ordering materials, fittings and furniture early (if there is suitable storage space) to avoid delays. Many suppliers often have long delivery times, up to 6-8 weeks.

The level of disruption depends on the scale of the renovation. The winter months are usually more difficult, especially if works to the heating and water supplies are required.

At Goodbody & Co. we try to make things as smooth as possible for our clients. We have on occasion installed temporary kitchens and bathrooms so the client can live at home during the process. We try to ensure the site is always clean and tidy, that the dust is contained, and that any fixtures and large furniture items are carefully protected. We can also offer off-site storage for the duration of the works.

Growing with your home
The family expands, or the children leave home, or the kitchen is in desperate need of an upgrade, or you just can’t stand that shade of blue anymore: there are many reasons why people decide to renovate. As a designer, I would say it is sensible to repaint a room every 5 years, to keep walls and woodwork sharp and in great condition. Bathrooms and kitchens can also be updated every 5 or 10 years, depending on the quality and style of the fittings. Soft furnishings can be updated with the seasons: changing curtains, rugs and upholstery is a very quick and easy way to give a lift to any room.

Planning for the future
There are many ways you can plan your home around your future lives:

  • Invest in comfort – which includes installing efficient heating and lighting systems, and use easy-to-maintain materials and fittings. Practicality is key!
  • Avoid different floor levels and plan for easy access to all rooms: wide doors, no sharp corners and a simple furniture layout. Think about how the circulation flows throughout the house.
  • Plan storage areas, so you don’t have to bend or use a ladder to access them.
  • Work with light colours, especially on kitchen and bathroom surfaces to help those with less good sight.
  • Dark colours are useful on light switches, handles and knobs, so they stand out easily

Rocio’s approach is to design to your specific needs without imposing a predetermined style. As a designer, her role is also to see beyond your vision and deliver ideas and concepts you might never have even considered.

If you are interested in discussing any potential plans you may have, please feel free to contact Rocio for an initial consultation on rocio@goodbodylondon.com