Renovating? This Is What You Should DIY—And Exactly What You Shouldn't
From managing a budget to nailing the floorplan and overall design, renovating your home is no mean feat. Whether you're brand new to the world of renovating or are a seasoned professional, the experience can quickly become overwhelming without proper planning and adequate resources to not only get the job finished but also to a standard that you'll be happy to live with for years to come. If you're currently renovating or have plans to begin soon, you're in luck! We've enlisted the expertise of Georgie Ezra, director of Studio Ezra and owner of Tiles of Ezra to help guide us through the dos and don'ts of renovating, from the benefits of working on your home yourself to what areas you should absolutely always leave to the professionals. Get the notebook ready.
How to plan
For Georgia, saving images of interiors along the way that speak to her personally has meant that she has built up a resource of favourite photos that she can dissect and draw inspiration from at any time. She adds that "over the years I have saved things to Pinterest boards and created albums on my phone". Whether it's a lighting detail or a complete interior shot, Georgia likes to "organise images as I'm going so I can access them easily and when the time comes I feel organised in that respect".
Learning to save images before you've even picked up a power tool is an important part of the renovation process according to Georgia. If you've already got a collection of images but are struggling to find a commonality between them, she explains "it's like playing a game of Guess Who—you need to extract common materials, colours and tones that keep popping up". For example, "if you're finding that you keep seeing light oak timber reoccurring, whether it's on the floor, ceiling, or veneer, then you know what's drawing your attention".
Where to start
In terms of what area of the home to begin your renovation process, Georgia told us that the kitchen, bathroom and living areas should be considered first. When Georgia is working with a client on a kitchen renovation, she asks them to "stay focused on the things in that kitchen that don’t work, because there will be things that will bug you every day". She suggests turning your attention to the finer details, such as the proximity of the rubbish bin to where you'll be preparing meals, the placement and size of the sink, and the overall flow. Georgia believes that "a well-designed kitchen is one that functionally works without bringing any attention to anything that's going wrong". On the flip side, she tells us not to forget about the parts of our kitchen that are working well. "Clients always remember the things that bother them, and they forget to think about all the things that were working in the old kitchen. It's important to assess what areas work and take them with you."
DIY dos and don'ts
When it comes to completing some of the work yourself, Georgia says that "everybody can absolutely give it a go to some degree". She encourages anyone to "put on some jeans, pick up a paintbrush and paint a wall" and believes that it's a meditative and grounding distraction from our busy daily lives. While you don't need a qualification to undertake a renovation, there are areas that are appropriate for DIY and some that are absolutely not. According to Georgia, "painting, landscaping, decorating and putting up new art" are among the list of tasks that you can tackle on your own.
For when to call in the professionals, Georgia advises "do not try any electrical or plumbing work at home—get an expert in". That goes for waterproofing, as well as external digging. "You can potentially hit pipes, so get someone in and always call Dial Before You Dig before you do anything" she advises. If you were thinking of tearing walls down yourself, think again. Georgia says that "even if they're plasterboard they can still be load-bearing". Other DIY no-no's include "bricklaying and tiling, but these are just a few and the list goes on and on".
Georgia's top tip
Georgia told us that there are absolutely no right or wrong decisions when it comes to design, and that you should be making choices based on what makes you feel happy and what you're instinctively drawn to. Her top tip for renovating is "really staying true to your own unique aesthetic". She added that she believes that anyone undertaking an overhaul of their home "needs to be brave and make the space theirs". She wants to urge people to "be inspired rather than copying", and to "create timeless interiors that are bespoke to you."