Renovating beginner!

Hello! So we’ve just recently bought a Victorian bay-fronted semi which we love. We want to completely renovate it, starting with the kitchen/dining room. We want to knock through a wall with a chimney on it (being properly supported of course) and create a huge space for our family including bi-fold doors out on to decking.
We’re looking for advice...where do we begin? Do we need an interior designer, are they incredibly expensive? We know we’ll need an architect to draw up plans and skilled people for the structural work but we really are very new to all this. Any help would be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance!

Comments (11)

  • PRO
    PAD Kitchens
    13 days ago

    Morning Elisabeth,

    We are a London based kitchen company that have worked on many many projects just like yours. We would be very happy to help you create the perfect kitchen/dinning room.

    Once you have a rough proposal/plans from the architect to show the overall space, we would arrange a FREE design consultation to discuss your needs, style, appliances and budget. we have many different ranges, finishes and colours to suit most needs and are able to present these to you with our 3D design program, which also as allows us to really explore the space and help you visualise what we could achieve.

    Most people feel the kitchen is the heart of the home and therefore we feel this is the best place to start. If we can get this right we don't really see the need to appoint a separate interior designer.

    Please let me know if you would like to discuss further. lj@pad.london


  • Sonia
    13 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    Congratulations on your new home. If all you’re doing structurally is to knock down a wall I don’t feel you need an architect. If you were going to have an extension or completely remodel the internal structure then a good architect will really help. A good experienced builder would be able to assess that wall and carry out the work.

    A room that needs careful design is the kitchen. I would advise visiting some independent kitchen designers/suppliers and get them to do you a design. You could go the one of the big kitchen showrooms like Wrens, Howdens etc but you get a very bog standard service compared to a good independent. By all means visit then for ideas (Wrens have amazing showrooms) but reviews are poor.

    An interior designer can be invaluable if you’re not sure how to decorate and style your home. I personally love styling my home and sourcing products so I wouldn’t use one, but I often wonder what would an interior designer do with mine! Costs vary because you can have different levels of service, for example you could get a designer to create mood boards and then you search for products, or they can do the full monty from mood board to ordering products and decorating. It’s up to you. If you look under PROFESSIONALS on Houzz you can search interior designers with price guides and photos of their work along with reviews. Good luck!

  • Sonia
    13 days ago

    Forgot to say best to look at designers work, prices, etc via Houzz website as the App isn’t good!

  • PRO
    13 days ago

    You might want to consider starting top down. Any lovely flooring etc you put downstairs could be damaged by upstairs renovations. Also, do you have side access?

  • PRO
    Nest Estimating Ltd
    13 days ago

    Hi Elisabeth, if you have floor plans of potential works (these don't need to be Architect drawings) and photos of existing building we can put together a quote for a budget cost estimate. The estimate provides a detailed breakdown of works and expenses. If this is something of interest please send the information to hello@nestestimating.co.uk and we'll get back to you

    Jemma @ Nest Estimating

  • Daisy England
    13 days ago

    A good builder will point you in the right direction. You don’t need an interior designer. You need to do your homework before getting the builder booked. Decisions will be needed on exactly what you’re looking for otherwise he will be unable to quote exactly what you're looking for.

  • Rowland
    12 days ago

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I think you should engage the services of a professional to ensure that you dont waste money on things that may need to be worked on at the same time as the knock through that you want done.
    you will need to determine whether the wall is a supporting wall. in old Victorian properties it is often the case that a timber dividing wall between the main front and rear is a load bearing wall and a builder may not put together a proper solution to take the upper floor.

    I would definitely start with a surveyor or structural engineer to provide this first stage assessment to ensure you get the work done properly. some builders are able to do this but i would ask whether they have the professional indemnity to cover the design aspect of deciding on the method to use.

    I hope this doesnt scare you, but it is the best way to proceed to give you peace of mind.



  • PRO
    Object Of Reference
    10 days ago

    Hello Elisabeth,

    I am not a qualified professional yet but I am in the process of getting my Interior Design Diploma from the KLC School of Design. I will be more than happy to have a look and any floor-plan you might have and suggest a couple of things free of charge. I have recently worked on a Kitchen so please have a look and let me know if that's something you would be interested in.

    Kitchen design · More Info

  • Richard L
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Primary advice - its possible to do it all at once, it also risks you never finishing any particular part of the renovation. Don't be that person you sometimes see on the box who has ripped the walls out of every room and THEN asked for help :)

    I try to finish one job/room/project before starting the next with a nice pause between to remember what 'just living in the house' is like.

    You're also allowed to make mistakes/learn as you go etc - kitchen has some basics to get right because its a functional room - so more prep/mockups/draw on the walls etc

    Go for it!

    Good luck!

  • PRO
    10 days ago

    Book all trades /pros etc in advance ... good tradespeople/professionals are usually booked up well ahead - so figure that into your timeline!

  • PRO
    Covey Kitchens
    9 days ago

    Hi Elisabeth,

    Lots of advice going on here but that's why Houzz is great.

    Spend time planning first, try and work out what the big picture is and then break it down into phases (jobs for this year, jobs for five years time). This ensures you're not going to end up finishing then needing to run new pipes through to reach the bathroom or something terrible like that!

    A concept designer like myself or others on here can help with this sort of planning but also sitting down with friends and family can be useful to get ideas too and make sure you've made the most of your space.

    It's then about assessing what the majority of the work is as to whom you need to contact for more help. It might be a building company or perhaps an architect. They can then start putting schedules into place and guiding you through but you'll learn lots on the journey.

    if you want to talk anything through, feel free to get in touch for an informal chat (no obligation) as it can feel a little scary but I promise that it does become clear.

    good luck

    Emily x

United Kingdom
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