Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tips For Home Improvement

When we first moved in to our new condo unit almost 3 years ago, I had just given birth to our first child. I was recovering from my cesarean operation then and still learning the ropes of being a first time mom so we did not have the chance to complete the finishing touches in our new home. 

Earlier this year, Randy and I prayerfully listed our long overdue home improvement project as one of our priorities. Although this will only require simple and minor renovations, some things have kept us from kicking it off.  For one, we did not have a household helper who can look after Caleb while I supervise the work to be done. Secondly, any renovation, no matter how simple will demand additional budget.   

Without knowing when we'll actually start the project, we went ahead in planning the scope of work based on our current needs. We decided to limit the work to the following: installation of air condition unit for our living room, installing a back splash for our kitchen walls, add more cabinets for extra storage and changing our window covers.

After a few weeks of mess and chaos, we have finally completed our home improvement project by the end of April. Even if we wanted to do it earlier, the timing turned out to be perfect because our new household help just came in right before we started the project. 

Taking up this simple home improvement project has taught us some lessons on how to give your home a face lift even with limited budget. While it may be good to hire an interior designer, with some patience, resourcefulness and creativity, you will also be able to carry out your own home improvement project. You might be able to pick up a thing or two from our lessons. Here are some tips:

1.  Plan ahead. Set a budget and canvass for the best deals on your materials

We canvassed in 4 appliance stores before we found a good deal for a Koppel Inverter in Robinsons Appliances in Galleria. We saved almost P 10,000 including installation charges and the freebie we got from our purchase. 

Among the different aircon brands, we chose Koppel because its features are almost the same as the more expensive brands like Carrier and Panasonic. We took advantage of the free aircon survey and asked different  suppliers and aircon technicians which one they personally prefer.  Koppel was one of their top 3 choices because of the reliability, reasonable price and efficient after sales support. Well, that one, we still have to find out.. Hopefully not very soon.

Because our property developer will not allow us to drill a hole on the beam where the aircon was intended, we had to install a cove underneath to hide the pipes. Instead of permanently mounting the cove, we decided to use screws so it can be easily removed if and when the air conditioner needs to be repaired.

2.  Have the right balance between functionality and aesthetics

Since I spend a lot of time preparing meals for my loves in our kitchen, I want to give the walls a boost.  More importantly, I want to keep this busy area looking spic and span by preventing oil splatters from leaving ugly stains. 

I was initially eyeing for those elegant glass Mosaic tiles, but I was shocked when I found out it costs more than P 400 per tile! Fortunately, we were able to find an alternative in The Floor Center in CW Home Depot that only costs P 185 per tile. Although the designs of the glass tiles were not as fancy as the Mosaic tiles, the alternative we got looks tasteful and also serves the same purpose. 

We're happy that we also found a design that goes well with our kitchen cabinet and granite counter. The glass tiles were on sale that time so we were able to get it at a discounted price of P 139 per piece! Ding ding ding! I just love savings! Here's a before and after shot of our kitchen walls. Now I can fry and grill all I want without fear of leaving a map on the wall!


3.  Go for classic, quality materials that are more durable in the long run

For our window covers, I was initially contemplating on combi blinds because I thought they looked really nice. After doing my own research, I learned that choosing the right window cover should also depend on how much light/ air circulation you want in your room. I also learned that combi blinds, though they look trendy are not strong enough or sturdy in the long run. I then suggested to Randy that we go for the faux wood blinds so we can keep our living room looking bright during daytime and also because they are a lot cheaper than real wood blinds. 

However, he convinced me to go for the wood blinds even if they cost 20% more because faux blinds look a bit cheap. We also found out that faux wood blinds are heavier and tend to discolor over time. The wood blinds on the other hand look cleaner, sleeker and elegant. It is also a plus that they well with the cloth tape instead of the string ones. We chose white wood blinds to match our console and bookshelves with light brown cloth tape to give an illusion of height.

We're quite happy with how everything turned out. We're also proud of how we collaborated and compromised on every decision we made. It's also a plus that we had similar taste. Our next home improvement would probably be repainting, but that would have to wait until our toddler and soon-to-be-born baby have both realized that walls are not paper or rugged terrains for trucks and excavators.


  1. Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your Important style is Home Improvement, keep it up!

  2. Brilliant and helpful tips about home improvement issue! Already I bookmarked this site. Symcorp Building Services specialize in local Gold Coast home renovation projects from bathroom to kitchen. Thanks!