Breaking with Convention

Renovation can be costly, but it needn’t be. Read our top tips on how to create a stunning refurbishment that won’t break the bank

1. Celebrate the existing 
Wholesale building repair can be avoided as a stylistic choice. For example, if your wall is knobbly, highlight it. If it was built using a collection of different bricks and concrete blocks and laid by a series of brickies of varying ability, lucky you – you own an artwork.

2. Sensibility shift
To develop a liking for this style, you may need a sensibility shift. Start by looking at ‘ruin-porn’ (yes, there is a photographic genre with this name). Look in detail at the exquisite photographs of decaying Detroit by Marchand Meffre. Over time you will begin to embrace imperfections such as peeling paint, deteriorating plaster-mouldings or patchwork brickwork.

3. Old with new
Thought and editing over what to keep is critical. Juxtaposing the dilapidated with the new can create details that enhance both. For example, a particularly sharp line of new plaster next to an uneven wall, or a machined metal frame against a damaged concrete column can be stunning.

4. The builder
Make sure your builder is fully briefed on what they may find to be an alien concept. For many, their primary function is to eliminate all traces of the patina of age. Make sure you are insistent about protecting faded paintwork or unfashionable glazing from potential damage during building works, and don’t be persuaded that you are wrong.

5. Wabi-Sabi
When your project is complete you will have the pleasure of being able to read your building’s history like a book. An in-filled doorway, a revealed arch, or a panel of faded Victorian wallpaper will illustrate the evolution of your building. In doing so, you will be eliminating refurbishment costs and creating a more personalised space. In Japan, they call it Wabi-Sabi, in East London they call it hipster. Whatever it is, it will save you money.

Source: Architect Your Home

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