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Make-Over, Renovate Or Re-Build?

August 31, 2022

There’s a saying that one needs to have lived in 4.5 homes (don’t ask me how this figure came about) before knowing what is needed and what is not in a living space.

In other words, after living in the said 4.5 homes you have figured out the things that really bug you about a particular feature, or lack of, and the features that you couldn’t live without in a future home.

That could be as simple as the direction that doors swing open, the amount of storage space (and we know there’s never enough of that), design of kitchens, proximity of parents’ room to the kids’ bedrooms and so on.

We’re living in a time when there are so many options available to us that it can often be confusing, and the whole idea of taking on a large project can seem far more daunting than it really is.

The biggest decision is usually deciding on a simple makeover, a partial or complete home renovation …….

or knock down and re-build.So let’s break it down a bit…….


  1. Makeover
  2. Renovate
  3. Knock down and re-build


A makeover generally consists of updating the look of the home (internally, externally or both) without moving walls or adding on extra space.
Often when I’m asked about planning a home makeover, the attention generally turns to materials and finishes before anything else.

Before deciding on doing a makeover, there are a few critical factors to decide on before getting to the fun part, like colours and materials.

Areas that are most often the focus of a makeover are –

  • How to get the most out of the existing space
  • Rooms that could be re-purposed
  • Colour scheme
  • Interior and exterior
  • Flooring
  • Furnishings
  • Window treatment

Questions that need to be asked prior to making the decision –

  • Do you need to relocate while the work is being done
  • Can any of the rooms be repurposed
  • Can this be done bit by bit
  • Is this a temporary makeover before going to the next step
  • Timeframe to complete the job
  • Budget


Home renovations usually mean pulling up floors, moving walls, adding additional rooms or even an extra level, upgrading kitchens, new bathrooms etc.

Areas most popular in a renovation are –

  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Flooring
  • Extending liveable interior and exterior floor space
  • Outdoor living
  • Landscaping

Questions that need to be asked prior to make the decision to renovate –

  • Will you achieve a better home lifestyle by renovating
  • How much will this increase the value of the home
  • Will you need to relocate during the renovation
  • Timeframe to complete the renovation
  • Budget


The third and even more involved (but sometimes simpler) option is to knock down and re-build on the existing land.

Many people make the decision to rebuild on their existing land due to –

  • They like the neighbourhood
  • Shortage of vacant land
  • Increasing land values
  • Convenience to amenities/transport/schools
  • The landscaping is already established
  • Timeframe to complete the new build
  • Budget

If the existing residence is of lightweight construction (timber or cladding) there may the option to sell the building, allowing the new owners to have it removed from the land.

Removal or demolition usually occurs well into if not after the design stage for the new home has been completed.

Although this is just a brief overview of the different options open to you, planning, prioritizing and doing your homework will benefit you in the long run.

Happy designing!