Building & Renovating

3 Lessons I Learned from Renovating My Condo Home

Compromise is key!

Original Article: Denise Martel Photography: Paolo Feliciano

Doing simple home improvement projects or a major renovation is an inevitable task for the homeowner. After all, we'd want our home to have a new look from time to time. However, these activities entail important considerations such as: budget, materials, and professionals to work with.

To help you on your way, RL Reader Denise Martell shares a couple of lessons she has learned when she renovated her space.

Read the original article in the August 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

Lesson 1: Before renovating a condo unit, consult a professional

Always seek help from an architect or contractor before proceeding with the renovation. Asking advice from professionals can help you save on costs.

“I got estimates from four contractors. I realized that after their inspections, their thoughts were more thorough and precise,” Denise shares. Make sure you consult with your building administration about the limitations of renovation projects.

Lesson 2: Be flexible

“Bargaining opens you to more possibilities for your project,” Denise shares. Open communication with your contactor or designer is necessary. Be sure that you share your ideas and vision so you can work on it together. Give your complete trust to the professional you are working with. Remember, the improvement of your space is a collaboration between you and him/her.

Lesson 2: Renovation entails budget compromise

“If you want it exactly as you’d imagined, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you planned,” Denise explains.

To avoid excess spending, set a budget ceiling for your project. You may also come up a budget breakdown that you can follow when it comes to allotting budget for labor, furniture, and materials. “Your budget can be 40% for construction and labor, 30% for furniture, 20% for equipment and appliances and 10% for accessories and accents," shares interior designer Ayet San Jose-Aniag.

Loved the photos in this article? Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

More on

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