[quote=“gnaij”]Our place hasn’t been renovated in decades. We’ll need to basically gut out the interior (change the plumbing), redesign the whole place, get new furnishings, etc.
Who here has experience with this? Who to approach for the construction/design? Any general advice or suggestions?[/quote]
I have undertaken three major (50萬+) renovations.
The first time, I found a builder by simply walking onto construction sites around the neighbourhood and looking at the quality of the work and speaking directly to the laoban. Eventually, I found a guy who seemed competent and whose price seemed reasonable, but in the end the quality of the work was only fair.
Second time, I went on the recommendation of the friend of a friend. I was very pleased with the results and contracted the same builder again for the third property that I renovated. Apart for the quality of the work, the thing I liked about him was that he wasn’t interested in doing unnecessary renovations just to create more work for himself (and hence more money). Actually, because he was good, he was also in demand, so his interest was in saving his time and my money so that he could move onto his next job.
So my advice would be to ask around and seek recommendations from people who have had their homes renovated.
As far as renovating old homes is concerned, I know you said that you want tips on interior renovations, but IMHO the most important thing is you have to make the house waterproof. Water kills houses in Taiwan.
If you have a tiled roof, you may have to replace it with a sheet metal one.
If it’s a wooden structure, you’d better call some specialists to exterminate white ants. You may need to replace some beams and supports.
Gutters and drains will probably need to be replaced.
If you have a concrete slab roof, you can use a paint-on waterproof coating. You’ll need three coats.
Rather that new masonry on the external walls, you can use PVC cladding, which is cheaper and will keep the water out longer than painted cement. On the other hand, you may not like the appearance, so perhaps just limit it to the sides and back of the house.
On the inside, you’ll most likely have to replace all wiring and plumbing.
You may want to consider a new floor, in which case you can put the wiring in the floor (which I did in this property forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 0#p1463984 after removing the internal walls).
Rather than a tiled floor, you might go for plain cement, which can be polished, stained (see forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 5&t=116451) or covered with vinyl or carpet. There are also some epoxies that look nice, but I haven’t tried them.
Windows will probably need to be replaced, too. Go for thick glass, which makes a noticeable difference in terms of sound-proofing.
Hot water heater - if you don’t need large capacity, you can install an electric one in the false ceiling of the bathroom to save space. Besides, they’re not particularly beautiful things, so better to keep it out of sight.
Kitchen - go for quality. Some are just crap.
Air-conditioning - if you’re not a big user, consider a reconditioned system. You can save a lot.
Ceiling fans are much more sensible that standing fans.
That’s all I can think of right now.