Thursday, August 7, 2014

Villa / Apartment Handover & Interior Readiness Checklist: Things to check on BEFORE you take the formal handover of your dream Apartment or Villa from the builder.

Lately in a number of my projects I found lacunae left behind by the builder and the customers running around struggling to get these rectified by the builder.

To help avoid this run around I have tried to compile a checklist of things below that folks should run through with their builder and rectify BEFORE they take formal possession of the residence.

If you find anything missing then please feel free to leave a comment and I will add for the benefit of all our readers

Here goes :-

DOORS

  • Check for gaps between door frame and wall. Push the frame to see it is anchored firmly
  • Check for hinge fitting, ensure there are screws in each of the screw ports.
  • Check door catcher/ stopper for proper functioning
  • Check door knobs & locks for smooth closure & functioning.

ALUMINUM/ UPVC DOORS & WINDOWS

  • Check Lack of alignment if any. Ensure that the doors open and close easily.
  • Check rubber beading for hardening, cracks
  • Check if the grills are properly painted
  • Ensure that the door/ window frame has drain holes
  • Check that the shutters lock properly
  • Ensure that the glass is fixed properly and the beading is intact and not coming off.

WALLS & CEILING

  • Check plastering quality, there should be no uneven-ness. Ensue that there are no cracks
  • Check for excessive dampness in the wall (if any)
  • Check false ceiling in bathrooms (if there), ensure that it is properly fixed with no cracks.
  • Check tiling even-ness & grouting. There should be no cement marks on the tiles

FLOORING

  • Check for any cracks or scratches
  • For Bathrooms, Utility and Balcony check the floor tilt to ensure correct water flow into the drain and that there is zero water accumulation anywhere.
  • Ensure that there is no hollowness in the floor. Tap each tile or bounce a ball on each tile to check for the hollow sound. A hollow sound indicates that the tile is not set properly & needs to be replaced.
  • Check for proper grouting of the tiles/ stone slabs especially in bathrooms

ELECTRICALS

  • Check for working of light points/switches (carry a zero watt bulb & tester if possible). Especially check the AC points, builders sometimes leave the AC points dummy (with no wiring)
  • Check each point has cover plates & there are no cracks.
  • Check availability of telephone and cable TV points as per plan.
  • Check that all the plates are horizontal and not tilted
  • Plates should be clean and free of paint marks.
  • Check every circuit breaker.Switch off : Should switch off with a slight touch, Switch on: should not switch off while switching on.
  • Check each switch for correct contact and springiness. Click should be clearly audible and not muted when switched on and off.
  • Insist on getting the wiring diagram pasted on the inside of DB door Also check that the wiring of the home matches with the circuit diagram on the box.
  • Check that the smoke sensors work. An agarbatti will help to awaken the sensor :)

SANITARYWARE/ PLUMBING

  • Check the sanitaryware (Wash basins, Sink, WC) for any scratches or cracks
  • Ensure Kitchen Sink is grouted properly and that there is no leakage.
  • Check the chrome fittings - ensure that there is no corrosion. 
  • Check whether the towel holders, faucets, toilet paper holders are provided as per plan.
  • Check pipes for any leakages
  • Ensure there is no blockage in any of the drains
  • Ensure that the flush works properly
That's it from me for now. Happy CHECKING :)

NM



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The "missing" REAL value of an interior designer.

Sometime back on this blog I wrote on a couple of topics, one around whether you really need an interior designer and another on the "design" element in interior design. Interestingly, last night I came across an old TED talk that takes the above expression even further

The talk (it's more of a conversation) is between Saul Wurman (the co-founder of TED) and Frank Gehry one of the legendary architects of our time. The crux of  Gehry's talk is around the fact that most customers miss out on the real value of an architect.
I feel this is something that applies equally to interior design, when the customers expect just "carpentry" while the game is really about personal expression.

Gehry says & I quote

"Most architects when they present their work -- most of the people we know, you get up and you talk about your work, and it's almost like you tell everybody you're a good guy by saying, "Look, I'm worried about the context, I'm worried about the city, I'm worried about my client, I worry about budget, that I'm on time." Blah, blah, blah and all that stuff. And it's like cleansing yourself so that you can ... by saying all that, it means your work is good somehow. And I think everybody -- I mean that should be a matter of fact, like gravity. You're not going to defy gravity. If you don't meet the budgets, you're not going to get much work.

But my point is that ... and I call it the "then what?" OK, you solved all the problems, you did all the stuff, you made nice, you loved your clients, you loved the city, you're a good guy, you're a good person ... and then what? What do you bring to it? And I think that's what I've always been interested in, is that -- which is a personal kind of expression. And I think that's the issue, you know; it's the "then what" that most clients who hire architects -- most clients aren't hiring architects for that. They're hiring them to get it done, get it on budget, be polite, and they're missing out on the real value of an architect."


That's it from me for now
Signing off

Nandita




Friday, May 2, 2014

A few photographs of the Eco Package (Budget Interiors) executed recently at Purva Highlands Kanakapura Road, Bangalore

I wrote about the Eco range of interiors for 2/ 3 BHK apartments sometime back. Here are a few photographs of the Ecopackage executed recently.

PS: The photo credit for these go to "yours truly" and to Samsung Cameraphones :)

Master Bedroom Wardrobe & Dresser - Purva Highlands 
Master Bedroom Wardrobe - Purva Highlands

Wardrobe Interior

Guest Bedroom Wardrobe - Purva Highlands

Wardrobe Interior

Purva Highlands Kitchen - Shutters are in Hi Gloss

Purva Highlands Kitchen - Another angle

Note that the Kitchen, while it looks modular is actually not a "modular" kitchen. It has a hand made carcass and factory made shutters. While this does not give 100% "modularity" it does help bring down the overall cost.

To know what a modular kitchen really  is please read http://www.homedesignbangalore.com/2010/06/so-what-is-modular-kitchen-and-some.html

Signing off
NM

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Master Checklist for Home Interiors: Things that you will need as you plan the interiors for your new home

I have often found that a number of things get left out when folks plan interiors for their home. This either leads to a budget creep or a last minute scramble to get everything in order before moving in and some of it gets left out altogether.

I have hence tried to compile below a master list of things that one needs to consider during the interior design phase. Am sure I would have missed out a few myself :), so if you do find anything off, do let me know and I will add so that everyone can benefit from it.

Here goes

Kitchen
Cabinets
Tall Unit/Pantry
Specialty Corner Units (Magic corner, Peanut Corner…)
Tiling
Countertop
Appliances (Hob/Chimney/Dishwasher/Microwave/ Refrigerator)
Size of the appliances - for space planning
Breakfast Counter/ Island
Tall Chairs/ Bar Stools
Light based enhancements (LED's etc)
Sink

Utility
Counter & Sink
Plumbing work
Storage Units

Living/ Dining Room & Entrance
Foyer Unit
Crockery Unit
TV Unit
Television/ Size of the TV for space planning
Pooja Unit
False Roofing
Wall Paneling
Sofa Set & Center/ Side Tables
Dining Table & Chairs
Bar Unit & Stools

Bedrooms/ Entertainment Room/ Study
Wardrobe (Sliding or Hinged)
TV Unit
Television/ Size of the TV for space planning
Dressing Space
False Roofing
Cot with Side & Head Units
Study Unit
Book Shelf
Sofa Cum Bed/ Couch
Children’s bed/ Bunker Bed

Bathrooms
Storage units
Mirror
Shower Partition
Bath Tub/ Jacuzzi
Other Sanitary-ware (Towel Hangers, Hooks, Faucets etc.)
Tiling & Flooring
Side Rails (for the elderly)
Electrical Work
Geysers & Fans
Air Conditioners
Light fittings
Changing location of the electrical points
Painting
Wall Painting
Textures
Wall Paper
Artwork/ Handpaint/ Themes
Wall Cladding
Other Miscellaneous
Staircase beautification
Storage/Play Area under the stairs
Specialty Pillars
Flooring - Wooden/ Granite/ Tiles
Landscaping
Grill Work
Furnishing - Curtains, Upholstery, Display Pieces, Wall Hangings
Curtain Rods
Air Conditioning/ Ducting
Sound Proofing
Security Systems

Whew...that's all I can think off for now. Shall look forward to your add-ons

Signing off

NM



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FAQ's on Home Interiors in the Comments Section: We crossed 1000 comments this week

Just to let you know - we crossed the 1000 mark in comments & questions under the 25 posts on this blog. These FAQ's on home interiors are probably as rich in information and inputs as the posts themselves and the best part is that these have come up through "live" issues & questions raised by "you".

So if you haven't done so already then I would strongly suggest you browse through the comments section of the posts.

Happy Reading

NM

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My New Logo - The Studio: Homes, Kitchens & Wardrobes

Finally after long deliberations & doodling with friends and family the logo for The Studio is out...yooohoo :)


Based on customer needs, the brand will have 3 ranges of interior options under it

1. The Eco Range - Pocket friendly home interior packages for 2 & 3 BHK apartments
2. The Classic Range - Complete home interiors in good quality material and workmanship
3. The Studio Range - Hi End stuff - Complete Interiors or individual Wardrobes/ Kitchens

As always would welcome your feedback and inputs

Signing off
Nandita

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Photographs of my recent Home Interior project at Yelahanka, Bangalore

It is a beautiful penthouse  - top floor, some 3000 sqft with a huge kitchen, party area and the works. Below are the recent clicks.

Nothing starts (and ends) well without the blessings of the almighty

This was actually a recess between two pillars in the center of the home and was converted into a divine showcase to bring a feeling of "presence" & "calmness" to the entire home.


Looking through the living room into the Kitchen


Another angle of the same emphasizing the overall lighting


The Sofa Units - from Urban Ladder


One of my favorites - got an artist to hand-paint the mirror - it shows maple leaves falling from the top


Dum Dum/ Bum Bum of "Night at the Museum" Fame


The TV Unit


TV Unit - Another shot. Wiring hidden behind the wall panel


The Crockery Unit. Breakfast counter in the Kitchen on the right


Crockery Unit - another Shot




Bedroom 1 - Sliding Wardrobe. The photograph doesn't do justice to the actual output as the lighting in the bedrooms was not enough for a good shot (same is true for all the bedroom photos below). The photographer ... who also happens to be a dear friend, was also bereft of equipment having left the same in safe custody at Kolkata during his recent shift to Bangalore :(


Wardrobe Shelving


Headrest - Haneef mian's (the headrest maker's) second iteration. The first one got rejected as the colours of the threads used for the stitching did not match the theme. He will surely give up on me some day :)


This one's a giant - 10 feet in width - and required quite a bit of engineering to make the shutters and ensure that they slide well.


Sliding Wardrobe - Shelving


Bathroom Storage


I was bored with horizontal mirrors on sliding wardrobes - this was the result


Haneef Mian at work again - this one was first time right :)


Edge handles for bathroom storage - helps your kurta to not get caught in the handle when you brush your teeth. Bet you never thought of that one :)



Partial view of the shower partition


What is this - Take a guess??


A rollaway bar :)


The kitchen. It has lights UNDER the bottom cabinets ... hee


Kitchen - another angle showing the corner sink.


Partial view of the breakfast counter


Full view of the Breakfast Counter


Breakfast Counter - Another angle. The hole is just for show and for the kids to have some fun.


This was a massive TV unit cum bookshelf. Was a bit of an experiment with random open and closed shelving. However ended up pretty satisfactory.


Bookshelf - Another view


Murali Manohar - Came all the way from Orissa to bless the home


As I said at the beginning ...nothing starts & ends without the blessings of the almighty.
... lights out



PS: The top floor lawn/ party area is phase 2 of the project...look forward...

Bye for now
Nandita

Monday, November 25, 2013

Home Interiors - Thumbrules for costing based on market rates in Bangalore


While I have a similar post on "Costing your Woodwork" done earlier on this blog I got your feedback that the earlier post captures a method for costing just the woodwork and not complete interiors, also there is a need for broad thumb-rule costing that is quick and easy.

For some time now I have been using some thumb-rules myself whenever I have had inquiries from customers & felt no harm in putting these in the public domain - ofcourse this will have its detractors who may have strong opinions on how "correct" is this model and its output, however having used this model myself for my projects over the last couple of years I can vouch that it gives realistic rupee value estimates that you will end up spending even when executing the work yourself, provided the assumptions and scope (also mentioned below) remain the same.

Also, just like water taking the shape of whatever bowl you put it in, interior spends tend to take up any budget that one gives to them, hence there is really no upper expense limit for doing up interiors, especially with the range of stuff & brands available in the market today ... remember the old Indian saying ... "the more the Ghee the tastier it will bee". Hence what is below is an estimate for a starting range of decent quality Mid-Hi End interiors

Before we get into the model here are the assumptions

1. Woodwork has to last a min 7 - 8 years - hence there is no compromise on material selection and the material is not necessarily the cheapest available in the market
2. All taxes, government levies etc. are actually paid and not avoided
3. Workers are paid at prevailing market rates in Bangalore - they need to make a living too :)
4. Workmanship & finishes are similar to those seen in Mid to Hi end interior works
5. Designs are done in accorance with the needs and lifestyle and not with the sole motive of minimizing cost.
6. Wood used for the work is BWR ply - typically having an mrp of around Rs 80 - 90 per square feet
7. The material/ brand used is genuine and not fake

Now that we are one step closer to unveiling the model its time to define the scope of the work that the model covers (...and you are getting eager to get to the actual model...wait, wait we will get there ... anything worth having is definitely worth waiting :))

Ok, the scope covered is

1. The entire woodwork for a healthy and comfortable living i.e. Wardrobes with lofts, TV unit, Pooja, Foyer, Modular Kitchen (including chimney & Hob), Study unit, Crokery Unit, work in the bathrooms etc. etc.
2. Painting in mid range paints
3. Light fittings - again mid range
4. False roofing - to support the lighting effect planned
5. Hardware assumed is Hettich throughout, kitchen drawers are soft closing - no cheap and troublesome thali baskets etc. assumed..that's what is meant by mid-hi end mentioned earlier
6. Copper piping for cooking gas

And here is what is NOT covered in the scope (now you really really want me to get to the model:)...I will, I will ...in just a bit)
1. Grill Work
2. Geysers & fans
3. Furniture including Cots, Dining Table Sofa sets etc.
4. White Goods
5. Furnishings/ Curtains & Upholstery etc.
6. Any Civil, Electrical or Plumbing Work
7. Kitchen Slab Work
8. Anything else that you can think of

Alright....so here it is ...ladies & gentlemen, keep your fingers crossed

AHEM

Take the super built up area of your residence in square feet
AND
Multiply it by 800

...and voila...what you get is what you will end up spending on your interiors...that was easy, wasn't it? :)

Here is a sample calculation for those of you whose maths skills are not exactly something to talk home about

If the super built up area of your imaginary residence is 1000 sqft.
You will need 1000 (which is the super built up area of the residence) X 800 (which is the multiplier) = Rs 800000 for the interiors

There is HOWEVER a way to do it cheaper - at a multiplier of 600 instead of 800, but that would mean using Commercial Ply (& not BWR) and compromising overall on the stuff used. this will also ensure that your stuff will demand major repair around its fourth birthday. This "may be" an option for those who are using the residence purely for renting out and financial returns.

Also - remember what I said at the beginning - the more the Ghee the tastier it will bee bit  "there is really no upper expense limit for doing up interiors especially with the range of stuff & brands available in the market today. What is below (now above) is an estimate for a starting range of decent quality Mid-Hi End interiors"

The cat is among the pigeons now...recall I used this ending phrase in another of my blog posts...just that this time the cat is bigger and more hungry.

As always will welcome your bouquets & brickbats@#$%#^ ... time I took out that helmet :))!!...

Signing off

Nandita

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Studio Range of Wardrobes - Frequently Asked Questions

I have been getting a number of questions from you on the Studio Range of Wardrobes post the launch & though that a FAQ was in order ... so here goes. Feel free to ping if you have something that is not already in the Q&A below.

Q1. What is The Studio range of Sliding Wardrobes
Ans: The Studio is a range of Hi End sliding wardrobes in international finishes and quality. Each Wardrobe is custom built for each individual customer based on his/ her individual taste, lifestyle & requirements

Q2: What do you mean by International Finishes & Quality
Ans: The Studio range comes in finishes and quality yet seen only in imported wardrobes available in India – this includes
1.       Door options in Hi Gloss, Glass & Mirror
2.       Metallic Edge Handles
3.       Soft Closing
4.       Use of the best sliding system hardware available globally
5.       Top running sliding systems
6.       Optimized door height, width & weight for trouble free sliding action
7.       Customized Shelving
8.       Dust proofing using specialized brushes and pelmets.

Q3: Is there anything “better” in these wardrobes compared to imported wardrobes.
Ans: Yes there is.
1.       The wood that the imported wardrobes use is HDF or MDF, all wardrobes under the Studio range are in BWR ply to ensure longevity and the ability to withstand Indian conditions.
2.       Price: The price of a  “Studio” wardrobe is more than 30% lower than the price of a comparable imported wardrobe (scroll down for more on the price)
3.       There is no lead time for procurement/ import – the only time needed is that required for understanding the needs, customized design construction & fitment.

Q4: What sizes are these Wardrobes available in?
Ans: The Studio range of wardrobes is 100% customizable and built to match the exact space available


Q5:  Will the Wardrobes be fixed or stand alone
Ans: They will be fixed as that enhances the look and leaves no spaces between the wall and the wardrobe. If however the customer wishes to have them stand alone then that is also possible.

Q6:  Are loft options available?
Ans: Yes loft options are available. Unlike in the West we folks in India do prefer to have lofts and the whole point of the Studio range is to cater to our blended needs around finish, material quality and utility

Q7: Will it need any work on the site?
Ans: About 90% of the work will be done at the factory however depending on the complexity of the door design chosen there will be some work to be executed onsite.  However the max assembly/ work time on-site per wardrobe will not be more than 2 days.

Q8: Most important question – what is the price??

Ans: The price depends on the design, finish chosen (Hi Gloss, Glass, Combination etc.), shelving and the size. The idea is to have a price point where even if the customer decides to make the wardrobe on his own using the same material, he ends up spending equal or more. In looking through the supply chain efficiencies and bulk discounts available to designers I do believe that this is possible.

Q9: How to order
Ans: Get in touch with me over e-mail (nanditamanwani@gmail.com)

Signing off

Nandita
PS; General best practices for Sliding Wardrobe design are available here

Update July 03 2014: The dedicated website for The Studio Wardrobes is now up. Please visit http://www.thestudiowardrobes.com

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sliding Wardrobes Bangalore - Launching "The Studio" Range of Hi End Designer Wardrobes

Dear readers…this is just a short announcement that I am launching my own range of Hi End Designer Wardrobes under the brand name “The Studio”. While more details will follow (hopefully on a separate site dedicated to the product…still struggling to find a good web designer, any takers :) ?) I did not want to miss the auspicious occasion of Diwali for this soft launch, so please wish me luck :) 

This endeavor encapsulates the experience and best practices in making sliding door wardrobes learnt over my 6 long years in home making. While each wardrobe under “The Studio” brand will be custom built, it will incorporate best practices such as

1.   Material – BWR Plywood, Hettich Hardware
2.   Finish – In UV Hi Gloss, Glass/ Mirrorred, Veeneers, Duco, Laminates or a combination with metallic edge handles
3.   Practicality & Ease of Use – Dust proofing with dust brushes, customized shelving based on individual lifestyle & needs, soft closing and no banging sliding system.
4.   Engineering – Top running sliding systems, framed shutters, optimized height, width & weight of shutters for smooth and trouble free running.

Also refer http://www.homedesignbangalore.com/2010/07/sliding-wardrobes-do-it-right-first.html  for things to keep in mind while making sliding door wardrobes

Feel free to reach me at nanditamanwani@gmail.com for any queries and feedback, signing off for now

Nandita
PS: I have recently posted a list of FAQ's around The Studio wardrobes - before you pop a question you might want to check the FAQ's available here

Update July 03 2014: The dedicated website for The Studio Wardrobes is now up. Please visit http://www.thestudiowardrobes.com