Last week I was interviewed by a journalist for an article that Self Build & Design magazine are going to be running on our house remodel. We had originally said no to the feature, because unless you have a business you want to promote there is no real benefit to the homeowner. However after a little negotiation, they agreed to pay a fee for using some of my photos and so we decided to go ahead.
One of the questions they asked me was about the areas where we'd splurged a bit and although we did very little splurging as such, we definitely overspent in certain areas of the budget and didn't regret it. There are so many decisions to make on a project like this that I think it's useful just to note down our successful overspends for the benefit of others who may be doing similar builds.
Our wooden floors could easily have been a disaster. We bought our first wooden floor from a large national store. It was under budget so we thought we were being clever, but as soon as we got it home I realised we'd made a big mistake. We returned it and then spent a bit more to get what we really wanted. Some corners aren't worth cutting, particularly if you have to look at them every day and wish you'd just spent the extra £200.
Our Velux windows turned out to be one of our best purchases. I originally priced up a cheaper alternative window, but after a lot of debate we decided to pay the extra for a known brand, largely because you can retro-fit electric blinds to them. It paid off almost immediately as we made as we had to change the size of one of the windows we'd ordered and Velux collected the old one and dispatched the new at no additional cost and with very little hassle.
There was nothing at all in our original budget to replace the rundown garden building we had. We considered hiring a caravan, but access problems ruled that out. In the end buying the cabin not only enabled us to live on site (and escape to a dry, warm, dust free space) but also gave me a brilliant sewing room at the end.
Our original spec for our juliet balcony was for simple galvanised steel, but we upgraded to glass to give a simpler more modern look. It was more than double our original balcony budget, but it looks great and it doesn't obstruct the view.
It seems incredible now, but because we original costed everything at the minimum spend to make the project achievable, our initial plan was to reuse our old concrete roof tiles from the bungalow. Early in the build we decided to ditch this idea and cut back in other areas to spend more money on the roof. The extra cost was 1% of the entire bill, well worth the money I think, especially as we have a lot of roof!