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Complete renovation for a four-room apartment

Starting point

We had just bought a new flat and wished to do a complete renovation before moving in.

What kind of home? When was it built?

It was a four-room apartment within an apartment block building built in 1984 with no prior renovations.

What was the goal for the renovation?

We wanted to (a) convert it into a 3 room open-plan living area / kitchen, updates to existing materials and décor, complete renovation of sauna and bathroom(s). Basically gutting the place, knocking down intermediate walls in the living rooms/kitchen.

Were the any limitations or special requirements?

We put a limit on how long we could stay in our current apartment, the total cost of the renovation, being flexible about having some design decision left until later in the project and relying on the renovation company to provide design ideas and collaterals (i.e., having no previous experience or skills ourselves)

Steps taken during the renovation? How was it done?

Complete conversion/renovation, i.e., remove everything and install new everything. In general: A dialogue about the proposed changes and design was developed into a specification, the team then took care of all practical on-site issues relating to tearing down all the existing materials and building the agreed changes, with approval from the housing board into a state that cosmetic options could be decided, including working with 3rd-party suppliers such as kitchen and bathroom providers.

Did you live in the apartment during the renovation?

We didn’t – we delayed the sale of our existing flat until the agreed time where the new one was ready. The team thankfully were good to their word and we moved in as planned.

And the end result?

The concept that we jointly developed was exactly as we’d hoped and any evolution during the whole project was always taken on board. The team were clearly motivated to bring quality methods and materials to their work.

Any challenges or special considerations?

The experience taught us that renovating older buildings can lead to some surprises, especially in relation to damp, but every potential roadblock was dealt with effectively in collaboration with the housing company. All the (inevitable) small issues that came up were communicated regularly (dedicated WhatsApp group and site visits).

These were the things we succeeded in

Combining original design and aesthetic skills with the expertise and experience of seasoned builders and realistic project management skills. The team was diverse having expertise in each of the specific areas that were important for us. They were also open to looking at new areas for them, e.g. designing for acoustic parameters. They were also very patient and never made us feel that our inexperience in construction was a pain-point for them. And, of course, an ability to communicate all of this in English.

Anything else?

They were budget conscious but not needing approval for every box of screws. The thought and attention to detail that the team put in to realizing our plans have made living for the past year in our new flat a pleasure.

“The thought and attention to detail that the team put in to realizing our plans have made living for the past year in our new flat a pleasure.”

– Henna and David Isherwood

The finished apartment

Marko Santanen

Marko Santanen

Founder, Construction engineer (B. Eng)

+358 40 704 1957

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