Now more than ever, we have time to take stock of our home space and consider whether a fresh look might be needed in certain areas. Maybe you’re thinking about future-proofing for the years ahead, or maybe you just fancy a change and want to create something different. Sarah Petersen of Dan-Éire Designs shares her knowledge and advice on how to breathe new life into an old home.

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

I mean this both literally and figuratively! Before you start your project, sit down and ask yourself some very important questions. What overall feel/look am I trying to achieve with this project? Am I adding value to my home and my quality of life with the choices I’m making? Don’t rush your project, you want to get it right the first time.

Get Help

If you’re building a house, make sure you seek professional help from an architect, engineer and a good builder. These key people will make a huge difference to your project in terms of maximising space, enhancing views and light and using the correct materials.

If you’re renovating an existing space, it’s always a good idea to enlist in the help of an interior designer. Most people think only the wealthy can afford a designer, but the money that you actually save by using a designer will outweigh their fees in the long run. Your space will be designed to your exact needs and lifestyle.

Claim It Back

Homeowners can claim up to €4,050 in tax relief on renovations thanks to the government’s new Home Renovation Initiative. Under the scheme, you are entitled to reclaim the VAT on projects that cost between €5,000 and €30,000 but you must use a builder who is tax compliant. This includes new kitchens and bathrooms.

The Better Energy Homes Scheme run by the SEAI provides grants for insulation, boiler and heating control upgrades and solar panels. To get this grant, your house must have been built before 2006 and you must have the grant approved before work commences. The work must be carried out by one of the authority’s registered contractors. It’s important to note that a grant will reduce the level of your tax relief under the Home Renovation Initiative.

Kitchen Dreams

The best time to get your kitchen designed is when your new build is at first fix electrics. You will need your plans and dimensions, a good idea of what you want to include in the design and a rough idea of your budget. Research the different finishes available and think about how you will be using the space once it’s completed.

Storage, Storage, Storage!

Whether it’s hidden or in plain sight, make sure you design your new space with as much storage as possible. We are a nation of gatherers in Ireland – with such a wealth of artisans, crafters and producers, it’s hard not to be! Display areas, alcoves, under the stairs, built-in wardrobes and most important of all, the utility room – they all serve as hard-working areas in the home, so it’s worth spending a bit of extra time and money to get them right.