A good friend of mine dm-ed a photo. Thinking it’s a celebrity scandal or a new purchase, but it was something else, a snapshot of a cozy living room. It’s like a private gentleman’s bar tucked away from the gossiping streets of the Metro. I replied, when are we visiting this place, for I am dying of good bourbon, he said I can visit anytime because it’s his place. I am astounded. My friend is just bleeding with talents – aside from being a snobbish architect, very good taste should be credited to him. I planned immediately, later that week, I got to see the place.

As I enter by the door, it was chilly. The tiny foyer was dark, with enough lighting to remove my intreciatto sneaks. Smelling very debonair – tobacco and frankincense. Ushered by dimmed brass wall lamps, there was my friend, Zach, on his dark denim apron, preparing a meal for us. Thinking he’s becoming domesticated, I was not fooled, it was just a take-out – Cajun lobsters and prawns smothered in butter and chili. It was official, happy hour had just begun.

With all the smart convos, green jokes, ice-cold Hoeg’s, and glutinous seafood, my eyes were pinned to his vintage leather sofa, eclectic steel armoire, century-old dining table; and his kitchen – crazy gray marble top on jungle green cabinetry. His selections were just beyond, yet beautiful! I asked him, “this is definitely not a new place, but how?! Either I need you, or your contractor.” He just rolled his eyes, chugged his beer, and answered me back, “you’ll need both, but aside from that, you’ll need a lot of work. This renovation was just much pain in the a**, and making it beautiful, was just icing on the cake.”

I was very much intrigued, I asked him, “man, you’ve definitely aced this one! What can I expect, you’re an esteemed architect yourself. Much shame if you cannot pull this off. But really, how to do it properly? I want to renovate my filthy place too, and I want it exactly looking like this. Like from a magazine feature, yet very warm and comfortable. I could live here you know.” As we’re about to chill, he stood up from his velvety indigo Platner chair, took a bottle of Japanese, and lectured me like he’s Vito Corleone. He only said I have to DREAM.

1Define your Goal. Know what you want/need.  It’s not bad your inspirations are coming from Architectural Digest, or some hotel you’ve seen in Berlin, yet your budget is just for AirBnB. Also, is that what you really want, or you’re just being pressured by your friends or social media? Does it fit your lifestyle? Can you afford it? Sleep on it, narrow down your priorities and wants. Through this, you will be enlightened and you can really know what will work for you. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

2Refer to an Expert. Consult your Architect / Interior Designer. It will be an advantage if you have any of these as your friend that you can look up to. If none, maybe you can schedule a zoom with some experts out there, ready your details and your consultation fee. Better yet, if budget permits, hire one instead. It will be useful, they know better. Tell them all the things you have with Point No. 1; you’ll end something that will work for you.

What if you can’t afford an architect? Just pray hard that you have somebody on your speed dial, that you can easily bribe with buffalo wings and beer. Wherever, to be an expert, listen to experts.

3Assess your Cost. It matter$$$ a lot. Requiring this and that, it is a cost. To know the cost of repainting or retiling works is one, but there are two ways to have it done – through contractor and through direct laborers; for there’s a huge difference with their costs. Definitely, going for direct laborers will save you some bucks, but be ready to mobilize them, meaning, you have to check them every day, check all their accomplishments, see all the things they need especially materials for construction. And of course, payroll every week (and the unpredictable cash advance) On the other hand, getting a contractor will save you from a lot of sleepless nights. Your Italian made tiles will surely be taken care of. You can always try to sample your paint colors and decide on it after a couple of days. But as said thousand times, it has a price. With the contractor, you’re paying for the convenience, but no assurance that everything will be as fast as you can imagine. In conclusion, you just have to choose what you’ll be most comfortable with, in terms of schedule and budget. It’s all about choosing your poison, and picking out the lesser evil.

4Evaluate your Requirements. Do you really need to wallpaper the walls inside your panty? Do you really need to add another powder room? Because everything seems easy, you want everything done as you wish. Most of the time, issues don’t just involve simple carpentry or masonry works; electricals, plumbing, and other related trades are very much involved. One cannot just neglect these because if you play now, you might pay later. Worse, paying later might be more expensive. With all these to consider, you can reconsider what’s more valuable – beautifying your pantry or fixing your plumbing works? Good things happen when you set your priorities straight.

5Maximize the EYE. Now that you know what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to open your third eye. The third eye being referred is the eye that sees beauty beyond what it seems, aka TASTE. This is an expected talent among the creatives, but unfortunately, heavens didn’t bestow this to everybody. Having this “eye” will be able to let you see that P1000.00 accent chair on sale from a department store is actually so not bad. Why is this important?  It will make your space more interesting and flavorful. Even if you have that much money to spend, designer pieces from door step to back door sometimes become dry and boring. If you want your space to reflect much character, life, and stories to tell, what you need to do is stop cladding your whole house with Frau’s and open your eyes to what catches your attention. It could be father’s cupboard, or that zebra hide from the closeout sale store. You can only do this if you have taste – you cannot learn it, either you have it or you don’t.

(Just in case you don’t have this, refer to Point No. 2, hoping your designer is oozing with this. If not, enough reason to drop the F word – fired!)

After 45 minutes of man-to-man talk, the godfather stood up from his seat, went to his balcony, continued to finish his 18yo. “Man, looks like a perfect recipe. Any last words?”, I asked. He looked me in the eyes, and nodded, “see this as your passion project, set your targets, and do your best to ace this. You don’t want to do it every two years, might as well do it right. You can do it! I’ll help you”

With those four simple words, I heard the hallelujah chorus. I’m done with Point No. 2. A few hours later, got back to my nasty apartment, and that night, I wasn’t able to sleep because I keep thinking about what to do in this place to make it look like an executive suite from Ritz Carlton Resorts on a Holiday Inn published rate. After all, the godfather said, I have to DREAM.

Related article: https://bluprint-onemega.com/?s=5+etiquettes

Art courtesy of Met European Paintings

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