Renovating: The marriage tester

Renovating: The marriage tester

Renovations, Tips and Advice

If I were to ask you to list the events that put the biggest strain on a marriage, I am sure you could rattle off quite a few. But would renovating the family home appear on your list? If it doesn’t, then it should.

To understand this better, consider this scenario:

You are planning to renovate because your current home has grown too small for yourself and your family. You’re working to a budget and you want the best possible result for that budget. You want a renovation/extension that will create more space for everyone who lives in your home, as well as those people that you occasionally entertain.

Instead of investing your money with a highly qualified architect, you decide to try and save some money, so you choose to work with a draftsperson instead.

The draftsperson asks you what you want, creates a design, and then modifies that design based on your feedback. Now, with your plans in hand, you go out and select a builder and work commences.

It is at this point that the problems start.

There are challenges with actually trying to build the renovation based on your design. Why? Well commonly because not enough detail has been provided to the builder. The builder then needs to take their best ‘guess’ and interpret the design themselves. As a result, things are not ‘exactly’ as you pictured them. Worse still your budget has begun to blow out.

The lack of detail has also resulted in the project taking longer than it should. Arguments, finger pointing and buck passing follows. You are left feeling tense, a feeling which is compounded by the stress of your partner. This tension continues to build up between the two of you, eventually placing a strain on your marriage.

But finally, the work is completed. Behind schedule, and grossly over budget, but at least it’s done. At least you can now sit back and enjoy your newly found space and freedom. Well at least that was the plan, but unfortunately, the design has not actually given you more space, and you’re left feeling like you have even less freedom than you did before.

Nothing quite works the way it should. Sure the fittings are all there, the walls, windows, doors and ceilings. But it’s not an inviting space. On top of this you find that when you sit in your newly created renovation, you are isolated from the rest of the home. You and your family are constantly getting in each other’s way when you try to pass through this new space, and as a result, tensions rise even further.

All of this is made worse when you get your latest power bill a few months later, and you find that heating/cooling this new space costs a small fortune. The strain on your marriage is now at an all-time high. You have spent so much money only to be left with a space that doesn’t function; a space that actually inhibits your lifestyle rather than enhancing it.

How did this happen? What went wrong? Well to start with, you chose someone who creates building designs but does not necessarily understand how to design around someone’s particular lifestyle. They gave you exactly what you asked for, without asking you enough relevant questions to find out what you really needed.

Selecting someone to design a renovation to your existing home, is a major decision. It is a major project that will impact on your bank balance as well as your lifestyle.

It is the sort of project that is too important to be left to a draftsperson, or a building designer.

It is also important that you understand that not all architects are of the same standard. Sure, we all have the same initial qualifications, that’s why we are called architects, but skill levels and experience can vary greatly.

So if arguing, fighting and falling out with your partner is something you would rather avoid, then I suggest that you give dion seminara architecture a call when it’s time to plan your new renovation.

Our designs are based around your lifestyle as well as your current and future needs. We also offer a full management service where we take all of the stress out of your building projects.

So why risk the tension, stress and angst that is so often associated with renovating? Contact us today and then sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that your project will be done on time, and within budget and will ultimately enhance your life.

Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.