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Renovating a Shell Condo

Buying a condo in a shell state means buying it completely empty with no flooring or wall coverings, and often without a kitchen or other fitted units, although a basic bathroom of reasonable quality may be included as standard.

With the current sales push by developers trending towards completely fitted and furnished units, there are less shells around on the market, but some developers still do sell in this manner and for those that don’t it may be possible to negotiate the price down to secure a unit in its shell state.

There are some advantages to buying a shell unit, the main one being that you can purchase a blank canvas on which to project your own look and feel to the place. Other advantages may be cost, although it is possible that discounts may not fully cover the cost of renovation. Still at least there will be no need to remove any unwanted furniture and fittings before starting afresh.

Things to consider early on when buying a shell unit is the type of flooring to be used, the colors for walls and ceilings, and the layout for furnishings etc.

If you are planning to do the renovation yourself then some interior design modeling software will be a very good first purchase. This will run on a relatively low cost computer and can provide both a plan view of your creation and also an eye level 3D walkthrough view such that you can test all elements before committing to fitting any of them. It is particularly useful when deciding colors and textures for walls and flooring as these elements can become a very large part of the picture and can have a pronounced effect on the way the property will look.

The first thing requiring work will be the floor coverings and here it will be necessary to invest in ceramic tiles or wood panels or possibly both in different areas of the dwelling. The 3D program can provide details on the size and color of the ceramic tiles or wood elements and ensure your purchase of the materials is right first time.
If there is a ceiling fitted already then a ceiling lift is well worth considering. This entails cutting out the original plasterboard and making it higher with borders around the edge. Use approximately 10 to 12 inch borders and look to raise the ceiling by 10 to 12 inches too. Then you will be able to have a uniform look to this important part of the condo.

A ceiling lift will typically cost around 12,000 to 15,000 baht and the flooring will normally be between 25,000 to 40,000 baht depending on the materials chosen. If there is no ceiling to begin with then the price will be similar – look to keep the ceiling as high as possible to the overhead concrete already in place. It normally takes 2 to 3 weeks for floor to be laid and for it to settle, and around a week to finish a ceiling lift.

Next are the wall coverings and there is no doubt that wallpaper is definitely having a comeback now. Look for subtle tones with texture to deliver a classic but still pleasing look. Emulsion is still in vogue but colors are more leaning towards beige, orange, yellow and cream instead of white. Again these colors can easily be modeled in the software and you can make instant changes to entire walls at the click of a mouse.  
Allow a week or so for all painting of walls to be complete depending on the size of the place and the number of people employed to complete the task. There will be typically be several coats and so there is a set time required for adequate drying out before secondary coats are applied.

Even if a bathroom is fitted at the outset you may wish to renovate it either by changing the tile colors or by expanding the size of the room altogether. It is quite easy to knock down a wall and move it subject to the direction of the Juristic person to ensure that the area in question is load bearing. However this freedom to extend the bathroom will come at the cost of the size of other rooms and so knowing in advance the impact in virtual reality will be very valuable.

For a kitchen, the modeling program will likely have all unit sizes and colors built in, and in fact is a tool that is commonly used by kitchen designers. You may wish to consult with a kitchen reseller who will employ designers and will have mockups to provide you with as well as have the latest widgets in their modeling programs. Look to make the kitchen functional and spacious, but keep it from overtaking living space.

Fitted furniture is the next thing on the list and this may require tailor made items such as wardrobes etc. to fit into defined spaces. Of course since you are in control of the spaces you could tailor these to fit standard pieces of furniture; much depends on the cost of moving walls, vs. the cost of making purpose built fitted furniture.

Mundane items such as air conditioner units will also have to be bought in. If the internal fan unit is to be ceiling mounted, be careful to make sure this is fitted prior to any ceiling lift.
Next is the movable furniture such as beds and sofas etc. Look to invest in these with quality in mind but also to ensure that there is flexibility available for you to move items around periodically. This will enable you to refresh the look of your home without needing to buy new pieces. It might be that by simply changing covers on the bed and sofa as well as their position, a completely new look can be created.

Then comes the time for detail which can make all the difference. Mirrors, pictures, hanging lights and wall lights, ornaments and other finishing touches will certainly be well worth investing in, especially if plain walls were chosen.

A full renovation for a studio can cost from 150,000 to 250,000 and for a one bedroom apartment around 200,000 to 400,000 but it will be money well spent as you will be able to enjoy a place that you designed yourself.