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Here's some background about me. We bought a 3-bedroom duplex flat with a terrace, in a second sale so it was not a new flat, and had not been used by the previous tenants for a couple of years. For various reasons, we also ended up keeping the flat locked for more than a year and a half. So we decided to get the interiors done up well before we started to live there, to get a new feeling to the apartment.

Since it was old, we decided to do both civil work, and the usual kitchen and furniture work. We did not have many contacts locally to get the work done so we thought our best bet was an interior designer. We started off well with the designer but quickly realized that he did not have enough background to meet our needs. He was working off the premise that we would just go with his suggestions (which were woefully lacking), and spend a ton of money for looks without considering durability or value-for-money. Finally due to a lack of good execution on his part and considerable delays, we fired him and completed the rest of the project on our own. We ended up spending a lot of time and effort over more than a year to get everything completed.

I believe there are two types of people :). 1. People who see a few choices for an item and pick one that they like, and 2. People who see everything available in the market for an item, and then choose the best one as per their requirements. We belong to category (2) and our goal is to get the best stuff for durability but we won't go overboard to get the last 10% of quality or aesthetics. And we need a LOT of information about everything before we make a decision.

We got very different opinions on every aspect of our renovation - from friends, family, designers, vendors, etc. How to buy things, what to do, when to do it, where to shop, prices, quality, yada yada. I looked around to see if there was any information on the web with just some general idea of what to look out for but I did not find anything. So this write-up is a layman's attempt to give some general direction to people who wish to renovate their house. I do hope that it helps at least some people in their renovation work, whether they do it on their own or with an interior designer. I also believe that if you have time, and are passionate about your own house, you do not need an interior designer; its much more satisfying to get things done on your own. But beware of the amount of time and energy it will sap :).

A few caveats - this write-up is mostly relevant to India, more specifically Pune. And its totally based on my experiences and research so all the mistakes are painfully mine. Also, this piece was written as my work was going on. So I have not commented on the durability and maintenance as we lived and used stuff. Lastly a word about prices - I have tried to give a general idea about costs; note that the costs can vary a lot. This write-up is circa 2013-2014 to give you an idea of the costs at that time. ENJOY!!

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