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How we developed and realized the project with minimum involvement on the client’s side

A case study of the finished project

An article on the entire pipeline of project development and implementation: from concept to technical drawings and specifications to choosing the contractor and renovation to the finished state. We are telling what our approach is and why it yields results.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Our client had a clear goal in mind: do a modern and quality renovation to a new 1-room apartment in order to profitably rent it out. Additionally, the client is based abroad, so they asked for minimum possible involvement.
Residential Complex New England, Mykhail Maxymovych str., 24, Kyiv
1 room, 37m2
1 month
Term of project development
3 month
Standart project
Term of renovation
Type of project
Original layout from the developer (floor plan)
Stages of work
Мы предложили заказчику наш стандартный порядок работы над проектом:

We thoroughly discussed each aspect of works on Zoom-call. We made sure to inform our client on what is required at each stage and how much time each step would take. We discussed the ways of agreeing our actions, channels of communication and feedback on emerging questions.
A chart in MS Project. A progress chart attached to the contract
Now we’ll specify each stage in more detail. Rather than going step by step we’ll highlight the key aspects.
Stage 1
1.1 Concept
The general stylistics of the project was crafted based on the given task as well as references to similar projects. We added some visualisations to ensure the client shared our vision of the future renovation.
Such visualisations called one-day-projects take a short while to create. An individual project will take significantly longer, as it is a much more detailed and complicated task and the result is of higher quality. However, it wasn’t necessary for this project, just a simple visual to agree on the concept.
As soon as design was clarified we moved to creating a set of drawings. Not wanting to deal with all the nuances, the client delegated this step entirely to us. In the process of development, we got back in touch only a couple of times to confirm some key features. Throughout the whole renovation we had around 10 Zoom-call in total.
During the 4 months of renovation our client was staying abroad and saw the flat in person only once it was completed.
1.2 Layout and furniture arrangement plan
Thanks to a well done original design no remodelling was required, just a few touches regarding furniture arrangement.

The space of 37m2 is taken up by a kitchen-living room (19m2), a study on a joint loggia (11m2), a hallway and a bathroom. Due to its small size the bathroom represented the greatest challenge.
1.3 Storage spaces
We pay special attention to wardrobes. Though not obvious, they play a significant role in creating a sense of comfort. So we jumped at any opportunity to set up wardrobes and drawers around the flat and these were floor-to-ceiling. We put a full-sized wardrobe in bedroom. One more for household supplies and another for outwear went into the loggia.

Beds with built-in cabinets under the matrass are another good storage solution, of which IKEA has a wide selection.
1.4 Kitchen
Convenience and usability lie at the heart of kitchen planning, which is achieved through a combination of multiple factors. Even a tiny kitchen like this one should be thoroughly crafted. It goes as follows:

For the sake of ergonomics, we outline the main areas and draft several layout options. We then agree on the most effective planning.

The main areas of our kitchen: refrigerator, sink, cutting area, stove + oven + hood. The arrangement is linear since the kitchen’s space doesn’t allow for a central cooking island.
So here is our reasoning:

  • Take the food out of the fridge.
  • Put it in the area between the fridge and the sink.
  • Wash and then cut it in the cutting area.
  • Cook the food on the stove or in the oven.
This is the most convenient variant for the given layout. Now that the logics is established we put the fridge to the left or to the right and build the chain up from there. In our case the fridge is on the left which shortens the distance between the hood and ventilation channel.

The cutting area should always take a bit more space to avoid bumping of elbows in the process of cooking. Because of that we reduced the stove to two cooking rings.
To maximize storage, we set up wall-cabinets that reach the ceiling. Of course, an oven and a dishwasher were included in the plan. Although these appliances are reasonable priced they contribute to a better quality of life, which is a renting advantage.
An important element to consider is tile flooring in the kitchen. Unlike the laminate floor found in the rest of the flat except the bathroom, tiles are practical and durable. There is bigger risk of dropping something, spilling coffee or wine. The laminate would not take this well, however wiping the tile with cloth would be enough to make it shine like new.

We opted for a round table since it is compact but at the same time has a bigger capacity and what’s more, it doesn’t disrupt traffic between the kitchen and the living room.
In the end, thanks to logics and attention to detail we have a full-scale kitchen fitted in the space available.
1.5 Study
A modern apartment always includes a study, an important must-have since 2020. An alcove at the window in the loggia was screaming for a desk. So we delivered.
1.6 Bathroom
Bathroom was a true challenge. Its main problem was its tiny size. And somehow it had to fit a toilet, a wash basin, a washing machine, a water boiler, and a bath-tub. This had to be a tub, not a shower stall, because it was more cost-effective and functional, although more space was required. Particularly here, the budget was our priority, so we had to be creative.

We ended up choosing from several designs. What helped us save space was fixing the installation into the wall. Due to walls being thick, we had no problem with this.

Quote from Maxim Kolot, Kolot.studio founder

Maxim Kolot
founder Kolot.studio
1.7 Lighting fixtures
We went for spotlights all areas. They are inexpensive (around $5), provide uniform illumination, and look stylish. We used built-in and overhead lamps to evenly zone out the place.

You can find IKEA wall lamps on the sides of the bed. We also secured LED lights for the counter and around the mirror in the bathroom, which is a standard solution.

We didn’t hire our electricians and plumbers for this particular project as this was a simple task here. We managed the work with standard plans and layouts.

Quote from Maxim Kolot, Kolot.studio founder

Maxim Kolot
founder Kolot.studio
1.8 Finish materials and specifications
Flooring: tiling in the kitchen and bathroom, laminate floors in the rest of the flat
Walls: durable paint Sadolin EasyCare
Ceiling: stretching white matte ceiling

All materials and components are included in the project specifications indicating the name and amount for each point on the list. It simplifies purchasing process – contractor’s suppliers have a clear view of what is required and can respond faster.

Additionally, specifications cover work scope of the project, which will enable the contractor to quickly calculate the cost of refurbishment by taking the needed sums without having to calculate the wall area or the amount of tiling, sockets and so on.
We also add lists of specifications for customer-made furniture – kitchen, wardrobes and etc. This information will be useful for the company that will design your furniture. It includes the quotation which will save time when drafting your budget.
Results of Stage 1
1 month
10 Google Meet calls
Two payments by details
Terms of development
Number of calls
Finished file
File with project
You can see the attached project in English. But since we take projects around the world, we are ready to make drawings in whatever language your crew speaks. This can be Ukrainian, Spanish, French, German, you name it.
Stage 2
The project on its own is meaningless. It acquires sense once it serves as guideline in the works. That’s where the contractor steps up. They have to be properly selected and assisted throughout their work. More on that now.
2.1 Choosing the contractor
Renovation in this flat was entrasted to Buildburo
I am Buildburo cofounder, so choosing a contractor wasn’t hard. However, this option is only available in Kyiv. For other cities and countries we have developed an algorithm to carry out a tender that will help you find the best possible crew.

Максим колот
founder Kolot.studio
In practice this means we draft a set of documents and collect offers from a number of pre-selected contractors that are based in your area. We organize a Zoom-meeting to confirm that the company will handle the project. With years of experience under our belt we know what type of comfortable and less so questions to ask to clarify they crew’s potential.

At the end of the tender our client receives a summary of each contractor with prices, deadlines, pros and cons as well as our own feedback.
A comparison chart on the contractors (example).
However, this isn’t always the case as often enough the client already knows the right people for the job.
2.2 Assisting in renovation
There is a useful though not very common technique. Before renovation works begin we have a lengthy Zoom-call with the crew to discuss every page of the project. This can go on for hours, but eventually the contractor gets fully informed of what is expected of them. Furthermore, the contractor may come up with innovative solutions while on-site, which we’ll gladly discuss and help implement.
The case in point here is to resolve 99% of issues before renovation starts. As the main rule of risk management suggests it’s better to prevent mistakes from happening rather than deal with their consequences.

Максим колот
founder Kolot.studio
We also consult the contractor regarding the estimate. It is worth establishing a fixed budget immediately without having to revise it every now and then.
Comparison table by contractors (example).
For this project the crew and us were physically in the same city. However, this didn’t prevent us from conducting our meetings remotely to compare notes. All it takes is a Zoom link, same page of the project, a fruitful discussion. Overall 20-30 minutes, no traffic jams or other inconveniences. We kept in touch for any technical issues. If the foreman has a question they would simply send us a picture or a video and we’ll respond in the matter of an hour. Promptly and exactly, everyone’s happy.

We would have weekly calls to register:
  • The current status
  • Works completed the week before
  • A plan for the week ahead
  • Issues and questions
All by the SCRUM book)

In case we assist a project say in Warsaw while being in Kyiv, the number of Zoom-calls can enlarge but this isn’t an issue.

Our drawings are made specifically for the crew. Since the chances they attended the building academies are slim, we make sure to provide simple and understandable guidelines with full technical detail.
Some drawing
Result of Stage 2
3 months
12 on Google Meet
Over 50 short phone calls
Terms of renovation
Number of calls to contractors
Number of calls between the client and the foreman regarding renovation
At the end of 4 months of work we had a modern 1-room apartment which was rented out on the same day with 25% mark-up above the average price for the area.
Все фото
Useful information for the client
Here is a couple of tips on what to pay attention for when choosing a studio for developing a design-project. Not as if these are the ultimate truth but these approaches have proved to work for us in numerous projects we completed. So buckle up.
01. A detailed budget
It is important to be aware of any limitations to the budget before rendering the project. Otherwise the original design will have to be shrunk which can ruin its integrity.
02. BIM-development
For starters we create a 3D-model of your apartment or house. Then we base our drawings on the said model. This way we can avoid any inconsistencies in the drafting process as well as speed up the project.
03. The process of development and agreement is highly transparent
Designers and engineers produce the solution. Project’s manager makes sure all descriptions and nuances are in place, as well as that every page, drawing or description is clear to the client. Only then will we present our vision to you and get your feedback before having the project adapted.
04. Tasks from clients should be thoroughly determined
A small flat for rent is one case. A 270m2 cottage with intricate ventilation, multi-layered plumbing, a smart house system, and solar panels on the rooftop are quite a different one. Based on the task we design an appropriate work schedule.
05. Doing the design in partnership with the client
We would never force our solutions down to the client because they are in trend. We look for ways to make client’s wishes for the flat look cool. In case you would want something non-standard and creative or would just go “do as you see it”, we have your back.
06. Our drafts are easy to follow for the contractor crew
The people to actually work on the drawings are masters and a foreman. We make our drawings especially legible and understandable. On some occasions it is hard to comprehend architect’s drawings without special qualifications.
07. Every section of the project is delegated to an appointed professional
An architect, a designer, an electrical and plumbing engineer, a smart house expert will be developing your project.
08. A separate manager overtakes his chunk of the project
They will coordinate work of the crew, answer any of your questions, and make work look easy for you.
If you are planning renovation for your dwelling and would like a design-project to make sure your renovation is easy, predictable, and reliable, why don’t we have a talk:
Let’s choose a convenient time for you to know each other better and discuss your project
Or leave your contact details here and we will get in touch with you
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