Achieve a new look with your old house

Feb 22, 2023

John Max, a construction expert says if you want to revamp your house, make careful decisions because it might go bad. First, you need a budget.

Achieve a new look with your old house

Umar Nsubuga
Journalist @New Vision

If you have a house, but feel it is old-fashioned and needs a revamp, do not lose hope because there are many ways you can achieve a new look without completely breaking down your house. 

When Agnes Nakiyigi, who lives in Kitebi, a Kampala suburb, was expanding their family house to accommodate her fully-grown siblings, her builder advised her to do so with care.  

“It is best to contact the people that originally constructed the house because they knew the safest way to do it,” she says. 

First, she had to ascertain the material that was used to build the house, so that the strength of the foundation that holds the house could be gagged. 

Any builder can tell the material used in building a house, but the one who would know the detailing of the house is the one that put it up. 

Nakiyigi’s family home was built with strong and pure concrete and the pillars were even stronger than expected, but still care had to be taken. 

Mike Sengenddo, Nakiyigi’s builder, says despite the fact that the pillars were still strong, they would not just break the walls without caution. 

He advised her to break one side of the wall as breaking two sides of it would put the entire structure at risk. 

“The lowest one can pay to have a wall fully broken and built up is a minimum of sh1m for a good job,” Sengendo says. 

He adds that it could cost a hundred times more if the house is bigger and the material used stronger, like in the case of the concrete used in Agnes Nakiyigi’s family house. 


John Max, a construction expert says if you want to revamp your house, make careful decisions because it might go bad. First, you need a budget.

“If you want to reduce or expand your house, you must be clear about what you want to do with the space you are freeing. You might want to turn the free space into shops, rooms for rent, a home office or create room for a bigger compound. If you are trying to fit a new roof, it would be wise to budget for a new ceiling, new electrical works, new light fittings and a paint job,” Max says.


Muhammad Nsereko, another construction expert, says sometimes demolishing one wall could cause those adjacent to crack or collapse.

Arrange for alternative accommodation for the duration of the renovation. 

He says to have work properly done; the architect should prepare a schedule. The project owner must have an idea of how long the renovation should take. 

Watch out for the rainy season, if your house is going to be open for a while. It is better to redesign it in the hot weather.

Use expert builders

Make sure that you use a good structural engineer. A structural change to your house must be carried out by a good structural engineer. Your architect can recommend a good structural engineer. 

Some houses look firm and solid, but crumble easily when demolitions start. If you want to adjust to your house be open-minded. 

According to Abdu Wahab Nyanzi, an architect, when redesigning a house, one of the options could be to break the walls down and to create more space or to reduce the bigger rooms and make smaller rooms bigger. 

For example, the living room might be made bigger. You might also turn bedrooms that were not self-contained into self-contained ones. House modification has many accruing advantages such as enhancing independent living and privacy. 

With skyrocketing costs of both materials and labour, many people have resorted to renovating and remodelling existing structures rather than building new homes.


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