Whenever you get to know someone who has had anything built, an extra downstairs cloakroom, or a massive double elevation extension . . . . you will find in conversation later that the project is perfect. Well almost. . there are it turns out, lots of things they now wish were slightly different. I do wonder sometimes if they really did have a full and frank exchange of ideas with the architect/builder at the start. However, these observations have served me very well over the years. Whenever I contemplate paying for work of any sort in my home, I formulate a plan of what I think I want, this then involves 3 short lists. The first is the longest – all the good things I’d like to have and reasons for starting the job. This is discussed with the folk invited to quote and thus come the next two – the pared down a) absolute essentials and b) things I’d like but will sacrifice for economy/time/space. This system has worked brilliantly in recent years, getting me exactly what I want each time.