I cannot believe that it has been a month since we started our renovation project! Most people I spoke to about it, said we were crazy to start a project like this just before Christmas. They are probably right, but we needed to make a start. As with most renovation projects, there have been delays, as well as unexpected complications. It has been a somewhat stressful time, but I know it will be worth it in the end.
I was hoping to do more regular updates, but it has been almost impossible to get any work done in the midst of the chaos. This is a roundup of what has been happening over the past month, as well as what I have learnt as “project manager”.
Fortunately, because we were only renovating half of the house, we were able to block it off and not have to move out. Or so I thought! Living on a building site is not for the faint-hearted and in some respects, more stressful. With Grant and I sleeping in a rented caravan and the girls both in our room, it is a miracle we are all still alive.
The one major plus about living onsite during a renovation is spotting issues that you may miss if you only pop in once a day. The other less ideal side of it is living with the noise and the dust. Not to forget stepping into the role of “project manager”. Managing your own project might seem like a plus, but there is a constant barrage of questions and demands thrown at you. As I said, it is not for the faint-hearted.
This renovation has tested both my patience and sanity. It has also given me a new level of respect for people who do this sort of thing for a living.
The projects we are undertaking involved both the girl’s bedrooms and bathrooms. We will also decide to turn our double garage, which was not in use, into a TV room or chill-room. Both bathrooms required to be completely gutted and retubed. In the garage area, we needed to remove a wall, as well as the existing staircase.
Sounds simple when you lay it out like that but it most certainly has not been.
My advice, before you start your project, is to create a budget but remember that you will more than likely need a contingency for unexpected expenses. Get a few quotes before you commit to anything and never be afraid to ask for a discount.
We were quite strict with our budget and tried extremely hard to work within it. That said, we have had extra costs and had to spend more than we originally anticipated.
As I mentioned, we did not move out entirely, but we still needed to pack up half of the house and accommodate four peoples belongings in one bedroom. The benefit of doing this was, we were able to do a major purge and get rid of quite a substantial amount of unwanted items.
Unfortunately, as you can imagine, space became a major issue. We decided to book a storage unit for the duration of the project. Having additional storage has been a lifesaver. I also used storage containers to pack away winter clothing and any other items which are non-essentials.
An essential part of renovating is planning. If you are hiring a project manager, then a great deal of the planning can be left up to them. If not then you are it. I cannot stress enough how important organisation is, things will more than likely unravel regardless but if you are organised there will be less fallout.
Before you start a renovation project, it is vital to outline your expectations and communicate this to your builder and contractors. It is also important to set firm deadlines. As I mentioned, you may encounter complications along the way which can cause delays but having a deadline helps maintain some level of sanity.
As with planning, communication is crucial. We decided to use a few of our existing contractors, for plumbing and electrics. It is great to use people you trust and know, but this does mean coordinating everyone’s timetables, which is never easy.
If you are considering doing renovations, I highly recommend having regular site meetings. Not only does this help keep the lines of communication open but it also ensures that everyone is on the same page, especially as far as deadlines go.
Something else I have learnt is do not be afraid to speak your mind, your contractors may have years of experience, but ultimately you are the customer. If you are not happy with something, let them know. It is much easier to change something while the building is taking place rather than after the fact.
In the chaos and stress, it is important to remember the vision you had for your project.With most of the messy work behind us, I can once again start to realise my dream of creating a home which reflects our unqiue style. The creative home decor side makes all the mess and stress worthwhile.
We are a month in, and things are starting to take shape, but there are ideas which we have had to put on the back burner due to time, as well as budget constraints.
It is quite tricky in the middle of the demolition work to remember why you decided to do this to yourself. As things start to take shape, however, and you see the progress and it makes you feel better about your decision.
Progress is a messy business, and often sacrifices need to be made to achieve your objective. The main thing is we are making progress.
By the end of the week, we should hopefully have two functional bathrooms. The floor in the TV room is the most significant job which is still outstanding. Then it is really about the finishing touches, some of which may have to wait until the new year.
That concludes my first project update and if you are curious to see more keep a lookout on the blog over the next few weeks. I will be sharing a bit more about what we have done, products used and the decorating process.
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