Friday, May 6, 2016

Smells Like Renovation

Chances are if you're a homeowner you will live through a renovation at some point.  Today I'm sharing 10 tips and 2 diy build projects from my renovation experiences.

10 tips & 2 builds before you begin renovation

#1: Find a guy (or gal).

Most likely you'll need a contractor.  Get quotes from 3 and go with your gut even it it's not the lowest quote.  You will be working with this person on your most important possession (next to your family), be sure it's someone you can trust and get along with.  Fingers crossed after the first job this will be "your guy" for every job going forward.  

#2  Your house will smell different and quite possibly your heart will be ripped out after the first day of demo.

Never fear it's ALWAYS worse before it's better and most everything is fixable.  Below is proof from our first kitchen renovation 6 years ago:

kitchen renovation

#3 Respect the tradesmen.

Second to your contractor these guys (and gals) work their butts off in manual labor to create a space for you so they deserve much praise and gratitude.

copper piping

The plumber on our bathroom renovation (post coming soon!) had a massive job of rerouting and snaking of pipes to connect the new with the old.  How beautiful is all that copper?

 #4 Be preparared for the worst.

Termite damage, rotten subfloors, death (critters), broken pipes or leaks, naughty electrical work, etc  you're bound to come across something.

bathroom demo with rotted subfloor

I knew about the rotted subfloor in this bathroom renovation because it was visible from below but I didn't know about the termite damage to one of the beams in the master bedroom ceiling.  It was so disheartening I didn't even take a picture but it's all fixed now and better than before.

Along with being prepared for the worst are fun surprises you might find like that license plate from the 1964 World's Fair above.  Or a bazillion corn cobs in the dining room ceiling, perhaps the most primitive form of insulation:

corn cobs used as insulation

#5 Relocate everything in that room

and nearby traffic areas because dust will be everywhere (close and seal vents if possible and close doors to other rooms).

furniture dolly

I'm a diyer so I move everything out before work even starts, I want the workmen to jump right in versus spending time moving furniture.  I highly suggest using furniture dollies to make moving furniture easier.

#6 Work will ebb and flow

Some days you'll see lots of progress and other days nothing.  Don't be disappointed, trades take huge coordination and it doesn't happen like on tv.

#7 Time x 2

There will be delays out of your control and most likely the whole renovation will take longer than planned, just go with it instead of fighting the process.

#8 Be present, be aware, ask questions, know your home

Make sure everyone is on the same page in regards to details and job specifications.  You will explain the design and overall concept multiple times but it's worth it to keep repeating yourself to get what you want and prevent mistakes.  Help where you can but don't annoy, there's a fine line.

#9 Moving back into the new space is like dating

It takes a while to get to know the person, go slow, it's still your house only better so use it and love it!

master bedroom ceiling makeover

Our master bedroom underwent a transformation when I exposed the ceiling beams.  It's still the basic same space only different and did take a little easing in to get used to it again.

#10: Start thinking about the next renovation!

Similar to having a baby the worst parts often seem to fade as you're loving the new space.

(I purposely did not mention anything about budget or costs.  That is a very job specific and varies from region to region.  There's plenty of renovation budget posts out there, my best suggestion would be to do your research.)

My preference is to live through a renovation, I want to be there day in and day out checking on the progress no matter how messy.  Even with a kitchen renovation you can live in your house by making a temporary set up in another space.

For the recent master bedroom ceiling project we moved into the Living Room and I built a simple 2x4 platform bed (I left the poster bed frame in the bedroom choosing not to disassemble.):

diy platfrom bed

The second diy project you might consider is a temporary clothes hanging rack.  Part of the master bedroom and bathroom renovation included making my husband's closet slightly bigger so we had to remove all the clothes.

diy pipe clothing rack

I built this hanging clothes rack using pipes I had on hand from my son's old bedframe.  There's a ton of simple clothes rack ideas on google but this was a lifesaver and way easier than trying to make space in another closet.

If you've lived through a renovation and have any interesting tidbits please share.  I'm sure I missed a few insightful items and I'd love if you would add them in the comments below.

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