House renovations or extensions should quite frankly be up there as one of life’s greatest challenges as far as I am concerned and anyone who tells you otherwise clearly paid someone to manage the project and didn’t live through it!
You’ve spent months going through planning, building regulations and searching for a builder to turn your dream vision into reality so it’s all plain sailing from now…or so you thought! The reality can often be somewhat different, which is not to say you won’t get your dream home at the end, it may just take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to achieve it.
Here’s my top tips and observations to help you along the way:
* Lie-ins are a thing of the past!
If your renovations are anything like mine have been, you will be woken very early on a regular basis by a team of tradespeople who will arrive like the A-Team (or other relevant team if you’re not old enough to know who they are!) to start their working day. Now don’t get me wrong, regular and present builders is a good thing, but the lack of lie-ins is most definitely not.
* Dust – it gets everywhere and you just have to learn to live with it!
No amount of cleaning will rid you of it during the work so enjoy the rest. If you don’t want specific rooms to be affected, then consider sealing them off to reduce the amount of dust and mayhem, although I appreciate this isn’t always possible.
* Lists and spreashsheets
You will have lists coming out of your ears so think about effective ways to create and store them. Lists for work, lists of questions to ask the tradespeople, lists of things to order and do. The list is literally endless! However, getting everything down on paper or a spreadsheet will help you to remain organised and focused amidst the chaos. This is especially important where your budget is concerned as money can literally run through your hands like water so keep a track of it as best you can.
* Patience and Perspective
Patience is something you will need in abundance as things don’t always happen in the way or at the rate that you expect, however, patience is a virtue when it comes to good design! Nevertheless, if you are working, have children and a dog to throw in to the mix, you may at times lose said patience momentarily! It’s always important to keep perspective too. You are going through this to get the end result that you are lucky enough to design and afford so it’s not all bad is it?!
* Entertaining free zone!
Your home will definitely be off bounds for the duration of the renovation so take up any offers of help from cooking to washing to childcare…anything that saves your sanity!
* You’ll become an expert!
By the end of your build you really will become an expert in all things renovation related. Ask questions of the tradespeople wherever you need to – this is your home and your money so you need to be well-informed. And by doing that, you will also become an expert decision-maker too as you are asked to choose between a million different options on offer. You will have been there and done that and so will be able to pass on your words of wisdom to friends and family who are embarking on their own renovation work.
* Known when to splurge and when to save
As your build progresses, you may find yourself having some cash flow issues so think carefully about where to spend your money and where you can save the pennies. Think about things that can be relatively easily be replaced in the future. For example, splurge on underfloor heating now if you want to, because you’ll never want to rip up your beautifully laid flooring to do it in the future.
* The end is in sight...
Now is the time for the final finishing touches so have fun and bring your style and personality in to your home. You can now sit back, reflect on your renovation journey and invite family and friends around to show it off (as long as they don’t touch the newly painted walls or spill anything on the new carpets!).
I’d love to hear about your own renovation rollercoaster, however if all of the above sounds too much to handle, you might want to consider hiring an interior designer to manage your project. Why not give me a call to see how I can help you to manage the stress?