As an organized person (and some in my family might use the word control freak), I don’t do well with the ‘unknown’. I like to plan out absolutely everything I can – right down to the very minute detail. As you may know, my family is going to be starting a pretty large renovation in our home. I’ve decided to call it our ‘Renovation Journey’. I think that’s a more positive way to word the hell that we’re about to go through. Renovations can sometimes be no fun, they can not be very enjoyable BUT the end result is so, so worth it!
Most of you may not know this, but our renovation journey is to ‘refresh’ our home. We built our home almost 12 years ago. When we built our home we had to decide what we wanted to upgrade and what we could live without. As you go through the building stages there are upgrades for everything. From light switches, to the number of outlets, to flooring, etc. The list can go on and on and the price can skyrocket quickly. As we were on a budget building this home, we had to compromise (that’s code for: “Sheri, you can’t get everything you want.”)
For our renovation journey, we are also making compromises. This is not our ‘forever home’ and we know that in about 5-10 years, we may decide to sell and downsize as I’m sure we will be empty nesters by then. I know that I want to be able to enjoy our renos for a bit before we sell.
So how does one survive a renovation journey? Here are a few tips to allow your journey to be less stressful.
Have A Renovation Plan
I believe there are 3 parts to a Renovation Plan:
Interior Design Plan
With so many choices to choose from, it is important to have a design plan for your renovation journey. I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve been in that have done some minor renos to get their home ready to sell – that have been a waste of money! Simply adding granite to old counters is going to end up looking like new counters, old cabinets. You will not see any magic when you do that. By having an Interior Design Plan, the entire home is considered. Your home’s foundation palette is considered and recommendations and choices are made to ensure your home has flow. So whether you’re just renovating a kitchen or looking to replace flooring, the entire home needs to be considered. Having an Interior Design Plan will guide you with your decisions and steer you from making poor choices. The Interior Design Plan will also leave you with a plan moving forward so that when funds do become available to do more work, you already have a plan in place.
For our home, the bathrooms are only going to get new doors, new baseboards, new toilets, and new paint. There will be no construction happening in those spaces. Nothing is going to be ripped out so I have had to plan around the fixed elements that are staying in those spaces. Although they will eventually be updated, the Interior Design Plan that I have come up with for our home takes that into consideration so while those spaces are not being touched in this reno, they still will look nice and moving forward, the plan that I have in place for those spaces will work with what we are about to do. Make sense?
Once you have an Interior Design Plan all set, then it is time to think about the budget for your renovation journey. This always tends to be an uncomfortable talk, but it is important here to be realistic. Take some time to price out some of the items you will need. This is where compromises may need to be made to get what you want. What I don’t want you to think about is a compromise being a bad thing. There are many products out in our market where you will get the same look and feel but perhaps for a lower price. I am a firm believer of you pay for what you get however, I also don’t compromise using shitty product.
I have my heart set on CaesarStone Quartz for our kitchen counters. And when I say I have my heart set on it, I REALLY have my heart set on it. Nougat is my absolute favorite!
I also know that granite will look just as nice and will be less expensive. At the time of writing this, I am still waiting to hear about the quotes for the counters. I am preparing myself to go with granite and since our kitchen cabinets will be an off-white, I’m going to go with a simple black honed granite (as black and white are timeless in my honest opinion).
The timeline is essential in knowing how long you will be living through your renovation journey. This mentally prepares you for the upcoming mess AND it allows you to see the light at the end of the tunnel! If you are having a general contractor do the work for you, encourage them to give you weekly updates to see how things are progressing and to see if the project is still on track. And just so you know, renos never take 30 mins! This is not TV – this is real life! And yes, I feel I need to write that – let’s be realistic people!
Here is an image of my worksheet in planning out the steps and stages for our renovation journey. I have what I call a ‘drop dead’ date – which means EVERYTHING needs to be done by this date (that’s June 6th – my hubby’s birthday). It’s a very rough draft and as trades are booked in they are penciled in. This is by no way all filled in yet. By having this timeline, it will allow myself (and yes, my family) to know that there is an end in site! As soon as the mess starts, I can start counting down how many more days until we’re done!
There is nothing worse than having to work around stuff. My biggest piece of advice is to get all of your stuff out! Rent a storage bin (they really are not that expensive) and remove everything. We’ve enlisted the help of my son and his friends for this task. They are extremely happy to be working for pizza and beer! One last note, ensure you have factored this into your budget.
Shit happens – we all know that. When it comes to a renovation, you need to plan ahead for the ‘unknown’. This means to allocate “X” amount for a contingency. Let’s say you have $40,000 for a renovation. Then out of that $40,000, allocate $3,000 – 5,000 for the contingency. A contingency is a ‘just in case’ fund. It’s super exciting to not have to dip into that yet not a shock to the system if you had to dip into it.
The Renovation Journey
Renovations get a bad rap and the word ‘stress’ is typically associated with the word ‘renovation’. Here is what I believe: if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time. If you’re going to spend a large amount of money on a renovation, you need to be planned and prepared (I know – shocker that I’m saying you need to be planned and prepared). The more you have planned and prepared, the more likely your renovation will seem more like a journey rather than a road to hell.
I’ll be updating our renovation journey here on my blog as well as on my social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest). Geeze…I’m going to be busy! I hope you enjoy the comedy that will ensue with this journey.
When it comes to renovations and work done in your home, you just can not afford to make a mistake! Send me an email to discuss your home.
One of the biggest investments one can make is the investment of a home and I believe you should LOVE coming home.