Top Tips For Taking On A Renovation

Sunday, 17 November 2019

I still can't believe I've almost been in my home 4 years. I remember the first time I saw a photo of it in the estate agents and I just knew there and then it had to be mine.  I didn't set out with a vision to buy a house that needed a complete and total renovation but I fell in love and nothing else really mattered. It's definitely been a learning curve, so here's my top tips of how to face it.

Top Tips For Taking On A Renovation

Renovations throw some serious curve balls, you always think of this will be a quick job and three weeks later, two walls have been removed and your knee deep in plaster. Plans change quicker than the seasons and the plans I had when I purchased my home to how it looks now are quiet different (just ask my bank account).

Have a plan B. (And C. And D.)

As the famous saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and boy have I had my fair share of fails!
While you can't always think through possible downfalls, when your home needs gutting and starting again, there's just no telling what you're going to discover so it's always helpful to be willing to adapt and have a few back up plans sorted. 
An example in my home was our boiler. We knew when we moved in it would need replacing, it was the oldest boiler I'd ever laid eyes on but what we didn't expect was it to die a mere month later in mid March and not only discover it probably hadn't worked properly in years or that it was so abused we also needed to flush the entire system and replace all 19 radiators due to sludge. Which leads me into my next top tip...

Make Sure You Have A Buffer £££

The unknown always seems to cost more. Renovations always cost more than you anticipate. Just like weddings you blink and the cost seems to have sky rocketed and leaves you're bank account crying. I don't think any of our projects have cost what we thought they would and money can soon run out. It's so easy to just keep spending to get that perfect vision but there comes a time when you just have to stop, so always have some back up cash.

Research, Research & Research

Make Pinterest boards, go online, look on Instagram, look at product reviews, look at builder reviews, talk to people who have done a similar project, look into potential issues, look at two of three different ideas but most importantly research your builder or trades person.
Get more than one quote for more than one idea, use multiple trades people for quotes, research product costs, know your stuff. It's so tempting to get one quote that sounds reasonable and go for it full force but even if it takes two weeks to get three quotes do it. Then research those you are happy with, talk to old clients, ask to see photos of old work or projects similar to yours. Any trades person worth their salt won't be offended and will be more than happy to show you previous work and let you speak to previous clients. 

Renovation Trips

Reuse, Up-cycle and Recycle

Those hideous old curtains left behind by the previous owner are going straight to the tip right? Wrong. 
The easiest way to save some cash during a renovation is to reuse, up-cycle and recycle items. Could those curtains be dyed? Would they be any good for a different room? If all else fails could they be used as coverings for the floor while your painting?
The previous owners of our house left behind two, serviceable wardrobes. Don't get me wrong, they weren't pretty and they had seen better days BUT while we were forking out for new bathrooms and kitchen they certainly done us well. We popped them into an alcove with a tall mirror between and added some pretty wooden trim to make them look like fitted wardrobes and for a minimal cost they lasted us a good 2 years before we were ready to take on the walk in and our glass sliding doors!
With a bit of hard work and a bit of creative flair an old sideboard from a charity shop can be up-cycled into the perfect unit you've dreamed of!

Get Involved

Get the overalls out and get stuck in. Do your research and do as much as you can by yourself (within reason, if your not a qualified electrician maybe skip the rewiring...).
I couldn't even put a number on the hours I've spent ripping up carpets, steaming off wallpaper, grouting or removing old paint but not only is it super satisfying to know you did that but it seriously helps to keep that budget in check. It also means you get that exact look you've been picturing in your head as you know exactly where you want everything to go and what colour it needs to be. It's hard but 100% worth it.

I hope these tips help you, I've learned them the hard way for sure. I jumped into my home with both feet and in hindsight probably should have taken a step back before getting so excited! I'm pleased to say that 4 years down the line maybe 70% of the house is done and thankfully 100% of the red pub carpet and red floral wallpapers are gone!