During the summer of 2016 I embarked on a major home renovation. As an organized person I tried to be extremely prepared before we began our project. I had renovated a previous home so I knew what I would be up against or so I thought. When you are renovating a home you can never be totally prepared but you can survive.
I kept a detailed account of all of the things I experienced so I could share with others before they start their own renovation.
Keep a Notebook
This is so important to keep you organized through the entire renovation. Make lists, jot down information and if you have to refer back to something it will make it easier to read your notes. It may sound old school but sometimes its best to keep it simple.
Clear the Clutter Before You Begin
I know this is obvious coming from me but I help people downsize and move as part of my job and I always stress to clear the clutter on the front end. When you are ready to put everything back into your new clean space you will be glad you did. Get rid of the things you don’t love, use or need and start fresh with a simple less cluttered space.
Keep a Renovation File
Keep a file on your computer to keep track of all your emails and keep labeled files for all of your receipts. Make a warranty notebook for all of your manuals and warranties. If you move the new owners will thank you!
Start a Pinterest Board
I could not have done this renovation without Pinterest. I made a board for each room I remodeled and it made it so much easier to communicate with my designer. It’s easier for someone to understand what you want when they see it rather than guessing and it turning out completely wrong.
Make a Budget
This is a tough one because we had a budget and still went over. No matter how hard you try sometimes it’s out of your hands. Communicate the budget with your contractor so they understand there isn’t an endless money tree in the backyard.
Find a Reputable Contractor
I know you have heard this before but this is by far the most important part of a renovation. If you don’t get along with your contractor the project will last longer and their will be constant conflict. Interview more than one and when you meet them act like you are the CEO of a company and you are interviewing them for a job. Talk to their previous clients and ask to see their work including the small details such has trim work. Do your homework and ask questions!!!
Renovations Are Not Like Building a Home
Renovations are not like building a home especially when you are remodeling an older home. There is always those unexpected things that come up that no one could anticipate and that is why it is so important to have a contractor that is really knowledgable in renovations not just new construction. I cannot stress enough how important this is.
If I had a dollar for every time the contractor or a sub said don’t worry you won’t even know we were here I’d be a millionaire! You will know they were there by the amount of dust that accumulates through out your home even if you are remodeling just one area. Put what you can in a temporary storage unit or get a POD. You will thank me for this later. Its hard to stay on top of the dust so if you can afford to use a cleaning service this would be the time to put it in your budget.
Take Pictures of Everything
I took pictures prior to the renovation, during the renovation and after it was completed. Documenting everything helped me communicate with everyone involved during my renovation. If something didn’t look right, if something was unexpectly found or if I had a question I could just send the picture. Take advantage of technology where you can when renovating. It’s important to see the progress you are making.
If I learned anything from this renovation it was to trust my instincts. I wanted to move out because I knew what this was going to entail but I was talked out of it. It was mainly one side of my home and I was told it could be blocked off. I knew better and didn’t listen so I’m telling you MOVE OUT if you can make it happen. No one can describe to you the amount of dust, noise and disruption that occurs while you live in a renovation. It’s not healthy for mind, body or spirit. It’s draining and at times you ask yourself why did I do this I should have moved! I will say it again if you can move out while the work is being done DO IT you will never regret it!!!!
This post would have come to you sooner but not only did we deal with a renovation that was delayed we had two major hurricanes decide to visit in two years. One during our renovation and the other right when we finished. Living at the beach definately has its benefits so I have learned to live with the good and the bad.
Stay tuned next week for the after photos of my new closet and more of my renovation in the up coming weeks!