Mid-Renovation Advice to Myself

We are, hopefully, at the mid point in our house renovation project and never having taken on a project like this before, I had acquire some advice for myself that we’ve learned through this whole process. It’s been an exciting but very tiring journey, one that I already have the end date circled on my calendar – if we can make it there on time!

  • Everything takes much longer than you think. I am completely a “get it done now” type of girl and I want immediate results. A renovation schedule doesn’t quite work like that. There is a specific order in which things need to be done – paint before floors, patching before paint, wallpaper before patching, etc. We took our targeted timeline of renovations and then doubled it because even the simple things take much longer than expected. There are all kinds of hidden projects underneath the floors and wallpaper, waiting to eat up your time unexpectedly.
  • Everything cost much more than you think. Just like we doubled our schedule, I would also suggest doubling your budget. Every small thing adds up – new outlets, light fixtures, faucets, handles for kitchen cabinets, door knobs and locks – there’s a never-ending stream of money going out of the bank. It’ll be worth it when we’re moved in and absolutely everything is custom and hand-picked by us, but make sure there’s plenty of cushion in the budget. Because it really is never-ending.
  • Strong marriages are a requirement. Renovating is not for the faint-hearted marriages. There’s a million reasons to argue and bicker when it comes to a project of this magnitude. Things don’t go as fast as you like and cost much more than you plan and it’s easy to get frustrated and tired. There will constantly be minor tests and unexpected trials so I keep reminding that both of our goals are the same – to make this a home our family can grow in and create a beautiful life together. We make a point to take time out to spend fun time together as a family or even going out on a date night. And no shop talk while we do it!
  • Renovating is not for the lazy. It takes so much energy to take on a project of this scale. Even when you are not physically working that the house, we are constantly shopping the home improvement stores, calling vendors, lining up quotes, researching online. I would never recommend renovating for people who don’t have plenty of energy, ambition and vision and even when the last thing you feel like doing on a Friday evening is ripping up old kitchen floors, you know it needs to be done so you do it.
  • Renovating is not for the indecisive. So. Many. Decisions. Paint colors, carpet choices, wood flooring, counter tops, vendors, pricing, primers, fans, lighting, outlets, backsplash…there are so many decisions involved with redoing an entire house and you can’t be wishy-washy with your choices. How will I know I like my decision in 5 years? You don’t. The best I can do is pick out classic stuff that are my style in this moment. My husband and I are taking time to research all of our options, but once a decision is made, we move on to the next item because there’s too much to be done to sit and dwell on every little choice, which I could do forever.
  • When in doubt, go for quality. I have always been a penny-pincher and I can’t resist a good sale. But, when it comes to this project, my husband has told me numerous times to resist the urge to save a few bucks on cheaper things and go for quality. We’re not spending thousands on the small details, but choosing quality pieces will not only look much nicer and last way longer, but I know I’ll regret not going with the better products in our forever home.
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