Before you even start a renovation there are a few things you really need to consider, rules you need to put in place and discussions you really need to have so you have a clear idea on how you are going to manage a renovation. These are a few of the rules I try to live by when we renovate;
1) Learn to Love Lists – that’s right, lists are your new best friend. I have lists for everything from what im planning to do for the day, what I need to take around to the house with me and who I need to call all the way up to a total list of activities that I WANT to do to the property from replacing the kitchen to putting in new lighting. The next thing is to keep these large total lists current. While you may decide the list of reno’s before demolition its important to go back and revisit these during the works so you can add and shuffle the schedule as you go.
2) Work through the timeline - Now im not saying you need to be like a project builder and have a fully planned out schedule with timelines and dates – what I am saying is you need to talk through each job in your head to make sure you are using your time effectively, for example, before painting you will need to skim the walls, but before that you need to strip back the old paint. Ok so that’s fairly easy but think off all the other potential interfaces for example, if you are planning on moving electrics it needs to be done before you skim the walls and if you are planning to have a fireplace serviced and cleaned you want to do this before you paint or else you will be cleaning up twice. The moral here, take your list and start numbering it or if you are on line shuffling the tasks dependant on what you need to do first, this will give your jobs a basic structure and work frame.
3) Embrace Change – Now here is the thing, you will need to accept that whatever you thought you were going to do on day one will change. It is great to have a really strong idea on what you want to achieve however its really important to realise that no matter how well you plan, things will change and these changes can and will affect your budget. A beam in the wrong place may mean you can’t have the big open plan space you wanted, not all change is bad though so be open to ALL changes great and small and try and work around the problems instead of seeing them as an immovable barrier.
4) This leads me on beautifully to Point four – Clearly defined your priorities. – Before you start you need to make a decision, what is your priority, is it keeping the costs under budget or are you prepared to move on the budget to get what you want. Make this decision now because every single decision you make will be based on this. Just say when removing a wall you discover that the electrics are fried. You need to think back to the decision, obviously the job needs to be done but will this mean you have to reduce your budget in other areas or are you going to take the hit as an extra expense.
5) Be Safe, You Don’t Have A Company Behind You – Safety these days is a huge business, Companies spend millions of dollars thinking up way to make your job safer. Its almost like they are forcing you to think and act in a safe manner, they are your safety backup however in a renovation its very easy to stop actively thinking about all the hazards and “just do the job” without taking into account the risks. With an older renovation there are HUGE risks to consider, asbestos and lead paint are just two I am currently dealing with. It’s all about stopping and looking after our health enough to research ways to safely deal with these hazards instead of going in blindly and hoping for the best.
6) Find the Fun – I genuinely think that how you perceive a job is all in your head, painting walls can be mind numbing and soul destroying but add a bit of music and a few friends and I can guarantee your whole mood will change. Try to find the fun in every situation, maybe its spending quality time with your hubby or maybe its trying something a big different and getting creative but if you don’t try to find the fun in a renovation it will suck the very soul out of your body, make a conscious decision every single day to find the fun in the renovation. Sure some days it won’t work, it will be stressful and things will go wrong and your mood will go down, but hopefully the “fun” days will outnumber the bad and you will get through the renovation relatively unscathed!
7) Finally – Try to stop and enjoy the view – Renovating is a bit like climbing a mountain, you stand at the bottom and look up, your neck bent back as you try to see the top and from the bottom of the mountain the task looks insurmountable, but you make the crazy decision and start climbing anyway. What we forget as we climb is to stop, breath and appreciate the view along the way. Appreciate what your are achieving, take a look back and get some lessons learnt on things you could do better and then keep on moving upwards. Now here is the big thing, when you reach the top, STOP, make sure you truly appreciate what you have achieved and what you have created because this is big! Not everyone can “do renovating” some people will never get that high as the last curtain is tucked into place and the last light is hung. Appreciate and celebrate ever final moment along the way, because renovating has a hell of a lot of highs and a great many lows.
So tomorrow im going to introduce you to our investment, it’s a little bit small, it’s a little bit sad and it feels a bit unloved. Our challenge will be to bring this sad little house and turn it into something practical, clean and safe and maybe just maybe give it a little something to smile about!