It’s always so fun and exciting to start a home renovation project. I am the first one to jump on board whenever there is talks of starting to work on something new. After countless home renovation projects I wanted to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way that will hopefully save you some time and maybe even a little cash. The key is to think about what to do BEFORE you start a renovation. This applies to big and small projects because planning is a crucial step.
*just a little disclaimer for you. I am not a builder but I am a handy mama who knows a fair amount about building, design and a lot of experience in real estate 😉 this is just meant as general guidance so always consult a professional beforehand
Who doesn’t love demo day?! It’s so exciting to break things down in anticipation of the new you will rebuild. But before you bring out your sledge hammers and crow bars there’s some things I want you to think about.
Before You Start a Renovation
It all really starts with just plain old doing your research. I know doesn’t sound as exciting. But it’s super important. This step filters into every other step from here on. Start thinking about every aspect from what finishes you want to want type of contractors you will need. Gather as much info as possible before you even commit to moving forward.
Gathering inspiration is a really exciting and important part of the process in doing a renovation. There are so many ways to do this! My favorite place online to get inspired is by going to Pinterest. There are so many great things you can find and even create boards specific to what you are working on. I share of ton of design and decor on my Pinterest page if you want to check it out. Another fun way to create a mood board. You can do this digitally or even just collect pictures and magazine clippings that are reminiscent of the style you are going for. Lastly just get out and get into a store and see things in person. Buy samples and lay them out etc. I have actually ruled out several options by doing this and it prevented me from committing to something I was not in love with.
Plan your space is the next big thing to determine. Keep in mind this might have to adjust as you hit some road blocks so having an open mind is super important.
Two ways I like to plan my space is in person and on paper. I walk through the actual space and when applicable I even use objects or painters tape to mark it out to feel it out. Find out standard measurements for items to fit things accordingly. Even better if you know which fixtures you are ordering (vanity, appliances, etc) then you can get exact numbers. Remember that even though lots of items are standard sizes there can still variations. So knowing exact measurements for your space and items you are getting is VERY important. Even if you are not gutting a room and just switching out fixtures – they are not always the same so make sure the numbers work. If you are off even a 1/2 inch it can be a problem for you.
The other way you should do it is on paper. I use grid paper to lay everything out as I am working it and reworking it. It’s very helpful and allows you to see more possibilities. Whenever I am stuck on arranging something differently this is my go to process to overcome that.
Timing is everything
Timing is a key component before you start a renovation. Lining up all your help is critically important before you dive in and will have a big impact on your time line. If it’s family and friends make sure that they have the availability when you may need their help. And contractors are usually booked out a little bit so getting on their schedule is important. Many things hinge upon the completion of something before it so if you get behind it will throw everyone off. The larger steps go in roughly this order: framing, plumbing, electrical, drywall, tile/flooring, cabinets and then finished plumbing. A few examples are that our rough plumbing had a small leak so we had to push back our drywall a day. Not a big deal but if you don’t make up that time sometimes you have to reschedule other things to follow. Also our tile took 2X’s as long to install as originally estimated pushing everything else back. Some smaller things can be worked on in between.
One other thing to remember with timing is lead time with ordering items. Once I had my plan before we even started demo I ordered all about 75% of what we needed. Bigger items like cabinets/vanities and also things like flooring and tile can take a little time to get in so have that in mind.
Find your crew
Another big factor is finding the right people to hire. The best thing I can tell you is to talk to everyone you know and tell them what you are looking for. Odds are you will be able to find a good referral from someone you know. It is best to know someone who has already seen their work. If all else fails ask local specialty shops for who they would refer. And get more than one quote! This is critical. Unless you are certain about pricing make sure to get some for comparison. There are a lot of wonderful and honest people out there but you don’t want to get the one person trying to charge you a higher price just because they can get away with it. I say this because someone tried to WAY overcharge us for some work and luckily we knew better and moved on. The real cost was 1/3 what he quoted! That’s nuts.
Once you have all your info compiled of course you need to make your budget. Don’t forget about all the little extras that will add up too. I almost forgot to add in the cost of the glass for our shower! Yikes. Once you have your budget make sure you leave some extra wiggle room because things come up. Believe me they do.
Most importantly before you start a renovation try to remember to have fun and enjoy working on your home. Don’t get caught up in the stressful parts. This is about making something yours and reflecting your style.
We will be sharing this finished project our very soon! In the meantime check out our Hallway makeover and creating a new space