Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that the process of renovating our home would be so stressful. Call me naive, but we hadn’t done anything like this before and so we had no real idea about the full scale of the project we were taking on. There were numerous occasions, at least every single day for an entire fifteen months, where I would question as to whether or not we had made the right choice in deciding to do such a huge renovation.
Managing the project ourselves, with the help of family and friends, meant that the process was very long and sometimes (often) disorganised and frustrating. Juggling the financial strain of such a huge project was and still is, extremely daunting and overwhelming. Arriving at the point where we are now, with me currently sitting at my desk in the centre of a brand new home, seemed so unreachable.
But we did it.
We’ve learnt so much over the renovation process, that even though I swear we will never ever do anything like this again, ever, I thought it would be helpful to share a little advice for other families about to take on a home renovation project. I wish I’d been a little more prepared for it…
Our Top Tips for Surviving A House Renovation
Be Budget Savvy
There is a very good chance that you will spend almost double the amount of money you originally budgeted for on the project. Unless you’re in the building trade or are a pro at buying fixer-uppers, then everything costs more than you imagine. Wood, wires, pipes, screws, every single building material quickly gobble up your hard earned cash before you even see a glimmer of what your home will one day resemble. It’s disheartening at times but if you’re ahead of the game with your budget and resources then that will take a huge weight off during the process.
Using Recommended & Reliable People
A lot of the stress when carrying out a renovation is having to rely on others to complete the work for you. We were lucky to have family and friends involved in our build, so everyone who worked on our house came recommended. But still, waiting for builders to start work and then complete the job is extremely frustrating, so using people with good references takes out some of that stress. At least you know the work will be completed to a high standard.
Practice The Art Of Patience
You will require a shed load of this over the course of the project. There will be lots of hiccups and long periods when it seems as if sod all is happening or progressing. This is where you will need to practice the art of not flipping out and just focus on something else for a while whilst you crack open the gin. You will need a lot of gin. Or wine. Or wine. Whatever takes the edge of you wanting to lose your nut in frustration that your house still looks like a squat.
A good way to distract yourself during the process is to be involved in as many aspects of the renovation as possible. If something isn’t happening in one area, focus on another for the moment. There are exciting aspects to be involved in, such as choosing tiles and the dream kitchen. But there were also logistical aspects that I made sure I was a part of to prevent any more stress or issues at a later date. Bathroom layout, light switches, window arrangements. Every single aspect of your home that you will benefit from on a daily basis are crucial areas to consider throughout the journey.
Not just in relation to the budget, but in terms of life admin. If like us, your life was put into storage for a year and a half, there were so many things that we let slip because our life was in such a mess. Keep important documents in a safe place that you might need throughout a year: passports, marriage certificates, tax and MOT reminders, bills that need paying. It’s worth getting in a little order before life accumulates more boring admin and you start getting yourself in a tizz on top of everything else.
Involve The Children
If you have little people, involve them in the process. We were conscious that we wanted Elsie to be as familiar with her new home to minimise any unsettlement once we moved in. We would regularly bring her to the house, even in it’s building site state and show her around, explaining what each room would be once it was finished. By the time we moved in she was super excited about her “new house” and she has settled into life here with ease and contentment.
Remember The Positives
I wanted to nut people when they said this to me. As if you weren’t even giving the long-term goal a consideration. But there will be days, weeks; perhaps even months when it feels as if nothing is progressing towards that long-term goal which is beyond frustrating. I used to picture the scene of us having breakfast in our kitchen when things got really tough. That was my happy thought which I knew in my heart would happen one day; so it would give me even the teeniest of hopes on the hardest of days.
Remember Each Other
This is something we had little time for during our renovation. In between work, the babies, and the renovation, life was very chaotic. Every moment was spent
arguing, debating, discussing the project and it was draining. Try to remember each other throughout the process. What each other is giving up, missing out on, sacrificing to make your family home. Love is the most important thing in the world and a home just isn’t a home without love nestled in the heart of it.
There’s Light At The End Of The Tunnel
The house is still unfinished in places. It will be a while until we can afford curtains and there are only two doors on in the whole house. I’m also having to whip some hazardous tool out of Elsie’s hands on a daily basis, but that’s OK. We are in our home and that’s all that matters and we are finally seeing a light at the end of a very long and very stressful tunnel.
Speaking of lights. (See what I did there…) In the midst of moving into the new house, First Choice Lighting got in touch and asked if we would like to review some of their products. With only one battered old Ikea lamp to our name, we obviously jumped at the chance.
I chose this set of Satin Nickel Table Lamps, which I was drawn to for their simplistic design and size. In all the chaos of our lives, I want our home to be tidy, clean and minimal. Which is practically impossible having two little monkeys on a one-way mission to wreck the joint.
Making Our House A Home
The lights did not disappoint – they are just brilliant. With a cream cotton shade, they are smart and simple in design and they compliment our bedside tables perfectly. The best part about the lights is the 3 stage dimmer switch. You simply touch the base of the lamp to turn on/off/or dim the light. This feature has been absolutely perfect for night-feeds too. I can see what I’m doing whilst the room is lit by a soft glow, keeping Billie settled throughout the night. The lights have really contributed to making our bedroom feel so cosy and homely.
If your home needs a bit of light injected into it then definitely check out First Choice Lighting. They have a blooming great selection of fabulous lights to choose from.
Good luck to anyone about to embark on a house renovation. It’s a tough process and I wouldn’t ever do it again. But we sure are very chuffed to be in our beautiful family home at long last.
Thank you to First Choice Lighting for kindly sending us these lights to review.