Hi everyone! Today we thought we’d celebrate the fact that we’re right at the absolute worst point of our bathroom renovation, you know, the part where you’ve already paid for everything and yet nothing’s installed so you have no bathroom to show for it, by talking about how to keep your sanity during these crazy big projects. If you’ve been following along with me for awhile, then you know that I’ve already written this post from my perspective, but today Chris is going to take over and share his tips for a successful and non brain-melting renovation.
1. To do or not to do? This great Shakespearean reference is not about whether to renovate or not (of course do it!), it’s whether or not you can do it all by yourself. I know we’re all DIY warriors, that’s why we’re here, but we can’t be afraid to hire help. It’s not only about ability, you also need to value your time. Sometimes it’s cheaper to hire out even the simplest tasks so you can focus on the more complex issues. I’m still coming to terms with hiring a crew to do demolition but it was clearly the best decision. Right? Editorial note: Courtenay here, yes.
2. Isolate the work area. Any worthy contractor will hang plastic to isolate the work area and control dust. Don’t forget to take 20 minutes – before you swing the first hammer -and keep the the rest of your home clean. You can find clear plastic in the paint section of any hardware store and just hang it with painter’s tape.
3. Leverage your connections. Don’t be shy: know who you know and find out who you know. Don’t be afraid to call your old buddy from high school who’s now working at a cabinet shop even if you haven’t spoken in 10 years. Find out the guy at the water systems store is your uncle’s drinking buddy from 35 years ago. True story: It’s amazing what you can discover through casual conversation. The beneficial by-product of this is keeping it local.
4. Use your resources. Don’t settle on one supplier. Look around and ask everybody. There is nothing wrong with asking suppliers to compete with one another for your business.
5. Don’t go over budget! Trust me. We all know this. Make sure you stay within your budget for money and time as much as possible.
6. Get it done. Don’t be afraid and be prepared to broaden the scope of the project. It’s easier to get everything done while you’re at it rather than worry about it later.
7. Think ahead. Don’t just plan the space based on your current needs or the current style or even current technology. Courtenay actually said this in reference to how many outlets we would need: ‘who knows, maybe in five years we won’t be plugging things in anymore’
8. Have a backup home. Don’t end up homeless if something goes terribly, but temporarily wrong. Have your parents, your sister or your friends on standby with a warm shower or a cozy bed. During our first bathroom reno in our first three bedroom ONE bath home we planned to go back to our old apartment to shower. Don’t ask about the other common bathroom activity.
9. Get involved. Even if you’re hiring out. Get nosey at the hardware store while they create the 3D rendering of your custom vanity. Walk through and look at the framing before the drywall goes up. Don’t be intimidated out of DIYing something or doing something unique. You’re allowed to put slate on the floor no matter how many times the sales rep tells you you can’t. These people work for you and they want your business. Get involved and see it done your way.
10. Open your schedule. Make sure you don’t have a lot of other things going on. It’s tough to walk away from a half installed window to go do hot yoga.
I don’t actually do hot yoga.
Courtenay here again: Fascinating, right? Not the hot yoga thing, but the rest of it, I mean. You can tell that our perspectives on the issue are pretty much complete opposites. I’m more concerned about keeping our home livable and comfortable while renovating and Chris is more concerned with making sure the project is absolutely perfect, no matter what.
No matter what side of the coin you’re on, I hope some of these tips gave you some things to think about if you’re about to undertake a big project like this one!
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.