We bought a small house in our dream neighbourhood in November last year, and ever since we closed the deal I have been itching to renovate it. However, I don’t live there full time yet. When I am there it is for serious family time, so my renovation dreams have had to wait until now. I had 4 days to do all the things and I was going to get them done.
Ha ha ha ha ha!
Anyway, here are the lessons I learned in no particular order:
- Whatever you think you will get done in the time allotted, slash it in at least half. I had plans to paint the master bedroom, our son’s room, and small hallway, as well as refinish the floors in those rooms. (1 project per day.) What I actually got done was: the master bedroom painted, new countertop in the kitchen, and our plumbing problems fixed. Which leads me to my next lesson. . .
- Be flexible!! When it became clear there was no way I would be ready to do the floors or paint as much as I thought I could, I had to regroup and concentrate on what I could finish in the time I had. No one likes a bunch of half-done projects.
- If you have 10 foot ceilings, double the amount of time you think it will take you to paint the room. Enough said. It was a nice problem to have, I love my tall ceilings.
- Renovating in the off-season means getting your trades in faster. Our plumber was able to fit us in for an estimate that day, and fixed our issues the next afternoon. When we talked to him about it, he said that February is a really slow month, so he was happy for the business.
- Be prepared for surprises. Wallpaper on the ceiling under our popcorn ceiling. Plumbing where we didn’t think it would be. An electrical outlet that had been duct taped shut and wallpapered over. Buying 3 faucets before we found one that actually worked with our smaller than average countertops. Having to use wallpaper as a backsplash because we could not spare a 1/4″ of counter space for tiles. This is just the start and I’m sure there will be more.
- Keep your sense of humour. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the craziness of it all. Even though there were some tense moments, I can’t wait to do more in five weeks during the Easter break, then really go at it in June.
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.