Going through a home renovation can be a tough (and relationship testing!!) thing to do and I find that no matter HOW many homes you renovate they always seem to come with their unique “surprises” … whether it’s a pricey asbestos job (we know ALL about this) to a failing roof or wiring that’s not up to code … my first piece of advice to you is to expect the unexpected ESPECIALLY when it’s an older home!!
I already shared some of the tips below with you in my blog about Our House Renovation Update and I added in some new ones that I’ve learned since that blog. They’re all great little nuggets of information for those of you who are about to embark on your home renovation journey … and I’ll certainly be referring back to them if we ever do this again … am I crazy?? LOL!!!
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED SO FAR FROM OUR HOME RENOVATION:
1. You can’t tile a wall with a pocket door: Who knew?! From our bedroom to the ensuite I always envisioned the wall in my bathroom to be tiled but you can’t do that when there is a pocket door because when the door goes back and forth it’ll make the tiles loose! I was really disappointed when I found out we couldn’t do this as I had it all planned out but thankfully while cruising Pinterest I came across a really cool idea where they put panel molding behind the tub and I loved the look of it, so we did that instead!
2. Changes happen: I changed our entrance to the walk-in closet THREE times MAINLY so that it was more functional and made the most sense layout-wise for us!
3. Pay attention to the stairs: This is something to pay close attention to … it’ll impact the rest of your house so you have to take the time to think this one through … whether to keep them in the same spot or change them!
4. It won’t be perfect: Even though I’ve seen hundreds of houses and been a part of multiple renovations it’s still not possible to think of EVERYTHING! No matter how hard you try, there will always be something you’re not entirely happy with and wish you would have done it differently … and that’s OKAY!
5. You won’t always meet your deadline: One would think since I am “Jillian Harris from Love It Or List It” I would be able to meet my OWN deadlines … but that’s certainly not true! LO! Things took MUCH longer due to my own indecisiveness, product not being in stock, the weather, etc! I’ve come to learn that all you can do here is to take a deep breath and forge onwards!
6. Write EVERYTHING down: No offence to contractors, suppliers, or tradesmen here, mistakes are made and sometimes people don’t really listen … or maybe they hear something different than what you said so I would suggest writing everything down because at the end of the day you don’t want your warranties to be misplaced or have the wrong tub size show up or the wrong depth of fridge, etc. Throughout our home renovation, there have been some hiccups and I just wished there were times when I would have wrote something down but I didn’t because I was too busy or forgot and if you don’t do this it just costs you more time and money along the way!
7. You’re going to go over budget: Unfortunately, it’s true … some things are going to be unexpected and some things are just going to end up costing more than you anticipated. If you watched our show, Jillian and Justin, you’ll know that we almost doubled our “budget”… but it’s so hard when you’re building your forever home whether you’re going to be in that place for 5, 10 or 20 years you don’t want to cut corners anywhere because you know you’ll be in it for a while. However, if you are able to stay on budget … please just know, you are my HERO!
8. Stick to a quote and change order: Before we started this reno I told myself that I would stick to a quote and change order … that I would write EVERY expense and change down so I knew exactly where the extra money went … did I do that? NO. Did I wish I had? HELL YES. When you’re sitting there at the end of your reno and you’re thousands upon thousands of dollars over budget it’s SO HARD to know where that money went if you didn’t track it. Big mistake.
9. It’s going to take longer than you think: I truly thought I would be able to get this done like a Love It Or List It reno which is about 8-10 weeks (LOL!! Yeah … riiiiiight) … boy was I wrong!! Here we are over 10 months later … misjudged that one. LOL. I’m the kind of person that likes to push myself and others to the max and I ended up being really disappointed when our contractor and with Justin when I couldn’t move in before Christmas but I should have been more realistic. I mean, here we are in August and the yard is still a mess. I have heard so many people say that their home renovation is a month overdue and over budget and I find that to be a tough pill to swallow but it’s just one of those things you have to be prepared for.
10. Hire ONE person to manage your home renovation: I spent a lot of money on project management, designers, design assistants, etc. These were all people who were supposed to be helping me and while I absolutely love them, there were just so many fingers in the pot that no one was fully accountable for our home renovation as a whole. If I were to do it again I would hire ONE person who was 100% accountable for the project. I think this could have saved a lot of time and money in the long run.
11. It’s going to take some time to make it perfect: Chances are, you’re not going to be totally in love with your home renovation once it’s complete … one day you’ll realize that you want wallpaper somewhere, or a wall to be a different colour, the rug you ordered for a room might not look right, etc. I would give yourself some time to make these adjustments as you settle in. I booked our big home photo shoot for September because I thought by then I would have everything just perfect but it’s still not even close to being there so I would suggest giving yourself a year to make all of these little finishing touches!
12. Don’t forget about the ceiling plan: Everyone is always so concerned about the floor plan (which is important!) but nobody is ever as concerned about the ceiling plan! There are changes that you will make in your home that will affect how the ceiling looks, for example, heading into our bedroom the ceiling drops and it LOOKS like a reno went down … so it looks a bit funny. Going forward I would keep the ceiling plan in mind and envision how a reno would affect the site lines of your ceiling.
13. Don’t worry about being matchy-matchy: Sometimes people drive themselves crazy trying to stick to a specific theme but don’t worry about it! You CAN mix metals and styles within your home and the more you do so, the more personality it will give your home and the more fun you’ll have with it!
14. Your house is going to be dirty and dusty for months after you move in: It’s super annoying and I don’t know how to solve this … but just wanted to give you the heads up. LOL!!!
15. Don’t lay down your nice area rug until after landscaping: Ahem …. it’s destroyed.
I don’t have a 9-5 job and I can’t imagine having one and going through a major home renovation like this as I was probably on the phone dealing with our renovation around 1-2 hours per day for an entire year! It took away from my time with Justin, Leo, Nacho … my self-care, etc. So make sure to give yourself some time to have those phone calls and take those meetings!
Having said all of the above, try not to stress out, as my dad says “These are the seeds you sow” … did you need a reno? probably not … but if you are going through one, chances are you are doing good in life, so grab yourself a glass of wine, get some extra sleep and embrace the craziness of this journey.
I’m sure a lot of you have been through your own home renovations by now as well, so if you have … and you’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks along the way, make sure to share them below in the comments section so we can all learn from your advice!!
Good luck to everyone out there who is just starting or in the process of their own renovation!!! We know how you feel!! LOL!!