London, UK

Five Things I Learnt When Renovating

Since last October, any minute outside of my day job has been taken up with renovation. I’ve dabbled in property for a little while now and last year I decided to start my first project. I started off small with my modest two bed adobe and after putting my heart into it, I loved it so much that I live here now. Whilst going through the motions of renovation, I learnt a lot and what I thought the process would be like in the beginning, has now changed quite dramatically. The process is quite personal and I’m sure everyone will have different experiences based on different budgets, knowledge and how much help they have but I wanted to go through my top five things I learnt, to reflect back on and also to potentially help anyone who is considering having a go themselves.
Every Penny Matters, Don’t Rush Into It
It sounds like a cliche, but trust me on this one. Renovating seems so exciting, you get to chose everything you want and see your vision come together. But, every single penny does matter. Before you start, work out a budget and always expect to go over it. The difference of five pounds or one hundred pounds is the difference between the tap you love or a basic model, rectifying that leak that happened or the posh underlay not just the felt back. All the bits you don’t see, cost the most money and you do not want to scrimp on something that will annoy you every time you look at it.
The Fun Bits Are Ten Percent Of The Project
We’re all the same, when it comes to renovating, you think about the bathroom floor tiles, the feature wall paint or the sofa. But let me tell you, this is the smallest part of the whole process. This may be obvious to some but it’s not to all. You will be answering questions like, what door surrounds do you want, where do you want your plug sockets or what height skirting board do you want and all you’re thinking is I don’t care, can I go buy some more vases now? Just be prepared to immerse yourself in things you wouldn’t normally consider and the fun stuff will come.
Buy Furnishings & Decor Slowly
I made this mistake, as soon as work started I was online ordering my dining table, bed, decor pieces but in reality I had no idea what would fit, look right or what would all work well together. Luckily, everything does go well together but I’ve already considering swapping some bits out. You can measure all you want but in reality you just don’t know if it’ll fit comfortably or how it’ll look from different angles. If I was to do things over again, I would have waited until I’d moved in until I bought certain bits – I would have been fine coping without a dining table for a few weeks or keeping a few bits in boxes until I had decided on shelving. I’d take it slower next time and not rush the fun stuff!
Stay Modest, You Will Love It Because It’s Yours
This goes for renovating or just buying your own home and something I would have loved someone to tell me when I first started on this journey. Of course, you’ll desire the five bed detached with gorgeous creeping plants across the front and a apple tree in the garden, but it’s okay if you can’t right now. Whether you’re just decorating or changing everything, regardless of the size or the price, you will love it because it’s yours and it holds your heart and personality within it. Don’t pressure yourself because you see people online buying mansions at twenty, you’ll get there one day and at the end of the day, when you’re sat on your sofa of an evening watching TV or laying in bed on a Sunday morning, it’s the same whether you have one spare bedroom or six. To own your own home is exceptional enough, embrace it for what it is.
Regardless Of What People Say, Contractors Are Your Friends
I know they can be annoying, they make mess or they demand too many cups of tea, but you will be better off keeping your contractors sweet, don’t fall out with them. Undoubtedly, there will be hick ups once the works done, something won’t work or you’ll want to amend something else, if you have a good relationship with these people, they may even come back and do it for free. It’s easy to get demanding and stressed out when renovating, but stay patient, if it takes four weeks longer than expected, if the work is done right, that’s all that matters. Trust me, my project took five months longer than anticipated but you’ll forget all of that once you’re in.
I hope that was helpful for someone out there and it’ll certainly be something I’ll re-read next time I engage in a new project. It is fun and there’s so much excitement but there’s downs to go with the ups, embrace it, don’t let it spoil the experience and just move on and keep going.
Jenifer x

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