HOME + GARDEN | July 7, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Home Renovation

home renovation tips

I have been quiet the past weeks because I oversee the renovations at the 1960s split-level house we bought in spring. Like we see on TV, my emotions went from total excitement to deception as problems surfaced. Then, fatigue and despair hit as things take time to be rebuilt. Thankfully, my energy went up again since we are closer to the finish line.

Dealing with these emotions is what makes renovating so difficult for couples and families. Since I already shared my top 5 renovation tips for HGTV three years ago, I will discuss the emotional aspect of home renovation.

The best advice I can give you is to be patient and stay open-minded. I redesigned the furniture layout of my open kitchen/dining room several times until I concluded that the layout I originally wrote off was the optimal one for my wish list. Bringing a girl friend to discuss my plan helped me sort it out. Thank you, Sophie! If you read French, visit her excellent blog called Mini Bulles.

On a logistic front, hire people you trust and that are easy to work with. Contrary to a new build, you will need to deal with more surprises when you renovate an existing home. This means that coordinating the work requires a more flexible schedule for your workmen. Hiring tradespeople used to work on renovations will decrease your headaches. I use my networks to find the right suppliers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other trade workers, if you don’t know any. I made calls for help on Facebook, to a small circle of friends. Plus, I use my real estate broker’s knowledge on my new neighbourhood.

Accept that your life will be upside down for a while. You will live on a different beat. Try to find a routine that works for you and your family. This way, everyone knows what to expect on a daily basis.

Finally, plan some relaxing time for yourself. You will need it! I wish that I followed that advice sooner than last Friday. I should have known since this is my third renovation. I did the last one three years ago while I was 7-month pregnant. Strangely, this one has been harder on my nerves. We are almost done! As rooms are getting their final touches, I can start to admire the fruit of our hard work.

If you are in that difficult zone where you have enough of your renovation, hang in there. When in doubt, remember that things will look worst before they look better. It can be cumbersome but I try to enjoy the journey as much as possible. It is worth it to get a great house for you and your family.

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