Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Things I Have Learned from Renovating My House

Renovating our kitchen has been a blessing, but also a curse. I thought things would go smoothly, but we had several bumps through our renovation. Some were minor and others changed the entire look and feel of our kitchen. But in the end, I am so glad we did it.

We did learn a lot through this process that I wanted to share with you. And so I can look back on this should we renovate another room. I am looking at you bathroom.

ONE. You will fight with your spouse.
You will fight over the design decisions, how you can't move around in a room because there is crap everywhere and even when things take longer than you told they were.

It is a hard process and one that I was told could make or break a couple. I have known people to divorce over stuff like this. And let me tell you, I got mad at my husband a few times over design decisions that were made without me that totally changed the look and feel of the kitchen.

You just have to remember to communicate and that this is only temporary. Hard, but temporary.

TWO. Things take longer than planned.
When we got quoted on our renovation, we were told it would take 3 weeks for the kitchen to be finished. We were excited about this and planned our months ahead according to that. We had planned for Walter to be at my in-laws house the entire time, how many nights to eat at my in-laws, when we were eating out and how to survive during the renovation with just a microwave and fridge (that resided in our dining room).

But things took way longer than that. It took about 5 weeks with my contractor and then we had to have our cabinets refinished later. We knew this was going to happen, but we thought we would have our kitchen back to sort of normal by 3 weeks out. Nope. Not only did our renovation take longer with our contractor, the cabinet people messed up their first measurement which meant they have been back twice since they refinished our cabinets.

By the time it is ALL finished it will be 11 to 12 weeks since we started. Ouch.

THREE. Check your appliances when they are delivered for damage.

I warned my contractor and my husband about this. I read many blogs about renovations and learned a few things. My husband didn't listen to me and we paid the price. Well almost. You see, we ordered our range, refrigerator, dishwasher and range hood online.

We were so worried about the delivery of our range since it was coming from New Jersey/New York. And one of the only appliances that wasn't damaged was our range. It was in perfect shape and we checked it out once it was delivered. The ones that my husband didn't check were the ones we ordered from Lowes which was the dishwasher and fridge. I checked the fridge out the day after it was delivered and saw that it was damaged. There was damage on the back near the power supply and on the front near the logo. I called Lowes and they ordered a new one to be sent out.

The dishwasher sat in our garage and my husband said he would make sure it was fine. He never did and there was a huge dent on the top left area and the dishwasher wouldn't close properly. We didn't find this out until the day they were going to install it. Nope. We had to order a new one and it took a long time to get in.

So check your appliances.

FOUR. Check your contracts for the names of items.

When we had our contract given to us, we looked it over, made a few changes and signed it. But what we didn't see was a change in the name of our counter top. This caused a huge mess. My husband agreed to a better stone at a better price without checking with me. I was never sent samples or told that our counters were changing.

My husband thought it was a better tiered quartz than the original one because our counters came in different qualities. He thought we were getting a better quality of the same stone for a better price. Nope. We got a better stone with a similar look and it wasn't what I wanted. I would have paid more for what I wanted.

FIVE. Find out shipping times before settling on an item.

I was completely sold on a specific color of subway tile. I built my whole kitchen off my subway tile and counters. And then when my contractor went to order the item, it was 5 weeks out. And this was after we had our tile floors already in.

I had to go to the tile store for the hundredth time and pick a new color. I wanted the original one, but settled on one that was close to it with a week and a half ship date.

Luckily, my contractor made some calls and pushed the vendor to get my original subway tile color after the counter top fiasco. But always find out ship times before deciding on the item you want.

SIX. It will cost you more than you think.

Simple. I did research for my local area and thought we were have leftover money to go to other stuff around our house. Nope. Every last cent was used on my kitchen. Kitchen renovations will cost you $30,000 to $50,000 for a mid-range kitchen renovation.

SEVEN. Be prepared to change materials.

I had a vision of slate tile floors and wanted just that. But after talking to my contractor and the tile guys at every store I visited (about five of them and more than once), they said it wasn't a good stone for the kitchen. Since the kitchen is frequented, things can drop and the slate will chip off in areas. And then you can cut your feet on that newly cut area.

It is a great stone for bathrooms and when you don't have children, but it isn't that great for kitchens with kids. So I had to change my mind and the search was on for a new tile that I liked. It took me awhile to find the right one, but I LOVE my kitchen floors.

EIGHT. Never do renovations with young children because it will cause your life to be displaced so much.

I didn't think we would be out so much when it came to renovating with children, but your life is turned upside down. You will likely lose your dining room because it will be full of kitchen stuff. This means that you won't have a place for your children to eat, a place to cook for your children or a place to do your dishes. We also had to block off that area from our kids who want to roam the house and play everywhere.

NINE. Be prepared for many phone calls with your contractor, stores carrying appliances and stores for availability and best price.

We had phone calls daily with our contractor. Sometimes multiple times a day. It gets very time consuming. Plus I had to make phone calls for the best pricing around town on certain items that we purchased. And let's not forget the many phone calls I had with Lowes over my damaged appliances.

TEN. Every detail needs to be written down and followed up on. Your contract will forget things with many projects at once.

You need to write down everything for yourself and your contractor. You also need to follow up on everything that you talked about with your contractor so he does not forget anything. You don't want to forget the names of the things you picked out. Also take pictures of things you want so you can send them to your contractor for when he purchases things for you.

ELEVEN. Thoroughly review your contract.

This sounds simple, but seriously review your contract.

TWELVE. You may get sick and your children will hit their terrible twos. Oh wait that's just me.

But in the end you will love it!


  1. Renovating is stressful. There's no way around that, especially because it involves two people with different ideas and wants. I'm glad your is finished and you can now enjoy!

  2. I can only imagine how stressful it is renovating a room is! We've painted things but haven't done a full on reno yet.

  3. Not gonna lie #11 made me laugh, you poor thing! This kind of stuff really is such a test of marriage..and you are right little things like double checking everything and ensuring contracts are correct seems mundane but is SO important!

  4. Oh my gosh, yes to all of these! We renovated our kitchen with Brayden & Ella and it was hard! Also hard on our marriage! LOL! We learned alot as well and with our basement we actually didn't get into one argument! Can you believe that!? LOL

  5. Things taking longer than planned is so true - we've never renovated but I can only imagine the tasks that come along with it and the strain it can cause! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  6. I can only imagine how stressful renovating is! I am saving this as a gentle reminder of all these things for when we start redoing our kitchen! Yay for being on the other side of it!!

  7. OH man... this just reinforces why renovations scare me & why my house looks so dated. I'm feeling better about that now though ;) haha

  8. ahhh this is all too familiar! We renovated our 1850 home from the ground up! Love it!

  9. I cannot imagine how tough a renovation is, but doing it with two year old twins gives you hero status in my book! It look s great and it was all worth it!

  10. These are great tips! We have never renovated before, so I wouldn't even know what to do if my home was in upheaval. It would drive me nuts! And #2... yes! I've heard nightmare stories about things taking twice as long as they were originally estimated. That just wouldn't fly with me!

  11. Ah I totally felt for you during this process. Such a good idea to share this because I don't think people realize how stressful renovating can be...until they start it of course, haha. Good advice. We've never done a really big reno, but I'm sure I would be pretty stressed. So glad you guys got everything you wanted out of it! It's gorgeous!

  12. Yes!! We are doing small reno's around our house and I totally feel you on these!! So true!

    1. So glad you could relate to this then. So many things can go wrong during a reno.