July 13, 2012

Update, update!

We are officially moved in... but nowhere near settled in. We still have boxes everywhere and sadly, it does not feel like home just yet. Not all projects have been completed yet but we are soooooo close. The kitchen still needs a bit of work, but for the most part, the other spaces are done. I am not sharing more photos just yet {sorry!} cause I would like to give it a good go at decorating and organizing this weekend to give you amazing befores and afters! In the meantime, here is a little list of what we have learned so far from this entire process.

This may or may not be new information to you. But there are certain things that we have learned from our renovation, and most of them we learned the hard way, meaning they cost us either financially or in time. We were able to complete this renovation due to the type of mortgage we received, which allowed us an additional percentage to put towards increasing the value of our home, therefore, our budget was pretty much set in stone. So, here is a short list of pointers for anyone considering undertaking a large reno such as ours:
  • DO prepare for at least an additional 10% of unforeseen costs. Our budget originally did not leave much room for surprise costs, maybe a few hundred dollars. But with a huge renovation like ours, we should have planned a few THOUSAND dollars just for the surprises. But we managed in any case. 
  • DO obtain quotes and shop around for as many quotes as possible before deciding on any purpaches. We visited almost every local provider and business possible for the products we needed. In the end, we picked the products that were better suited for our budget. It's a lot of leg work and time initially, but it is well worth it to get as much bang for your buck.
  • When choosing your products for quotes, DO pick a more expensive product. I know, this seems strange, but we had picked a lower-end casing and baseboard for our quote, but actually ended up going for a much more expensive style for both. A few dollars more per piece may not seem like much at first, but when you consider that we replaced all the casings, baseboards, door jams, etc. for the entire main floor, we more than doubled the cost of our initial quote.
  • DON'T settle. This is our forever home. We will more than likely never undertake another renovation of this size. Therefore, for the more permanent finishes or products like flooring, we made sure to pick the best products, not only for durability, but also products that were more neutral or classic in style. Another example is the floor register covers for the new blown air system. When choosing them, I thought "I'll pick a cheaper one seeing as I have so many to buy" but then it occurred to me that I would never have to buy them again, so why not buy the fancier and sturdier metal ones that will look nicer and last longer? They may have been twice the price, but I'll never have to purchase them again!
  • DO expect something to go wrong. It is best if you are prepared for this. Then delays won't seem so bad. We have had many issues simply because our home is older. Crooked walls make for three or four times the work in some cases. And any time you are opening walls, you have to be ready for a surprise.
  • DON'T stress, it won't make things go any faster or smoother. This reno has gone on for far longer than anyone had hoped or planned for, but stressing about it did not make one bit of difference. In the end, it will be done and it will have been done right, and that is what counts.
  • DO ask for help. We would never have undertaken such a venture on our own, as we would have failed miserably. We are both very fortunate to have fathers who are very knowledgeable and just happen to do incredible and impeccable work. Even just family and friends helping to clean and organize, or watching the kids so Jon and I can work as well, has been such a big help. I know we will never be able to thank all of them enough.
Wether this has informed you a bit or not at all, I just thought I would share.

And because I find posts without pictures oh so boring, here are a few inspiration pics, all from my Pinterest page, just for the heck of it!

Living room layout:
This is the type of feeling I want to achieve with the layout of our living room: comfy, cozy, but not cluttered. I love the built-ins at one end!

Probably the first space I loved about our new house, and not only because you have to go through it to go in the house, is the breezeway. It is an enclosed space between the house and the garage {I'll have to take pictures}. It just screams "MUDROOM". Although it is not fully insulated, I would love to be able to hang our coats and leave our shoes in there for most of the year. This is a perfect portrayal of what I want: built-in bench with a cubby for each family member. I would place a shoe rack in each cubby and hang two hooks per person, ensuring each has plenty of space.

Powder room:
I love several things about this tiny beauty: 1) the size of what is shown in the picture is pretty close to the actual size of my powder room; 2) the use of one large mirror over both the sink and the toilet, 3) the wall gallery, and 4) the skirt around the sink to create hidden storage.

Washroom vanity:
This is the look I want for the future vanity in our main washroom. It doesn't need two sinks but we do have the space for it. I love the look of a piece of furniture. I find it more interesting than a built-in and fixed cabinet.

Painted fireplace:
We have left the fireplace untouched for now but I think we will need to address it sooner rather than later. You see, the hearth of it is quite dangerous and definately not baby proof:
Plus, we managed to get paint on it which makes it look even more unfinished. But it will look nice once updated.

Painted dresser:
I would love to find this type of dresser to repaint and use as a console for the TV in the family room. Anyone looking to get rid of an old dresser?

I won't keep you waiting too long for more pictures. Hopefully sometime next week...


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