We've lived in our current home for about 14 months now, and we did an upstairs master renovation on it before we moved in. If you have the option to not live in your home during a renovation, that is the way to do it! There were a few minor aches and pains along the way, but for the most part, my sanity remained intact.
In our first home, we started a renovation while we were on our honeymoon. We arrived home after a relaxing week in Turks and Caicos to a complete disaster. While I Jay and I were able to maintain a strong relationship throughout the process (we were newlyweds after all), home renovation craziness still dominates my thoughts about our first six months of marriage. I wrote this post about renovation survival tips during our first renovation, and the gist of it is that you'll become very friendly with your neighborhood wine shop employees. You can see the end result of that renovation here.
When we moved into our current home, I loved everything about it - the layout, the fire pit in the backyard, the covered porch, the spacious master closet, the location - EXCEPT the kitchen. While it was functional with a decent size and layout, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing. However, after two extensive renovations and the stress of moving, which always comes with numerous home projects, we decided to live with it for a while.
Fast forward about 10 months and a positive pregnancy test, and I had a bee in my bonnet. It was time to tackle the kitchen! Because the layout worked for our needs and the cabinets were in good shape, we decided to keep them. While they wouldn't be my first choice, paying thousands of dollars to replace perfectly good cabinets didn't make sense for us. Because we decided to keep our existing cabinets, here's what we wanted to accomplish:
- Paint cabinets (Professional spray paint)
- Replace tile backsplash
- Replace countertops
- Replace sink
- Replace hardware
- Replace lighting over the island and add undermount kitchen lights
- Paint kitchen
When we made this list, I thought to myself, this isn't a renovation, this is just a home project or a kitchen "facelift." However, three weeks in, I'm realizing it is more than a mere facelift. No minor home project looks like this for two weeks. Realistically, everything should be done by mid-February, and I have high hopes for accessing the oven, stove, and dishwasher this weekend.
For this renovation, we did several things differently that I would 100% do again next time to make it easier. (Although, I'm hoping it will be our last home renovation for at least the next decade.)
- Don't rush into the project - With this project, we took a lot of time to think about what we wanted and met with a variety of vendors several weeks or even months before we started. This allowed us time to get estimates, determine who/what was best for our needs, and not feel rushed to pick someone or something.
- Become your own general contractor - Nothing is more frustrating than workers not showing up when they say they are going to, especially if you are dependent on them to start the next phase of the project, and the lack of control or knowledge with what was going on was very frustrating during our first two renovations. By meeting each of our vendors/workers before we started the process, I knew the exact schedule and who was supposed to show up when. If someone didn't show up when they said they would, you better believe I called them right away to figure out a solution.
- Schedule the renovation during a slow season - We talked to multiple vendors about what month worked best for their schedules, and overwhelmingly January and February were their slowest months. We were even able to get a discount from our cabinet painters because it was a slow time.
- Similarly, get on your vendors' calendars early - Because we took our time and decided to hold off a couple months, we were able to book everyone exactly when we needed them, so there were no gaps in the process while we waited on the next step.
I can't wait to show you the final project in a few weeks! What home renovations or projects are you doing, and do you have any tips to make the process easier?