Ten Things I Have Learned About Renovating A House
My house is currently a tale of two cities, half is pure squalor and cardboard boxes, the other half is looking pretty awesome, if I may say so myself. Despite the fact we haven’t yet finished, I’m sure by the time we have finished this will be ‘Fifty things…’, but right now, we are a year and a half in and it’s ‘Ten things….’. Let’s Go!
Double The Money & Double The Time
Kim Kardashian was right. Renovations really do cost double the money and take double the time. No matter what friends or the internet tell you, everything costs more than you budgeted for. Our motto is ‘buy cheap, buy twice’. That’s how we justify the mounting costs anyway…. In a similar theme, we tell ourselves the extra time is just helping our cashflow.
I Can Live Without A Fridge
It’s true. I have lived without a fridge for a year and a half now. No fridge, mini fridge or even a freezer. It’s totally possible. I had no idea!!! Top Tip: Whenever I’m in a service station I steal a handful of UHT milk pods to make tea at home. That’s right, I swipe a handful and shove them in my Chanel, it keeps me down to earth.
I Can Live Without A Washing Machine
…And who would have guessed, I find the lack of washing machine harder than a lack of fridge! We spend a small fortune or service washes and I’m getting pretty good at hand washing too. If you want a tip here, take your own washing powder, fabric softener and Vanish. Most service washes use pretty basic stuff and it’s just not the same!
I Can Live Without An Oven
I don’t like it, but I can do it. I miss garlic bread and oven chips. I’m a basic bitch at heart. I have also had dreams about baking cakes….
Everything Impacts Everything
I swear to God, this is the 100% truth. One tiny action in one room can impact things on the other side of the house. You have to forward think everything and even then, you have to go back and alter things or make compromises. You want a towel rail in the bathroom? Great! But make sure you better decide that before you lay the flooring in every room which leads to the boiler. Whilst your budget might want to work one room at a time, pipes, cables, floorboards, central heating, chimneys don’t!
Day-to-day Style Is OK… Anything Else Is Not So Easy
Thanks to renovating we moved in and couldn’t unpack any of our clothes, shoes or accessories, it’s still all in boxed in a room which will one day be my office. It’s not so bad, you rely on the same trusty dress, have a few handbag options and once in a while you buy something new at ASOS to keep things fresh and exciting. Every day style isn’t so bad, it might get a bit boring and repetitive, but it’s fine. And then….. something happens like a wedding, job interview, party, fancy dress party, beach holiday, you name it, any occasion where you can’t turn to your every day ‘uniform’ and instead you have to wear something out the ordinary. It’s hard! Your Viv Westwood heels are somewhere in a box, your black COS dress is somewhere else, as is your swimming costume, raincoat… you have two decisions, going to buy a full outfit somewhere pronto, or rummaging through a room full of boxes which honestly feel like a needle in a haystack.
You Learn SO Much
Yep, I never imagined I would learn so much about antique fireplaces, reclaimed floorboards, sanding floors, paint finishes, sash windows, wiring, copper pipes… you name it. I know stuff!!! FYI, my boyfriend knows more.
Buying Sofas & Chairs Is SO Much Fun
I kid you not, I am obsessed with sofa and chair shopping these days. Legit, my friend Ashanti said to me the other day ‘I saw an incredible chair at made.com and thought of you’. I asked her which one and she barely needed to describe it before I said ‘Oh I know the one’. In the same way sixteen-year-old-me know the Topshop collection inside out, grown-up-me knows the sofa collection of Made, Loaf, Sofa & Chair Company and Multiyork off by heart! Hell, I even know the names of my favourite Designers Guild prints.
Pinterest Is My Everything
Seriously, Pinterest has turned from being ‘Oh that’s cute’, to ‘Build me one, exactly like that’. It is the most helpful tool for everything from choosing colours, furniture, layout and styling. As well as explaining your vision to your partner / builder and just figuring out what visually looks the best for the finer details. Also if you have a ‘problem room’ you can type in your key features and try to figure out what other people have done to solve them and see if you can create something similar for your room. We did this without staircase and fireplaces as both are rather unusual.
There Is A Light At The End Of The Tunnel
I can’t believe after a year and a half I’m finally saying this, but it is all starting to come together. I can see the light, the end really is in sight! If you are thinking of renovating, it will take a long time, it will cost a fortune, but you WILL get there! Also, it’s important to remember, the house we have bought done up, is worth a hell of a lot more than it was in the state we bought it. Yes, we are increasing the value, but also, we get to live somewhere really special which we made beautiful on our own and that’s kind of amazing! From the speakers in the ceiling, to the industrial style walk-in wardrobe, it was all our vision and that’s kind of cool!
Shopping Details : Radio is by VQ X Lulu Guinness, Peacock lamp is from Debenham’s, jug is by Orla Kiely, Owl Candle is from Amara and books are from Very Exclusive. You can see my bedroom renovation here, which includes Before & After pics!