No, you may not touch my robe however as I wait for the champagne to chill, I will happily share some of the lessons I learned during this experience.
I’m not too proud to ask for help. The exact opposite in fact. I made the mailman come in and strip a yard of wallpaper before I would sign for the package he was delivering.
My first suggestion is that you too follow this path and accept all help as it is offered. Where it isn’t offered freely try some emotional blackmail. I found that worked pretty well.
I was very lucky in that a good friend of mine was studying to become an electrician whilst I was working on my house. My house needed new wiring everywhere and he needed lots of practice. A match made in heaven. When he was done I simply had his work checked over and certified by a qualified electrician.
It’s well worth checking in your circle of family and friends for anyone who is training or needs to practice something that could help you. Just make sure to get the end results signed off by a pro.
Speaking of which…
Know when to hire the pros
I wanted a nice yard. It was always in the plans to have a nice outdoor space for me to grill T-Bones the size of hubcaps and for my son to run around and wear off all the sugar my Mom plies him with.
Trouble is, I know nothing about gardening. So I hired help.
Not only did the landscape people create a beautiful (and low maintenance!) outdoor space, I also found a great team to take care of the wooden decking too, This deck will house my BBQ grill and my favourite drinking chair.
You renovate a house whilst looking after a 7 year old, you see if you don’t adopt a favourite drinking chair.
Point is, the time I would have wasted in the yard was time better spent inside the house where I can actually do something useful. So sometimes it can be best to admit your weak spots and hire someone to cover them.
Tiles! Tiles! Tiles!
I love tiles!
Ok, let me edit that slightly, I love tiles now. At the time during the renovation I would have traded a kidney to not see another tile. There is no greater sense of the futility of man and his feeble plans than standing up halfway through installing tiles and noticing that you’ve accidently reversed the pattern halfway through. (I decided to keep it as it was. As I told my son, it adds “character” to the design. I’m not sure if he believed me).
But they are both good-looking and seriously tough and you can wipe them clean! Miracle material or what?
They were more expensive up front yes, but I know they are going to last a long-time. When the wallpaper around them is peeling and I’m pulling it down to be replaced (the thought gives me chills) I know those tiles will just happily carry on looking awesome.
Keep a sense of perspective
This is my final tip, and if you take only one away from this, then let it be this one. Yes, taking on a big renovation project, whether it is something like my house or replacing an old driveway or gutting an old garage – whatever it is, it will be stressful.
But we are lucky that we can do this. We’re lucky that we have the health to tackle big projects like this. And we’re lucky to have the money for the materials.
Enjoy yourself, enjoy spending time doing it with your friends and family. And especially enjoy drinking a cold one at the very end as you stand back and admire whatever it is that you – you and no one else, no matter how much they helped – that you did.
About Author: Kevin has just moved into his first home with his son. And he is still tinkering about and will probably keep on doing so forever. You can read more about his exploits on his Medium profile.