creative 1975


In Renovating/DIY on September 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm

The first transformation of any renovation in your home is very exciting and when it’s finished it gives you a clearer view of how your home could look and feel when every room is finished. Whether it’s going to take one year or five years to accomplish this, it gives hope and encouragement when you have done the first room. It also gives a good insight financially.

Project planning is vital for your budget and to document ideas, materials, measurements and plenty of lists! You can set up a plan on a computer, using just a simple word document, but if you want to be able to stick in your ideas that you may have cut out of magazines for instance, then a project book would be the best option. They can be purchased at stationery stores and choose carefully, you need at least one hundred or more pages. Alternatively, you could use a ring binder and plastic sleeves, what ever suits your needs.

I prefer to hand write everything and my book consists of pages, which includes:

  • A list of all immediate jobs that the house requires, for example: Insulation, chimney re-pointing, clear guttering, service heating, repair windows etc….
  • Another list of  jobs, which are not as urgent.
  • Costings for all works and materials.
  • Several pages per room for the ‘before and after’ photos (you don’t want to leave these out), colour schemes, ideas, planning, material lists and details of labour, whether you’re doing the work yourself or have contracted a registered builder to do the work.
  • An index of the pages – for a quick reference as the book begins to fill up.

Magazines can be costly to buy – however, you don’t need many of them to be able to put together ideas for colour schemes, furniture or lighting. Cut out what appeals to you and stick it in your project book.  This can be a wonderful way to give you inspiration. Alternatively, you can search the Internet and print out anything of interest.

Colour Charts are free from DIY stores and you can cut out the colours that you like and stick them in to your book. If you’re going to need sample paint pots, they will probably have to be paid for: check with your DIY store for prices.

Do the work yourself? or Sub-contract in a professional?

If you can do a lot of the work yourself it will save a lot of money – electrics and plumbing however, are best left to the professionals. If you’re in the ‘know’ and are capable of tackling most jobs in your renovation then that’s the best option. If do-it-yourself is not in your vocabulary then seek out a good builder, painter and carpenter or some one who can do everything! If there is no-one who comes highly recommended to you, make sure you obtain references from your chosen contractor and always get three separate quotes. Always use a registered trades person.

Quotation of works are imperative and insist on a complete breakdown of costs, so that you can see exactly where your money is going. A breakdown should consist of all materials and labour for one job at a time. The invoice should contain exactly the same information: there shouldn’t be any hidden surprises when it’s time to pay. Some trades people will require a deposit before works commence or interim payments depending how large the project is. If it’s not in the quote, then you’re not paying for it. If any extra work arises during the job, ask them for another written quote, which includes the extra work.

Shop around for materials and don’t just rely on your local store. Look out for special deals and discounts. And if you know any trades people who could get materials for you, then they can most likely get them at trade cost, which could save you money. You will not know this, if you don’t ask them. Any leaflets that come through your door or are left in your mailbox advertising drapes, blinds, bedding – the list is endless, keep them, you never know when you might want to refer to them at a later date.

Your existing furniture may be looking a bit drab and worn, but it’s not difficult to bring them back to life and give them a new look. Whether it’s sanding down wooden furniture and giving them a fresh coat of varnish or just changing the handles, it’s amazing how different they can be with a ‘spruce-up’ without spending money on new items to furnish your home. Grandma’s table that she kindly gave you, could look amazing with some creativity! The same applies to curtains or blinds, if you’re a capable sewer then have a go at making your own window dressings and shop around for fabric. Take a book out of the library with step-by-step guides to help you.

Renovation takes time with an abundance of patience – from the building work to the interior design – if it’s a passion you have to achieve your dream home, the time it will take will be insignificant to the excellence and satisfaction you will gain.


© Victoria Clements 2011
  1. And remember to add in a 25% cost contingency for those “unexpected pleasures” of renovating. lol

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