It has been two years since I started the renovations on my fixer upper. I am not particularly handy, but I had watched a lot of renovation shows, so figured: how hard could it be, right? And I can always Google how to do something!
I soon became the Dame of Demo: I demolished the kitchen cabinets then stripped the kitchen wall down to the studs and scraped off popcorn ceiling. Next came the bathrooms. I knocked out bathroom tiles and even removed a toilet! I hired professionals to put it all back together (always wise to know your limits!)
I learned some valuable lessons in my renovation that I wanted to share:
- A hammer is a more civilized way of taking down a wall, but it will take longer than say, a sledge hammer.
- Be prepared to be without appliances especially if refinishing hardwood floors, for a long time. Then add more time.
- Doing your dishes outside will feel like you are camping, but that feeling will wear thin when the devious squirrels start eyeing your clean dishes with pure, evil thoughts. A laundry tub in the basement is a suitable alternative.
- It is perfectly fine to drink and reno, but keep the drink nearby at all times. In the event of a copper water pipe exploding due to an incomplete solder job, you can still sip your chardonnay while you hold a loaf pan under the broken pipe to catch the water draining from the upstairs bathrooms.
- When your contractor wants you to come ‘see something’, it’s going to cost you money.
- Hire professionals to do the plumbing and electrical. Sometimes they will make a mistake (see point #4) remember they are liable for anything they have done wrong, and will make it right. I now have a beautiful tile floor in my powder room where soggy hardwood used to be.
- Drywall dust will get into everything, everywhere, in your home. If you are a neat freak, you may wish to stay in a hotel or you will lose your mind.
- The Cardinal Rule: Renovations take longer than you see on the DIY network. Unfortunately.
I encourage anyone to buy a fixer upper and try their hand at some demo and renovations themselves. It’s a great way to inject your personal taste to your home, and build equity!
After. And yes, there are no baseboards. Refer to point 8 above.