I thought I’d dedicate this post to the heroes that live through a major home renovation project like completely remodeling the kitchen or a bathroom/bedroom/living room renovation. Why, you ask? Because it isn’t easy. The phrase “Man, I tell you what…” comes to mind.
And I’ll tell you what – as in what it’s like, because my wife and I are living through a kitchen renovation right now. I’d venture to guess that losing the use of a bathroom or bedroom for a while isn’t so bad if you contemplate it. After all, the family can avoid the area that is torn up and share the use of other facilities in the house. However, you must have at least one working, usable restroom at all times. So if you have a 1-bath home it will be seriously difficult to try and stay at home while that one bath is torn up. By torn up I mean completely gutted and gone. For maybe 6 weeks.
There used to be a kitchen here. Now all that remains is the refrigerator (not pictured) as it is still hooked up to the electrical circuit and water line. You will have to coordinate with your builder where you want to move your fridge. I’m lucky as I’m acting as general contractor for our kitchen renovation, so I decided to live with the fridge in the work zone, protect it from damage, and move it around as I need to when the flooring came out and the new tile gets installed.
Expect to have plenty of difficulty getting to anything left within the area of work. In our case, the plastic sheeting is secured around the perimeter to keep dust and debris contained. But my refrigerator is in there, meaning when I want my morning bowl of cereal or creamer for my coffee I have to wade through the work area. It also takes much more time to do the normal things you are used to during a renovation. Thinking about this morning, it took me probably three times longer to just make my coffee. So do plan for the time hassles too as they add up.
Above is a view of what was our dining room, and is now the dumping ground for everything we had to remove from the kitchen. I forgot how much stuff we had in the kitchen! I frequently see clients rent a storage Pod that can be loaded up and safely stored off-site during a renovation, and I highly recommend considering this approach. Your possessions are safe, secure, and not clogging up every surface of your house.
Back to my coffee situation. We stored a few dishes, glasses, and some silverware where we can get to it fairly easily. The box in the foreground is our “easily accessible stuff”. So to make my coffee, I first had to plug in the old range in the work zone (220v not available anywhere else in the house) and boil some water. Then I had to clean out the French press – oh yeah, no sink in the old kitchen so I resorted to using my garden hose. Not terribly elegant but it got the job done. Next, back inside [clean feet – work zone is dusty] and grab the coffee from the box, and the grinder from the table behind it. Find an outlet, grind the coffee, and back into the dusty zone where I placed the French press next to the kettle. Pour, brew, stand there for 4 minutes as leaving and going back through the plastic is a pain, finally get my coffee. Back through the plastic [wiping feet again] and enjoy.
I can’t wait for the kitchen to be done.
Your general contractor will likely need a lot of space for set-up and storage of materials. These are most of my new cabinets waiting in our library/den. The garage is full too, leaving just enough room for one car. Discuss with your contractor where they will store materials when you hire them, so you can adjust plans if needed. If they propose taking over the entire garage, think about logistics like when it is late at night and a hailstorm is coming. Do you really want your car outside?
Sometimes the builder can store materials in the area of work, but it depends on how big the space is so they can maneuver around boxes and piles of materials. It probably isn’t feasible to store much inside a bathroom or kitchen remodel, as you’re going back in with cabinets and fittings that take up most of the space.
I tossed this last image into this post for a little humor. Bathtub Gin anyone? We ran out of logical places to put stuff and we still had to move the wine and booze. I guess we won’t be using our guest bathtub anytime soon!
Bottom line is plan, plan and plan ahead. We’re making it through the worst of the work right now by eating a lot of basic stuff (cereal is easy every morning, omelettes aren’t in the game plan) and eating out. The dust is fairly contained to the area of work, and all my materials are stored where they are needed. Renovating your home can be a great way to make it more livable and appealing to you and your family. Just be prepared for a few bumps and plan adjustments along the way!
This post was originally written before re-branding as Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture at the end of 2017.
At Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture, we design unique and stunning projects, individually crafted for our clients’ lives. We’re passionate about listening to your needs, wants and desires as inspiration to design the dream home you’ll never want to leave.