The time has come for you to renovate your home. Is your kitchen dated? Your bathroom still the original fittings from when you moved in 20 years ago? Or perhaps adding an extension to give you the extra room you’ve always dreamed of.
Your head is likely full of colour schemes, fixtures, fittings, contractor recommendations and budget considerations. These factors are, of course, crucial. But have you considered how your home will function throughout the process?
Do you have children who’ll need their routine intact, or pets that’ll need to be temporarily rehomed?
When preparing for a largescale refurbishment in a working home, it’s just as vital to arrange the practical aspects of the project to keep your family life ticking over on schedule!
1. The Basics
Much like the weeks after moving house, during a refurbishment you’ll find yourself spending hours digging through boxes looking for items that you need. Before it gets to that point, make sure to pack all superfluous items away in labelled boxes.
However, you will need to keep each room functioning so return each one to basics. For example, do you have 4 living in your home? Leave out only 4 plates, 4 bowls and 4 sets of cutlery. Now the same goes for toiletries and wardrobe items.
There’s a very small list of people that should see you in a towel – and it ends before your new contractors make it.
Before the project starts ensure a sit down with the project manager and set out time rules and boundaries. You should discuss places and rooms that are off-limits. However, try to be accommodating, you don’t want to hinder progress, create a routine that works for both of you.
Naturally, inviting a group of strangers into your home for a large amount of time, a lot of which will often be unsupervised, can be unnerving. If not for the main team, but in large scale jobs there will be a rotunda of people coming and going. Before your project gets underway you should prepare the security and safety of both your family and their possessions.
Firstly, ask around and draw up a list of reputable companies based on trustworthy recommendations (family, friends etc.)
Next, try and get into the habit of putting valuables out of sight. Where your iPad and laptop happily sat on the coffee table before, give them a new home inside a cupboard.
Since your “dump spot” may need to move (where you dump keys, charger, receipts, pens etc.) create a new, designated place – one that everyone in the family is aware of.
If you’re going to be off-site for the most part of the refurbishment, for peace of mind invest in a small safe that can be tucked away out of sight in an off-limits room.
You might also want to consider installing a programmable lock. This way you can control and monitor who’s in your property and when. Make sure to re-programme the lock at regular intervals, weekly for instance, throughout the project.
A building site is a hazardous place, especially for playful children and curious pets. As a parent or pet owner we’re sure you are already, but you’ll need to be extra vigilant during the home refurbishment.
There are a couple of things you can do to help ease your mind.
Firstly, install child safety gates to serve as both a clear boundary to your children and as a constant visual reminder to your contractors that young children and animals are nearby.
When having your initial conversation with your project manager, stress the importance of clearing away potentially dangerous tools and materials at the end of each day, and even on lunch breaks if they leave the work site. Don’t worry, this won’t be the first time they’ve had this conversation!
If the work that you have planned is going to be loud or require a constant route outside (building a conservatory e.g.), it might be worthwhile keeping your pets off-site while the major work is being done. You don’t want to risk upsetting or frightening your furry friend – especially if there’s an open route for them to run away.
5. Friends and Family
Home refurbishments are notorious for taking longer than expected, however, when it’s a big thing like replacing the only bathroom, it can be quite a nuisance.
Before it starts give your friends and family nearby the heads up about your planned home improvement. If you need a bed at short notice, a load of laundry washed or even a quick shower they will be far more accommodating if they know in advance.
While you’re telling people about your plans, add neighbours to the list. This way they’ll know to expect vans, trucks, tool and material drop offs outside their homes, plus a stream of strangers coming and going in the nearby vicinity. Plus, the noise that will carry into their home.
It might be worth, for your immediate neighbours at least, to pop round with wine or chocolates as a small gesture towards their inconvenience.
You may note that these points only work if thought about and prepared for before the project begins. In the case of home refurbishment failing to prepare really is preparing to fail.
This is a guest post by Sasha N, copywriter for A Fancy Home.