Oh wow, where do I start with this…We’ve had a few shockers over the years renovating or building new houses.
I remember asking Rob after we’d bought our first house if he even knew anything about tools let alone renovating!! 😂 We’d been together for a few years and watched a few episodes of Better Homes & Gardens and The Block (the original series, filmed in Sydney with Jamie Durie as a host, that’s how old I am!) so totally thought we had this reno thing in the bag. Lucky Rob turned out to be pretty handy, but looking back we made some shocking decisions and took on way too much of the work ourselves (we didn’t get any trades for our first reno!).
Needless to say we learnt a few things over the years, but regardless we still make mistakes with each property. Here are a we of our biggest mistakes (in hindsight some are pretty obvious!):
How hard can tiling be right? I mean all you do it put some glue on the tiles and stick them down. Turns out it’s a bit more involved. While we did YouTube a few videos our first foray into tiling was a bit of a disaster. Not only were the tiles hideous (but that’s a whole other post!) they weren’t level, the cuts were rough and we had to re-grout at least twice (I have a feeling it was 3 actually!). Get a tiler, a good one and show them your tile selection before you sign him up. The tiler we used on our current house had never laid mirrored subway tiles and let his apprentice do it. It costs me 3 extra boxes (and they weren’t cheap) plus took an extra 4 weeks by the time the tiles were re-ordered and he came back. If you look closely they are pretty rough around the edges too.
Lay it out
If you have the space I would definitely suggest laying out your key areas (kitchen, laundry, bathroom) so you can physically stand in the space. Just mark them up on a driveway or even in the current house if there is space. It’s really handy having access to our new home so we can go and mark up the space as we have new ideas. We’ve also drawn up scale plans for the house and laminated them so we can switch around walls and cupboards whenever we want. This will help form the brief for the architect as well.
Narrowing future options
This is probably the most costly in the long term. When we built some houses a few years ago the market was hot, properties to investors and first home buyers(in our area) was so strong. This led us to design homes which suited this market (mainly a little smaller to make them more affordable). What we didn’t realise was building a new home through a project home builder takes time. They don’t start building when you sign the contract and they have all sorts of causes in there to ensure they finish the build to their own timetable. Cue falling coal prices/demand and a few mines closures and we are left with two houses fitting a very specific buyer which we couldn’t move.
I’m sure there will be plenty more mistakes with our new home as well!