Lessons Learned, Part I

Call this a retrospective of sorts. As the renovations finally come to a close and we plan to finally move in this weekend, I have been processing the process. It has been a long one (7 months!) with many peaks and valleys, but I feel pretty confident that such is how renovating a house goes for everyone. I have never heard “oh we did that once, it was so cheap and a total breeze, stress free, fun, a joyous bonding of husband and wife…” Regardless, it was a learning experience. I thought I would share some of my lessons learned with my few wonderful readers. I started this as one big post, but it got looooong, so I split it into two parts.

1. Communicate with your sub-contractors. And then communicate some more, label everything you buy in detail, write down exactly what you want and then read it to them, demanding full comprehension. Never assume your outlet will be put in the obvious place, because obvious to you is not the same obvious to the electrician. Since we could not be there all the time to meet everyone, to walk everyone through every job, it was inevitable shit would get screwed up. And indeed it did. Nothing major, but things that could have been avoided if we had communicated better. I was especially horrible at this. I suppose this is why people hire contractors, but that just wasn’t for us. Lesson learned.

2. Shop smart. You can spend as much or as little as you want when re-doing any part of a house. Don’t get the “average cost” too stuck in your head, because it has never been true for us. So let’s talk about fixtures. Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures/faucets/whatever you want to call them…they are not cheap. You feel defeated because everything at Lowes and Home Depot is not even close to all those images you pinned from Veranda or House Beautiful or Domino. You unfortunately have one of those pesky things called a budget which don’t seem to exist for our friends on instagram. Those pins and that budget rarely work in harmony. First, identify what you want, be specific or just a general style. Do some research and more often than not, you will start to see that one or two brands typically carry styles more in line with yours. Then start searching those brands on ebay, Amazon, etc. I found almost every light I bought cheaper+free shipping by searching for it on those sites. Like I saved hundreds of dollars. Read all the return policies very carefully. I bought my faucets using this same search method. For those things that you are able to save on, you can afford to allow for a must have. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Know what you have to have. Be realistic of course, but put your foot down on those things that you just cannot budge on. If that means a major compromise somewhere else…such is life and marriage. For me, I really wanted the granite we went with. It was in the top tier of granite pricing, and Mike definitely wanted to buy what was on sale {which was gross}, but eventually we compromised on other things and my granite I got and it is the highlight of the kitchen fa sho. Mike is a lighting nazi. Everything on dimmers and recessed lights everywhere. Okay I say.

That’ll do it for now. I’m hoping to post Part II maybe mid-week. I would love to hear your experiences and advice as well! Do tell.

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