A guide to Renovating a house

A few weeks a go a conversation with Dempeaux came up on twitter about buying an old Reno to do up. As someone who has been steadily chipping away at this house for around 3 years I feel that I am able to give some insight into this.

Firstly I think you buy a doer upper for a few reasons;
1. ( this probably never happens) you love DIY
2. You want to make the house exactly as you want it and unless you new build renovating means you have a large amount of control.
3. You cannot afford a brand spanky swish place where you can afford the reno.

We are category 3. We chose suburb, our own block of land (only 400m2) and location over the quality of the house. Actually our house is worth very little. The house does have some features I love though; wooden floors, space and character.

DIY is a catch 22 it is expensive and time consuming so you do end up poorer in terms of time and money but it can also be a great way to spend time together, a great achievement together and also nothing makes you prouder (well making life might !?!) than a room you have completed together.

Our house is a little tricky. It probably won`t be our family home, it may be a rental, it may be sold in a few years or it may be bulldozed to make way for a larger home ( I hate this option) and as such we have not had unlimited resources to spend on this house. We have had to budget and also make sacrifices in what we have had as they have just not been economically viable.

When we bought the house it was pretty 70`s since then we have used numerous tubs of undercoat and replaced the mushroom coloured walls with purple fire place ( true story) and salmon coloured bedroom with floral trim and painted the house a pale yellow. YUK yellow… agreed but it really warms the place up and lifts it.

Somethings we have learned over time, if you want something done properly do it yourself. Often you will be disappointed with other peoples efforts and a job worth doing is worth doing properly. The last people to own this house did some really shonky, slap dash work which it has taken a long time for us to correct and to be honest we keep uncovering more. Another note though is to be open and honest about what you can and cannot do. If you are not a plumber it may be better to get a plumber in. We explained to our bathroom man that we were on a tight budget and he was great. He allowed my other half to help him, which made it quicker, and my other half learned some new skills he has since used. Also, ask around if people can recommend someone as it is easier to trust your house with known people.

Google has not only shown me the way with contouring my face and fishtail braids but also taught me many DIY skills- use it and read up first. Make lists before you go to Bunnings and accept that even the most organised people will need multiple trips ( upside equals extra sausage sizzles!) and jobs always take way longer than anticipated.

Try not to let renovating take over your world. You can approach it in two ways; push hard and finish early or chip away slowly over time. For us chipping away has worked. When we pushed hard we got slap dash and we also stopped enjoying it. Slowly but surely also spreads the cost as it is a pretty pricey affair. Going slow has also meant our house is a little eclectic as we have collected furnishings etc over time and not just kitted ourselves out with ikea.

Honestly, it is one of the best things we have done. I love a personalised house. I love browsing for inspiration and I love the fact that I feel like each room we do is like making an investment. Providing the market is right, you bought in a good area and you do not over capitalise your house renos are a fab way to get more for less.. or by having a smaller outlay for the house and spreading the rest of the cost between time and money and over a longer space of time. Obviously it is not for everyone, we have friends who categorically do not want to and that its fine as it is right for them. We do really look forward too the day it is done so we have more free time and my current to do list looks a little like this….

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Which I will do over time. I also do a lot of the bigger cleans of the house, which keeps the things we have already done looking fresh and lovely.

Bonus note: renovating and cleaning get you a fair few weight watchers pro points so days off it equals a well earned wine and choccie in the evening. If we are working hard we always try to stop have a bath or shower, get in our lounging about clothes and have a lovely dinner and soe trash TV to finish the day.

Sadly we have no before images but here is a selection of finished rooms or rooms in process.

Have you renovated? would you consider it?

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Finally and most importantly never ever forget this

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Hi welcome to my home… Would you like to come in?

As mentioned in other posts we are renovating, on a budget and so that it is homely but personalised. You want to see some finishing touches?

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The house is 50’s style and these flying ducks fit perfectly. Real antiques cost a lot but these were sold in pairs for $12 in the target sale which is perfect as we don’t know what style any other houses will be.

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This is an old picture of my grandpa I had blown up and canvas mounted. I love it. Someone actually tried to buy it from the framers without realising it was my grandpa and not a standard print. I am actually getting another made of my great grandad soon also.

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Pieces of aboriginal art from the community near where I worked. A lot of people have the art but I wanted it from somewhere meaningful to us. These are from the yuendumu community in the Northern territory and by 2 sisters.

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Little pieces made by my mum, they have embroidered sections too. I love the needlework circles as frames. My mum is super crafty and has a great blog with fantastic ideas http://www.giftfrippery.co.uk just click on the blog section for inspiration.

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We had a nasty board on the back of the kitchen door which I painted with black board paint. The message refers to the windy era prior to the understanding of the fodmaps issue, I love it and keep it up…. Pure, unadulterated embarrassing acceptance.

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Banksy prints, a little but of Bristol away from home. Plus in the corner an old filing cabinet we renovated and sprayed.

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Finally the wardrobe. It was already here but I painted it blue, bought the baskets and used $2 towel rails to hang my shoes from. I don’t wear heels too often so may as well hang them to look at.

What makes your house a home? Top Reno tips?