There was little connection between the areas of the house, no flow means enclosed spaces ultimately making the house seem small and not overly entertainment friendly. The living room had also played subject to a DIYer who really didn’t care about what they were doing, bubbles behind painted wallpaper, ripples from earthquake movement that were plastered over and more dodgy botch jobs than a plastic surgery in LA.
Renovating our living room
It’s exciting renovating, but can be extremely overwhelming from the get-go. Where do you start? What will the investment be and is it worth it? What can you do yourself and what should you get a tradie for and of course, how is it all going to pull together at the end?
We learned a few things in the preparation stage that we thought is worth sharing for first time renovators as essentially, that’s what we were!
Stage 1 – Research and Plan
Useful places to collate information from:
- Pinterest – Easy to create boards and share them with your partner or family so they can attribute their thoughts. You can also pin directly from the internet if you stumble upon an image you like.
- Instagram – Our favourite for getting feedback from people and inspiration from accounts you like to follow. We often search hashtags like #nzhomes #villarestoration #characterhome
- Facebook Groups – Ask questions on Groups like NZ Home decor tips tricks and advice, ask for photos from people that have done the same thing, this is great because it’s real life – not staged imagery.
- Your home and garden magazine – Amazing for New Zealand home renovations and they share content that is relevant and helps.
Now is a good time to start ordering swatches from places like Resene and Dulux to match them to the decor you have or confirm that they are hitting the mood board vibe. Smaller things like getting switches and lights are easy to do while work is being done and gets you out of the house while the paint dries!
Stage 2 – Price and Timeline
If you are making structural changes or working with several professionals, it’s important to take your time to be 100% on everything before you begin so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. Get quotes from at least x3 people and always look for credibility. Websites like www.dontriskit.co.nz are always failsafe for finding the expert tradesman for the job.
The price at this stage is indicative of where you came to with your mood board. We always spreadsheet money we have spent on renovations to keep an eye on not over-capitalising and it also helps us be realistic as to what is a reasonable budget for each room. For our lounge, we were happy to go a little extra higher as it does set the tone for the house and is the room we spend the most time in and leaves the first impression for guests. At this stage, it’s a good opportunity also to find out what you can do to save cost that won’t disturb the professionals.
Who we used:
For the skim coating, we used Dans Decorating. Dan did my parents house who are long-time renovators and couldn’t recommend him enough. You know you have great tradies when they walk in and make you feel super comfortable, it really shows in the finish of his work how experienced he is!
We had to remove all the switches and plugs so Dan and Ryan could do their thing so of course used Todd from Rossiter Electrical. Like Dan, Todd makes everything easy as and is fantastic at providing advice on lighting and switch types etc.
Our Friend Ryan who is a qualified builder removed a door and a non-structural wall and had that sorted in no time, he’s a pro with his own home reno on the go.
Stage 3 – Prep work and completion
This part probably seems the longest of the lot because by this stage you’re so excited that you’re finally here – but it’s still not done, yet.
Do what you can to prepare, it also gives you a sense of involvement too. We stripped all of our wallpaper using a $60 KMART garment steamer – lifesaver. We also applied a pigment sealer after sanding the walls to hide the hideous pink and every other colour under the sun before Dan came in to do his amazing magic like work with the plaster.
We tried to make it as clean as possible in the area for the tradies so when they come in it’s easy to find what they are looking for. Preparation is difficult and you may start wishing you never started. In the grand scheme of things it’s very little work for the amount of satisfaction you’ll get from it – so persevere! It’s funny, you start to understand your house so much more when you take sheets of plaster and GIB off the walls, you see its imperfections and then find some quirk and beauty in it too.
From here, it’s over to the finishing touches to get the room done – stay tuned for more info on our reno!