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Living in home during renovation
Who has done this...and how bad was it??


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#1 marleyandme

Posted 28 January 2010 - 03:15 PM

We will be starting renovations in our home during March or April.  It's a Federation home - the front half consisting of three bedrooms and lounge room will all remain as it, but the back section - consisting of bathroom, kitchen, dining, study - will all be unusable at some point.

The builders are going to build a temporary bathroom for us in what is currently the old laundry (it used to be the old outhouse - so had the necessary plumbing) - but I still can't quite get my head around the fact that the fridge, microwave along with necessary items like some dinnerware, some linen and bath products will all need to be crammed into the lounge room.  Any cooking will need to be done on the bar-b-que - eek.

I'm starting to make lists of everything that needs to be done in order for the builders to walk in on that first day and I'm totally freaked out.

For medical purposes - we're unable to move out of the house.  Long story.

So I'm interested in hearing how people coped whilst living through a major renovation.  The good and the bad are all welcome...

#2 71Cath

Posted 28 January 2010 - 03:25 PM

We lived in our house during our extension 2 years ago, and I am not going to lie, it does get pretty trying.  DH and I were on a mattress on the floor for 15 weeks and it was in a different room almost every night depending on what the builders were doing!  It was very unsettling, but now we have our dream home and are very happy with it.  I just kept repeating to myself, "Its not forever, its not forever" over and over again!  The kids even started repeating it as well!  In the end we had to go and stay at my parents house for a week while they did the floors.  The kids also had a few sleepovers at Nanna's house on the weekends as a treat and a bit of normality!  Is that an option for you?
In answer to the more practical part, I kept a spreadsheet on excel (I am a bit of a list freak!) of where we had put everything - garage, PIL house, my parents house etc.  It made it easier to move back in and be sure that we had remembered where everything was.  It is amazing what you forget about when it is packed away out of sight for a few months.  I also took the opportunity while we had a skip on the front lawn to chuck as much stuff out as possible - less to move!  
When we were moving everything back again, I chucked heaps out again - after all we had done without it for 3 months, how essential could it be?  The clutter seems to have come back now!

#3 Tsikos

Posted 28 January 2010 - 09:38 PM

Hi we did this and I think the rose coloured glasses are forming as I'm thinking "oh it wasn't too bad, could do it again" and am presently getting quotes to paint the internal of the front house (3 bedroom, lounge + bathroom + hallway) while we plan to empty the furniture into the garage and dining room and sleep in our tent in the backyard LOL!

Anyway - we 'kept' the above, demolished the rear and 'pushed out' with kitchen (sort of, hard to explain but basically unusable), laundry, office and large dining room with bi-folds to garden.

Demo started in April-ish when I was 30 weeks pregnant with our third child roll2.gif. Our washing machine went into our bathroom, was plumbed with coldwater only by a connection to our garden tap and the waste went out the bathroom window.

Our fridge, dining table, pantry (set up on changetable chest of drawers) was in the 3rd bedroom next to the bathroom. I cooked with our electric wok, slowcooker and rice cooker to get us through the otherwise endless take-aways. Saints of friends made Bolognese and soups to heat in the microwave (also in this room).

Our bedrooms and the lounge were left 'untouched' (kids already shared) and gave us sanity.

Renovation reached lock-up 2 days before James was born and I came home from hospital to it painted (shocking job but another story...). Our head guy said to aim for 1 week per $10k and then 2 weeks for touch-ups.

The bits that really got me down were:
-sharing the bathroom with builder men while heavily pregnant and then having to clean up after their 7:30am poo slides sick.gif. I think I would force tight-a*se DH to hire a port-a-loo if we did it again.

-having people in 'our' space from 7:30 am for 12 weeks and never knowing exactly what day/time they would be there but just suddenly seeing a face in the yard.

-being heavily pregnant. This was all supposed to happen pre-pregnancy/first trimester but got held up at council.

-the endless dust throughout the house and having to clean EVERYTHING daily, even when they builders put up dropsheets.

Eventually I went to Bunnings and bought a whole lots of dropsheets and tape and went wild on doorways and this contained it to the lounge at least.

Coming home from a CS with baby #3 to the remains of a building sight with no-where clean enough to put DS down in his capsule so immeadiately having to mop and vaccumn - sigh...

Would I do it again - yes. Overall it wasn't 'that' bad IYKWIM. Grin and bear it, the finish is worth it. We love our place original.gif So much stuff would have been a bigger issue if we hadn't been constantly on-site - like an internal wall was built in the wrong place as they measured off the plans and not 'life', powerpoints (although marked correctly) were put in the wrong wall on a corner or the wrong side of an internal wall etc, plumbing would have not allowed for xyz.

Very very stressful at the time but at least 1/2 of this was pregnancy and 1/4 winter (having the back of the house open made it cold!)

Edited by Tsikos, 28 January 2010 - 09:43 PM.


#4 taddie

Posted 28 January 2010 - 09:55 PM

You need to be very adaptable and organised. We weren't, and April last year we gutted our kitchen and bathroom, moving the kitchen to a halogen portable cooktop and a gas camping stove (and convection microwave) in the loungeroom. We kept using the bathroom as the new bath went in first with working plumbing and the toilet also stayed in place bar one week we spent at mums - you can't do much without a toilet! original.gif

Almost a year later they still aren't finished (dodgy builder long story) and through most of summer we haven't had a working shower. Not being able to properly cook for the baby is so annoying. We can either have the dishwasher or washing machine hooked up to water and need to swap the hoses over to use the other. The dishwasher is charmingly perched on a pallet next to the toilet, which I just -love-.

Cleaning after cooking was the hardest thing. Without a working sink I have to wash dishes in a plastic tub which I fill from the bath tap and tip down the shower drain. Even washing out a sponge after cleaning a bench takes more work. It's like camping out in your own house lol.

Get a fixed price contract for all the work upfront and make sure your builder is registered.

#5 tothebeach

Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:04 PM

We did it when we renovated a couple of years ago.  You do have to be organised.

Our renovation involved no wholesale demolition, though.  We gutted the whole house, replacing lots of the internal walls and most of the external, as well as the electrics in under 3 months.  At one stage, I was managing 10 different tradespeople to meet my deadline.

I'm a pretty good project planner so kept time without things like the kitchen to a minimum.  I think that we ripped out the kitchen on the Mon and had the kitchen people installing the new kitchen on the Tues and had the oven etc working by Thurs.

However, it is no fun sleeping with just plastic sheeting as walls in a storm and never knowing if the showere will work or be hot when you turn on the tap.  DS1 learnt to walk in his cot because from 7-10 months, I could not put him down on the floor.

Edited by tothebeach, 28 January 2010 - 10:07 PM.


#6 JunkandDisorderly

Posted 29 January 2010 - 10:28 AM

It's messy. If you can 'let go' for the duration and then some you can deal with anything. That was what got me down the most, but if you can overcome that aspect then it's alright.

And remember you're sharing your home with builders so you lose some privacy

#7 marleyandme

Posted 29 January 2010 - 02:17 PM

Thank you so much for all your replies ladies!

Tsikos - your post made me laugh out loud in the office!  My builders have said that the first thing they will do is rig up the toilet and shower in the old laundry - because even they said they hate using portaloos.  My poor DH looked completely freaked out at the thought of the builders using 'his' loo.

We have a 2.5 year old - and I'm still trying to get my head around how she'll manage her two hour day sleep on the two days during the week when she's not at daycare.

As everyone has mentioned, I'm just going to have to be as relaxed as possible and get everything as organised as I can so that the process goes smoothly and doesn't get held up by lack of decisions.

As Taddie made mention - I'll have to view it as 'camping at home'.  

I'm going back to my lists again now  wacko.gif

#8 Jahbee

Posted 29 January 2010 - 09:47 PM

We renovated last year.  Actually it started December 2008 and ended September 2009.  Every single room in our house was touched but our bedroom and our bathroom.  We have 3 young children, who at the time were 1, 3 and 6.  About 6 weeks into the renovation i broke my foot, which was pretty major as i had to go to hospital to get a plate and spent 2 months getting around a severely renovated house in a wheelchair or crutches.  We had to find urgent care for my 1 yr old who had just started walking.  The builder kept leaving the front door open and it was dangerous with my 1 yr old so that was a huge extra unexpected cost.  Add to this we had no kitchen and laundry for 4 months and it was one of the most challenging times in my life for my family.  We say now if we could get thru this in a renovation we could get thru anything.

Our kitchen (well microwave and slow cooker) was in the dining room and we lived in there for months and months.  THe kids slept in the lounge room for some time and that was hard because i feel my daughters school work was affected.  You just have to keep remembering there is an end to this and when you are there your house will be so much better.

#9 JustSmileAndNod

Posted 29 January 2010 - 09:53 PM

Right, that is it. I am moving house. No more renovation thoughts!




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