Lessons I learnt from living in the house I renovated

Lessons I've learnt

Are you currently renovating your home or thinking about updating your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom? Well, in the hopes that this may help in your project decisions, I’ve put together a list of good and bad lessons I’ve learnt after my husband Marcus and I have lived in the property we’ve renovated for a year – from the choice of tradesmen to wrong paint decisions… 

The Bad… 

The bath’s plug mechanism
It’s probably my biggest bugbear and one of the first lessons I’ve learnt but the smallest problem. When I go for a soak my knee hits the cold chrome fitting. I even sat in the tub before buying, but didn’t think of the problem at the time.  
The extractor fan
Not completely my fault, as we were warned the builders may have made the duct out of the exterior wall too small, but the appliance is noisy. Too noisy. And, I didn’t check the decibels rating like I should have…  
The exposed shower
It looks great, fits the semi-industrial feel I was going for, but it doesn’t half get water stained. (Which I didn’t think I would mind, but actually, maybe I do.) 
The big showerhead
Although our water pressure is fine, it’s not really good enough for the size we went for. So it’s more of a pleasant wash than powerful clean when in it. 
No window in the kitchen
Not a natural light problem, we have plenty thanks to the bi-folds and skylight, but we don’t have anything to jar open when cooking or if it gets a little hot. Annoying. 
The garden still looks like a building site
A mixture of time and funds, this is something we’ve learnt to overlook, for now, at least. 
 
Wish we had a boiling-water tap
We ‘ummed and ahhed‘ for ages on purchasing one, but decided not to, due to budget. Something we’ve regretted since. 
Had to swap master bedroom
The benefit of hindsight, there were pros and cons for both rooms, and we picked wrong. Thankfully, the switch wasn’t too complicated…  
Still have doors to paint
It’s a job neither of us can bring ourselves to do. They look 
kind of good semi-naked, anyway…  
Already redecorating
We chose a paint for the sitting room and it looked like drying plaster. Not good. We lived with it for a bit out of stubbornness, but soon decided life was too short for ugly paint colours, so it’s now a nice vintage green. Much better. 

The good…  

The bin’s position
A happy accident, but it’s right under the tea and coffee making station. Perfect. 
Utility room
We’re so glad we went for this instead of a large open-plan kitchen diner. The room is now broken-plan and we have a place to shove things quickly. 
Did the finishing touches in stages
The house didn’t need to be done all at once, for instance, we’ve only just installed in-built cupboards. This decision helped with our financials (and stress levels).
 
Went for shutters
An example of what we did in a later stage. These still let in light, but give us some privacy from those walking along the opposite street.  
Invested in our bed
From the mattress, frame, to the sheets and pillows – I’m so pleased we went all out. A year in and it still feels like a treat going to bed.  
Cloakroom
Using space to create a downstairs loo has to be the most life changing aspect of the renovation. I won’t go into details.  
Overall décor
We went for what we like, and not trend based. This means a year on, I still love the feel of our space. 
 
In-built shelving
One of the lessons I’ve learnt is that getting in a joiner to create cupboards and shelving has really added interest – and needed storage space – to our living room.  
Fridge vs freezer
We looked at the way we cook and decided to have a large integrated fridge and separate mini freezer in the utility. It works perfectly for our lifestyle.  
Choice in tradesmen
Our due diligence paid off here, as a year on we’re still happy with all the finishes, from the plastering, electrics to the extension.

10 other details I’m glad we thought about during the build:  

  • Radiator style 
  • Kitchen handles 
  • Detailed skirting boards and cornicing  
  • Dimmable lighting 
  • Plug socket location 
  • Types of material for flooring and worktops 
  • Door bells and smart meters 
  • Exterior lighting and electrics 
  • Towel rails 
  • Storage in the bathroom 

You may also enjoy: Newlywed & Renovating: Getting the keys

Follow the renovation progress @newlywedandrenovating

Featured image: iStock/ Feverpitched

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