Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Planning a Renovation

Before you even start a renovation there are a few things you really need to consider, rules you need to put in place and discussions you really need to have so you have a clear idea on how you are going to manage a renovation. These are a few of the rules I try to live by when we renovate;

1)      Learn to Love Lists – that’s right, lists are your new best friend. I have lists for everything from what im planning to do for the day, what I need to take around to the house with me and who I need to call all the way up to a total list of activities that I WANT to do to the property from replacing the kitchen to putting in new lighting. The next thing is to keep these large total lists current. While you may decide the list of reno’s before demolition its important to go back and revisit these during the works so you can add and shuffle the schedule as you go.

2)      Work through the timeline - Now im not saying you need to be like a project builder and have a fully planned out schedule with timelines and dates – what I am saying is you need to talk through each job in your head to make sure you are using your time effectively, for example, before painting you will need to skim the walls, but before that you need to strip back the old paint. Ok so that’s fairly easy but think off all the other potential interfaces for example, if you are planning on moving electrics it needs to be done before you skim the walls and if you are planning to have a fireplace serviced and cleaned you want to do this before you paint or else you will be cleaning up twice. The moral here, take your list and start numbering it or if you are on line shuffling the tasks dependant on what you need to do first, this will give your jobs a basic structure and work frame.

3)      Embrace Change – Now here is the thing, you will need to accept that whatever you thought you were going to do on day one will change. It is great to have a really strong idea on what you want to achieve however its really important to realise that no matter how well you plan, things will change and these changes can and will affect your budget. A beam in the wrong place may mean  you can’t have the big open plan space you wanted, not all change is bad though so be open to ALL changes great and small and try and work around the problems instead of seeing them as an immovable barrier.

4)      This leads me on beautifully to Point four – Clearly defined your priorities. – Before you start you need to make a decision, what is your priority, is it keeping the costs under budget or are you prepared to move on the budget to get what you want. Make this decision now because every single decision you make will be based on this. Just say when removing a wall you discover that the electrics are fried. You need to think back to the decision, obviously the job needs to be done but will this mean you have to reduce your budget in other areas or are you going to take the hit as an extra expense.

5)      Be Safe, You Don’t Have A Company Behind You – Safety these days is a huge business, Companies spend millions of dollars thinking up way to make your job safer. Its almost like they are forcing you to think and act in a safe manner, they are your safety backup however in a renovation its very easy to stop actively thinking about all the hazards and “just do the job” without taking into account the risks. With an older renovation there are HUGE risks to consider, asbestos and lead paint are just two I am currently dealing with. It’s all about stopping and looking after our health enough to research ways to safely deal with these hazards instead of going in blindly and hoping for the best.

6)      Find the Fun – I genuinely think that how you perceive a job is all in your head, painting walls can be mind numbing and soul destroying but add a bit of music and a few friends and I can guarantee your whole mood will change. Try to find the fun in every situation, maybe its spending quality time with your hubby or maybe its trying something a big different and getting creative but if you don’t try to find the fun in a renovation it will suck the very soul out of your body, make a conscious decision every single day to find the fun in the renovation. Sure some days it won’t work, it will be stressful and things will go wrong and your mood will go down, but hopefully the “fun” days will outnumber the bad and you will get through the renovation relatively unscathed! 

7)      Finally – Try to stop and enjoy the view – Renovating is a bit like climbing a mountain, you stand at the bottom and look up, your neck bent back as you try to see the top and from the bottom of the mountain the task looks insurmountable, but you make the crazy decision and start climbing anyway. What we forget as we climb is to stop, breath and appreciate the view along the way. Appreciate what your are achieving, take a look back and get some lessons learnt on things you could do better and then keep on moving upwards. Now here is the big thing, when you reach the top, STOP, make sure you truly appreciate what you have achieved and what you have created because this is big! Not everyone can “do renovating” some people will never get that high as the last curtain is tucked into place and the last light is hung. Appreciate and celebrate ever final moment along the way, because renovating has a hell of a lot of highs and a great many lows.

So tomorrow im going to introduce you to our investment, it’s a little bit small, it’s a little bit sad and it feels a bit unloved. Our challenge will be to bring this sad little house and turn it into something practical, clean and safe and maybe just maybe give it a little something to smile about!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Investment Property ... AKA The Renovator

So this year 2014 was the year of getting smart with money. It was all about developing a plan and working towards it.

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We decided to find a big block in a cheaper suburb that we could subdivide and build on the rear and have two rental properties within two years. Surprisingly we found an amazing little block in an old suburb right on the freeway - over a 1000 square meters and a cute little cottage sitting very practically on the front of the block which even with its current rental income is positively geared.

So on paper this property was heaven in one piece of land. Such a great purchase I was excited about the potential. However if it seems to good to be true then it probably is .... we had bad tenants. Well not bad but tenants who believe paying the rent is optional and with no real choice and after a series of breach noticed we have finally had to evict them and accept we just wont be seeing the previous rent.

Very distressing but we were not out yet. What it means for us though is instead of a lovely holiday over  Christmas exploring China we will not be doing a total renovation to the front cottage.

New bathroom, new kitchen, new flooring, fix walls, new electrics .... yup a new house and we are trying to do this on a very limited budget. So i thought, I would share this budget renovation just with you! All the highs and lows, even costs to hopefully show you that you don't have to spend a lot of money to renovate a house.

Also, just for the record, we have not EVER renovated a house this old, this house is a bit of a new challenge for us so you are lucky enough to be along for the ride experiencing all the trials and tribulations that come with renovating a house built in the 40's or 50's.

Here are a few pics to show you just what we have gotten ourselves in for!

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guess Who's Back ....

That's right, Miss Vintage is back. It has been a ridiculously busy year full of job changes, more of our house renovation and also a new investment property that we will be renovating but I realised recently how very much I missed documenting my journey through design and boy do you have a lot of catching up to do.

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But lets start with the basics - little miss Lacey is still just as perfect as ever ... Tilly the terror has calmed down just a little bit and even better they are best friends.

Not a great deal has changed for Mr V and I - a little bit older, a little bit wiser .... the last post on this blog was back in 2013 and to be honest, we have spent the last year focusing on trying to pay off debt, get smart with our money and start thinking about the future.

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We are watching our budget, finishing our house and trying to find our happy little medium, not too busy, not to stressed and to focus on the little moments together that make life complete.

So tomorrow you are going to start catching up on what been happening around Vintage House ... and just what we are planning within the next few months. So hold on your hats people - I'm back!