Renovations

Renovation series: Tips for living at home while you renovate

Living at home while you renovate is a sure way to save money during a costly process but can be pretty stressful. Check out this survival guide for staying positive

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Renovation series: Tips for living at home while you renovate

Living in the house while you renovate is a good way to save money, but living in the middle of a construction site can be horrible, says Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. “Not having a working kitchen or toilet can be stressful, as can cleaning up after builders every night,” says Lizzi. “Not many of us can afford to carry two homes while renovations are being completed. To cope, you’ll need a plan that goes beyond timelines and budgets.”

Get everyone on board

If you have children, will they embrace the madness or will it make them anxious and unsettled? Consider bunking with family or book out a nearby unit for the roughest weeks. Do a countdown chart in the same way you might if you were going away on holiday. If you need to be out of the children’s rooms, declare a camping weekend and set up mattresses on the lounge floor. Make it fun!

Fast food

If it’s a kitchen reno, ensure you have a microwave and chest-freezer full of prepared or precooked meals. “Takeaways may be fun for a few nights, but they’re pretty bleak on week three when everyone is feeling tired and grubby,” says Lizzi.

Stay in love

Renovating may be exciting but it’s no picnic. Sometimes couples can have different ideas of what they want from a home. Keep communicating, give yourselves time away from the building site and, most importantly, realise that you both have to live there (and like it) so compromises will have to happen.

An architect we spoke to suggested talking to a third party, to stop you from rehashing the same arguments and getting the same result: a stand-off. Each explain your priorities, what your choice means to you and why you feel that way. While one of you may not end up with what you originally wanted, you’ll possibly be happy to concede when you see the value in the other option.

Look out for pets

Their home environment becomes noisy, smelly, messy, and sometimes crowded with strangers. An animal’s senses are a lot stronger than ours, so the extra noise or scents can actually be painful to them. Look for signs of stress in your animal: loss of appetite, accidents in the house, destructive behaviour, excessive barking or meowing, or any other unusual behaviour. Consider short-term options for your pets if they’re not coping.

Checklist:

✔ Create a family strategy

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by RoomPhoto by: Larnie Nicolson.

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