What They Don't Tell You About DIY Renovations

So I realize this is a really specific kind of post, but as we are now close to the one year anniversary of our finished downstairs renovation, I started to think back to life in those two months without a kitchen.

It also reminded me of all the other rooms we updated one by one and how it affected our everyday life. I wouldn't have changed a thing about the process because we learned so much, and strangely it proved to be fun, but there were definitely some surprising revelations of renovation life.

Here are a few things you may not think about or realize the reality of before starting a renovation adventure:

1. Weird shower schedules

Say you wake up in the morning and start doing some messy labor (painting, demo, etc..) That afternoon you have a meeting or a function, so you shower. Later that night you do some more messy labor. You don't want to crawl into bed covered in sawdust, sooo... shower again. Then do you shower in the morning before work? Maybe, maybe not... There were lots of showers going on.

2. Mistakes, mistakes, and more mistakes

Going in, I think we figured we would be super detailed and never let something fall through the cracks. But it happens. I couldn't tell you how many times something was measured incorrectly over the course of our projects. Or how we didn't spend enough time sanding, leaving terribly obvious mudding on our drywall. But you know what? We learned. A LOT.

3. You'll question your intelligence

On the same topic of making mistakes, you'll also feel like a complete idiot sometimes. The mistakes you make will often times have been totally avoidable had you paid more attention or double checked your measurements. Tom stayed up late into the night after he made a particularly bad mistake that almost wrecked the whole plan (but of course ended up working out fine) and he wallowed for hours just going over where he went wrong. So if you ever feel like a total moron, you're not the only one.

4. You'll be behind schedule

If you stay on schedule and meet EVERY deadline you've set for yourself, you deserve a gold star. But likely, you'll be a day or so behind where you'd like to be. You'll hit a seemingly small roadblock, and suddenly the timeline goes catawampus.

5. Get used to your scrubby renovation clothes

Besides your 9-5 work clothes, it feels like you live in your renovation clothes. Sometimes you don't even wash them until they meet a set standard of filthy. Between work clothes, renovation clothes, and jammies, those renovation clothes somehow feel like the thing you wear the most.

6. Every time you think you got everything at the home store, you didn't

I swear Home Depot was our home away from home. A paint brush would break, we needed more sanding sheets than we thought, we didn't have the kind of screws we were positive we had, etc... Get used to multiple trips to the home store every other day.

7. Cooking? What's that?

Regardless of whether you're doing a kitchen reno or a bedroom reno, nobody feels like cooking after a day filled with drywalling and painting. So when you're preparing your budget, make sure you include "eating out."

8. The cost will surprise you

Honestly, I think we were almost always really under budget, or really over budget. There weren't a lot of times where it costed exactly what we had thought. Either way, it was always a surprise... obviously one was a better surprise than the other ;) But don't sweat it. It'll even out eventually.

9. Does the (literal) dust ever settle??

It does... eventually. If you've done any sanding or demolition at all, be prepared to find a layer of dust throughout your house for a while. Good ventilation will help, but it's not always available.

10. You'll feel immense pride when you're done

Dawwww of course I had to end on a high note. If you DIYed this project, that feeling of accomplishment and pride is amazing. Seeing what're capable of is priceless. Revel in it an enjoy a hard earned break!

Have you done a renovation? What did you learn? What took you by surprise?