This is part of our first home reno series. Please remember to read our "Reno & Home Improvement Advice" blog before you attempt such a large project on your own.
Renovation Blitzkrieg! #renohacks
This project is a personal favourite of ours, in that we lived in the property for 5 months covering Summer, Autumn and start of winter so got a great opportunity to size up the outside and inside of the property before committing to works.
Some of our ideas based on viewing the property and awaiting settlement were quite frankly ludicrous, so it was great to be in the property for a while to see how stupid some were and to make better decisions based on seasons/climate and best bang for the buck changes to the building to better suit our lifestyle and family needs.
The only down side to this is of course only moving in bare essentials so a split move and living in the property as it is renovated which is a real double edged sword, on one hand you can control the project better and make improved evolving changes on the other hand its dust, fumes, clang and bang for months on end!! This can and does place a lot of stress on the family and even your pets so it is not for the faint hearted.
Lets now look at the steps leading up to the beginning of the project.
Step 1: Budget
Consulted with well-known local agent as to what we could financially put into the property without overcapitalising on it and features suggested that are attractive in our market. Some personal taste compromises made here but not too many as it is our home and we want to live in it not simply sell it.
Step 2: Full Owe Completed Estimate
Budget now set and when looking at that a true current owe for the property was arrived at that even included moving costs, so it was that figure as a base plus the amount for renovation added that gave us a full cost of the finished building (assuming no blow outs) which was sitting at just under $200k lower for the median house price for the specific area it is in, so we figured we should be ok with that final amount. All was then loaded into a spread sheet for tracking purposes. (Note depending what you read they say you should not spend more than 5% of the homes value renovating it, frankly that figure would get you very little and in our case it was WAY over the 5% mark).
Step 3: Rough External Finish Decisions and Costings
A list of desired finishes was drawn up for the outside that included, rendering and stone work and then a colour consultant was bought in to advise on colour scheme of both outside and inside of house. From there costing of the stone work was sort as well as rendering and paint. We mostly used online services for garnering expected costs, so we were not unnecessarily wasting peoples valuable time.
Step 4: Drawings
Drawing were commissioned based on our external and internal build changes like decking, balcony and for the creation of a dining room to what was then an open pergola. A full survey was also taken along with soil tests etc to aid this process.
Step 5: Internal Changes and New Kitchen/Bathroom
We then set about drawing up the internal changes to house that we wanted to make which included moving the old kitchen into the old dining room thus making one large area for new Hamptons inspired kitchen and dining room and the old kitchen was to be turned into a snug/study. The upstairs bathroom was also sized up for renovation along with both upstairs rooms that were to become one large bedroom with ensuite and walk through robe while the other becoming a parents retreat or media room with balcony.
Step 6: Owner Builders Permit & Council Approval
Drawings finalised were then submitted to council along with our owner builders permit that was obtained online (the permit is not easy to get!!) and once approval was granted we could begin in earnest!
Step 7: Selecting Trades & Services
During the first 6 steps we were researching various trades people and service providers including appliances, light fittings etc online and except for known to us trades people and recommendations from friends we selected all via this method. Two to three of each we liked were contacted for quotes and selection was NOT made on merely price but more on the service they provided, the quality of their quote and their ability to communicate swiftly and concisely!
Step 8: Complete Spread Sheet
Now that all the quotes were in the spreadsheet could be adjusted accordingly with some items being more than was estimated and many others less and to our delight we had a fairly healthy surplus happening which allowed us to broaden the scope of works and in some cases increase the quality of goods selected even further while still being mindful of what can and will happen by way of surprises as you start to tear walls down and remove plaster etc so best to keep money in reserve for such events occurring.
Step 9: Let’s Get Started!
Here is the list of things we wanted to achieve by renovating moving from front to back of property and who did what including ourselves, our son Harley who is a qualified builder and our other son Jordy.
Step 10: Suppliers
For the most part we stayed away from the big hardware chains as their range of materials is either under par, lacking or of second grade quality and simply made to a price. The service offered is also for the most part hit and miss at best!
We mostly used “old school” or niche/specialist suppliers for everything as not only was their quality better so was their expertise and service for not that much more in a dollars and cents perspective, and besides cheap isn’t cheap if its of lower quality with service to match.
Our advice is to look past just using the big chains if quality and service matters and really it should.
Step 11: Site Management Tips
If like us, you are site manager and general shit kickers we recommend a daily tidy up of site so that each morning the trades arrive to a clean site. This will encourage all (and believe me some need encouraging) to work in a tidy and clean up after themselves fashion and if nothing else promotes a safe work place while giving you the moral authority to jump on your soap box if necessary re clean working habits!
When and if you have more than one trade on site you will often need to direct traffic, so no one is held up performing their respective tasks. This takes some thinking about and management skills as it is surprising how some can’t think for themselves, in other words if Mr Plumber is complaining that Mr Plasterer is holding him up a suggestion that he might move on to job Y instead of X can often help in this situation, make sure you have job Z at the ready in case Y can’t be started for some other reason.
Always ensure delivery areas are clear when necessary and keep an eye that trades don’t piss your neighbours off by parking inappropriately.
Author: Warren Smith & Vea Johnston (Us), Harley Smith (Son - Thicc Chippie) and Jordy Smith (Son - V.I.P. Fencing Mornington)
Next up in this series - Master Bedroom, Wardrobe and Ensuite Renovation
Clint was very professional. His work is of a high standard. He contacted me when he needed to. Kind and friendly.
- Jeanie F (Fencing Services Coburg)
Great to deal with and great craftsman. Thoroughly recommended.
- Jeremy H (Fencing Services Highett)
Angelo did our fence yesterday. very professional. Highly recommended. Both my neighbour and ourselves are very happy.
- Nancy (Fencing Services Mount Waverley)
Thank you Harley Smith...Once again outstanding high quality work. The deck is spectacular and done in such a timely manner. We highly recommend your services Harley...Quality Nailed indeed!
If you get a bunch of quotes and VIP is one of them, just hire VIP. He responds to questions straight away. He's honest and works with you with quality materials. The best thing is I can compare to the guys that did my other fence and he is miles ahead. The 2 days he did the job were rain days from hell and he just worked through it with a final product better than anyone in the area.
- Matthew S (Fencing Services Mitcham)
Sid recently built our front and side fence. He was fantastic to work with - great communication from day one. Reliable, trustworthy, punctual, and the quality of his work was excellent. Highly recommend.
- LeahC (Fencing Services Ivanhoe)
Warren and Vea have always done an awesome job looking after our garden and lawn maintenance. When they left to pursue further work with V.I.P. franchises, they didn't leave us hanging to find our own replacement gardener. Instead, they replaced and personally introduced Alastar to us as our new gardener. Warren and Vea spoke really highly of Alastar who lived up to those expectations and more. Alastar helped us with our garden for about a year and later on went onto V.I.P. fencing as his new trade. Alastar managed to efficiently and quickly replace us with John, another great V.I.P .worker to help manage and maintain our garden. A few months later, we discovered we were pregnant and decided we needed to change our fence for more privacy. Our fence was a short picket fence and we used to have unwanted telemarketers knocking at our door quite a bit. The fence was also old and worn out, and very much in due for a makeover. We were also worried about our finances and not being able to afford a new fence or what we had envisioned. We knew since Alastar moved onto fencing, we decided we should work with him on this project. We had no hesitation in ringing Alastar as he had helped us heaps in the past with our garden. He would always go beyond for us, and for that we are extremely grateful. My husband and I had no idea what council required or what drawings they needed and Alastar was so kind to us that he went out of his way to find out that information. Alastar is a great communicator. He helped us with fence and security door ideas that would best suit our budget. He seems a very busy man but even tried to get the fence in quickly for us knowing we had our little one and that we had been waiting awhile for council permit approval. Alastar even rang John, our gardener, to discuss the mulch and the trees surrounding the fence, and how much that cost to clear. We had not asked Alastar to ring John, but he went out of his way yet again. We are so appreciative of Alastar and his work ethics, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend him. Alastar even worked while it was raining, and even till the end, communicated everything to us as he worked. Our fence is superb and the workmanship really outstanding! It looks really good and we love it! Thanks Alastar for helping us out and the amazing build you've done for us!"
- Vicki and Ty (Fencing Services Highett)
On time, able to be worked with, reliable and friendly service and advice.
- Colin & Lorraine (Fencing Services Cannington)
Clint did an absolutely brilliant job on our fence, a superb end result which exceeded all of our expectations. He is a hard worker, professional and fastidious in his attention to detail and accuracy. We could not recommend him any higher and if you are looking for someone to build your fence he is your man!! Thanks again Clint!!
- Andrea H (Fencing Services Essendon West)