I have been itching to talk about this, because this is what I have been working on day and night for quite some time. It has been a terrible couple of months, but I am finally starting to get used to my new home. I shouldn’t be complaining, because I am so fortunate, but stress did get the best of me. I wanted to wait to post pictures until we were fully settled, but here is a little preview before the big reveal.
Renovating is tough, there are so many working parts and organization involved. If I could do it all over again, I would use my vacation time and dedicate all of my time to this project. Unfortunately my move/renovation fell in the busiest time of my job, so that was not at all possible.
My New Home
As you can see my new place catered to a very specific taste. Pink kitchen which the previous owners decided to enclose, laminate cabinets, decorative window treatments and of course the beige and army green wall colours.
My First Step
Determining the scope of work was very important, sure the place is liveable but it really wasn’t speaking to me. Ideally I would like to start fresh. I met with contractors to see how far I could stretch my money. The one thing I learned from dealing with contractors is that they are cannot do people. They told me I didn’t have enough money, my timeline was too tight and it cannot be done. Some of them took weeks to send me quotes or didn’t send any at all. I found many of them unprofessional and a complete waste of time. A few of them were annoyed that I hadn’t used their suppliers but when I looked into returning the material I purchased and using their contacts it would just end up costing me more money. All in all, contractors not my thing.
A Tip to Remember: Try to ask for references, having a few references to call will give you a better idea of the type of person you are dealing with.
My Shining Stars
I visited quite a few flooring places. I was seriously considering going with laminate flooring. I had done my research and it is quite durable, they now usually have up to 20 designs so you don’t get a repetitive look and it is very affordable about $1.50 per sq ft. However, if you damage one board you have to redo all the flooring and it is not really considered an upgrade. I had cork in my old apartment, it was nice because it was very soft, but because it was soft it was also easy to damage. I decided engineered was the next best thing. In order to be able to refinish engineered flooring you must have at least 4 mm.
After comparing prices, King of Floors came in at the best price and had exactly what I needed. The sales person was super helpful and they had excellent customer service. They made sure I had everything I needed and let me return everything that I did not end up using.
Helpful tip for installing floors, you must put them in the house a week before so the flooring can adjust to the home before being installed.
The kitchen was something I really didn’t want to keep. Every contractor I spoke to said that I would not enough funds to do the kitchen and the flooring. I went to Ikea, Home Hardware and some independent companies in Vancouver to compare prices. Discount Kitchen & Bath Cabinets had the best pricing and the best value. I was able to get maple cabinets and quartz countertops all within budget.
The After Photos
- Sign up for every single home store mailing list and keep an eye out for deals. Even though it is time consuming it will pay off in the long run.
- Measure, measure, measure and measure again!
- Look for leftovers: I was able to get my marble backsplash for $6 a sq ft because I only had to do a small area and I was able to buy someone else’s leftovers.
- Start a Pinterest board. Sometimes it is hard to see how things will come together, my Pinterest board helped me have everything in one place.
- Leave enough buffer time between tradespeople as you can. Having more time is better than having less time.
- Check in on the project daily: I visited my place every night to make sure everything went well. Quite a bit went wrong, but I was able to catch it in time to make it work.
What I Did Wrong
- When you are renovating time is very valuable, I wasted quite a few days meeting with contractors and going back and forth with them. I should of gone with my gut and worked with the people I had good feelings about in the beginning.
- One thing I learned is that I really had to stand up for myself and be firm. I let my realtor push me around a little bit, and add extra stress to my renovations/move. It is very important to know your limitations and not worry about making other people happy.
- I bought all my materials first which was a deterrent to quite a few tradespeople. If I were to do it all over, I would meet with the tradespeople first and then source out my materials.