It seems like every corner of Berlin has a crane or a construction site going on or someone I know is renovating part, or all of their home. Who hasn’t wandered about their place and thought about making changes?
If you plan to renovate and have the possibility (luxury) of living off site during the works you‘ll be undisturbed while it’s going on. However, if, like us, you’re planning to live through the renos, be prepared for some upheaval.
Friends recently realised a long standing wish to renovate the top floor of their house into a master bedroom, en suite bathroom and dressing area to accomodate their growing family. What was supposed to last three months is now stretching to five months because of delayed and faulty deliveries. When I asked for her thoughts for this article she said, “It’s really difficult for anyone who is a perfectionist – nothing is perfect! Get used to the fact that it’s dirty, untidy and not very organised… ”
We have recently started a renovation of our kitchen (more on that in a future post) which is happening while we live here.
Knowing what was coming, I started well in advance sorting through items and giving away, recycling and donating as much as possible to make space. The rest was packed up and stored away with the most important items stored in clear tubs that were easly accessable but protected from the dust.
It can be frustrating of course but with some planning, preparation and forethought, living with a reno can be made bearable. If you also work from home, it’s even more important to ensure you have a (flexible!) plan in place to continue with a daily routine. Here are some tips to help you get through.
Tips for surviving:
- When possible, ask your interior designer, architect, or the tradespeople responsible to have a temporary construction wall built to minimise the spread of dust.
- Protect floors with heavy duty covers that can be secured, vacuumed and cleaned when work is not going on.
- Be realistic about the schedule and your tolerance levels. There is a big difference between a few months and and a few years.
- Flexibility is key – although you should expect quality work to be done, this is not the time to be a perfectionist about every little detail.
- Try to simplify your daily routines during the reno.
- Living with a renovation is not for everyone – the chaos, dirt, having strangers in your home and general upheaval can be too much for some. That dream kitchen or bathroom might not be worth the hassle so be honest about what you can handle.
- Expect the unexpected: have some reserve for extra expenses.
- Things can look different in reality than in catalogues or online– be positive. It might even turn out better than you think!
- Expect problems and issues to crop up but know there is always a solution.
- Living with a reno for a longer period? Get away once and awhile. Go have some fun! A change of scenery gives you some breathing space and a whole new perspective.
- Keep your eye on the prize – in the end you’ll have hopefully forgotten the chaos and have a gorgeous, new space to enjoy.