Preparing for a Renovation
When it comes to a large scale renovation of an important room in the house, such as a kitchen or bathroom, it is important to remember that you will not be able to use that room for the next few days or even weeks while renovations are taking place. It may seem like common sense, but in reality many people do not seem to realise how long full scale renovations actually take, particularly if you are making home improvements like knocking down or building a wall, or re-flooring a room.
So after giving it a lot of thought, you’ve chosen your new perfect kitchen complete with appliances, finishes and lighting all specifically designed to suit your individual needs. There are a variety of other things that you need to think about and prepare for when renovating your kitchen and it is important to take these things into account when starting a renovation job, otherwise you may end up in a sticky situation where you may have to move back in with your parents for a while!
Always check whether you need planning permission or anything else before you undergo any renovations. Although everything may look well in your home, changing just the simplest of things could have a negative effect on your home and possibly the homes around you, so check through the plans before beginning renovations.
If your kitchen wall is a ‘Party Wall’ then you will have to receive permission from your neighbours should you choose to do anything with that wall. This includes putting wiring and cabling within the wall.
Furnishings and Fittings
Regardless of the size of the renovation project it is best to remove all wall fittings and furnishings as well as any fragile souvenirs from your kitchen walls and the adjoining walls so that they don’t fall off or become damaged during the renovation process. If your kitchen wall is a connecting wall, you may need to move furniture away from the wall on the other side to be doubly safe.
Furthermore to ensure the safety of your belongings, you should wrap them up and keep them off the renovation site, preferably in the attic or in one of the lesser used rooms. If you are worried about renovators regularly traipsing through your home, place down newspapers or rubber mats to prevent them from slipping, and you can always move valuables upstairs or to an unused room if you are concerned.
It isn’t so much of a big deal if your renovation only lasts a day or two, but for large scale whole kitchen renovations, you’re going to need to have at least some resemblance of a meal plan. Although having takeaway every night may sound incredibly appealing, chances are you’re not a student anymore and whatever takeaway money you have would be better spent on bills and probably the renovation itself!
Make a day to day meal plan of what you want to have in the time leading up to the renovation, then simply cook the meals in advance and then freeze them in plastic containers, ready to be heated up in the microwave when you plan to eat them.
Or you can always go for the ‘microwaved meals’ option if you want to skip the preparation. Pot noodles and cup-a -soups also work in a pinch, but they might get rather tedious if your kitchen is out of commission for a few weeks! If you have a relative living close by, you could always ask a favour of them in the use of their kitchen if you’re absolutely desperate for a home-cooked meal.
Make a list of every appliance you know for certain that you or your family use daily. Things like the kettle and the microwave are obvious, but maybe you often use or need a blender for some of your cooking. Try not to be too picky; you’ll be able to live on limited food choices for at least a few days.
For all other appliances, wrap them up and put them in boxes neatly labelled ‘kitchen’. Put these out of the way of the renovations in a spare room or the attic, as you don’t want builders or family members tripping over a box of heavy cutlery accidentally for example, as they can cause injury.
Buy disposable cutlery and plates so that you don’t end up dirtying your crockery with no easy way to clean it again. You can always try and clean your plates in the bathroom, but disposable items are best if you don’t want piles of dishes stacking themselves up by the toilet!
It is always good to have an estimated time period for home renovations regardless of how complicated or large the job is. Consult with your contractor or interior designer to ascertain the amount of time they estimate the job will take, and agree with them on a final ‘completion’ date. This way you will be able to prepare more for the days and possibly weeks ahead.
This is particularly important when it is an important room in the house being renovated. For the kitchen, you’ll need to prepare all your meals ahead of time, or at least set a hefty budget to one side for eating takeaway the whole time.
Setting an estimated time period is also a good way to ensure that you aren’t scammed or charged more than you should be for the work done. There are a number of useful home renovation forums which will give you advice on how long to expect a renovation to continue; if your renovation seems to have taken much less time than originally stated, or they seem to be taking far longer, there may be something wrong or you may have fallen prey to cowboy builders. Make sure to double check everything and get the times and dates confirmed in writing!
Carrie Markers is an interior designer interested in finding the affordable solutions available to transform homes and breathe life into tired rooms. She often writes on her finds on behalf of Furnished by Anna.