Hard lessons learned from 6 months of home renovation

by - 2/09/2023


Top post on BlogchatterEven if you are not into interiors or decor or even are a nomad, you should still read this post! Because fellas, home is something we all end up coming back to; no matter the stage of life!

PS These pictures had been taken during Christmas time; hence the big Xmas tree. Our living room looks like this now.

Also, the home is a forever, dynamic project. The improvements never really cease. So we should be try to be content with the present.

I have been into home decoration as long as I remember. I guess I was eight years old when I started cutting out pictures of beautiful homes from magazines and newspapers. Decorating my room or other rooms of our home had always been a passion project of mine. We have moved a considerable number of times during my childhood; and thrice after I actually started understanding the concept of decoration.

When I was a teenager, there would be a lot of conflict of interests between me and my mom over decor stuff. I used to be attracted to tiny trinkets and vignettes because let's face it, I was not concerned with their upkeep! Dusting and maintenance did not exist in my dictionary! Now as I have grown up (and totally a home decor enthusiast, I know the challenges of maintaining small baubles. Now I don't even buy small souvenirs from abroad. It's either a significant piece (read a big Turkish lamp from Istanbul, huge masks from Bali, Sri lanka, Venice, wooden chest from Mauritius etc) for which we end up paying extra on the plane or just settle with photographs and magnets. I have become a minimalist (not in terms of the number of stuff but in terms of decor items) just for the ease of the upkeep of our abode.

Long story short, it's been a long journey and I finally got my very own place style in 2017, when we bought our present home. I was not even thirty and totally naive in terms of being a home owner or having a significant style.  The home was fully functional but the fittings were dated. The wooden fixtures were not of my taste but tearing down  those fully functional cabinets and closets would have been an utter cause of wastage and expenditure. Neither we had the money to do so.

I am a full blown advocate of sustainability. 

However after 6 years of living which included 2 full years of sheltering in of 6 individuals; sans any maintenance; rendered this place of some serious repair. So I though why not combine some renovation works along with the repairs and fulfil my long lost dream of renovating the house? However little I knew what mammoth challenges I would have to face during this process.

So here I am, sharing my two words of wisdom; learned the hard way.

1. Shift to another place if it's possible financially and logistically.

Sitting amidst the chaos and dirt and debris with the workers constantly coming to you for consent and other stuff is truly painstaking. You are simply paralysed during that period; you can neither nap nor shower, forget working from home. 

While shifting to a cleaner home seems tempting, It's a humungous task to empty the entire home, settle somewhere else and then again pack up and come back. Also, you have to constantly supervise (if you are a control freak like me) so that too has to be considered. And the additional expenses are impossible for most of us. 

So we chose to stay back, husband and kids returning in the evening and me braving each day, everyday, for 6 months.

2. Be prepared for collateral damage. 

No one told me how much fully functioning stuff (some my favourites even) would get damaged during this process. This happens partly because the workers are careless and partly because it's unavoidable. For example, while changing the door frames of the bathrooms, all the tiles broke. Although it caused so much extra expenditure (new tiles+labour), it could not have been avoided.

However breaking of decorative materials while moving furniture, breaking of furniture legs, scratches in existing stuff; these all are avoidable but inevitable given the careless nature of workers. We have a couple of broken mirrors, scratched surfaces of cupboards and chipped tiles.

I am the saddest about my dying green babies, for which the painters are responsible.

3. Try to avoid demolition of existing framework.

Our flat had been constructed 20 years ago. That means it's quite dated and old fashioned. Many people in our society have been tearing down the walls and making new eruptions; rendering weakening of the building. I highly condemn such actions. I totally believe in making new things out of the old; not in getting rid of the old. If every one begins to demolish the pillars and reconstruct, one day the entire building would come crashing down.

4. Always add more time to the expected period.

When we started, we were told that it would get over in two months. That got stretched; partly because of the nature of the project, partly because of the weather and partly because of personal reasons. In all, it took full six months to get the house completely done. And I am not including the time after that ; which I spent reorganizing and tidying up.

5. Be very clear about your intentions.

You must have a clear picture in your mind as to what you want. Prepare mood boards. If you can't, hire help. It will save you tonnes of time and money in the long run.

I am a pretty determined person when it comes to choices. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted. I was dreaming of a coastal theme/ resort like look for our home.

White and green is my favourite combo ever. So I got the living room walls painted in a shade of moody, spinach green. However, the colour looked too bright for my choice. Paints can be really pricey and not to forget the manpower charges. After 3 whole days when the room was finally done, I realized that green was simply not working.

We got the newly painted room repainted in a shade of dark blue (Blue Dome of Santorini shade) which I had always loved; but did not go forward with.

6. It's never too late to make changes.

Changing the decided course of plan may add on some really bad expenses; but it's priceless in the long run. Example 1: Repainting the living room walls cost a tonne of extra time and money, but the satisfaction is priceless. Similarly, the look of the doors which I had chosen earlier looked good in the catalogue but looked too plain in real life. The raw materials had already been purchased for all the doors and four doors were completed in that plain look.

I was in big dilemma but finally mastered the courage to ask the contractor to change the look for the next set of doors. I am so glad that I did! It definitely cost us extra but the happiness I get from looking at the 'not so plain ones' are so worth! Not to forget, people who have come to our house have always raved how beautiful the doors look; even my mom; who never ever compliments and is really hard to please!

To conclude, the past 6 months have been intensely grueling for me and my family; both physically and mentally but this is truly a labour of love.

If if you have waiting to take the plunge, go for it! The end result is absolutely divine!

This blog post is part of the blog challenge Blogaberry Dazzle hosted by Cindy DSilva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Mads' Cookhouse.

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  1. Renovations can be a bit of a handful.
    Nice information. Thank you for taking your time to share with us.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  2. It can be really tough when your getting your house renovated. We would prefer to shift elsewhere to cut down on the hassles, but this may not be always possible or practical. Sandy N Vyjay

  3. Renovations are hard, time consuming but the results in the end are everlasting. And yours one looks beautiful.

  4. Such important lessons. Renovation is difficult and hard and as you said if its possible, it is better to move to a different place. My mother made some renovations to her home a few years ago and we had such tough time managing the work by being in the same house.

  5. Oh how I resonate with this. My house renovation took a years time and how maddening it was. From loosing stuff in shifting to damage and last-minute change in design because we didn't like the outcome. It was the most hectic one year of my life.

  6. I know what you mean renovating is not easy doll but the results are amazing

  7. Bedabrata Chakraborty27 February 2023 at 09:52

    Renovations can be frustrating. But looking at the final result I am sure you realise it was worth all the effort. The colourful walls have my heart 💓

  8. Renovation is no joke and ur heads up is definitely gonna be useful to alot out here.

  9. Love the interiors Mandira n so good that u took the leap. The tips you've given are really helpful n the pics are beautiful. The house looks serene and full of positivity... n the trunk as a centre table is great👍

  10. A labour of love indeed if you are living in the same house and getting it renovated. I can so relate to the green paint episode.Even I got one wall green and it was too much but I stuck with it. The other walls were ivory. All's well that ends well. Congratulations on your new home.

  11. I'm so much in love with your house...I can keep looking at the pics forever. That apart, the tips are really useful. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Very useful tips. I have also realised that over the years, it's futile to waste money on small pieces, which will ultimately get thrown out. Minimalist and quality, that's what makes a bright home that you can maintain for years.

  13. First of all, lovely home. I guess any kind of renovation should be well planned logistically and financially. It's very rare that you'll end up doing what you initially just planned on renovating only. There's always this unexpected things that would come up eventually and you just need to face it with a lot of patience and trust that you'll end up with a newly renovated home you've always wanted. Great points highlighted!-MommyWithAGoal

  14. We recently renovated my dad's place and thankfully he had another flat in the same building where he could shift for that time. It was total chaos and me and my dad both went crazy. I loved what you have done with your home. The color shades are very soothing. Great Job!

  15. Renovation is absolutely no joke. Been there done that. I loved your tips on reuse, recycling, and sustainable options whilst redecorating. PS: The place is looking lovely and I love the 'Blue'.

  16. Such a beautiful home. There are so many things going on at the time of renovation. Not everything is in our hands. It all adds up. You are absolutely right. The basic framework and the pillars should not be touched when renovating an apartment.

  17. Interior decoration is an art and very few can master it. I am happy to know that you have a brilliant taste of interior decoration and understand this art form the core. A home is the nest which gives us that secured and happy feeling which no expensive hotel room cannot give. A well decorated home gives a cozy and happy feeling which is must for a relaxing mood when you head back home after a hectic day. Thanks for this brilliant post and I also loved your love for sustainability.

  18. Renovation is Headache. You should have patience to deal it. Beautiful decor Mandira. I like your dining area and blueish curtains and the shoe cupboard. Love to come at your house to see it. Lovely and it shows how much hardwork behind this.

  19. I have a kind of passion in journalling or sorts of decoration purposes. I really love to engage myself in productive work. I literally could connect to the part where you told that your mother and you had differences of opinions in the decor stuffs. Also, my mother always says that nothing needs a perfect time to do something repainting walls you told gives an another level satisfaction.

  20. I too have been into renovating my house recently. It was such a pain with kids around and work along with cleaning and rearranging. They seem to be pretty helpful points.

  21. It takes a keen eye for detail and a natural sense of style to create beautiful and cohesive spaces that reflect the personality and needs of the individuals who will inhabit them. You have really mastered it. it's looking beautiful 🤗

  22. You home looks so inviting. Loved the way you set it up. As much fun home renovation is, it does need patience and lots of it. But the end result is well worth it.

  23. Thank you for sharing your hard-earned wisdom on home renovation. Your journey and experiences are relatable, especially for those of us who have gone through the chaos and stress of a home renovation.

    Your first point on shifting to another place during the renovation is spot-on. It's always tempting to stay put and oversee the project, but it's not always feasible or advisable. It's better to find alternative accommodation, even if it's just for the duration of the renovation.

    I also appreciate your emphasis on sustainability and avoiding demolition of existing framework. It's important to preserve what we have and build on it, rather than tear it all down and start afresh.

    Lastly, your advice on being clear about our intentions is crucial. We should know what we want and communicate it effectively to the contractors. Mood boards and visual aids can go a long way in helping us achieve the desired outcome.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and lessons learned. I'm sure many homeowners will benefit from your wisdom.

  24. My brother is an architect cum interior designer and, as we are planning a renovation, his guidelines include pretty much everything you've stated above. Totally advocate the moving to another place tip, if it is possible that is. Even though the packing and unpacking is cumbersome, it is still a more comfortable solution. Loved the pictures you've shared; totally going to be using them for inspiration.

  25. Renovating a home you're living in involves a whole lot of toil and discomfort. These are wise words to learn from someone who has gone through it all personally. The cute trinkets in your home are just lovely!

  26. Love the interiors Mandira and it's good that u took the leap. The tips you shared are really useful and really glad that you finally did it. I loved your living room decoration. It looks so classy yet comfy. Amazing..

  27. Well, I can relate to your post very well. Renovating a house is a grueling task that requires our mental and physical presence. And six months is a long time to balance your sanity. But I must say, your choice is impeccable. The house looks perfect.

  28. Wonderful that you are an advocate of sustainable living. The green babies actually gives us pleasant home and oxygen also and I found you covered the points of home renovation in detail.

  29. The last time I was part of such a major home renovation was in my teens when my parents broke down the family house to make it into a set of builder flats. We had to obviously move out for a year while the project was completed. It's a tough time but creatively very satisfying for the person doing the interiors - which in that case was my mother!

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  31. Renovating your home can be quite a journey, and I learned it the hard way too. If you're in the Philippines and looking for insights into house renovation cost in the Philippines, Top Notch Construction has got you covered. Their blog post provides valuable lessons and helpful tips to navigate your renovation project successfully. Check it out at House Renovation Cost in the Philippines. Take the first step towards transforming your home by reaching out to their team today!

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