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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Surviving a 1956 whole house DIY reno, on a VERY TIGHT shoestring budget

Here's what we've learned so far:

1.  We are certifiably insane, but many of our *MY* friends, already knew and know this
2.  Ask for help, when truly needed, it will always be given, usually for free, however bartering is worth it's weight in Gold
3.  Keep the communication flowing, not the dishes flying
4.  Multi-Task Projects, as many as possible
5.  Set up "Zones".
     A. First Zone? A pathway through the chaos, helps to prevent 'accidents' in the dark, that could put you out of commission for who knows how long. And downtime is NOT an option. :)
     B. Second Zone? A place to prep and eat. It's OK to cook in 1 pan and eat out of it! Pretend like you're on a Reality Roughing It Camping Show!
     C. Third Zone? The bedroom. Just say NO to boxes etc. in there...For NOW. This little space is your link to each other and staying sane.
6.  Take a LOT of Before, During, & After Pictures. Then look at them often. It's surprising just how far & how fast things progress. Totally an adrenaline rush to keep pushing on!
7.  Never let anyone over to "SEE" how you're doing. For one thing, they may get injured, for another.....well let's just say, they can wait to see the Before, During and After Pictures and THEN come over for the Final Reveal. Meet them at their house instead!
8.  When things go wrong, and they will! Just sit down, laugh it off and get back on that Pony!
9.  Put the Credit Cards in the Safety Deposit Box, or in some water and freeze those bad boys.  You'll learn to become an extremely thrifty shopper and think outside of the box.
10. If you have a resale #/Tax ID, USE IT! It will save you TONS of $$
11. Check your homeowners insurance policy and make sure you have enough liability. Just in case you have "help". The last thing you want is to get sued by someone who is "helping" you.
Try to stay positive, no matter what anyone tells you on anything you're doing. Some folks are just Negative Passive Aggressive People and Naysayers. But? They could be in therapy and 'working on it' and after all, they are your friends and noone is perfect. So just roll with it!
OH, and try not to drink too much. It really cuts into the Production Workday *-)


  1. We too are in the same boat as yourself, except we are doing it in the country. I agree with some of your points. I tend not to invite people over, many come to look - want to come often to compare, but do not help. Rather, they hinder our work by wanting to be entertained. Being gracious, we stop and entertain. But - we no longer just give out invitations to our home. Yes, too dangerous. More so, I an not keen on those who pass judgement on progress without pitching in. All the best to your and yours. It is a true test of marriage!! S. Grant-Suttie

  2. Here is my cabinet story. I took a month to decide the cabinets for kitchen and bathrooms. Ordered in Nov. Please, I prayed, let me have them before Christmas! Nope. Arrived in March. Meanwhile I ordered sinks and taps. Please, I prayed, let them arrive at the same time. Ordered in March. Nope, back ordered, arrived in May. April I ordered the counter tops. Please, I prayed - since I am choosing what is on site - this should come together in one weekend with help! What was I thinking!? What was in the gallery was not out in the 'bone yard'. Silly me. I took a day to pick the counter tops. Ok - come on out! Nope, since I am doing this as cheaply as possible with high end choices, I have to wait for another appointment nearby - most likely in two weeks. Ok....Remember I started this in November? I have patience - in face I might change my middle name to Saint! And I am sitting in my house with half done bathrooms and a small but functional ripped apart kitchen - and have for a couple of years now...I don't invite people over for a reason. But when I am done - Man!! Am I going to brag!! SGS