Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Move & Reno Updates and Blunders..

We finally made the move! and moving.... is no joke. Funny that I forgot about that from before but this time was different with us both working full time and having another child. Thankfully nanny Rose helped us with all the packing and cleaning etc. ( and that is about all you will hear of the wonderful Nanny Rose, because like my bubs I try to keep their wonderful-ness under wraps so no one tries to steal them :)

The house is still not finished. A lot is done but we moved in with no kitchen or cabinetry and sinks anywhere. Every day lots happens. Ideally another week or 2 would have been perfect but I am happy to not be driving back and forth and living amongst towers of boxes.  The most challenging thing since moving in, has been taking care of the kids with no kitchen and keeping them contained from areas that are not safe yet.

Amazingly, this process has not been the nightmare I expected or that people describe. I attribute that to having a good contractor.   I think it is incredible that everything was done according to schedule, and that we didn't have any bank breaking unexpected issues. He built into his bid some cushion for the things we encountered and to date I think we are about 10K under budget so that is wonderful.

I knew from the start that cabinets and countertops would be in after we moved. I just didn't feel comfortable making those purchases till we closed on the house and Nashville is SO busy with construction right now that the wait time for things is longer.

There have been many times of "OMG are we doing the right thing" I was real sure at first then second guessing everything because we really liked our previous house ( especially the back yard) and it's hard to leave what you love for the unknown. But since we moved in, we have both been so excited and sure that it was the right thing, and truthfully looking around thinking " Is this really ours?"  all the stressful deliberations over materials have come together just how we would have liked. I can not at this time think of any regrets on the choices we made. 

So let's see... a list of what I would do next time/ what we have learned in this process:
- I would pick all materials ahead of time to firm up pricing. ( tile, countertops, carpet, appliances, bath fixtures).  A lot can be lost in translation. I learned this when we did our East Nash house reno. A woman says a vague concept and a man prices the cheapest version of that thing. If you have all the EXACT stuff priced before hand, its much easier.

- I would include EVERYTHING in the contractor bid. I purposely asked him to leave off things like appliances and light fixtures etc. thinking I would just take care of that but it caused me much more stress on the back end and keeping up with receipts and making sure we had the money for those outside of our bid price.

- I hired my own painter because he was about 10K cheaper than other bids, BUT I might regret this. I am not sure yet. It was difficult to control his work since I had to co-ordinate him and the contractor had to co-ordinate everyone else. If the painter messes up someone else work ( hardwood floors) then you have to deal with that and who pays for the  mistakes etc. Things i had not thought through. Our painter ended up being late to the schedule right at the end and working literally 24 hours straight trying to get it all done so it got sloppy at the end. We also had to buy all the paint, and that is really expensive. He didn't have a contractor account for better pricing at the paint stores and all sorts of things I didn't think about. We shall see if he shows up to do his touch up work as he should. 

- I wish I had already chosen all the faucets, light fixtures, door knobs, countertops etc before starting so that when it came time for those I could just pull the trigger. Not knowing what you want slows everything down. Some of that stuff I thought I would just do it later, but then you gotta deal with painting around it and all. So much better to get it done on the front end when there is a team of professionals at your disposal.

- I wish I had given more thought to the bathroom cabinetry. I totally overlooked that and got some pretty basic cabinets ( doors not drawers) , except for this masterpiece below which was comped because of an error with cabinet order. They kindly gave this one to me and it came with a sink and countertop  and is the only sink we have currently so it was a blessing! 

Decisions I am proud of:

The hex marble tile in the master bathroom. I LOVE it. It cost more than the basic tile we used everywhere else but it's worth it.
raising the floor in the living room. I liked the recessed living room and thought it was kind of groovy, but it's dated and dangerous for kids and older folks so it was a good move.
adding a bathroom in a big bedroom closet. I was weary at first thinking it was gonna be a small dinky bathroom, but now that it is done I love it and its super functional and helpful. ( not to mention added value)
adding a gigantic storage closet in the playroom. That room was HUGE and we needed extra storage. I will post pics of it later so that to you guys can see what I mean. We split it into thirds and the last third we closed off and added shelves to make a huge toy closet and its awesome. We also added a homework desk station here and repurposed the old kitchen cabinets and countertops here and added a wall. ( thanks whit for that idea!)
- The hardwood floor color. I struggles here a lot. I wanted a darker color to make it more modern but I didn't want it to be so dark that it showed every little thing and looked dirty all the time. We chose the "jackobean" color and love it. FYI: t shows up lighter in pics than it actually is.
- The mudroom wall back the back door. It is not the full mudroom I would love, but it looks great, is super functional and was an easy low cost addition.

So lots more pics and details coming later but I wanted to get this out while it was still fresh so I can remember next time around.  Feel free to email me any questions you have about details.. 
 I also made  checklist of things to think about /decide on when doing renovations in certain rooms ( baths/kitchens) so I am happy to share that if anyone wants it.

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