5 of my current favourite home renovators on Instagram.... Their before & afters and top tips!
2019 is going to be a busy year for us, we’ve taken the plunge and bought our next renovation property! It’ll be our fourth big renovation to date and I’ve told my husband our last!… Believe that you’ll believe anything!…. We’ve been in our current home for four and a half years and in that time have carried out ground and first floor extensions creating a kitchen diner and three new bedrooms as well as totally changing the downstairs layout, along with totally renovating and updating throughout. You would think it would now be time to sit back and relax, but no, another great renovation opportunity has come up in the same village and we decided it’s too good to miss, so we’ve sold our finished house and are jumping back on the reno bandwagon…. Here we go again!
In March last year I did a post on our kitchen extension, which you can read HERE, and in the coming months I’ll be sharing more on what we’ve done in our current home and revealing the new one and our plans!….. I follow many renovators on Instagram and will be using both Instagram and Pinterest as inspiration for our next home. I thought it was only right then to share some of these fabulous renovators and their top tips with you too….. This is the first of these features and I’ll be bringing you five more inspiring renovators next month…..
Abby - @renovating_no_24
Abby is renovating her Edwardian home in London and is just finishing off a fabulous kitchen extension…..
Abby says; I would say we were pretty naive when we started the project, so our biggest learning is that nothing ever goes to plan. Ever. It's so important to be on site as much as physically possible. I've lost count of the number of times I would come home from work and find things had been done or decision made that I didn't like (the sort of things most people probably wouldn't notice but someone as anal as me would agonise over!) Secondly, it is bloody hard work - mentally and physically. It felt like a long time and a lot of money demolishing and digging down before we actually started to see any tangible progress. Despite all that, it has to be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done, and as everyone says, is worth it in the end.
1. Take more before photos. In my haste, I didn't before we started knocking things down and now massively regret it.
2. Don't stress about the details too much. I nearly had a hernia over the fascia board the builder used because it wasn't matte and I can honestly say I haven't given it a second thought since.
3. Try to spend time in the space first so that you get a feel for how you want to use it. Marking out the kitchen counter, island and table was the best thing we could have done to get the proportions right.
4. Splurge on the things that make the difference. We scrimped and saved on the kitchen with units from Howdens and made our own door fronts, which meant we could blow the budget on the marble tops.
Michaela - @theoldpiggery_
Michaela’s home in Surrey is an old pig farm which they have totally renovated over the last few years…. Here are the stages of her gorgeous kitchen renovation……
Our renovation has been a mixed bag of massive highs like the copper bath, the tiles arriving safely from Morocco, and huge lows, the roof being taken off in winter and us having to live with rain coming in!! We massively ran out of money which was partly due to us doing way more than we originally thought we would and the fact that our builder who did the extension shell totally ripped us off!
If I was going to do it again I definitely wouldn’t live in it at the same time. We had to for financial reasons but it definitely adds an extra stress level, it also makes it much harder as your for ever making sure that you have the essentials to be able to live like running water!! I think that one of my recommendations is make a spreadsheet for everything. Get loads of quotes. Start a Pinterest board for each room. Our style and plan for each room stayed very similar to our original plan, although we did add more interesting features and travelled all over to source wonderful items. Every holiday we took we brought something back for our home!! Finally, take loads of photos and videos because you forget how much it changes!! It’s so wonderful looking back.
Clare - @renovation_wreck
Clare decided to make the move from London to Suffolk and bought a ‘Victorian wreck’ to renovate. She has just finished her fantastic kitchen extension……
1. Visuals - Collecting together visuals is key, not only for the finishing touches but for the important details that come before painting and decorating - for explaining to builders and structural engineers etc, what it is you’re trying to achieve. An example of this with our build was the exposed steels in the kitchen - the structural engineer had never seen them on display in a kitchen before and being able to show him an image that I’d researched previously was perfect and it left no room for misinterpretation. When we sent the plans over to the builders, I also sent load of visuals too so they started to get an idea early on, of my style and what I was looking to achieve with the house.
2. Timeline - If you’re projecting managing a build and are sourcing the fixtures and fittings, a really helpful thing is to get a timeline nailed down with your builders early on. Of course, there will inevitably be delays but having a timeline means you’re better able to organise purchases and deliveries to arrive at a suitable time - so hopefully you won’t find yourself being asked by the builder for something you’ve not yet ordered and turns out it takes weeks to deliver, and on the flip side aren’t storing fragile goods on a building site that have come months too early.
3. Contingency - There’s one simple rule here, have one! Ideally make it as big as possible because you WILL go over budget and if, if you somehow manage not too then you’ve got a brilliant fund for a holiday to destress at the end of the project - In fact better still, try and factor a holiday in to the budget!
Natasha - @pebbles_and_peanuts
Natasha is renovating a Victorian house in London…... She is currently coming to the end of her beautiful Kitchen extension…..
What I’ve learned;
1. Plan plan plan! The more you design/plan the finishes/layout/electrics and lighting
BEFORE you start means the project is more likely to run to schedule (and budget) and your builder/electrician/plumber will love you for it (plus not pester you ALL the time.)
2. Have a contingency plan for if the project does overrun in terms of budget and time. Something unforeseen ALWAYS seems to crop up along the way.…
3. Grit your teeth during the hard times and keep remembering WHY you’re doing it!!! It does get very tough, but when you’re living in the finished space it will always be worth it! Keep looking at photos and remember how far you’ve come.
1. Go with your gut instinct when it comes to decision making; go with the choice that EXCITES you!
2. Worth spending a bit extra (save up!) on the biggies: flooring, windows/doors and kitchen worktops
3. You can always make savings/buy things gradually on smaller items that finish the space like lighting, soft furnishings, art etc.… But DO remember to add these as they are so important to making a space come alive.
4. If you can, lay out the key pieces of furniture and kitchen units on the floor of the space (possibly with masking tape or cardboard boxes) when figuring out where/if you can have an island or where your table/chairs/sofa etc will go
1.. When designing your kitchen think about where your sink is... it’s always nice to have a good view when you’re washing up! Even though we have a dishwasher I always seem to be rinsing/washing something or other for the children!
2.. If you POSSIBLY can, try to have a separate area for the laundry - ideally a utility room, but if not a separate ‘zone’ - or even upstairs in a bathroom can work (Americans do this a lot apparently!)
3. Consider where your cupboards for your cutlery and crockery are in relation to your dishwasher…. Seems obvious but easy to overlook and will drive you NUTS.
4. Go and check out appliances in person before you buy, some of them just look and FEEL better than others.
Deborah - @deborahvos
Even though the previous four renovators have been all about the kitchens, I just couldn’t do my first favourite renovators post without including the fabulous Deborah Vos…. Deborah totally renovated her home in London and has recently also finished a new build home in Devon….
What I've learnt whist doing renovations are:
1) You can create a big impact quickly with paint.
2) Preparing a mood board first really helps bring a room together.
3) If you are slapdash like me, and don't do any rubbing down, especially on woodwork, then you will learn that it is actually better to, if you have the patience, which I don't.
1) If you have to repaint a wall that is dark and you want it to be lighter, then buy a cheap mid grey paint and use that first. This blocks out the dark colour and saves you having to do at least three coats of paint. This also works in reverse as well.
2) If you want a really rich pigmented paint that looks fantastic; especially if you are going for a darker shade, then go for the better brands. I will only use Little Greene or Paint and Paper Library (same company actually) as the quality is second to none. Forget Farrow & Ball in my opinion as it's like dishwater in comparison, and maybe if you are sold on one of their colours, then get it copied by Leyland (best cheaper paint out there at the mo).
3) Explore your local charity shops for those one off finds that can't be copied, as this brings a uniqueness to you home at a very cheap price.....just always pop in on the off chance if you're passing. I've found some of my most treasured items from this source.
4) Go with your heart, and what makes YOU really happy, not what's on trend. Keep expensive items like sofa's and beds relatively neutral so they stand the test of time, and you can accessorise each year with new cushions and accessories to breath new life into a room.
So there we have it, so many great tips and so much inspiration! If you have a favourite reno account on Instagram that you think I should be including in my next ‘Favourite five’ do let me know in the comments…..
Thanks, as always, for reading!