The ongoing saga of living with builders

So, as an interior designer, I have worked with many a client, supporting them (consoling them) through the trials and tribulations of an extension project. I possibly didn’t fully appreciate the stress that comes with it, until I’m living through one myself. That is, me, my hard working partner (who’s working days seem to be getting busier and longer, the dirtier and more chaotic the house is becoming!) and my 3 children (who think the dust dirt and general builder banter is the most fun they’ve had since rolling around in muddy puddles wearing school uniform!).

We are only 6 weeks into the build but it is the dirtiest stage so far, with lawns a thing of the past, cement mixers turning constantly, builders up shaky scaffolding (leading me to ask casually about liability insurance) and truck deliveries of all things lumpy.  I wont go into detail about how one of these said truck deliveries wrote off my car whilst parked up on the pavement outside my house. I’ll just put it down to one of those things!

Anyway, I digress. All in all, we are managing to keep sane, the builders are being kept happy with their continuous supply of brews (Tea with 2 of course!), although not your usual builder, our brickie enjoys drinking green tea and listening to the Archers whilst smoking his roll ups. The banter with my 2 boys is keeping us all amused & they seem to have infinite patience, playing along happily on the 50th time of being asked “What you doing Builders?” by my inquisitive 2 year old. As with all builders though, they create a certain level of noise, chaos dust & dirt that cannot be contained. I have since given up on thinking up creative ways of preventing dust from entering the rest of the house. The rolled up Yoga mats by the doors became dusty den havens for the youngest 2 rugrats. 

Only 4 more weeks & we should have the place plastered, ready for the stunning new kitchen units to be installed. I am slightly apprehensive that our lovely new kitchen will favour a technician’s laboratory though; white gloss units, white quartz worktops & white walls but it will keep my food industry hubby happy and safely in his sterile comfort zone. 

The 2 areas of pure excitement to me are a). Having a dedicated utility room with space for a tumble dryer (shush, don’t tell anyone) and b). I can prepare food in the same room as my children will be sitting to eat it. I am hopeful this should successfully reduce the number of food fights and general bad behaviour we get at meal times.  

In all seriousness, building work needs careful project management and a closely monitored budget. Here are a few of my top tips for living through building work:

  • Obtain 3 detailed quotes, each from reputable building firms that preferably come recommended from friends or family
  • Go through each quote in detail. If one is considerably cheaper, check specifications listed. It is likely they’ll have accounted for the lowest cost options available.
  • This leads me to my next tip, don’t scrimp on higher cost areas such as flooring. Low quality materials will cheapen the whole look.
  • Ensure your budget is realistic & keep aside a contingency amount of, say 10% of the total for any unforeseen issues. 
  • Shop around yourself for high cost elements of the build (i.e. Bifold Doors, Aluminium windows). Don’t assume your Builder can obtain the best prices from suppliers.
  • Depending on the size & scope of the build, it is often beneficial to involve an architect who will be able to ensure the design of the build suits you and your family’s needs most effectively.
  • Ask for a contract / payment plan and a timed project plan from the builder / project manager before building work commences.
  • Keep an ongoing spreadsheet / log of costs
  • Ensure whomever is project managing the build from the client side is easily available by phone or in person to answer any building related questions / queries promptly to avoid any hold ups or decisions being made that aren’t in line with your expectations. Be on site for the final phase to ensure finishing touches are to your satisfaction.

Having an extension or large scale renovation can be a stressful process, particularly if you’re having to live in the house whilst the building works are going on. If you would prefer to hand the running of the project over to someone else, the team at Ava Rose Interiors have plenty of experience in this area and can help to reduce the overall stress caused. Happy to help with anything from burning questions to a full service.

Lots of Love

Jane

BEFORE
DURING
AFTER

The ongoing saga of living with builders, 2018

So, as an interior designer, I have worked with many a client, supporting them (consoling them) through the trials and tribulations of an extension project. I possibly didn’t fully appreciate the stress that comes with it, until I’m living through one myself. That is, me, my hard working partner (who’s working days seem to be getting busier and longer, the dirtier and more chaotic the house is becoming!) and my 3 children (who think the dust dirt and general builder banter is the most fun they’ve had since rolling around in muddy puddles wearing school uniform!).

We are only 6 weeks into the build but it is the dirtiest stage so far, with lawns a thing of the past, cement mixers turning constantly, builders up shaky scaffolding (leading me to ask casually about liability insurance) and truck deliveries of all things lumpy.  I wont go into detail about how one of these said truck deliveries wrote off my car whilst parked up on the pavement outside my house. I’ll just put it down to one of those things!

Anyway, I digress. All in all, we are managing to keep sane, the builders are being kept happy with their continuous supply of brews (Tea with 2 of course!), although not your usual builder, our brickie enjoys drinking green tea and listening to the Archers whilst smoking his roll ups. The banter with my 2 boys is keeping us all amused & they seem to have infinite patience, playing along happily on the 50th time of being asked “What you doing Builders?” by my inquisitive 2 year old. As with all builders though, they create a certain level of noise, chaos dust & dirt that cannot be contained. I have since given up on thinking up creative ways of preventing dust from entering the rest of the house. The rolled up Yoga mats by the doors became dusty den havens for the youngest 2 rugrats. 

Only 4 more weeks & we should have the place plastered, ready for the stunning new kitchen units to be installed. I am slightly apprehensive that our lovely new kitchen will favour a technician’s laboratory though; white gloss units, white quartz worktops & white walls but it will keep my food industry hubby happy and safely in his sterile comfort zone. 

The 2 areas of pure excitement to me are a). Having a dedicated utility room with space for a tumble dryer (shush, don’t tell anyone) and b). I can prepare food in the same room as my children will be sitting to eat it. I am hopeful this should successfully reduce the number of food fights and general bad behaviour we get at meal times.  

In all seriousness, building work needs careful project management and a closely monitored budget. Here are a few of my top tips for living through building work:

  • Obtain 3 detailed quotes, each from reputable building firms that preferably come recommended from friends or family
  • Go through each quote in detail. If one is considerably cheaper, check specifications listed. It is likely they’ll have accounted for the lowest cost options available.
  • This leads me to my next tip, don’t scrimp on higher cost areas such as flooring. Low quality materials will cheapen the whole look.

  

  • Ensure your budget is realistic & keep aside a contingency amount of, say 10% of the total for any unforeseen issues. 
  • Shop around yourself for high cost elements of the build (i.e. Bifold Doors, Aluminium windows). Don’t assume your Builder can obtain the best prices from suppliers.
  • Depending on the size & scope of the build, it is often beneficial to involve an architect who will be able to ensure the design of the build suits you and your family’s needs most effectively.
  • Ask for a contract / payment plan and a timed project plan from the builder / project manager before building work commences.
  • Keep an ongoing spreadsheet / log of costs
  • Ensure whomever is project managing the build from the client side is easily available by phone or in person to answer any building related questions / queries promptly to avoid any hold ups or decisions being made that aren’t in line with your expectations. Be on site for the final phase to ensure finishing touches are to your satisfaction.

Having an extension or large scale renovation can be a stressful process, particularly if you’re having to live in the house whilst the building works are going on. If you would prefer to hand the running of the project over to someone else, the team at Ava Rose Interiors have plenty of experience in this area and can help to reduce the overall stress caused. Happy to help with anything from burning questions to a full service.

Lots of Love

Jane

BEFORE

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DURING

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AFTER