Surviving a Whole House Renovation (while living in the house)
You’ve seen the shows and wondered how (and why) someone would want to undergo a whole house renovation and live in the house. For some, it’s merely a convenience. While that sounds odd, as the house is ripped apart, how on earth could that be convenient? If you’ve got kids, having them in their safe space at night is something to consider, for others, it’s proximity to family, hotels, or a kind friend that would allow you, your pets, and your kids to move in for a stay-cation while your house is being transformed. For others, it’s a financial or work-related decision. They’d rather put the money into the renovation vs. a hotel. Whatever the reason, more often than not, our homeowners stay in the house while the facelift takes place.
In this particular home, we started with the kitchen. The homeowner cleared out the kitchen and put everything from the cabinets in an extra bedroom on temporary shelving. She opted not to box up her belongings. She said she wanted access to her kitchen supplies as she intended to set up a make-shift kitchen. Creatively, she used her laundry room to set up a toaster oven, coffee maker, an electric skillet.
A couple of weeks before the remodel started, she prepared ready to cook casserole dishes. She was able to bake them in the toaster oven. Talking with her, the biggest challenge was doing the dishes. While she opted for paper and plastic products for as much as she could, she still had baking dishes to contend with. Her current bathroom sinks are very small so she used the tub to wash and rinse.
Each time she did dishes, she fully scoured the tub. she placed a drying rack in the tub and put the dishes back in the temporary shelving as soon as she was done.
Did we mention dust? Oh yeah, the dust for almost any renovation is unreal. If you’re planning to remove previously laid tile, the mortar and grout removal will create concrete dust, and it goes everywhere, literally everywhere! While our company tarps and plastic sheets as much as possible, it still goes everywhere. You can expect to need a deep cleaning of areas that came in contact with the renovation room.
Dust you say? When removing tile floors, the dust goes everywhere, even when furnishings are covered.
It’s highly recommended that you have HVAC filters on hand if you’re renovation is taking place when the heating/cooling system is on. In the kitchen remodel mentioned above, two filters were used in only a couple of days. We didn’t want extra stress put on the unit so we stayed on top it. When they were changed out, they were full of concrete dust.
Her entire kitchen remodel took from start to finish about 12 days. The longest lead time item is the countertop; waiting on fabrication so that plumbing can be connected. In all, ten days isn’t too bad considering. At the end of the kitchen phase of the whole house project, she will have a gourmet kitchen.
The fun part will be moving back in with ample storage and a home for every small appliance. When asked if she regretted not moving out of the house completely for the renovation, she commented that coming home after a long day at work and seeing the progress was very satisfying.
We've been lucky a few times and been able to time a remodel when a homeowner was scheduled to be out of town. In these cases, they’re able to miss most of the dust and the potential challenges of a hardcore demo day, which can be overwhelming. The noise alone is more than most are prepared for.