Want to test your sanity, marriage, friendships, and your budgeting skills all at once????
Want to star in your own soap opera or reality show????
Want to rip out a room that you have hated for years in your home and start fresh without the help of a contractor????
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need your head examined. Seriously, not kidding, you need to seek professional help! I should know. I said yes and it so happens that I am receiving professional help. OK so my professional help happens to be for my PTSD, but there is no need to split hairs here!!!
What I am talking about is choosing to do a HUGE remodeling project where you do NOT hire a licensed contractor or professional carpenters and instead decide that you and a group of friends are capable of doing it all on your own with insane, unreal, expectations that you thought were sane and legit. Where you laid out all these great plans and then threw them out the window in a momentary lapse of what can only be described as brilliant stupidity. Those are the people that I am talking to.
Please…. tell me you exist and that we are not alone in our stupidity????
This post is for those INSANE DIYers out there. You know who you are. Yea, the ones who think it will take an 1/8 of the time, 1/4 of the budget, and your house will magically stay spotless and you will know exactly where everything is at all times. For those that gather around a table talking about the plans you spent a mere 4 hours putting together, planning it all down to the last detail, and then saying screw it all and begin a couple of weeks early with NO preparation in a moment of….I have no idea…. Sheer stupidity????
Noticing a common trend here? We are.
This post is also for anyone that just wants a good laugh at our expense. It’s OK. You can laugh! Trust me, we have done lots of laughing, crying, cursing, and inevitably fighting. What is a good revamp without some blood mixed in too.
Blood, sweat, and tears. All literal.
Still waiting…..ANYONE????? PLEASE????? Tell me we are NOT the only people that have done this???
In all honesty, nearly 12% of married couples end up in divorce court while doing home renovations. Trust me, I get it! Tensions are high, time frames are never met, budgets get blown, what you planned ultimately gets changed in one way or another. It is stress to the max!
I can say that this is not for the faint of heart. I have actually had issues with my heart over this. Not to mention my PTSD has flared to all new heights with this project.
In case you have not been paying attention to my blog, we are remodeling (I prefer calling it revamping) my kitchen. We took it down to the drywall. Floors too.
You should check out the post if you have not already….read it here…..we will wait for you.
See, I told you we would wait….
What lessons have I learned? Many I can honestly say. So, I decided to do what I LOVE to do and blog it for you….EVEN THE UGLY STUFF!
REMODEL YOUR KITCHEN THEY SAID…..
IT WILL BE FUN THEY SAID…..
WE WILL KEEP IT CHEAP THEY SAID…..
IT WILL ONLY TAKE 72 HOURS TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE REMODEL THEY SAID….
It will only take 72 hours to complete the remodel from beginning to end….
Uhm, I honestly knew this was not going to happen in 72 hours. I thought it would take about 2 weeks. I said 2 weeks because Hubby used vacation days and we were all working about 15-16 hr days in the kitchen. It took 4 weeks until I got a stove, oven, or plumbing into the kitchen. Yea, 72 hours my ass!
Yes, 10 very LONG weeks.
That is amount of time it took to get the kitchen done.
So, take your take time frame and kick it out the window, door, hole in the wall…you get the gist! If you insist on a time frame, just know that it is NOT going to be kept realistically at all. Something will come up and it will be out of your control and you will have to adjust.
FOOD PREP IS FOR THE WEAK MINDED….
Who needs to food prep when we will be done within 72 hrs (my version 2 weeks)???
We are a family of 5 (3 of which do not eat out or eat processed foods, 1 that does not do it very often, and 1 that eats out constantly and lives on the processed foods once again.) We got this! I own a grill! We can do salads, grill out, and eat sandwiches. See, easy!
I have learned that if you are not a lover of all things crock pot (or at least meals thrown together in a bag in the freezer you can heat up later) then you will wish you were by the time you are in your 2nd week of a remodel. I am now the proud owner of an electric griddle and skillet that were purchased at the end of week 2. I had made plans to cook 2 weeks worth of meals and freeze them. We had a microwave that I could use to heat everything up. It would be SUPER easy! I had the meals planned out and the foods bought. Don’t forget the grill!!
Everything was all set and planned. I had a menu set up and a grocery list ready. Until the night we decided to rip out the kitchen and start the remodel right THEN. It was a couple of weeks earlier then we planned for.
There went my food prep, menu, kitchen appliances.
BUDGET???? You mean there was a budget?????
You do not need to worry about this, this, and this, I have it covered.
People often have the BEST of intentions. You take it all at face value. They are after all your friends!
Make sure you have all the materials locked into place before you plan your budget. Not taking their word for it. Get the materials into your home and take full inventory of it. If they tell you they have friends that are tradesman (electrician, plumber, etc) that will help out in a heartbeat and for free, talk to the people yourself and make sure they fully understand what you are asking for and what they will be expecting as payment. Do not take your friend’s word that it will be free. You need to be the one checking it all out so that you can budget for it. This goes for not only professionals (plumbers and electricians), but also for any vehicles you are told have been procured to be used to transport not only the materials from the store but also anything you need to take to the dump. Oh and check with your city or county and see if you have to pull permits and what they are. Nothing like getting fined on top of all the other fun stuff.
Have at least double your budget in your savings account waiting. You will need it.
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE WHAT THE F*CK MOMENTS……
You remove a cabinet and find outlets that are not allowed to be covered up by law, of course covered up. You discover holes that run the entire length of a wall. Your walls are not straight. Yes, you read that right. My walls are NOT straight. Electrical work needs to be done that is passed what your friend is comfortable of doing, all the lumber you were not expecting to pay for now has to be bought, electrician you had to hire, and the 16 holes (several are freaking HUGE) that the said electrician had to put into the ceiling so that now it looks like swiss cheese, and the countertops are now several inches taller then they used to be and are also higher then you realized they would be….
The first thing you do is attempt to relax, try to wrap your brain around what it is seeing or hearing. It will often take a double take to realize that you did actually see what you thought you saw or a “Can you repeat that one again for me?”. Then you cuss, just get it out of your system. This way you can begin to figure out ways to handle the unexpected things that you uncovered in demo and beyond. There is nothing you can do about it, you have to roll with it. It is not easy. Trust me on this one.
When we discovered a hole that ran the entire length of the wall that was hidden behind cabinetry, we were left with a big issue and kitchen plans had to be altered. It would be one of about a 100 times we would have to do this.
Then there was the mold we found here and there….
At one point we were left with about 16 holes in the ceiling in our quest to make the kitchen brighter. Money was so not budgeted for that. So, we had to figure out what to do with them. Re-drywall, tile it, etc. All of which cost money that I did not really have.
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! THIS IS THE SOUND OF THE KITCHEN GODS AND GODDESSES LAUGHING AT YOU AS THEY SHAKE THEIR HEADS WHILE LAUGHING…..”THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK OUT LIKE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO”!
Countertops (x4)…..Paint (x2)…..Stain (x2)….OH MY!
Yep, we tried 4 different countertops. My original countertops in my design did not happen because we could not find the material. We had issues on countertops #2. So, I came up with a plan for countertop #3. They were awesome. The glaze never dried on them. It was mixed wrong and applied wrong. So, we had to rip out a few hundred $$ worth of counters and begin again. It was not a happy moment in time. There was a lot of four letter words used, shaking of our heads, and just overall feelings of being defeated. Needless to say, my ideas for countertops #4 worked. Several more hundred dollars later, it was done and it was an amazing victory!!!
I had a paint color picked out that I wanted to use in this kitchen for several years. However, when we changed the stain color from dark to light, it made the custom shelving we built look cheap and like the wood color was an after thought. They competed against each other. As I sat in my kitchen at 1:30 am eating a bowl of ice cream, I made the painful decision to switch the color to a whole new color. As I closed my eyes, I ran through the color wheel in my head and realized that I would have to paint the kitchen in a color that I am just NOT a fan of. As in….
I. CAN. NOT. STAND. THE. COLOR. AT. ALL!
Why paint my kitchen in this color??? Because I knew that without a doubt it would look incredible and compliments the current stain color. I also knew that it would compliment a dark stain if I had to go that route.
When we decided to switch the time frame in the very beginning, our local Lowe’s and Home Depot did not have the dark colored stain I wanted in a shellac (One of our friends that was helping us out talked us into using it). I said fine let’s just go super light so that it gets done. He spent 3 days sanding and shellacing all the wood. It looked really nice. Matched countertop #3 to a “T”. However, when we had to rip out countertop #3 because it would not dry after a week (remember the glaze was mixed wrong and applied wrong), countertop #4 did not look right with the color of the wood. It once again competed with the wood and also once again made it look cheap. So, back to the drawing board we went.
In the end, we decided to go with the original stain color (not shellac) I wanted. This meant redoing all the wood in the kitchen in one way or another. I am not kidding. Weeks worth of work all had to be changed.
Alcohol & Friends….
JUST SAY NO! NOT ONLY NO….BUT HELL. TO. THE. NO!!!
Intoxicated people in your kitchen is the last thing you need in your life. You may think it is a good idea, that people will stay awake longer and be more productive. JUST DON’T! You are doing a revamp. You do not need that kind of added stress in your life.
Before all you lovers of alcohol begin bashing me, hear me out. I am not talking about having a drink after a hard day of revamping. I am talking about heavily drinking while working. The mix ends in a lot of OOPS moments, frustration, the sober people walking away from arguments with those that were doing the drinking before they have the chance to start, and more money being thrown at the budget that is already so blown at this point. All of it could be avoided from the beginning with the simple word NO! Not to mention when you are one footing the bill for even part of the said alcohol it is yet another budget blow. You can add it to the “You mean there was a budget???” part of this blog post.
Pick Your Battles With “The Kitchen Gods and Goddesses”
Remember I told you they are going to be laughing at you! There are no studs in the wall to support shelves you thought you were getting. The spice shelves you thought you were getting didn’t happen so now what?
The plan was set in stone and was amazing! For about 24 hrs. You have to be willing to change things in an instant and let the image of your “perfect plans” change here and there. I did not get my spices where I wanted them. Instead I got them somewhere I never thought I would. It was at the completely opposite end of the my vision. I can not even say it is the best place for them, but it works for me for now. I did not get shelves in several areas of my kitchen that I wanted because there were not studs where the studs were supposed to be. We gave up trying to find them. Instead, I got creative and choose to think outside the box. Thinking outside the box was my friend.
Now, Let’s Talk About Mother Nature Joining In On The Fun…
As if the Kitchen Gods and Goddesses were not enough….Mother Nature saw them having so much fun and decided she HAD to join in on the fun.
I get the whole spring time of year. It is the time of year when one week it is winter and the next it is spring. But here for us, Spring means winter one week and SUMMER the next. There is very few in between days. This year though was really weird for us. One day it was in the 70’s and within hours it was snowing, sleeting, and just plain miserable.
Friends Continuing On With Their Lives When Your Revamp Takes Longer Then They Thought….
I am here for you EVERY step of this revamp from the beginning demo to the very end.
After a couple of days of remodel, your friends quickly come to the realization that what they thought was going to be done in those MIRACULOUS 72 hours is so not happening! The time frame got annihilated remember! Unfortunately, some of your friends abilities to help will also be annihilated by their personal lives….. their need for cash and financial stability (AKA their job) for one, family responsibilities for another. Let’s not forget fun viruses that like to go around and spread merriment to everyone. Finally, spouse and kids are also always a favorite excuse. Come on, it is supposed to be ONLY about you and your revamp!! But seriously, they have lives just like you do. They have responsibilities too. So do not count on them being able to be there when they say the can. If they show, count yourself lucky. If not, just know that you are going to add several more hours to your already long day.
My House Will Be Spotless During The Revamp!
I will be organized and know exactly where everything is during this remodel. It will be that simple!! I can have it clean and spotless while constructing my dream kitchen too.
Uhm. Yea, keep living in your dream world! I learned that at least for us, there was NOTHING organized! Every room in my house was trashed! So, throw out your idea of a clean house. Dust will go EVERYWHERE. Taping off sections does not guarantee that you will keep the dust out. It does guarantee though that you will just not have as much to clean 4 and 5 times in a row.
You Mean I Have Kids?????
The kids will be able to stay in a room and be occupied while we are working. It will only be 72 hrs.
OK, this one was HARD! I mean like REALLY emotionally hard. My main level was NOT safe for my kids in the least. It was NOT 72 hours. It was weeks. We went back and forth with us deciding we should stay at a hotel during the revamp. In the end, my oldest gave up her bedroom to her younger sisters. We bought a small TV and a cheap Blue Ray DVD player and new DVDs to help them pass the time. I also bought out our local Micheal’s Craft store. OK, so it was only really one cart overflowing with crafts. But it really was a TON of crafts! Our bathtub became their pool. We spent time taking turns upstairs hanging out. At one point, we spent the day shopping in another state. This was an attempt to get us all out and to forget what was happening at the house. I needed a day to just enjoy my kids and they needed a day that they were not stuck indoors in a bedroom or a bathroom.
Kids And Revamps…Teaching Them How To DIY At A Young Age….
So, your friends have their own lives and your kids are BEGGING to help. What do you do? Why, put them to work of course!
The youngest had her own version of helping us….
And she also spent lots of time in time out when she decided that listening was really not happening and power tools would be fun to play with.
You Mean I Still have A Life During A Revamp?
So, life decides that remodeling the kitchen is not enough of a to do list and adds on everyday problems and well, life in general.
Realizing you are out of milk at 4am is NOT my idea of fun.
We went couch shopping and bought a new couch. Instead of paying a $150 delivery fee, I decided that we would just pick it up ourselves. The new couch was picked up and the old couch was put into the main staging area we were using for kitchen. Thankfully it was just for a couple of days. It made its way to the dump in the first week of the revamp. This prompted us to begin to think about either buying a beater truck or trading in my car for an SUV. The lack of being able to transport things was really getting to us.
While the kitchen remodel was going on, I got a phone call that we had been waiting for for several years. We finally were going to be able to refinance our current mortgage loan into a better loan. One that was not about to reset in a couple of months. No biggie right? Uhm, except that I had to find all the stuff needed to make it a reality. Let me tell you, the Universe was laughing at me all the way. You need to find this file, call this office, write down this information, fax this paper. You get the gist by now. Under normal circumstances, this can be slightly time consuming and let’s face it a pain in the ass, but when doing a large revamp, yea, time consuming is the least of your issues! Pain in the ass, understatement. Try finding everything in a house that is flipped upside down and trashed.
Still not satisfied with just the remodel and that refinance, we also decided to trade in my car for a new vehicle. I went from a car into a new SUV. I spent my downtime looking at vehicles online, going to the dealership an hour and a half away with traffic (it was in another state). We were taking phone calls while we were building, painting, staining, hammering, etc from the dealerships and the bank.
Everyone Is A Critic
I love what you are doing but it would NEVER work for me.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this one, there would be no drama with the budget. Here is the thing to always remember, they are so right. It would not work for them. It was never meant to! The design is your design, not theirs. The revamp is in your home not theirs. Of course we always want everyone to LOVE what we do and to want it in their home too. But at the end of the day….it truly is all about you! You are the one living with it.
I think my Mom In Law really likes our kitchen…What do you think???
I have learned that hindsight is always…..well hindsight. You take the lessons you go through and pray you are not so stupid the next time around. Because let’s face it, I know that I am going to be stupid and do another HUGE DIY project again. I am just going to need to give my sanity and bank account a break before moving on.