Renovating: A Room by Room Break Down
Bedrooms 3, 4 & 5
I have emphasised in a previous post about the importance of the kitchen to your renovation - after all, kitchens sell houses - which is why I recommend starting with your kitchen first, followed by the bathrooms, living areas and bedrooms. If your budget blows out and there’s not much left in the kitty, bedrooms can be finished simply and inexpensively if necessary. The amount you allocate in your budget for exterior work will also need to be considered.
In the past we have made the mistake of going about this process in reverse! During our last renovation, we were left in the undesirable position of having to borrow more money to finish our kitchen - which we also had to delay renovating and therefore didn’t get to use as much as we would have liked to before selling our home.
We were tempted to leave the kitchen as it was, however, after discussions with various sales agents we decided it was in our best interests to completely renovate the kitchen before putting the home on the market. Otherwise, we were facing the prospect of selling a beautiful new home with a pretty average kitchen.
I’ll run you through the stages in which we completed our last renovation - which are in fact the complete opposite of what I have recommended above, so please:
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I HAVE DONE!!
This is of course the very reason I decided to write this series of articles, to make new renovators aware of mistakes that can be avoided to save time and money when renovating.
To be fair, our family of six was moving into a three-bedroom house, which is why we opted to renovate the bedrooms first, but as general rule I would not recommend following this path.
So, in the beginning...
Our new home comprised, strangely enough, of two enormous living areas downstairs, and one equally enormous living room upstairs. We decided therefore to convert one of the downstairs rooms into three bedrooms, bringing the total number of bedrooms in the house to five, and in doing so adding value to our property.
The large living room we converted had two sets of sliding doors to the east, which opened onto a balcony and from which you had a glimpse of the gorgeous ocean. There were also two very large and very ugly windows to the south, which looked as though they had been rescued or left over from some sort of commercial renovation.
The room was divided into two sections. It was split level in design, with a smaller ‘room’ within a room (quite odd) to the west, featuring two access doors - including one directly to the existing bathroom. My guess is that originally the space would have been made up of two separate rooms and that a wall had been removed to create one excessively large room.
We decided to split the room in half from the east wall, so that two bedrooms had sliding doors to the east balcony, and we created one room to the west, with access to the rooms via a central passage. All the rooms were double sized and the rooms to the east had walk-in robes - another attractive selling point.
The windows to the south were covered both from the inside and out to blend into the remainder of the home both internally and externally. A small louvred window was installed at the end of the newly created passageway for light and airflow, and a new window was installed in the room facing south.
We also created a plantation shutter internal ‘window’ in this room, which opened out to the central passageway, for improved ventilation and light. Small glass wind-out windows were also installed above the doors to rooms facing east, for a similar reason.
The third, south facing bedroom was a design challenge, and we decided to install a box-seat window with built-in bookshelves, along with two separate robes either side of the bed, in order to compensate for some peculiar stepped-up areas. Plantation shutters were also used in the box-seat window.
Fans and energy efficient LED lighting were installed in each of the rooms. White plantation shutters were installed to cover the windows, and neutral carpets finished the scheme.
As with the remainder of the house, I painted the doors in Resene ‘Double Cod Grey’ - a striking dark matte-grey (almost black), and finished them with chrome door furniture. The walls and ceiling, also in keeping with the rest of the house, were painted in Resene ‘Double Alabaster’ - my favourite white (white with a hint of black in it).
In order to cohesively link the new passageway to the next section of the house, we had our carpenters remove timber from a small existing bedroom, which we later turned into the family bathroom, and lay them in the new passageway. We also installed bead-board in this area, as we planned to do in other areas of the home, to cohesively link the areas together.
What went wrong:
This poor neglected house had suffered from some pretty dreadful renovating over the years. When we pulled out a section of wall to create the window seat, we discovered that in a small area there was no concrete slab! The area had to be completely repaired, with physical and chemical termite barriers installed to bring it up to code (another unexpected cost). The poor room suffered yet again when the kitchen, directly above, was being renovated, as a water leak resulted in the brand new ceiling having to be re-done!
What I would do differently:
If I was looking to save money, and especially given the scale of that particular project, I would have opted for a more simple window treatment option. As much as I love plantation shutters, they are incredibly expensive and in this case not worth the thousands of dollars more than the alternative, given that tracks and pelmets had to be included to cover the sliding doors in the east facing windows. I had a lot of trouble with the installer, who went ahead and installed them in a way I had not directed him to do so. It was time consuming, and in hindsight I don’t think it was worth the stress and expense.
Instructing the carpenters to re-lay the timber flooring from the existing bathroom in the new passage servicing the bedrooms looked terrific, no doubt about it.
BUT... would I do it again - NO!
It was a very time consuming process and therefore, very expensive. I would have saved a small fortune had I carpeted the area in the same carpet as the adjacent bedrooms. The entire area was tucked away from the rest of the house, almost its own little ‘wing’ - nobody but us really saw it and it wasn’t really a feature of the home. Sure the timber looked good, but installing it slowed the project down considerably and was very expensive.
The decision to do this also meant having to re-floor the room the timber was removed from. If I had my time over I would have left it the way it was and made a feature of the timber floor in the new family bathroom.
Until my next post detailing the stage two of our most recent renovation,
Renovating with love,