Digging up the back yard

Walking around the house at the end of this week, it didn’t look as if much had changed. But that was because most of the change happened underground.

The digger makes light work of installing a ditch for the external pipework.

The digger makes light work of installing a ditch for the external pipework.

This week belonged to the plumber. He was there with his assistant early in the week fitting off some of the internal tap ware. The hand-basins in the en suite were installed as well as the toilets in the powder room and family bathroom. Read more

The fiddly things

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

We seem to have arrived at that messy stage where little bits and pieces are being done by different tradies and at different times. They arrive at the house, do a few hours of work and go again, returning a few days later to do something else. I’m sure if I was one of those well-organised renovators who had a gantt chart, I wouldn’t have quite so much of this. I guess it also would also have been easier if I hadn’t gone away for six weeks while the renovation was going on! The delay in ordering some items has had an impact. We are still waiting on the the front door to arrive as well as the kitchen and vanities to be installed. This is holding up the tiler and plumber and is also causing the painter problems as he can’t start working upstairs until the old kitchen is relocated down to the ground floor kitchen space. Read more

Professional versus DIY

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

There is always a toss-up about whether to do something yourself, and potentially save some money, against getting a professional in to do the job.

We have completed a fair bit of cosmetic renovation work over the years. I am a mean hand with the paint sprayer, painting the inside of a house in a couple of hours and husband extraordinaire has learnt many tricks over the years in hanging doors and finishing those fiddly corners of the skirting boards so they sit neatly. In the past we have always done the majority of the work ourselves. It has been enjoyable and saved us money at a time when we weren’t earning a lot and had more spare time. Lately however, we have found there are other things we would prefer to do rather than spend our weekends painting and tiling.

This latest project is vastly different to others we have tackled, those past projects were cosmetic renovations, where we focused on improving the look of a place by painting, replacing floor coverings and tidying the gardens. Over time, we have took on more complex renovations, employing tradesmen to install new kitchens, revamp bathrooms or polish the floors in some of our rental houses. The more we have used outside tradesmen, the less profit there is in the deal, or at least that is what it looks like. Read more

The benefits of going away

The windows have been installed, now just waiting for the doors to arrive.

The windows have been installed, now just waiting for the doors to arrive.

There is definitely a benefit in going away for six weeks while a major renovation is being handled by your builder. Now I know most people want to be around so they can answer any questions about where the power points should be placed or have input into the many minor adjustments that need to be made when something just isn’t where it should be according to the plans. I’ve decided though that I’m not one of those people. We went away with the house sitting like a bloated spider on spindly legs and have come back to a house that is almost at lock up stage.

This week I have had to go through the house and look over those minor decisions that the builder has had to make and every one of them has made sense so I don’t see that me being here would have made much difference to the outcome, perhaps just slowed down the process while they waited for me to make a decision. Of course you do need to have a good builder that you can put your confidence in and that’s definitely been the case here. Read more

Timing the Project

Why, oh why, do I do it to myself; take on a major project just before the start of the Christmas close down period, during the hottest, stormiest time of the year and before I take an overseas holiday? Well as I said, this blog is possibly also about ‘how not to do things’!

Storm Season, what was I thinking!

Storm Season, what was I thinking!

Sometimes, things just work against us. Yes, I did procrastinate a little, but in my defence I had a lot of outback work going on and couldn’t concentrate on another project of this size. It was only after the work commitments eased up a bit that I could devote more time to moving the renovation and new build forward. Read more