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Behind the Scenes | Renovation Woes

I tend not to share too many of the negatives about a home renovation (believe me, there are many!!) as I'd prefer my blog to be a more positive and inspiring place. However, there comes a time when I feel as though I need to be completely honest and share some of the lows too.

You'll know this years big renovation project is the kitchen. It's a huge job, which requires walls removing and structural supporting steels installing. It's the first project we've ever taken on that involves more than our DIY skills can deliver. Other than hiring an electrician in the past, we've never worked with any other tradespeople before.

We started putting this project into motion back in January by getting quotes from the tradespeople we required for the job. Most of the builders I contacted never responded to my messages, many said they were fully booked and not taking on any more work, a couple came round to view the job and never gave us a quote - and out of the many (seriously.. many.) builders I messaged, just two supplied quotes. The one we decided to go with was a local company whom have been around forever, their price was reasonable and we booked him six weeks in advance for "mid-march". A couple of weeks after booking him we discovered that we required an additional support for the roof. It obviously made sense to get it done at the same time, so I contacted the builder again and asked if he could pop by to check it out and provide us an additional figure for the work. Here's where things started to go wrong. It took two weeks, two messages and a phone call (one where we didn't even get to speak with him as he was "busy having his tea") to get him to just respond. Even then, he was very vague about coming to look at the additional work, but it did brighten my spirits.

Two weeks went by again and I began getting seriously worried that this guy was truly unreliable, he hadn't dropped by - we didn't have an additional quote and that mid-march scheduled date was looming closer. More weeks went by, no quote for the second job, and no contact whatsoever. I messaged him multiple times, no response. Eventually feeling really quite miffed I upped by game, cut the polite act and quite simply demanded to know if he was still interested and if so, provide a damn quote.

By this point, it was already April and we had been waiting for this additional quote for six whole weeks from the first message I had sent about it! Not to mention the fact that mid-march had been and gone and we had received no contact from the builder about why this job hadn't gone ahead or when it was likely to. We had been well and truly left it the dark about the whole situation. We were quickly losing confidence in the builder and we desperately wanted a full quote for the work we had agreed to before he randomly turned up out of the blue to carry out any work at a price we simply couldn't afford.

And so here we are now, approaching mid-April. If you hadn't already guessed it - yes, we sacked the builder. He did eventually give us a quote for the work, a figure that can only be described as either an attempt at seriously ripping us off, plucked from thin air, or perhaps his escape route from the whole job. Either way, he is now out of the picture and our schedule has been set very far back. So, to say I'm a little frustrated about the whole situation would be an understatement - did he ever even intend on carrying out the job in the first place?!

Behind the scenes of a home renovation isn't all about picking pretty tiles and colours for the walls. Nope, it involves endless hours of researching companies, trying to get quotes, fishing out the trades who set ridiculous mark-ups. Seriously, some of them are just plain stupid overpriced. It involves waiting around for tradespeople who just never show up and generally it involves quite a bit of stress, frustration and far too much money management!

So, an update on our kitchen renovation at the moment - we are pretty much coming to a complete stand still. We've turned our attention away from the damn kitchen (although I do still have a demolition post to share on that room!) and began shifting our energies towards other areas of the house. We've had endless deliveries over the last couple of weeks, which turned our hallway into something of a maze to just get through and we have heaps planned to keep ourselves busy whilst the kitchen becomes a no-working zone. We even sent Grant off on a plastering course! We've also made a huge change to our finances by taking out a small home improvement loan, a decision that was not taken lightly, but is something that's been a long time coming. So in short, I have lots to share and lots happening at the moment, but none of which has gone down quite as planned. In addition to the home reno, our one and only car has reached the end of its life too. Yes, it broke down twice in one week, one minor thing and then huge thing that ended my DIY supply run by being towed away by the AA. They do say all bad things come in threes! Oh the woes.

So yep, that's what's been happening behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks; re-planning and starting afresh once more. We have found another builder already, so we're at least back on a waiting list again. But that new kitchen is still months away. I am so glad spring has arrived and is lifting my mood - a sunny day always makes thing seem better. Yes, the images in this post are completely unrelated - but hopefully it's lifting out some of the negativity in this post (sorry about that!).

Ah, home renovations, they're all fun and games right? 


  1. Someone once told me that finding a builder is like finding a boyfriend - it takes a lot of effort to find and win them over �� We waited 18 months for ours but he's ace so def worth it. Hope your kitchen gets going soon x

    1. Haha, love that! How true!
      Wow, 18 months is a long time - I don't think I could sit tight for that long! Although definitely better to wait for the right guy than rush in and regret it! Our job only involves a days labour, waiting for something so small that holds everything else up is really frustrating. I'd have stuck with the first builder and waited a little longer if he had been more honest/reliable/contactable, but something just didn't feel right. Onwards and upwards though - hopefully we'll move forward soon!


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