How to Survive an Extension or Refurbishment

Ask the neighbours if people in your neighbourhood have carried out similar alterations, knock on their doors and ask to have a look around. They might even show you their plans. Remember to ask questions such as to the tradespeople they used, what they might do differently next time and if they needed planning permission.

Mood board
Before you’ve even appointed an architect or builder, start a mood board/notebook/Pinterest, to keep all your ideas in one place. Gradually build up a collection of inspiring homes, as well as the smaller details, will help to firm up plans in your mind.

Know what you want
If you’ve not had extensive plans drawn up, you will have lots of decisions to make during the building process – being clear from the start what you’d like means you won’t need to make rushed decisions, under pressure. Things such as what light fittings you want, or where the plug sockets are going. All hard decisions on the spur of the moment – so plan ahead wherever possible.

Get quotes from recommended tradespeople but also ask for their opinions. They will have years of experience and are usually willing to share their knowledge.

Know when the tradespeople will arrive – there’s nothing worse than still being in your dressing gown when they arrive, and are about to turn off the water!

Set up a temporary kitchen
If your kitchen is being disrupted, during the work, set up a temporary one. The utility room is an ideal position as you’ll already have a sink. Otherwise washing up might have to be done in the bathroom!

If you’re not happy for the tradespeople to use your facilities, make sure you hire a port-a-loo.

Make sure that everyone working on the site knows your wishes and that you are clear as to what they are able to achieve, such as which days they will be working and how much they are likely achieve in a given week.

Dust will be EVERYWHERE
Anything that you won’t be using or that you can live without should be boxed up, sealed and placed out of the way. Even things in an area of the house that isn’t affected by the work will still get dusty. Be ruthless, the less clutter you have around during the work the better.

Accept offers of help
If people are kind enough to offer to wash your clothes for you, or cook a meal, take them up on it! You can have them all round for dinner once your refurb is finished.

Be realistic about expectations
Anyone that watches Grand Designs knows that most projects will take longer than planned. It’s all part of the process.

Be flexible
The chaos is temporary. Enjoy a few take-aways and visit your local library or coffee shops for some quiet time. Embrace the adventure of it and you’ll find it easier to endure. Most of all, look forward to the final results. It will be worth it in the end.

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