Good morning and welcome to a new week!
Until recently, I was a reno virgin. Having just redone 2 floors of our 3 floor house, I learned a lot!
First of all, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are planning a renovation yourself (and living through it):
1. Consider time of year - It was frickin' hot and humid while ours were being done, so despite having A/C, we were very uncomfortable. The workmen had the doors open a lot, and we were living on the top floor where the A/C is weakest. On the flip side though, if you do them in the dead of winter, your house may get really cold, and I'm guessing, the work may take longer because of snow, wet and other stuff making it trickier to move big equipment, furniture, appliances, etc. Our workmen did a lot of sawing and drilling in our front and back yards, and that wouldn't have been possible in winter.
2. When thinking about budget, think beyond the actual labour costs, equipment costs, and furniture costs - Since our house is only 18 years old, there were no unfortunate surprises in terms of wiring, plumbing, structural problems, etc. But a huge cost was incurred in terms of our day-to-day expenses. For example:
Food - Adam got a food service, and we were getting a lot of take-out and prepared food for the kids.
Utilities - The men were using our hydro to the max during the most expensive hours (running saws, drills, etc.)
Other - We had to store half our house in our garage and park our car on the street for almost 6 weeks, which meant we had to buy weekly parking passes from the city, which aren't cheap!
3. Protect your valuables/remove from space entirely - While packing up our first floor, I made a point of getting everything valuable and breakable out of the house and to the garage, I had a feeling there would be some collateral damage, and there was. The front door was the biggest one and though the workmen likely won't admit it, I am sure it was damaged by some piece of equipment smacking into the latching system, or simply because they opened and closed the door 5,000 times a day. Both our mezuzahs (front and back door) were broken. The plastic cutlery holder from our dish drainer broke (no biggie, but very inconvenient), a hallway light fixture (the men replaced it for us).
I also learned that when it comes to buying furniture, one of the best places to order from is Wayfair.ca
I'd saw ads that this company was coming to Canada for months, but paid little attention. I'd never even heard of them before. But when I started shopping around for furniture (online, of course, because I would rather eat toenails then drive around Toronto from one store to another), I kept finding great products and good prices on their site.
The first thing I purchased were 2 of these armchairs for our basement for the kids when they want to watch tv.
They arrived within a week and were dropped in boxes on our porch. I LOVE that if you're not home, they don't make you go pick them up at some inconvenient warehouse! Of course, you may not love this if you live somewhere where packages get stolen off your porch. They were light enough for me to move inside myself and only the legs needed to be assembled, and I actually opted not to put the legs on.
We also got our television stand and living room rug from them, and love both.
Admittedly, the tv stand required us to get the contractor back to assemble as it was WAY beyond our capabilities (or patience, at least). Our bedding for the spare room in the basement also is from Wayfair, as is the new bedding Big A begged for.
In contrast, our experience with Bouclair was crap. I found a coffee table I loved. Our designer told me to order it along with the matching side table. I attempted to do so but discovered the side table was out of stock. I ordered a similar table set, along with a floor lamp, but our designer told me the table set was too dark in colour. I called to make the change to my order (5 minutes after placing it) and was on hold for 53 hours. I gave up and called back later, finally getting through. They were good about me changing the order (to just the original coffee table, no side table, and the lamp). Unfortunately, the whole transaction process sent alarm bells to our credit card company which ended up frozen for a day or two. Then we waiting for weeks and the table and lamp never arrived. Finally, I got an email from Bouclair asking for me to call them. They informed me the coffee table is no longer available. Frustrated as heck, I cancelled the whole order.
Going back to Wayfair, I found a very similar coffee table and lamp (I decided I didn't want a side table anyways) for less! I should also add that while every order over $75 from Wayfair gets free shipping, Bouclair told me free shipping didn't apply to my order because it was "oversized". Um, you sell furniture folks! So our order from Bouclair was going to cost $130 to ship. Well guess what Bouclair? FU!
Our coffee table should arrive this week, our lamp in the next 2 weeks. And then, the reno/redecorating will be complete!