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Chronicles of a home renovation project: last sprint before the renos start!

Last modified: 2021-01-04 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

The last article about our renovation project was published in early December. We had started making major purchases, especially for the kitchen and flooring. Even though we haven't shared any news since then, this doesn't mean that nothing has happened!

In the next few paragraphs, we'll cover the things we were able to do before the holiday break.

Renovation project: the work is finally starting!

Preparing to move out 

This month, we mainly worked on sorting, cleaning and tidying up our belongings. Before the stores closed, we were able to donate several items and pieces of clothing to a Renaissance thrift store. As for the old paint cans, pieces of wood and batteries, everything was dropped off at the Ecocentre closest to our place!

We have to leave our place around January 5th in order to make room for the contractor and his team. Therefore, we must ensure that our objects (which will remain here during the work) will be easy to move and adequately protected. Everything will be put in boxes and bags so that workers can organize everything according to their needs.

We will move to furnished accommodation during the 2 months that the project will last, so it won't be necessary to move a lot of stuff, except our cats and our clothes!

As I write these lines, we only have to store the objects we use every day in boxes. This will be done the day before or the morning of our departure.

Here are some pictures of our accommodation full of boxes. Forgive the mess, we'll organize everything shortly before we leave!

Preparing to move out!

Left: boxes from our IKEA kitchen, right: our items stored in boxes

Other purchases we made

We have slowed down a lot in terms of purchasing objects and materials. The kitchen we ordered from IKEA has arrived safely (only 2 pieces are missing), the ceramic tiles are waiting in the warehouses of the stores and for the rest, we will wait for the contractor's approval.

Indeed, even if we sometimes made the trip to the store to see the models in person (ex: doors, sinks, faucets), we did not make any other purchases, because we don't want to take up too much space before the work begins. In a way, it would be rather counterproductive to fill the home with all the furniture and materials that we will need.

Even though there appear to be some delays and supply issues at this time, it is best to wait a bit before placing orders. Our contractor indicated that he was going to give us a shopping list with an order to follow.

Moving boxes

We donated our storage furniture on Kijiji, so while waiting for the move, this sideboard serves as our pantry! 

The last meeting with our contractor

The work is due to start around the end of the first week of January. As we will be leaving on the 5th, the contractor and his workers will be able to start the first stages of the project on the 6th.

We rented an apartment for 2 months. This leaves them more than 8 weeks to complete all the work that is planned. According to the contractor we have chosen (you will meet him in a subsequent article), this is quite possible, even largely sufficient.

This makes us feel much better because we absolutely have to come back here at the beginning of March. As we had not spoken much to the contractor since signing the contract (apart from a few emails exchanged), we wanted to see him one last time before the start of the work.

This meeting was used to confirm certain changes to the plan, to make decisions regarding the purchase of materials and the choice of work techniques and so on.

We can therefore leave our accommodation while being completely reassured, knowing that we are still happy with our choice of contractor. Of course, we hope we don't have too many unpleasant surprises along the way, but all of this is impossible to predict!

Custom-made furniture 

Plan of our pantry

The basic plan I sent to my father-in-law for our pantry  (he only speaks French)

One of the aspects that we discussed with the contractor is the subject of custom furniture. We have some furniture that cannot be purchased from IKEA or another furniture supplier. These are the structure behind the toilet, the pantry and the headboard behind our bed.

Right off the bat, the contractor told us that maybe we should find another solution for the pantry because we would need to hire a cabinetmaker for this type of furniture. At the moment, cabinetmakers are very busy and there would probably be long delays in the manufacture of this structure. Instead, he advised us to buy a prefabricated piece of furniture.

After some research, we determined that the furniture available on the market does not meet our needs. We decided to contact my mother's partner, who makes furniture as a hobby. He had already designed a bookshelf for us a few years ago, so we know he is quite capable of creating a piece of furniture to our liking. It's an ideal solution that will appeal to everyone!

Notes for the renovation contractor

Left: notes for the contractor, Right: our cupboards are empty!

Will our project be affected by the new lockdown measures?

Normally, unless there are new exceptional measures, our project should not suffer any delays due to the current situation. Construction and renovation contractors are among those who were able to get back to work quickly, even during the first lockdown back in March.

Of course, there will be impacts, including the fact that we will not be able to come and inspect the work in the presence of workers. The contractor asked us to visit only in the evening after everyone had left.

Otherwise, we may experience some complications when it comes to hardware store and internet purchases. We will have to be flexible and open-minded!

In the next column, we will discuss the start of work and the next purchases to be made.

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