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Chronicles of a Home Renovation Project: the Purchases

Chronicles of a Home Renovation Project: the Purchases

Chronicles of a Home Renovation ProjectChronicles of a Home Renovation Project: the Purchases

After meeting with the interior designer, creating plans for the project and choosing our contractor, it's time to start buying materials and furniture!

If all goes as planned, the work should start during the first week of January. In order for the project to proceed in the best conditions, we must ensure that the materials arrive on time! Therefore, we've started purchasing furniture and materials, with the priority being the kitchen! 

The entire apartment will be reworked, but the heart of the renovations will take place in the kitchen and the bathroom. Therefore, we have decided to concentrate our first purchases to receive the materials that will be used in these rooms on time. In this article, we will discuss the research done on the internet, store visits and the first orders we have placed.

Purchases to make before starting a renovation project

Creating my shopping list

The contractor and his team will be working in each room of our condo. This means that this is a large-scale renovation project! There will be a lot of material and furniture purchases to be made in the coming weeks.

As I was thinking about the number of transactions that we would have to carry out, I saw a mountain appear on the horizon that seemed insurmountable to me, because the closer we got to it, the bigger it seemed! Refusing to give up, I created a shopping list separated into two sections, namely:

  • Purchases to be made before renovations

  • Purchases that can be made once the work has started

I also wrote down where I think we are going to buy the product, so that we can be efficient when going to the store or making transactions on the internet.

Here's a look at the list in its current state:

List of things to buy for our renovations

In short, the most important purchases to make at the moment are:

  • Kitchen cabinets

  • Flooring materials for the kitchen, toilet and bathroom

  • Ceramic for the kitchen backsplash

  • Ceramic for the walls around the bath

  • Sinks and faucets

  • The kitchen counter

For the rest, if there is ever a supply problem at a store, we will be able to find solutions. For example, if they don't have the type of door model we are looking for, we can always keep the current doors until the ones we like are available.

Buying our kitchen cabinets: the funny trip to IKEA

Kitchen at IKEA

An IKEA kitchen with the cabinets we have chosen

Determined to buy the furniture and materials for our new kitchen, we headed to IKEA, ready to face the Saturday morning crowds for a good cause. I had previously used the kitchen planning software available on the IKEA website but lacked confidence in my calculation skills. Preferring to avoid costly mistakes, I thought that an advisor working for the big Swedish brand would be able to help us.

Unfortunately, the experience did not live up to our expectations. It was the first time that we went to consult an employee assigned to the kitchen section in the Montreal branch of this famous store. Even though we had planned to arrive before opening time, the section was already packed with customers from the first minutes. Therefore, we waited patiently for a station to become available.

As we settled down at our computer, we quickly understood that the support would be less comprehensive than we would have liked. In fact, I thought the employee was going to create the plan for us, based on our plan that the designer had provided. Instead, I was to design the plan with the same software I had already tested, and the person was going to answer our questions.

Except that I didn't know where to start, or what questions to ask! We were left to our own devices. Very quickly, a communication problem arose between ourselves and the designated employee. This was quite unpleasant and we were tense because the environment was claustrophobic, especially due to the panels installed for hygienic protection. However, the station next to ours was busy, so the other customers were standing within three feet of us. All this to say that everyone's mood quickly deteriorated, thus affecting our communication skills.

A part of the IKEA delivery

Some of the kitchen cabinet parts from IKEA

Since our kitchen is quite narrow, standard type cabinets did not work in our layout. Without knowing that the contractor could cut the cabinets to fit them into the room, we were a little lost. The lady didn't really answer our questions, so we decided to get in touch with our designer. She reassured us about the layout possibilities, but we quickly realized that we could not buy our kitchen during the visit to IKEA. We decide to free up the station so that other impatient customers could settle in. Here's hoping things worked out for them!

The lesson: we should have made an appointment with a kitchen designer from IKEA. You have to pay to have access to this service, but the amount is refunded if you buy the kitchen. Had we been aware of the fact, we would certainly have opted for this type of support. But hey, live and learn!

Ultimately, we finished the plan at home, in the cozy and quiet comfort of our living room. Unfortunately, when placing the order, we found out that some items were not available. We will have to follow up very closely to be sure that nothing is missing. The first delivery has arrived and the second is expected to be here around December 12. Fingers crossed that everything arrives on time!

Our visit to the ceramic stores

The tiles we chose with the designer

The tiles that we had chosen with the designer

A few days ago, we went to the store to order the ceramic tiles we will need for the project. We had to buy (before extras for loss):

  • 181.5 square feet of tiles for the floors of the kitchen, the toilet and the entrance (same model)

  • 48 square feet of tiles for the bathroom floor

  • 71.2 square feet of tile for the kitchen backsplash

  • 73.3 square feet of tile for bathroom walls (around tub and shower)

The list I had in hand: 

Liste of types of tiles

The designer had provided the measurements for each space, and the employees of the stores where we made our purchases were able to guide us with regards to extra amounts we had to buy, purchasing the right grout and other useful products, including the sealant for grout. Regarding the extra tiles, you should be aware that it is necessary to calculate about 10 to 15% more than the surface area you are planning to cover. If you opt for tiles with more complex shapes, such as hexagons, it is best to add 15% of square footage to the number of tiles you will buy.

We had already chosen some of the tiles with the designer, so we could target the stores we were going to visit. However, in order to reduce travel, I decided to change the ceramic flooring for the bathroom. By doing this, we were able to buy everything in 2 stores instead of having to go to 3 places.

Here are the tiles we chose:

The types of floors and tiles

Left to right: our choice for the backsplash, our choice for the kitchen floor, our bathroom floor and the bathroom backsplash

The buying process was much easier than at IKEA. We had to compromise on the colour of the kitchen floor because the one we wanted originally had to be ordered and its arrival was not guaranteed. However, for the rest, the materials were either available or would arrive within a reasonable timeframe. This is very reassuring!

The first purchases of household appliances

We will have to purchase several new appliances in the coming months. Here is the list of appliances that we have to buy:

  • Cooktop

  • Small countertop oven

  • Freezer

  • Hood

  • Robot vacuum

Wanting to take advantage of the sales that happen at the end of November, we bought the small oven and the freezer. These devices will be delivered in a few weeks. This is another good thing we can check off our shopping list! 

Supply problems in home decor and renovation stores: will this be an obstacle?

Tile samples

Tile samples in a flooring store

For the past few months, I have been researching our choices of furniture and materials and I have noticed that most stores and supermarkets are having difficulty with supplies. You will surely have noticed it if you have recently wanted to buy appliances, furniture and building materials: stocks are low, and prices can be high.

All of this is due in part to the current situation. People are renovating more and have the sudden urge to transform their decor. Instead of spending to go on vacation, many people's decor/renovation budgets have swelled. This may turn into complications that could make you laugh or cry, depending on the urgency of the situation.

Having already gotten used to the idea that some materials were going to be unavailable, I wanted to focus on my purchasing strategy in order to have at least the most important elements so that the contractor could work without too many interruptions. That's why we bought the kitchen first.

We've also decided to be flexible. Indeed, if the flooring material we have chosen is out of stock for an indefinite period, we will look at the options that are available more quickly. Some compromises might have to be made, but it's better than creating long delays for the work, knowing that we have to come back to live here at the beginning of March.

Therefore, we can say that it is indeed an obstacle, but that we have decided not to be discouraged by this issue! We are going to put all the chances on our side to be able to overcome this obstacle.

The next things to do on the list

In the coming weeks, I would like to shop for certain items, including sinks and faucets, and I'd also like us to discuss the subject of custom furniture with our contractor. This will give you a little preview of the content of the next columns in this series!

Cover photo: Pinterest Account 

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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