It takes a lot of getting used to. And even the smallest things can get blown out of all proportion. "I remember at one point seeing the wrong bit of skirting about to cover a radiator pipe." says Sarah. "We'd asked for a slimmer piece. He'd picked up the wrong one. And that was it - I burst into tears! A tiny section of skirting that you can't even see now, and it sent me over the edge. I hadn't realised til that point how stressed I was."

So what can you do to prepare yourself, and find the "zen" in the midst of the property renovation chaos?

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Keep Your Eye On The Prize!

Try to remember the end product. That beautiful dream extension, kitchen, bedroom, or loft that will eventually exist. And remember that although there was a familiarity with what went before, you didn't like it! So don't let your brain start missing it. It WILL all be worth it, and you'll soon forget the skirting board stresses of the build!

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Accept there will be complications

Every build is different, especially on old houses with years of different owners' good and bad design ideas built in. You could strip away a bank of kitchen units and find a decade of damp damage from a leaking pipe that needs fixing. The kitchen unit suppliers may have a delay on their delivery, or an appliance goes out of stock and holds up fitting a worktop... which then gets cracked and needs replacing. Even with the best workmen in the world, there will be hiccups and delays that you can do nothing about. So be patient. It WILL all come together - riding out all the obstacles and solving all the problems is the job of your project manager, not you, so try to relax, and trust it will all come good! And don't put unrealistic time frames on things... if you start a build in December, no matter how much you write to Santa you can't always have it all done by Christmas!‍‍‍

THE PROJECT ROLLE‍‍‍RCOASTER:

RENOVATION STRESS, AND HOW TO BEAT IT

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Be Prepared...

If you have damp proofing, chimney removals, new walls, you do need to empty the rooms as much as you can, as there WILL be dust. If you're planning on sleeping/living upstairs while the build goes on downstairs,  be prepared for that dust... everywhere! Your tradesmen will do their best, but cover entrances with plastic door seals - they are inexpensive, and they do a great job of keeping out the invasive fine dust that can get into every nook and cranny. If there are larger pieces of furniture that can't be moved out of work spaces, wrap them up carefully in strong plastic storage bags. And remember to SEAL them! You'll be finding corners of dust  that have been missed for a while even after a post-build clean, so you don't want the same problem on upholstery! Dust covers and door seals are easy to find online, and cost very little for that extra piece of mind.

Have a time frame safety net, too. Don't plan a big dinner party to celebrate your new kitchen a week after the kitchen is due to be fitted! This will only add to your stress. If you have a good project manager, and you're both clear about the plans, instead of planning things in your new home, take the the opportunity to go on a trip! Why not? Your teams will feel less stres‍‍‍sed with you not fretting around them, and you can get some much needed R&R away from all the chaos.

And Finally...

Enjoy the achievement! They say buying a property is one of the most stressful experiences you can have, but making it into the home you want it to be can be much more stressful, especially for first timers. It will be wonderful and all worth it once it's done. But in the meantime: be gentle with yourself, understand it's going to be emotional, take time out to look after yourself... and remember to keep some perspective. It is, after all, just a piece of skirting.

colleen@bespokelivingchiswick.com

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Bespoke Living Chiswick is a leading design and renovations company specialising in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, lofts, gardens, listed buildings and full house renovations.

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THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF DESIGNER TILES

The Brave New World of Designer Tiles

In our last blog, we took you through the steps of a typical renovation project, from start to finish.But what about the reality of living through the disruption and stress of your own big build?

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You've got the plans. You've settled on the layout. You're showing your friends the walls that will disappear, where the new skylight will be, where the glass doors and the breakfast bar will eventually go. In your mind, you can see it all: fresh, clean, chic, a luxurious new space (or garden. perhaps, or whole house!). You may even have read up on the tips to survive a build, surfing blogs and buying face masks because you know it's going to get dusty.

But for a first time renovator, there isnothing that can prepare you for all those complicated, anxious, even panicky feelings that abound once the build happens.

That orange formica kitchen you've hated ever since you moved in is finally going to go... but regardless of how much you've cringed at the clashing colours or tired edges, it has become something familiar. It's still a kitchen, or a bedroom, or a bathroom... a part of your home that's been in use and forms part of your daily lives. So when the ball is finally rolling and the workmen begin, many people are shocked at the conflicting feelings they are suddenly hit with.

Our Chiswick friend Sarah recently extended her old kitchen: "It felt like my whole life was being invaded, not just the flat. When they started taking out the old units and there wasn't a functioning kitchen anymore, just a building site, I felt a real sense of panic, like I'd destroyed our home. It felt like our flat wasn't a proper home anymore. I know it was irrational, but I felt scared by it, seeing familiar, lived-in rooms turn into bricks and wires and plaster."

We become so familiar with our homes, even rooms we think we don't like, that the change that occurs can trigger an almost primal feeling of protection about your own domain. It no longer smells the same: it smells of sawdust, filler, plaster, dust, the new units, the new appliances, paint. It has become the domain not of you and your family, but of the workmen and workwomen, the project managers, delivery men, ‍‍‍plumbers, and‍‍‍ electricians. And there you are, without a kitchen, or a bedroom, or bathroom, trusting all these different companies and people with your very own castle.

If you'd like to see some more photos of projects Colleen (and Bespoke Living) have ma‍‍‍naged in and around Chiswick, CLICK HERE!

Fixtures & Fittings: All That Glitters...‍‍

Interiors: The Winter Declutter

Property Renovation: What To Expect

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