Are you planning some work on your place over the holidays? There’s some things to get sorted first so it goes smoothly. Here’s what you need to know.
The holidays this time of year can be a great opportunity to get some work done on and around your home – whether you’re kicking off a renovation project, tackling one part of it, or doing a fairly decent job like painting or landscaping.
You have a chunk of time, and so dedicating your holiday break to that project you’ve been dying to get your teeth into can be quite exciting. Here are my top tips for navigating building and renovating at this time of year.
1. CHECK WHO ELSE WILL BE ON HOLIDAYS
Before you dismantle the kitchen, or decommission your bathroom, just check what suppliers, tradespeople and consultants will be available over the Christmas break. Like you, a lot of them will also be on holidays.
I recall one year our neighbours were heading away for Christmas, and about a week out, it occurred to us that it would be a great opportunity to renovate our bathroom – and use theirs whilst ours was out of action (we were good friends with them!). It took a fair bit of hunting to find tilers and plumbers who were working through the Christmas break, and so we got going on renovating our bathroom. Then (on the 27th of dec) we came up short on the tiles we’d bought (due to breakages and inconsistencies in the boxes we had), that tile supplier was shut, and there were very few tile suppliers even open again until the New Year, let alone carrying stock. Here I was, choosing an alternative tile, to coordinate with the ones already on the walls, from a very limited range – and urgently (tilers were on site needing them!).
It all worked out well in the end and still looked good, but it was a headache I could have done without – and not the result I’d been chasing. At the time it felt like a big panic and compromise – because we hadn’t planned it well, checked all our stock and known who would be open over the break.
2. MAKE ROOM FOR SOME HOLIDAY TIME
You have holidays to actually take a break, and whilst working madly on a project at home can be super satisfying, it’s not the most restful activity. Make sure you still take time to restore, relax and replenish … Otherwise you’ll return to work more exhausted than when you left. It may be as simple as a few afternoons off, or catch ups with friends. Just schedule it in and program around it.
3. WORK TOWARDS THE BIG PICTURE
I’m a big believer that any work you do in and on your home should be working to a larger vision … Both for your home and for your life. So just because you’re giving one part a quick injection of holiday time, still be sure that you’ve created your overall picture to determine that the work you do counts towards the bigger vision you have for your home overall.
4. TICK ALL THE BOXES
Even though it’s the holidays, the rules still apply. Make sure you can still satisfy all your approval requirements and legislation. This can be tricky if inspectors are on holidays at the time you need them to be at your place, so make sure you’ve factored that in, and arranged a suitable alternative.
5. PLAN WHAT YOU’LL GET THROUGH – AND BE REALISTIC
It can be frustrating when you spend your holidays working on a project, to near the end of your time off and realise you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Generally you then take several months more to finish the project because life gets busy, and your motivation has diminished, and meanwhile, you’re having to live with it in its unfinished state. Plan your holiday work around what you can realistically get completed, or plan to start, and then have a strategy about when and how the job will get finished. You may just want to get a headstart before you hand over to tradespeople once you return to work, and reduce your overall costs as a result. Just have a strategy about this before you start the work.
6. IT’S STILL JUST ON PAPER
I’ve had lots of clients who’ve used this time of year to invest some energy and time on the design process of their homes. Often it’s because both partners can actually take the opportunity to sit down together and discuss their plans, and have the mental headspace to dedicate to it.
If you’re planning on spending some of your holidays thinking about what your plans are for your place, then use the time to really research your home too. Watch how it’s being used while you are in it more regularly. How does it function? What could be done more easily, in a better way? What is the home missing that would make your life in it better?
If you’re working on your home deign with your partner, then use the time to nut out what you both are seeking from your project. If both of you can get on the same page about what that is, you will really expedite the resolution of your design. Create a digital scrapbook together, write down the key things you want in your home, and your deal breakers and definitely-don’t-wants. Collating all of this info now, whilst you are dedicating some time to it, and fleshing things out, is really useful. It will help things run smoothly when you do get going – once you’re back off holidays, and dealing with the business of everyday life.
If you have a design already, and you’re spending your holidays contemplating it, pouring over it and pondering whether you’re making the right decision, then the above exercise is also helpful. It may seem a little retrospective, but it will help you test whether what is on those drawings is in alignment with your vision and goals for your home. This will help you really assess the design, and give feedback in moving it forward, as well as being able to work collaboratively as you develop it to its resolution.
7. NOTHING’S HAPPENING!
You may have something underway, in which case this can be a really frustrating time of year, because everyone shuts down and nothing happens on your project. It just sits … Either in someone’s office, or on its site!
Then just enjoy your holiday. Because chances are, as soon as it’s over, things will get busy, with demands on you to make decisions, and be actively involved in making the project happen!
It can be helpful to use this quiet time to catch up too. Get all the paperwork associated with the project in order, and sort out your files so you can find things easily when you’re super busy. Do some online research into materials and products that you know you’ll be making decisions about in the near future. If you’re still frustrated by inaction, go walk the aisles of a mega hardware store and soak up the building buzz. I’ve spent many a Christmas holidays in Bunnings!! They usually have face painting for the kids 😉