How to survive a kitchen reno with a young family
How to survive a kitchen renovation with a young family and hectic schedules.
Two busy parents plus two young boys can add up to one hectic family home. When you subtract the kitchen, the outcome can be downright chaotic. Here's how Style at Home art director Karen Paddon survived her two-month kitchen reno.
Kitchen reno survival tips
1 If possible, schedule your reno for the summer months. We did ours in the winter, but having access to the barbecue and being able to spend most of our time outdoors would have been much more convenient.
2 If you can afford it, move out during the renovation or at least during the ruckus of the initial demo. We planned a family getaway for the weekend that the floors were being ripped up to escape the noise and dust.
3 Create a makeshift kitchen. We turned the upstairs playroom into a cooking space by taking up our old microwave, toaster and George Foreman grill, as well as a mini fridge from the garage. The tub in the adjacent bathroom was handy for washing dishes.
4 Shop small. To keep our temporary kitchen functional, we did a few grocery runs a week. That way, I cut down on the trips between two flights of stairs to the basement fridge.
5 Make a clean break. We isolated ourselves from the areas being worked on. We moved everything we needed (most importantly, the kids' toys) upstairs. My husband and I didn't go near the kitchen much, so the kids didn't seem to want to either.
6 Simplify. Without an oven, our menu options were limited, but we made it work. We ate a lot of sandwiches, salads and microwaved rice and peas. I tried to keep things healthy with veggie platters and cut fruit.
7 Stay in the loop. The more familiar you are with the reno timeline, the better you're able to anticipate the especially disruptive projects and plan outings during those hours.
8 Double and triple up. I think people try to tackle one reno at a time, but redoing the kitchen floor quickly snowballed into redoing the floors on the whole main level -- we wanted the same finish throughout. And once we got to the laundry room, we decided to renovate it, too.
9 Take this opportunity to visit with family and friends. A few times a week, we ate a meal at the grandparents'. And I don't think I turned down a single dinner party invitation in those two months!
10 Plan well. We survived it, but living through a kitchen reno was not easy. Above all else, I'd recommend having a game plan in place to keep the timeline as short as possible and to ensure all the boxes are ticked so there aren't any redos down the line. We chose a timeless aesthetic, so I won't have to touch the kitchen for another 10 years, at least!
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Learn to renovate your basement the right way.
Contractor and TV star Bryan Baeumler offers tips on how to renovate your basement properly and save money long term.
Finished basements have become more popular over the past few decades. No longer are they viewed as dark caves where mechanical systems clank away and spiders abound. Instead, they offer additional space and can increase the value of your home - as long as you keep a few simple things in mind.
Photography by Michael Graydon
1 Bedroom addition
Incorporating a bedroom in the basement is a great way to make room for guest and create extra storage space. But it also means making sure there’s a legal egress in case of fire - typically a window with an opening big enough to allow escape, as well as a window well deep enough to facilitate that hasty exit. And yes, you’ll need permits. $2000 to $3000 for window supply and installation.
2 Wall insulation
A basement’s outside walls often aren’t well insulated, so opt for spray foam or rigid insulation. You’ll spend a few extra dollars but it will pay of in the long run, since your furnace won’t need to work as hard to heat up your home. $3000 to $4000 to insulate a standard basement.
3 Subfloor solution
The days of damp floors and cold feet are over. I’m a big fan of dricore subfloor panels because they provide a ready-to-use foundation for installing the finished floor. You can frame and fasten your walls on top of the subfloor with ease, which maintains a thermal break and air gap between the concrete and top layers of flooring. It also raises the room’s temperature. $2 per sq. ft.
Photography by Mark Burstyn
4 Bathroom addition
Building a bathroom in the basement will add value to your home, as long as it’s well planned. Good news: Most new homes have basement bathroom rough-ins already installed. Have you ever wondered what those random capped pipes are that stick out from the concrete? Now you know! If yours doesn’t, a plumber will need to open up a channel from the bathroom area all the way to the main stack or sewer line. $3000 to $5000 for rough-ins.
How to: Renovate your laundry room
Doing laundry isn’t a fun activity for most, but that doesn’t mean the laundry room should be ignored when renovating your home. If it’s well designed, it can be so convenient and efficient, you’ll be wishing you had more dirty clothes!
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Planning your layout
Everyone meticulously plans their kitchen and bathroom layouts, and it’s just as important to do so in a laundry room. It requires plumbing, venting and electrical, so taking the time to create a floor plan is crucial. Make sure you know where your vents and valves need to go. And remember, front-loading machines are designed to have the washer on the left and the dryer on the right. Place them the other way and you’ll be reaching awkwardly.
If you’re short on space, have your laundry room double as a storage area or mud room, based on its location and your needs. it may be as easy as adding more cabinets and counter space or installing an extra-large sink. the laundry room is built for function above all else, so think about multi-tasking when planning your layout.