Hiccups in Renovation

We are quickly learning that nothing goes smooth when it comes to anything with our house. We should of known that a large project would be derailed at least three times before it even started. When we first moved in, it took my poor husband with help over four hours, multiple bouts of swearing, and three trips to Home Depot to install our over the stove microwave. Our kitchen renovation is looking no different... especially when it comes to surprise costs.

Our general contractor brought in a licensed electrician because we wanted to add an additional oven. With an old house like ours if any new appliances were installed we needed to expand our electrical panel. Once the electrician did his initial assessment of our existing system he actually laughed because he had never seen a panel so comically small for an entire house. And with that, the dollars just kept adding up.

Our panel was smaller than a toddler shoebox.

Our panel was smaller than a toddler shoebox.

We tried our best to create a buffer/ emergency stash in case something was not accounted for or there were a surprise or two once the project was further along. Yet as soon as the electrician saw what he was working with it was not something that could be a quick fix. In order to create a safe and up to code system our buffer was blown completely. He was here for less than an hour and we hadn’t even started the official renovation.

This put my husband in a bit of a meltdown.

*Reenactment of original meltdown

*Reenactment of original meltdown

It was beyond our control and has to be done yet here we were looking at this project with complete trepidation because seriously what else could go wrong before we even started? My dream kitchen was turning into something less dreamy.

A one day electrical upgrade is now turning into multiple days with multiple crews and inspections. It’s like having one big party. And who doesn’t like a party that goes into the night and the next day and the day after that and another day for good measure? Thankfully this can be done at the same time that the kitchen renovations are being done.

New electrical panel- and it’s more than twice as big as the original

New electrical panel- and it’s more than twice as big as the original

So with this lovely little hiccup we have learned a few of things when deciding to take the leap for a large renovation:

  • Have multiple options for your space

  • Have multiple contractors give quotes

  • If there are multiple parts make sure each group working has seen the project before you agree to anything

  • Get everything in writing from labor, materials, and time lines

  • Keep a budget with a breakdown of every part of the project

With this quick little checklist you can have a more accurate quote to keep the budget as close to the original as possible and understand where things need to be done. We are completely new to renovation and want to help alleviate some unknowns to those who are also trying to make their first big project run smoothly.