It’s no secret that renovating can come with some hiccups. Actually, whether you’re DIY-ing or hiring contractors you would be naive to NOT anticipate hiccups. While we typically lean into optimism around here, bumps in the road seem to be inevitable no matter how much planning and precaution we take. To quote Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” I don’t make up the rules around here! It’s science okay? With all that being said, you should be aware of all the things that CAN go wrong, so that it doesn’t feel like such a blow when things go awry. So here’s 10 things that can derail a home renovation!
Everyone sees buildings go up and then all of a sudden, construction comes to a halt. On a large scale, this typically means the funds have run dry. On a smaller scale, if you budget for a home project, without allotting for the unexpected, you might run out of money! Either the project stops until you get the funds, or you find a way to pivot. This is why Chris and I always budget for 30% more of the projected cost of the project. This buffer has saved us many, many times because the honest truth? We have not done one single project in this house that hasn’t had an unexpected cost. Budgeting looks different for everyone, but we share a few of our renovating budget tips in this post!
If you’re hiring out a project, almost always you are not the only client on your contractor’s schedule. They could be balancing a handful of other projects, have a vacation to go on… you never know! You’re at the discretion of the contractor’s schedule, which could be months out. We’ve also heard that a lot of contractors are booked out 6 months from now! So you gotta think ahead haha.
To me, the worse thing that could happen in a home renovation is hiring a bad contractor. Sometimes a contractor seems promising until they reveal their shoddy work. Or maybe they do great work but they’re poor at communicating, or they leave a mess for you to clean up. No matter what it is, hiring a bad contractor can cause delays, run your budget dry, or cause major long term problems. Here’s some tips to help you find a good contractor.
Sometimes this goes hand in hand with hiring a bad contractor! We love our contractors here in North Carolina because on top of the great work they do, they keep us in the loop with what’s going on! As you know, communication is a two way road though. There have been times where I’ve had to swallow a piece of humble pie, knowing that I didn’t communicate expectations clearly enough. I’ve learned that when I’m communicating design plans, I need send pictures of what I want and what I don’t want and why!
Even from the DIY perspective, communicating with your partner is equally important! Whether it’s budget, something found, a problem, a delay, communicate immediately! Both of you should be kept in the loop about any bumps along the way. Also, just a good life rule is to NOT shoot the messenger! Again, you’re on the same team and you’re figuring this out together. We talk about this in our Tips for DIY-ing or Renovating With Your Partner post.
Confession time. This is me! Sometimes I have to see a project to a certain point before making the next decision. Just know that the more time you take to make decisions, the more delays! This is sort of what happened in the laundry room. Deciding on a countertop material was not coming easy, which delayed the countertops getting measured and templated. You might not be able to make all of your decisions up front, but try to be quick about making decisions as they come.
This is the #1 reason why Greta’s bathroom is taking so long… okay and the laundry room. We demoed both of those spaces before we even had product on hand! Big mistake. Another tip: unbox your products as they come to make sure they’re what you wanted and aren’t damaged. This is what I should have done with the vanity in Greta’s bathroom when it arrived. The vanity was sitting in a box in the garage for about a month, and it wasn’t until install day that I realized the wood tone was too dark for my liking earlier. I could have ordered a new one sooner if I’d checked! Hindsight. If you want a project to go fast, have everything on hand before you start (or at least have it ordered).
This unfortunately is pretty out of your control. It’s also something we experience all. the. time. Sometimes products arrive early, but
if when they get delayed or lost, you might find your project at a stand still. The best you can do is just try to expect a possible delay and order earlier.
If you’ve been following along with the outdoor kitchen, you know this is what happened here! I thought my mind was set on using stone for the surround until I saw it in place. As much as I hated saying, “I don’t actually like it, can we take it down and pivot?” I had to do it. It’s normal and okay to change your mind, but it will put you behind. Like really behind. We ended up DIY-ing the paneling on the kitchen ourselves which took time. And even after we painted it a mushroom taupe color, I changed my mind again and painted it black!
Another inevitable part of home renovations is mistakes. Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring it out, accidents happen. If you look closely enough at the box trim tile below the shower nozzle you might notice something’s off. It’s literally off-centered with the shower head and nozzle. This tile expert also came highly recommended as one of the best tilers in the area. Not throwing shade to him, it just goes to show that you can hire the best, and mistakes can still happen! We pivoted and decided to take off the box trim all together and just fill it in with the marble subway tile.
You might also notice the vanity is missing a countertop in this photo. One of our contractors accidentally chipped it and so they had one custom made to replace it. They swallowed the cost for us and we let it roll because these things happen, but it did put the renovation behind.
If you follow me on Instagram, you maybe saw that every single time I tried painting this outdoor kitchen, it started raining. I was starting to think this project was cursed. Literally over the span of weeks, I would wait for a clear day on the weather app, go outside to paint, and it would turn on me. Eventually I just put up a canopy and painted through the rain because I was so sick of waiting for the perfect day.
We made it through, but sometimes the weather can quite literally put a damper on things.
Did we officially scare you out of doing any home projects? I really hope not, because there’s nothing like that feeling of putting your blood sweat and tears into your home and seeing it come to fruition. What precautions do you take to avoid some of the things on this list?
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
The next project we’re checking off our 2023 project list is the mudroom! This used to be the laundry room until we built out a much bigger, better laundry room upstairs. So, in the meantime, this space has been exclusively Cricket’s room. Cricket will still have a special space here, but we’re transforming this dingy […]
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Make yourself right at home
Make yourself right at home