Planning a reno with young children around? Here are a few tricks!

With kids in the picture you’ll want your make-over done as quickly as possible, so avoid delays by planning ahead. Articulate exactly what the reno will entail, including what you are altering, removing and leaving alone. Decide on paint colours, tiles/pavers, lighting, landscaping and every other product you are going to be using so there is no delay once you have started. Depending on how big your make-over or renovation is going to be, this could be a very long list! Be gentle on yourself and don’t expect to complete your entire exterior in a few weeks. If you need a step-by-step for selecting colours and working out your overall renovation plan, check out my course (Google ‘Street Appeal Academy’) or click here.

Get quotes from trades and let them know up front what your expectations are. For example, you might insist there is no smoking, drinking or bad language on site, and they must arrive after a certain time so you can get the kids up and ready before they arrive. Specify if you want them to clean up after themselves – some will charge a bit more for this, but it’s worth it to keep the kids safe and your sanity intact. Choose tradies that are good, fast and reliable. Never sacrifice quality for cost. As a professional exterior designer, I can’t stress this enough! Do less to your home rather than compromise on product or labour quality.

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Do a timeline of what needs to happen, when. Estimate how long each component is going to take and try to minimise the downtime in between so that you have one trade in directly after the other. This can be a tricky task, so ask someone who is experienced if you need to. It’s a case of you don’t know what you don’t know sometimes – so employing someone who’s around renovations regularly is a better bet than trying to work it out yourself.

Have a kid-free zone where you can store paint, chemicals, equipment and products needed for the reno. Seal it off as much as possible so the kids can’t get in! Put up a kiddie gate blocking access if necessary (or make sure the space is lockable), even if you don’t have toddlers; it acts as a reminder to older kids that it is a no-go zone.

Have a skip bin out the front and put all the junk in as you pull it out, e.g. pavers, broken/old tiles or any other materials you’re disposing of. It will help keep the space clearer and more manageable as well as reducing hazards.

Allow twice as long for the renovation than you had planned. Inevitably there will be delays, so if you have a longer period of time in mind, you are less likely to get disappointed or frustrated.

Jane Eyles-Bennett x