Get the professionals to put up the foundations

How to stay sane during your renovation

Before the renovation starts, you’re seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses because you’re so excited about living in a ‘new’ home. But reality will hit hard if you’re not prepared. Tasks that come with renovation like the heavy lifting, concrete cutting, and the noise the power tools let loose is enough to drive anyone to breaking point. That’s why we compiled this list on how to stay sane.



  • Plan A, B and C

We don’t live in a perfect world and there’s always going to be unexpected obstacles  during a renovation. This can be anything from busted pipes to uneven ground. This is going to stress you out if you’re not prepared.

Think of the worst possible scenarios, write them out and make contingency plans accordingly. Better to be over prepared than not at all.


  • Call the pros

Don’t attempt a DIY build unless you have the skills. You wouldn’t pour a concrete slab or erect a timber frame unless you know how to do it!

Get the professionals to put up the foundations

Get the professionals to put up the foundations

Some tasks you can do yourself but if you want to stay sane, let the professionals do theirs. You can help carry out debris, do some of the painting, and help them out by making decisions. Indecisiveness is a tradie’s worst enemy.


  • Make little goals

Take it room by room, week by week. Don’t stress out over the whole build, just focus on what you’re doing at that moment. That way you know you’re completing the task properly.


  • Stay accountable

Everyone documents progress on social media or blogging, whether it be weight loss or house renovations. The ultimate form of accountability? Reality television, but you’re not going that far.

Start blogging and show off your progress

Start blogging and show off your progress

You’re keeping yourself accountable as well as boosting your ego a little bit when showing your progress for the world to see. Before and after pictures will wow the world and you can take pride in saying ‘I did that’.


  • Keep your goals in view

You’ll ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ multiple times. Write your goals out and pin them up somewhere visible. People renovate their homes because:

  • They want to provide a better home for their family
  • They want to achieve something meaningful
  • The house is an investment/something to make money

Goals can even be an ideas board of what you want each room to look like.


  • Make a refuge

Find yourself a space in the house or somewhere you can decompress when the stress just gets to you. It’s natural to feel like you’re going to  to explode during the renovations at some point. The trades are late, the money is getting out of control, or the family  is just getting on your nerves. It’s just a temporary situation. Find a safe place for yourself and just breathe/read a book/have a coffee.

Coffee shop, finished room or some other place; make it yours to decompress

Coffee shop, finished room or some other place; make it yours to decompress


  • Do something for the trades

You’ll feel good doing something nice for others. And they’ll also appreciate the gesture. Tradies working on the renovation have laboured long and hard. They’ll get paid for it, but do something unexpected to say thank you. Have a sausage sizzle or just bring out tea and Tim Tams en masse. Things you don’t have to do, but want to, go a long way.

Hold a fancy sausage sizzle to say thank you

Hold a fancy sausage sizzle to say thank you


  • Be excited

You have the right to feel tired, cranky, frustrated and tired (again). But this is an exciting time because you’re building something meaningful.


Need more insight? Read these:

5 sure-fire ways to make sure your renovation goes to plan

10 stencilled concrete design ideas

concrete tadao

6 concrete masterpieces by Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando is world-renowned architect, famous for using concrete to create dazzling buildings. He’s designed everything from churches to apartment buildings. Besides concrete, he designs incorporate the use of natural light as much as possible. We list some of his top works here.


  1. The Church of Light, Osaka

archdaily COL

The Church of the Light was completed in 1990’s as part of a renovation to an existing church. The Church is famous for the cross facade. While it’s not particularly special from the outside, the cross cutout gives the chapel a whole new aesthetic. Almost haunting.


  1. Omotesando Hills, Tokyo


The ritzy hills of Omotesando is full of designer shops, Meiji-era architecture and this fitting Ando-designed shopping mall in his signature glass-and-concrete combo. Tenants include Harry Winston, Chloe and Max Brenner.


  1. 21 21 Design Sight, Tokyo

21 21 design open buildings

This building was designed by Ando in collaboration with Issey Miyake. The museum’s structure is modelled after a flowing piece of cloth. Floor-to-ceiling glass allows the maximum use of natural light.


  1. Langen Foundation, Germany


The Langen Foundation is a museum dedicated to Oriental and modern art. Ando wanted to create a tranquil space where visitors could admire the works in relative peace.


  1. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe

japan guide kobe art museum

Kobe was devastated by a 1995 earthquake, forcing the city to rebuild Ando designed this building with strength and security in mind. The museum is located next to the water and has a harbourside plaza for visitors to relax


  1. Glass House, South Korea


This is a museum located on the grounds of the Phoenix Island Resort, with the surrounding landscape designed around it.


5 sure-fire ways to make sure your renovation goes to plan

Doing a renovation or general fixing isn’t as expensive or draining as the shows on television and your friend’s stories might lead you to believe. You can keep  everything on track, and survive it, if you prepare. There’s a lot of tips out there, but we’ve narrowed down the list to our top 5.


  • Get your budget in order

The renovation can’t get started if you don’t have the cash. You need to meet your accountant, and someone from your bank if you need to take out a loan.

Line up the quotes you got from the concreter, the carpenter, the plumber and any other  trades you need. Can you afford to pay them? You’ll also need extra cash, about 20% of the total budget, in case of extra costs from unforeseen circumstances.


  • Decide where to live

You can’t use the kitchen when the concrete floor’s getting polished, or take a shower when the screed is curing. It’s up to you whether or not to move temporarily, but if the whole house is getting renovated it’ll certainly make life easier. Trades start work early; do you want to wake up to the sound of a concrete truck pouring cement, or drills going at it, at 7am?


  • Clean and store

Most trades respect your space, from the concreter to the plumber, but sometimes accidents happen and things break. Make sure you move the valuables and fragiles out of the house until work is finished. Mess is a given in a renovation, so moving delicates and valuables will ease your anxiety. 


  • Go shopping

Look at display homes and interior magazines. Speak with your contractors, too, when getting a quote. Be transparent about what you want and the money you have to spend.

Just because you’re mindful of counting pennies doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice quality. Can’t splash on a marble benchtop? Get a stained concrete slab instead. Go to vintage shops and recycling stores for second-hand furniture. Reupholstering old furniture is cheaper than buying a new suite. You’re going to cut the cost of the renovation dramatically when you buy second hand instead of new off the shop floor.

When you’re looking at fixtures like taps and lights, favour the environmentally-friendly options. You’ll save a lot on your electricity/water bills.


  • Keep an open line

During the renovation, the builder is the boss, but that doesn’t mean you disappear. As a client, you want satisfaction guaranteed so it’s better to stay accessible. Builders have a good habit of sending progress reports, and that includes any problems they’ve encountered. This is why it’s better to have that 20% extra budget handy, though hopefully you’ll never have to use it.


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