Well good luck you to. Just kidding! Welcome to part two of the renovation diaries. This week’s installment will get into the nitty gritty. Last week I talked about our decision to renovate our first home, the importance of having reno-roles and creating a plan.

All of that is good in theory and you might have come away thinking “oh yeah, that sounds like a little bit of me”. Well tonight I’m going to share the parts that you don’t always read in the home magazines.

How stressful was it actually? Did it cost a heap? Did you even make any money? Was it worth it?

The fun parts
  • Demolition. What a time! Seriously though, the top of the fun parts list is definitely all the stuff we got to demolish/knock down/kick a hole in. I’m talking internal walls, archways, concrete steps and old verandahs. We found the physical part of renovating a seriously fun challenge. Learning to use a jackhammer was definitely a highlight.
  • Getting to know Bunnings like the back of your hand. At the start of the process we considered opening an account at Bunnings but dismissed this idea as we didn’t think we’d buy THAT much at Bunnings. Oh how wrong we were! Hot tip people: open an account with suppliers wherever possible. It will make your purchases and returns (there are always returns) so much easier!
  • Learning new skills – This was a particularly fun (but also at times trying) part of the journey for us. We quickly figured out that Luke is best at abstract painting, my brother should become a professional tiler and I learnt that all screws tighten in the same direction (when you know, you know right?). In all seriousness though, I’ll never employ a handyman again.
  • Seeing the end result. Standing in a kitchen where you built and installed all the cabinetry, tiled the walls and floor in the bathroom, painted every square inch of the house and it looks damn good. THAT is a great feeling.
  • Buying all the tools – I needed to put this in because we did spend a fair bit on buying good tools to enable us to reno. Often times the cost of hiring vs purchase is pretty close and if you’re likely to use something again, go for it. This can add to your budget, but in our case, it was worth it. Last year we all got hammers for Christmas, not even joking.
The not-so-fun parts
  • Deciding what to do and what not to do. Re: demolition – it’s hard not to get carried away. Don’t really like that wall? Great, it’s gone. All of a sudden you realise you’re left with a lot of work. In our case we had purchased a 1960s house that had a very small bathroom. Once we gutted it, we realised we couldn’t actually replace the shower and bath in the configuration they were in due to today’s standard sizing being larger. Ensue weeks-long debate about whether we need a bath or not. You need to be a good decision maker if you want to take on a reno – have the confidence to decide and then stick to your choice.
  • Not losing sight of the purpose. Is this your forever home? If the answer is no, as it was in our case, then don’t go down the rabbit hole of wanting the best of everything. As long as it’s functional, comfortable and nice to live in – it’s enough.
  • Feeling like you have to be reno-ing all the time. It’s kind of like being back at Uni; every weekend we opted to socialise, sleep in or just relax we felt a deep sense of guilt for not painting or installing the laundry. You need to be prepared for this!
How many dollar bills did we spend?

$41,128.32. How many of those dollars were spent at Bunnings? $16,751. How many on sausages? $273.

What did we get for our money?
  • Full gut & replacement of the kitchen, bathroom & laundry;
  • Internal paint of whole house;
  • Exterior window paint;
  • Outside timber deck and fence build;
  • New hot water system;
  • Split system heating/cooling for the house;
  • Updated blinds/lights & fixtures;
  • Build and install BIR in two bedrooms.
How long did it take?

10 months.

How many dollars did we make?

Roughly $54,000 after costs.

Would we do it again?


Plans for renovation number two are already under way; we’re currently at the stage of wanting to knock all the walls out. The Renovation Diaries continue…


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