26 Jul Logic and Order
It always amazes me how many people start a renovation with the hallway (apologies to those that I know who have done this for highlighting the error after the event!).
It may be the first thing that you see when you arrive at a property but it is in fact the last part of the house that should be given your time and attention.
It’s simple really, the hall, stairs and landing sit at the centre of the house and provide the route to all other rooms. So, when you later address these other rooms you have to carry all the materials, tools and furniture through the hallway. Not to mention the tradesmen in their dusty overalls who are back and forth all day – which is the last thing you want in your newly pristine grand entrance.
So, what is the best order to tackle the renovation or redecoration of a house? Well, it’s not an inflexible model and all projects place different demands and constraints on the planning of the works. However you could consider the following points when developing a logical way to approach things.
1. If you are making significant changes to the property as a whole, obtain plans or have the house surveyed, and then plan: where new bathrooms are to go; how the kitchen will relate to both the dining room and the breakfast room, and also a dining area outside; how this affects the plumbing, how the internal circulation will work (do the back stairs need altering for example?); and if you intend to extend, how this will affect the historic character of your house.
2. Anywhere that needs structural alterations should be one of the first areas to be tackled if budgets allow – this kind of work generates rubble that needs to be removed from the house and creates a huge amount of dust and disruption that can affect rooms all over the house. If your house is listed then you may need listed buildings consent as well as planning to undertake the work. Consult an architect as early as possible to share your thinking and get their expertise.
3. Wherever possible begin with Bathrooms and Kitchens – this includes wc/cloakrooms and utility rooms. These rooms often throw up requirements for new pipe work which may run through other parts of the house.
4. At an early stage look at the electrical requirements of each room and identify whether the existing fuse board is up to the job in terms of load and regulations. If you identify specific requirements early like ceiling speakers or cables that need to run from one part of the house to another then you can build this in before decorating anywhere.
5. After that you can pick off room by room depending on preference or how much it needs the attention. If your home is listed then you may need to involve a conservation officer in which case you need to allow more time for the rooms that may require their involvement.
6. Don’t forget to turn your attention to the outside of the house in the summer months. Re-roofing, re-rendering, replacing decaying stonework or rotting windows and woodwork is all better done in the summer if you can. If you are replacing windows then clearly the rooms this affects cannot be decorating inside until you have done this.
7. Once all this is done – or at least once you have completed the majority of disruptive work you can turn your attention to – what is very often a crowning glory in a Georgian or Regency property – your hallway and staircase.
This may seem obvious stuff to some but I hope it’s helpful to those who have perhaps not tackled a house renovation before. It’s a daunting and exciting prospect. Good luck.