Hunting For George founder Lucy Glade-Wright and her partner Jonno Rodd recently undertook a stunning beach shack renovation.
The 1930s beach home in Lorne, Victoria went from a dated weatherboard cottage to a chic family home.
Aspiring renovators, we asked Lucy what the experience taught her about DIY home makeovers.
Lesson 1: Time management
Getting the timeline straight is the trickiest part of a renovation. It requires purchasing all your products and lining up each trade in its necessary order. If one vital item doesn’t arrive on time, it can throw off the whole schedule.
Jonno and Lucy from Hunting for George share their lessons from renovating a 1930s beach shack.
“The best thing reno newbies can do is ask questions so you keep everyone on the same page,” Lucy notes. “It requires a little bit of project management but the more you communicate, the smoother the process will be.”
“If you’re working with a builder, ask them for their program,” Jonno adds. “Even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet, if they’re a bigger company they might have an actual program that does that sort of thing. Just a rough outline of when they’re going to have certain trades (is helpful). Then, you can manage it however you normally manage your life.”
Lesson 2: Be flexible
Having said all that, you need to allow for a degree of flexibility. Jonno recommends locking in dates for key trades and then having buffers around those days that everyone can work towards.
Should your floors go in before or after you paint? Sometimes it pays to be flexible with the process.
He also says not everything has to be in a strict order.
“Stick to key dates but you can do some things out of sequence,” he says. “For instance, we were painting in some rooms after we’d installed new floors. It’s not everyone’s preference, but make sure everyone can work around things, especially if you need to get something done by a certain time.”
Lesson 3: You need to level your floor before laying new floorboards
Both Lucy and Jonno loved their Carpet Court Precinct Oak floating floor for how easy it was to install. However, that doesn’t mean they were entirely prepared for some aspects.
Depending on your floor, you may not be able to lay your floorboards without a bit of prep first.
“You can’t just bang down new floorboards over existing ones,” Lucy explains. “The old ones might need to be sanded and levelled. This takes time! So, before you go and get over-excited – factor in the prep work required.”
Jonno says the speed with which they could install this type of flooring made things easy.
“If we’d gone with our original plan of trying to match the existing hardwood floors, the whole process would have taken a few weeks before we could walk on it,” he says. “With this option, it was max three days to do the whole house. We did it in two stages: upstairs first, then downstairs and the staircases. Within a few hours it was ready to walk on.”
Lesson 4: Always trial samples first
Always sample before committing to a finish.
Get samples of your paint, flooring and any accent materials to help balance your design.
When it comes to paint, order test pots and paint large swatches on your walls. Leave them there for at least a few days to view them in different types of light (day vs. night, natural vs. artificial, etc).
Do the same for your floors too by asking your supplier for samples.
“Seeing it in store is one thing but getting take-home samples is a better way to go,” Jonno confirms. “Carpet Court is more than happy to loan them to you for a week or two. Bring them in to your space and look at them in multiple rooms. Make sure it’s going work with all the different lights and different times of day.”
Lesson 5: How to handle burnout
Burnout is inevitable, Lucy warns.
“Renovating is tough both mentally and physically,” she shares. “There are moments when you’re just drained and you feel like you can’t do any more. So, it’s important to actually be able to stop and take a break. Step away from it when it becomes a bit much.”
Stave off burnout by ensuring you get enough rest and relaxation time.
At times of burnout and flailing motivation, Jonno also encourages to focus on just one room.
“If you’re getting close to finishing and experiencing burnout, try and finish just one room. Once you see a finished room with things in it, with the power on and everything, it makes you feel so much better and you can see the end.”