Permanently drunk – the guide to surviving your home renovations

Because not all home renovations are created equal

All you need is a plan, and some wine.

So, you’re thinking of renovating your home.  Before you undertake this potentially mammoth task; which may have cataclysmic consequences; ask yourself… do you really want to go there?

Truth be told, when I think of home renovations, I find myself with a mysterious case of hives and have to lie down for a spell.  I do not possess any skill required to complete any of the actual work unless it is hard manual labour.  I think I may have been a pack horse or even a slave in a previous life.  However, I do have great organisation skills, and I firmly believe that if you have a good idea of what you want to achieve, anything is possible; with a good contractor or two, of course. And a staple gun.  And wine.



I’m a “let’s make a list” kind of gal, so first things first. Decide what you need done, in order of priority and urgency/ importance. Step two – unfortunately we live in the real world and there are no magic fairies so you must decide whether you will do the work yourself or if you will hire a contractor.  Next you need to work out how much time each task will take. Finally, work out the costs of the task and overall project, because no money = no renovation. Get the relevant quotes from suppliers or contractors, so that your pricing is accurate. And remember to build in a little ‘fat’, because let’s face it, no home renovation ever actually came in on budget!

In fact in talking to a quantity surveyor in charge of large shopping centre builds he says a 20% “in case things go wrong” budget isn’t unrealistic.

If you’re not big into lists, then you are in luck, download our project template here! The best advice I can give you is to keep it simple.  If you can’t decide whether you should do the job yourself or not, determine if this is something that you can actually do and how difficult the job will be.  Ask a few trusted friends if they can recommend any good contractors, using a referral takes a lot of the hard work out of finding someone reliable. But settle in, this is where the liquid courage will begin its journey with you!



You need to start with the end in mind. What look are you wanting to achieve? Gather inspiration and images of what your renovations should look like at the end. Online, we find that Pinterest is a great visual tool for collecting ideas; or, do it old school and cut images out of magazines and maintain a look book.  Also store your paint colour swatches, fabric samples, quotes and sketches in the same place.  It’s always a good idea to visit the supply stores and see what is available, don’t be shy to take pictures, trust us they are used to it! Visit the paint shop and get samples of the colour you want to use and try it out on a test wall to see how it will come out.  Go as far as buying a tile or getting a contractor to come out with samples so you can envisage what these items will look like in your home.



As with cleaning, working “top to bottom” is a good guide on what work should take place first. So ceilings, paint, cornicing, cupboards, flooring and skirtings; finishing off with your furniture and accessories. You get the picture.

When using a contractor, ensure they keep to their schedule and don’t be shy to negotiate payment on completion of specific stages of the project (milestone payments). Before making a final payment, draw up a snag list, and withhold payment until your issues have been addressed.



Having a good plan will help you keep track of your project, your deadlines and your  budget, it just gives you a little control!

Inevitably, something will come up that you did not foresee.  Drink wine, take some time out to find a plan B, and if necessary, have more wine. Maybe invest in a hip flask. Or a long straw. Either way, renovations can be fun, and sometimes a bit stressful.  In the end, remember to keep it real.  Take before and after photo’s so that you can admire your handy work and your progress. With some wine. Invite your friends over so you can show off and of course… drink some more wine.


Happy Renovating!

Charlotte Kearsey
About me

Charlotte, also known as Charlie, is a freelance Social Media Architect and Blogger. After nearly 20 years working in the IT and Marketing fields, she now spends her days as a Stay [WORK] at Home Mom and Director of Home Affairs. Fueled by coffee; and with a passion for anything creative and completely random, she hopes to make a difference in the world, albeit small. And she loves rocks and might be a tad ADHD.


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