How To Survive A Renovation In The Suburbs

I am a survivor.  I am clearing out and cleaning up from the most exciting and biggest renovation of my life!!  With the help of The Home Depot Canada I have replaced almost all of the flooring in my house.  Taken it from a house stuck in the 80’s, to a home I actually adore!  It’s official.   I now love my house!  Through the process of renovating, and over the last four weeks I have learned a few things.  Some the easy way, and some the hard way!  Now you can learn from my experience with my top five tips on how to survive a hard wood floor renovation in the Suburbs

1.  Over Purchase and Over Budget:  We did a lot of research and planning before we decided on our final hard wood product.  What we didn’t do, was buy enough boxes of hard wood.  We didn’t plan on those tricky little corners, on the occasional split board, on the fact that wood would have to go under the kitchen island.  We did count on wanting an extra box left over in case in the future we need to replace a board due to damage!  We also did not budget quite enough for quarter round and the inevitable paint touch ups that are needed.  Don’t forget to leave a little wiggle room when you are crunching those numbers!


2. Manipulate the one’s you love:  Oh yes, I said it, but not in a mean way.  Before you start your Reno you might want to think about inviting a few friends over for dinner.  You know, so when your house goes to hell in a hand basket you can call on those friends to return the dinner favour.  A dinner out can save your sanity.  (Especially when your fridge is in the office and your stove is where the fridge used to be!)

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3.  Prepare for dust:  More dust than you ever thought possible.  Dust will be in everywhere and in everything.  You can not win against the dust.  Pack away your little knick knack’s  and buy extra cleaning supplies.  Swiffer’s, pledge and paper towels are your friend.  Think you’re prepared?  You’re not.  Hide your real plants far far away and put plastic bags around your artificial plants.  This is your only hope.


(Um, do you see the golf ball?  The one constant in our lives, Reno or not. Golf)

4.  Lean on your friends or hire some help if needed: When you are putting in hard wood floors you have to cut many boards to fit.  Your floor is like a big fat puzzle!  If you struggle with this cutting of boards and then your Hubby throws his back out in a big bad way, you may have to call in some help to get this part of the puzzle complete.  It’s okay to ask for some help.  It’s also okay to request this lovely person cut the wood OUTSIDE.  Cut the wood inside?   This is just more dust.  Cough.  Cough. 

5.  Destroying the kitchen?  Create a make shift kitchen somewhere else:  Trust me, you will thank me.  We set up a kettle, toaster, toaster oven, pastries, instant oatmeal, bowls of fruit, paper plates and cups on a table in the basement.  It may not sound like much, but this temporary kitchen gave my girls a place for a dust free breakfast, and a place to escape to after school for a much needed after school snack. 

Take my five tips, dive in and get dirty!  This renovation has been a lot of work, but I can already tell you it has all been worth it!  Hubby and I pulled together, made The Home Depot nights into date nights.  Spent time talking wood floor selection, paint colours and dreams for the future.  It’s exciting to tackle a project together and I’m thrilled to tell you it’s coming out even better than I had hoped!  I just have to dust one more time, call in a few more friends to help move back some of the heaviest furniture and then I am ready for the big reveal!!  Squee!  Come back next week for my big reveal!  I am so happy that I finally #LoveMyHouse.


  1. We replaced flooring in our office once and you re right. I was in no way prepared for all the dust! Can’t wait to see your final reveal!

    • Oh the dust!! Just when you think you have cleaned it all up, it settles again 🙂 The good news, I’m singing when as I clean it up because I am so happy with my new floors!

  2. ah good hit on setting up the temp kitchen…because dont underestimate the time it takes to get it done either…ha…i laid hard wood floors once….not an easy job…not too hard but….

  3. Judy C (Cowan) says:

    We haven’t done any renos for a few years now but one year we had water damage in our condo and it ended up with the entire condo being redone – it was insane but in the end it was worth it. Can’t wait to see your reveal!

    • Insane but worth it! That might be the perfect title for a blog post 🙂 Sorry to hear about your water damage, but so glad your redo was worth the work in the end.

  4. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    Right after our first son was born we finished our entire basement. It was done RIGHT after he was born. It was HELL! Then we added another bedroom on our second floor while I was pregnant with #2! That was hell as well. No more renos for me or I’m moving I have told my husband! LOL!

    • LOL Oh my goodness your timing for renos was not perfect!! Maybe before your next reno, you could just take the kids and go on holiday? lol

  5. Those are some great tips – I love the one about inviting friends over for dinner ahead of time so you can collect when you need it later, LOL!

    Eager to see the big review!

    • Kind of wishing I had thrown a few more dinner parties before we got started. This reno took a little longer than we anticipated 🙂

  6. I love how you think! Having your friends over for dinner is genius. We had similar experiences with our supplies and budget. There is just always something else that needs to be purchased. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Amazing what you can learn during a renovation! (and so glad to hear we are not the only one’s who should have watched our bottom line a little more closely!) Can’t wait to show you the finished product 🙂

  7. You did hard wood everywhere? I really really really want to do this, but am such a chicken! Can’t wait to see how it all turned out.

    • Honestly, it was a lot of work and did disrupt life for a bit, but I can tell you now it was SO worth it!
      Our house finally feels like ours, it’s warmer and prettier? We are going to love it!

  8. Can’t wait. Nice working together date nights making memories. B

  9. Great advice, I can just imagine the mess that creates! Can’t wait to see your pictures next week.

  10. I will be tackling flooring again soon , we are going to make our dining room into the cutting room by adding a plastic zippered door can’t really cut outside when its cold windy raining or snowy , don’t want that wood to warp , right. I am finishing the unfinished wood also so it will be messy but that is what it takes. I attach my shop vac to my orbital sander , that helps a lot.
    Happy renovating.

    • Stephanie says:

      So smart!
      You are right, you have to store that wood inside, even ideally have it in your home a few weeks before you plan on installing it.
      Best of luck with your reno. Feel free to stop back and tell me how it went!

  11. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  12. It is a challenge…but you are DOING it well!!!! Can’t wait to see the results.

  13. These are all amazing tips. Kudos to you for taking on a home reno, and figuring out how to live through it! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  14. I am not looking forward to living through renovations when we buy a house.

  15. Judy C (Cowan) says:

    I saw your sneak peak on FB and it looks great 🙂

  16. Thanks for the awesome tips. We need to do some reno’s but have been putting them off. Your advice is inspiring!

  17. Just went through a bathroom reno and totally “get” this post. Home Depot was our go-to for runs for drill bits, industrial garbage bags, tiles, paint and more!

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL I wish I had kept track of how many times we went back and forth to The Home Depot. We were such newbies when we began this renovation, and learned a lot!

  18. Victoria Ess says:

    The second kitchen is a great idea! In addition to the practical benefits of doing it, I imagine that it would provide some sense of peace when everything is being turned upside down!

  19. Any reno is a lot of work and most people dont realize just how much before tackling one. it seems like you learned a lot during the process and that it went fairly smoothly which is good.

    • I can admit I “thought” I knew what I was going into. I had NO idea. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise 🙂 You’re right, in the end I learned a lot and would do it all again in a heart beat.

  20. Reno’s. Aren’t they so much fun?

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