Sarah and Bryan Baeumler of HGTV Canada's House of Bryan offer real-life advice for tackling a major home makeover.When Sarah and Bryan Baeumler bought a 1990s one-bedroom A-frame country home outside Toronto, they knew it would take a lot of work (and some serious compromise) to transform it into a forever home for their busy family of six. Drawn to the house because of the property size and proximity to the city, the couple saw its potential. They lived in the house, along with their children—Quintyn, 11; Charlotte, 8; Lincoln, 5; and Josephine, 3—during the entire two-year overhaul. Here's how they managed.
The big picture
Really think about how you will use the home, how long you plan to keep it and how your needs might change. "We spent a lot of time looking through the plans and imagining how it would be for our kids as they get older—and what will happen when they leave the nest—so we would be prepared for those times in our lives," says Sarah.
Carve out living space
Having a spot to escape to was essential when renovating around four active children. "We quickly threw up a few walls to make bedrooms for the kids to share," says Bryan. "Then, once we built the addition on the back of the house, we moved into that and ripped into the original space."
Go with the flow
With the dust, dirt, work and expense involved, renovations can strain even the closest couples—unless you learn to compromise and enjoy the process. "You have to be willing to listen to the other person and to come to solutions together," says Bryan, adding that attitude is everything. "You can spend your entire life waiting to enjoy something, or you can decide to appreciate the journey, because you don't know when it's going to end."
When it comes to setting a budget, Bryan says, "You need to have your top number. Prices and projects are going to change throughout the reno, and you need to be willing to make compromises, either with your budget or your wish list." Unless you're OK with parking yourself on the floor to eat dinner in your newly designed dining room, don't forget to include furniture and decor when calculating your budget. For the Baeumlers, including all the finishings was key. "It was important for me to feel like the project was completed because, as Bryan says, I love my chandeliers and throw pillows," explains Sarah.
Take a break
Here's why the Baeumlers believe in pressing pause:
- Sometimes, you just need a breather. "You don't have to stick to a schedule
just because you made one," says Bryan.
- A pause may be necessary for those nagging second thoughts. "There were times we put the brakes on until we were sure we were making the right choice," says Bryan. "There's no sense in doing something if you're not confident that it's the right decision."
- It's wise to take a moment to focus on your relationship. "When you're under the same roof as the renovation, it's so easy for it to consume every moment," says Sarah. "We had to remember that we still have four young kids and each other to think about. We knew when we had to regroup and remember what the whole point of this process was."
For more from the Baeulmer's, check out our five minutes with Bryan.
This story was originally part of "How To Survive A Reno" in the May 2016 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!