Advice and Ideas on Living in a Renovation Project over Christmas

Work in progress? Don't run out of time

Work in progress? Don’t run out of time

In renovation projects Christmas is often used as a defined deadline to complete the work. ‘By Christmas’. We want our homes to look amazing for Christmas. The problem is that Christmas tends to creep up on us, and bite us on the bottom, and if we are not careful with our planning and achievable lead times we are then disappointed when the deadline arrives to find ourselves in dissaray.

Most contractors will agree that the run up to Christmas is usually very busy, and often receive inquiries at the end of November for work to be finished by Christmas – not a chance. Tradespeople, builders and suppliers usually finish work before Christmas, and do not return until a few days into the New Year. This is because customers do not want work going on during the Christmas break. How many times have we found ourselves wrapping Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and trying to get a newly decorated bedroom finished and and ready for guests to arrive in a few short hours? So ‘by Christmas’ we are stressed out and exhausted. Take a well earned break for a few days, returning refreshed to the tasks ahead.

If you’re in the middle of a total home renovation project during Christmas which has impacted on the whole house, embrace it, for what it is, if you can’t go away for the holidays. A few years ago I was in this situation, our goal to get the roof on our extension by Christmas. This was completed in the pouring rain, but finished it was. We were able to use the now dry, but freezing unfinished extension as a huge walk in fridge for food and drinks. Result! We had electric wires draped from the ceiling which I decorated with trailing ivy. Our sitting room walls had been stripped of wallpaper, revealing rough walls with the Christmas tree in situ. We had a working log burning stove in the fireplace. (This was our only form of heating in the whole house). Despite my best efforts my daughter arrived and asked if I was going for the ‘Trainspotting’ (the film) look! Camp beds had been made up for visitors and we muddled through. By the following Christmas we could enjoy our home in it’s completed glory, and reminisce about the previous Christmas.

Any work which is realistically going to take longer than your self inflicted deadline of Christmas, plan to implement in January and February. Trades people are generally quieter after the pre- Christmas rush. The sales are on and there are bargains to be had for kitchens, sanitary ware and furnishings. Besides January and February can be such flat, dreary months, you can cheer yourself and your home.

Ten Ideas for your Christmas Home during a renovation project. The trend is for organised chaos.

1. Go for the rustic or industrial vibe. Place scaffolding boards on trestle legs to create a temporary table. Either leave as bare boards (scrub them first to remove any dust and dirt) place two table runners across it or cover with a white sheet.
2. If your best china is packed safely away, then mix and match your tableware. The current trend is for an eclectic mix with a sense of chaos. Perfect!
3. Use candles. Candle light softens the space and creates a gentle ambiance. It also camouflages less than perfect decor.
4. Collect ivy and evergreens. Place in a jug or use to drape around your home.
5. Fir cones placed in a small basket with a few baubles makes an attractive table centre piece.
6. Hang hearts, snow flakes or tie ribbon round the backs of the chairs to add detail, and unify if using a selection of different chairs.
7. If you don’t have room for a large traditional Christmas tree buy a miniature tree already potted with roots. You can put it outside after Christmas and use again for many years to follow. (Re-potting will be necessary).
8. Drape plain white fairy lights around the windows (if they are bare) to add sparkle.
9. No oven? Bar be que the meat outside. A gas bar be que is easy for this.
10. No traditional open fire? Put a picture on your T.V. to resemble an open fire.


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