This post needs no introduction, especially if you read Part I of My Biggest Renovation Regrets.
But you know I can’t miss the opportunity to talk-talk-talk, so let’s recap!
Nineteen months ago, we bought a house. The house was old and abandoned and scary and sad. As a result, we’ve spent the last 1.5 years gutting and renovating the house – and blogging about it in the process.
Consequently, lots of mistakes can happen in 19+ months. So today, to your amusement (and my misery), I’m recapping said mistakes here on the blog.
Catch up with Part I here; otherwise, settle in for Part II.
No. 6: Purchasing an antique clawfoot tub
First (or rather, sixth) on the list of renovation regrets is our antique clawfoot tub.
I know, I know. You’re thinking what in the world is wrong with me? Why would I regret such a luxury that others only dream of?
Well, for starters, when you buy anything antique, chances are, you’ll have to have a little work done to it to bring it back to its former glory. Our clawfoot tub was in near-perfect condition, so we figured once we polished the brass fixtures and re-painted the feet, it’d be sparkling like new.
What I didn’t realize (until we had already paid for and lugged the very heavy tub into the house) is that the color of said clawfoot tub was slightly off-white – not ideal for our white and gray bathroom.
So while the price of the clawfoot tub was far less than if we were to purchase a brand new free-standing tub (which run anywhere from $3,000 and up, minus the hardware), it’s taking a ridiculously long time to find someone who will resurface the tub for less than $1600 (!!!).
Am I doomed to a life with an off-white tub?! Please tell me it isn’t so…
And because you all loved the “moral of the story” after each renovation regret in Part I, I’d like to continue that tradition.
The lesson here is that if you’re buying antique or vintage items, double- or triple-check that the “few touchups here and there” won’t cost you more than the item itself. Otherwise, you’re doomed with six months of this scenario:
No. 7: Choice of Kitchen Range
We once lived in a rental with a ceramic cooktop in the kitchen, which was a complete disaster to keep clean and scratch-free.
So when time came to choose appliances, of course I went with a good ol’ range coil top; less maintenance, I figured. It was much easier to throw the drip bowls into a dishwasher and call it a day than use a special cleaning solution on EVERY SINGLE SPILL on a ceramic cooktop.
Did I mention I’m a very messy cook? Very, very messy…
Plus, ceramic cooktops are so sensitive – the one in our rental showed every teeny-tiny scratch.
And if you’ve ever placed anything atop a barely warm ceramic cooktop (especially grocery bags!), you know it’s likely to leave a permanent puddle of goop. Who wants to deal with that nonsense?
Come to find out, all ranges are high-maintenance in their own ridiculous ways.
Those drip bowls underneath the coils that I thought would be sparkling new after a cycle in the dishwasher? Not so fast… And definitely don’t get me started on the coils themselves!
At least a ceramic cooktop looks more streamlined than the traditional range coil top… Hence, my renovation regret.
The moral of the story is if you’re choosing between two high-maintenance options, may as well opt for the one that looks better.
No. 8: Off-White Kitchen Cabinets
You may find it hard to believe, but our kitchen cabinets are off-white. In the daylight it’s not so obvious, but come evening-time, the difference is quite jarring to my OCD brain.
Something that ISN’T that hard to believe, however, is that this little detail drives me bonkers. (Remember the clawfoot tub dilemma?)
The cabinetry is yet another example of desperate decision-making triggered by the stress of the bank’s deadline – much like the guest bathroom vanity from Part I of the list.
The kitchen had to be functional in time for the fast-approaching house inspection by the bank – yet all the quotes we kept receiving were way, way, way out of our budget. So like any stressed couple in the midst of a full-house renovation, we figured, why not do it ourselves?
Maybe I had read one-too-many blog posts on DIY-style IKEA kitchens, but I loved what I saw. How difficult could it possibly be?
Let’s just say it was the ultimate test of marriage, but we survived, and it looks pretty dang good – except for one minor detail.
In a frenzy to finish the room, I failed to notice that most DIY bloggers used IKEA only for the cabinet boxes; the doors were typically from Semihandmade, a company that offers a vast variety of door shapes, sizes and colors made specifically to fit IKEA cabinets.
So the lesson here is that, if your deadline allows, take time to properly research alternatives. Looking back, I would’ve much rather paid the higher price tag for a local company to build and install our cabinets… Not only would it look 100% like what I wanted, but, more importantly, it would already be 100% finished – something that can’t be said of our kitchen, unfortunately.
No. 9: Counter-Depth Fridge Isn’t, Actually, Counter Depth
Seems like the kitchen is quickly racking up the longest list of renovation regrets – but not without reason; it truly was the most difficult room to plan, design and execute.
The fridge is the last example, I promise.
Because we had limited square footage in the kitchen, I purposefully opted to spend a few more hundred bucks on a counter-depth fridge in return for clean, seamless lines and easy access to the corner base cabinet.
It turns out, however, that a counter-depth fridge isn’t counter depth, after all. By the time you hook up the ice maker and plug in all the cords, it juts out a solid five-six inches beyond the cabinets.
Granted, there’s a way to minimize the issue, but doing so will require lots of extra work – as always, not-so-pleasant news for the husband, who’s already so incredibly patient with my “can-we-please-redo-that” inquiries.
So what’s the fix, you ask? If possible, I would recommend carving out a small alcove in the wall behind the fridge for all the plugins, so that the back of the fridge sits flush against the wall, so there really isn’t much space to play with.
Not sure just how doable that is in our case, though, considering that directly behind that wall is our entryway.
So, the moral of the story is: Double- and triple-check all appliance measurements, but know that a counter-depth fridge will still stick out beyond the counter top.
No. 10: Built-In Shower Rather Than a Frameless Glass Enclosure
I add this last renovation regret to the list with great hesitation.
For starters, once completely finished, our master bathroom will quite possibly be my favorite room in the house. So how could I possibly complain about it, right?
In addition, the built-in, custom tiled shower took SO MUCH ENERGY AND RESOURCES – it seems even more disheartening to have to add it to the list of regrets.
When designing the layout of the new master bathroom, I dreamed of a frameless, glass-enclosed shower, like this $1500+ option from Wayfair. For the record, the price would be astronomically higher if the hardware was brass or black, like I wanted.
So instead, we opted for a built-in shower niche, thinking this option was the easiest, more traditional for this area and, of course, far less expensive.
While that may seem true at first glance, whether this option was truly less expensive is up for debate. For example, it’s possible that the extra tile required for that additional shower wall would’ve bumped up those costs quite a bit. Thankfully, because we partnered with Wayfair to create sponsored content around tiling, we were able to keep some of those costs down.
On the other hand, we had to install an overhead light inside the shower, because creating a shower nook eliminated most of the natural light, despite the fairly large bathroom window.
Had we opted for a glass enclosure instead, the natural light would’ve been to-die-for, making the bathroom appear so much bigger and brighter.
However, neither of us knew a single person who had something similar done in their new build and/or house remodel. So finding a highly-recommended contractor to install the frameless glass enclosure would’ve been a complete nightmare – I just know it.
Now, it’s too late to fix the issue, because the shower head and faucet were installed on the wall that would need to be torn down. The only way to improve the situation is to install a frameless shower door instead of a shower curtain, but those babies alone start around $800!
In conclusion, the moral of my ramblings is that sometimes the more expensive and complicated option may actually be better. After all, anything worth having doesn’t always come easy, as the saying goes.
So… first of all, if you’re still reading, THANK YOU! Whether you’re renovating your own home or simply taking notes for the future, I hope you found this roundup helpful.
I am (clearly) an open book, so if you have any follow-up questions, I’m happy to help!