Before Jacqui McCallum was our comms and marketing manager, she was our client. In fact, today marks exactly three years since Jacqui moved back into her fully renovated home with her husband and two sons. Here she shares her tips for renovating a home when you have little kids.
When my husband and I bought our Yarraville home, it was just the two of us. Fast forward six years and two kids and our little two-bedroom weatherboard was bursting at the seams. Our youngest was sleeping in a cot in the hallway and the bathroom floor had caved meaning anyone who sat on the loo had a great view of the home’s foundations. We either had to move or renovate.
After weighing up our options, we embarked on a six-month renovation with BCT Group that saw us go “up and out” transforming our tiny place into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home. The home was expertly designed by James at Altereco and from the minute we met Bevan, we knew BCT Group was the builder for us.
Renovating is a costly exercise so you want to be sure that you spend your money wisely. You might love the look of something but it needs to be a practical choice, particularly when you have young kids. Here are some of the things we learned through our experience of renovating that will hopefully assist any parents out there who are about to jump on the renovation train.
1. Hide the muddy socks in a separate laundry.
Every time I put on (another) load of washing I wonder if a sports team has taken up residence in our guest room without my knowledge. Piles of washing are inevitable but they are also an eyesore so if you have the space, put in a separate laundry with a door you can close to hide the pile of grubby jumpers and poo-stained onesies.
2. Choose practical fixtures and fittings.
Sure wool carpet is luxe and 2pac joinery looks the goods but ask yourself, are they the most practical choices for a family with young kids? We opted for budget-friendly vinyl carpet that held up super well during the horror of potty training. We also went with durable thermolaminated joinery in the kitchen that easily wipes clean when bolognaise sauce gets splattered and can sustain the impact of a rogue scooter. What we didn’t choose well was the white grout on the floor of the main bathroom so I’ve spent many hours scrubbing it with an old toothbrush dipped in bleach. Go grey, or brown with your grout, anything but white!
3. Carefully consider the size of your bedrooms.
If you intend for your kids to share a room make sure it’s large enough for two single beds with two pull-out trundles plus some floor space for playing. Bunk beds are great space savers but not recommended for kids under 9 and before you know it, your little ones will be having friends for sleepovers and will need the extra space.
4. Avoid Lego injuries with a dedicated playroom.
We were lucky to have an option for a forth bedroom that we turned into a playroom for our boys. Now, instead of having toys spread throughout the house, the mess is relatively contained. It saves us hours in tidying up and I no longer step on rogue pieces of Lego (it used to be a daily occurrence).
5. Storage, storage, storage!
If you look at your plans and think you have enough storage, you don’t. Cram extra storage into every nook and cranny, it will be full before you know it. Put storage behind mirrors in bathrooms, include an attic in the roof space and do floor-to-ceiling cupboards wherever you can fit them.
Most importantly, before you have your plans drawn up, make sure you can afford the work. Every time we speak to a prospective renovator we often hear that the quote they received from their builder was double what the draftsman or architect estimated. As for my husband and I? We ended up paying double what we initially thought. We have zero regrets with regards to our investment but wish we had gotten BCT's advice earlier in the process and started the reno journey a little more clued up.
I frequently pinch myself when I walk through our front door and realise that all those months of planning and dreaming have come to fruition. We have a wonderful home in which to raise the kids and it reflects our style and personalities perfectly.
If you’re about to start your own renovation, I hope what I’ve learned through the process helps you in some way. Our experience with BCT Group was excellent. If it wasn’t, I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to join the team!