Renovation Diary: Month 1

So, renovating, not for sissies!

Yes, yes, yes. Everyone has told me this before. “Third most stressful thing you will ever experience” and all that, BUT, until you do it yourself, you have no idea!

And now I do.

It is another level of crazy.

So to share a bit of the crazy behind the scenes renovation dramas I thought I’d start a new series… it might not be for all of you. That’s ok. Maybe I’ll help to encourage, inspire or freak out a few of you!

We’ve been at this process for just over a month now…

Here are the first few weeks in photos



So when you do a renovation of this size it is advisable to move out. Great. Except that involves packing up every little thing you own. Not great!

I started with ample time – almost 2 months earlier than our scheduled move out date – kids books, toys, games were first to be packed. I thought I had it waxed. But the problem is that the last time I moved house was only 18 months into our marriage where we barely had any stuff, probably due to the fact that we didn’t yet have kids… they come with a lot of stuff.

The process took forever. Yes, there were good aspects… I managed to get rid of a whole lot of stuff we no longer need, I sold furniture that won’t work in our new space and I realised that we most definitely have enough stuff and don’t need to buy anything new in a very long time! (except for the new furniture and home decor items I’ve already been dreaming about!!)

Here are some “DURING” photos of the packing process… and a glimpse of our home as it once was… (Spoiler Alert: It not longer resembles this at all!)

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Photo 2016-06-02, 8 13 20 AM
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We lived like this for almost a month… I deserve a prize… or a slab of Lindt!

Then the actual building began! Foundations first. A veritable moat around our house.


Day 1

Photo 2016-05-19, 2 10 56 PM

Amidst the sand and trenches we still managed to have a make shift braai…

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Photo 2016-05-21, 6 05 51 PM

Finally we moved out and put all our many, many boxes into storage. Suffice to say the storage I thought we’d need was not enough and we had to take out extra on the day as the second truck load arrived with no where to unpack!!

Moving out could not have happened soon enough. What a relief. I won’t bore you with the details of moving out day… only to say it was INSANE. My new FitBit Alta was off the charts with the amount of steps I took that day. Whew. Much respect for movers who do that kind of job every day. It was exhausting and I was in bed and asleep by 8pm that night.


The builders didn’t mess around. The next day I popped past our house to find it looking like this….


The Kitchen

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Main bedroom


It was a bit of a shock! Carpets, cupboards, kitchen, walls – all of it was removed and demolished in just one day! Crazy.

The one shining light in all of the dust? Saying goodbye to my really rubbishy mouldy, manky bathroom. I can’t say I shed any tears at all when I saw the bathroom looking like this…



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In fact after showering in the shower-in-the-bath with the grossest shower curtain vibe for over 14 years THIS was a celebration. The past few weeks I’ve been counting down to my last shower in this spot…. All 4 of us have been sharing this space for a bit too long and I have too many showers with an audience of toothbrushes to mention! Good riddance I say!


I can’t wait to see how the new kids bathroom will look now that the wall between the separate loo and bathroom has come down. I think it’s going to look great esp as it feel so much more spacious already!! PLUS I’m super stoked that I will now have the privacy of an en-suite. I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot!



These photos were taken 2 days apart – from the exact same spot… Grateful our builders are working so fast but still….  HECTIC!


And finally

The Patio


So as you can see we are very much not renovating but BUILDING. I feel like I need to rather refer to this project as that since there are no walls or roof!

What do you think? Are we crazy? Toooooo late

Fortunately I’m just focussing on the final outcome and dreaming about our new space every night. I can’t wait to see it unfold. I think the way to get through this all is to enjoy the process. I do realise I’m in a very lucky position to be able to do this and that means I’m not taking anything forgranted. As I mentioned I’ve waited over 14 years for some of these changes to take place and now it’s finally happening, I almost can’t believe it.

Anyway I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me. And if you’re walked this renovation road before I’d be so very keen to hear all your tips so please leave a comment below….

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

  1. I was thinking of taking up some home renovation DIY and i think i will need to plan myself better after reading this 🙂 informative read thanks fro this

    1. Thanks Robynne… Me too. Hard to visualise the final result at this point but excited that it’s all happening finally. Been waiting for years!

  2. Wow, what a transformation! I’m undertaking a renovation soon so it’s great to read your advice thanks…do you have any advice on how to find a good handyman/builder in Cape Town? Thanks!!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Renovating is such a hard slog that it really helps to take a step back and admire the progress even a few years later!! Good luck with your renovation.

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