Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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ertyu
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Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

Post by ertyu »

As I've shared before, in November of last year I bought a fixer-upper apartment to fix up in order to develop skills. However, I am finding myself avoiding doing the work. After some introspection I realized the reason is really simple: it's out of my comfort zone and my knowledge is limited so it's hard to make a sound plan of what to do.

Do you have any advice on skill development for a complete beginner? I have been watching tutorials on youtube, but there's a barrier in going from theory/observation to practice, and another barrier with the fact that an apartment is a complex system with structural elements that work together, so when it comes to repairs that go beyond the cosmetic (where cosmetic is defined as cleaning it and painting over it), the various elements need to work with each other. There is probably also a correct order one could follow.

What are your thoughts?

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Alphaville
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Re: Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

Post by Alphaville »

the correct order begins from structural, so focus your energies on that. everything else is whatever.

don't be afraid of brutalist interior architecture for a while. might even be enjoyable.

also you might need good tools. if you try to do everything on the cheap and fashion your tools from scraps you're going to be like a dog chasing his tail for a long time. chicken or egg problem. there's a hole in the bucket dear liza dear liza... etc. :D [eta: i've been there, btw, with the accursed homestead, so i know this problem well.]

also, you know you need to leave apartment in good structural order before deadline.

so instead of picking up stuff from the trash and trying to sew cushions from discards... throw it all out & focus on the essentials?

-

we used to sleep on the floor on a camping mat. with covid we needed better furnishings and so bought a platform bed... and put the camping mats on it :lol:

(they're good ones, will go with us everywhere)

but first we had to pare down to essentials. and it seems like your essential is the structural. yes?
Last edited by Alphaville on Wed May 05, 2021 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alphaville
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Re: Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

Post by Alphaville »

also thinking about modules and speaking from a personal perspective it becomes a pain in the ass when i have too many. there's a limit to individual human cognition, attention, energy, etc. can't do it all, much less all at once.

it helps that my wife and i are partners in the true sense, we divide our tasks and this expands our domains significantly, but we can't insource everything. 🤯

white belt
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Re: Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

Post by white belt »

@Ertyu

What is your list of projects?

I am by no means an expert on home renovation/repair stuff, but I do believe step one is figuring out what you want to do and what is actually feasible. Then you can prioritize and do some research on what it makes sense to do first. Along with Youtube, I recommend finding some resources that are specific to your region. Sometimes there are forums for plumbers/electricians/carpenters where DIY people can get some more experienced input on their projects. Surely you are not the first person to want to renovate a Soviet-era apartment in an eastern European country.

It's also good to try to talk to some local people who have done renovations and are familiar with your local ordinances, housing stock, equipment, and materials available. I would think most helpful would be to find out which one of your neighbors have renovated apartments in your building and get their input. Even if they didn't do any of the work themselves, you should at least get an idea of what is possible and costs of various things. It will also hopefully shed some light on possible unknown knowns.

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Alphaville
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Re: Advice for complete beginners in renovation/repairs?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:07 pm
'also good to try to talk to some local people who have done renovations and are familiar with your local ordinances, housing stock, equipment, and materials available.
not wanting to speak for @ertyu here, but just to advance the info (from journal) that he's got 2 family experts: electrician + contractor. yup.

i would have put them all to work already but ymmv.

nevertheless i detect similar pattern of overwhelm from laundry pile.

i gotta say i'm a non-hoarder and am very happy throwing out stuff. well, not to the trash, but finding someone to adopt my old possessions. PLEASE, TAKE THEM. i have no time to oversee it all. gives me fucking headaches. let someone else sell them.

of course everyone is different. but as a person who moves often, i've learned to be ruthless with the editing. have not found the perfect balance yet. but just getting finished with the post-pandemic reorganization. which meant discarding a bunch of stuff i no longer need. "well maybe if some day..." NO. space is my most prized asset. gotta be like the aisles at trader joe's.

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/2912 ... ow-prices/ see: 3
or
https://www.indigo9digital.com/blog/traderjoesstrategy see: 6
or
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/10-secrets ... s-success/ 1 & 9

space is very valuable and must pay for itself.

--

anyway, once space is made, the mind is clear, and there is focus, the difficult essential structural work can begin.

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