9 Tips to Mums when Building or Renovating the Family Home (from one Mother to another)

Lauren O'Grady
February 2, 2024

I’ve been trying to write this blog all school holidays but you know Mum life and running a Construction business got in the way!!

I have a 14 years old son and a 12 year old daughter. Aren’t teenagers the greatest!

In 14 years of being a Mum I have personally renovated twice (currently renovating) and built two new homes plus I’ve been involved in over 40+ construction projects with majority of these being family homes. I’m not an Interior Designer or Carpenter BUT I am a busy Mum who likes nice things in my home and over that time I have witnessed mistakes Mums have made during projects. I also know what works in a family home and what doesn’t.

Here are my 9 Top Tips to all Mum if you’re planning or building or renovating anytime soon.

1.     Timing is everything. Plan the timing of your project as best you can. Renovating and Building is stressful, taxing and demanding therefore don’t start a project with a newborn, if your relationship is on the rocks or if you’re taking care of sick or elderly parents. Make sure you will have the time and mental capacity to deal with all aspects of the build and be able to visit site as much as possible. Get involved to the greatest extent.

2.      Don’t give up on your dreams of having too much storage. There’s no such thing. Fight your battles with your Architect/Husband/Partner and include ways to get in as much storage as possible.

3.      Find a Builder that has female directors (aka L O’Grady Constructions) or someone that makes you feel comfortable and not afraid to ask questions. Being female in a predominately male industry can certainly be overwhelming and scary but if you don’t ask the questions, you may not be happy with the outcome. We always say to clients “There are no stupid questions” Open Communication is paramount  

4.      Don’t install dark floors or white tiles. Self explanatory…… unless you want to be cleaning them every single day for the rest of your life.

5.      Research your Kitchen Appliances thoroughly. Generally, 900mm stoves are convenient and cheaper but these ovens can take ages to get to the temperature and try your Rangehood in store before purchasing. Many Rangehoods can sound like a helicopter landing on your roof and you’ll need MAX volume on your TV when it’s been used.

6.      Don’t choose Style over Substance. Expensive wool carpets are beautiful to walk on and look amazing however most children have very little respect for these expensive items and they will destroy that beautiful carpet with urine, poo, texta, slime and vomit. Invest in a good underlay from the very beginning but install a cheaper carpet and you can replace it in a few years when they stop acting like feral animals.

7.      Don’t believe anything you see on Reality Home Improvement Shows. Put down the remote and walk away from these Home Reality shows because they are NOT reality. They are not realistic on price, timing or the general dynamics of a construction site.  

8.      Pick your battles with your Partner/Husband. If your partner wants to spend $2,000 on a powerful and non-water saving shower head and you can afford it. Let them. Who cares if she/he gets thrown to the other side of the shower during use (cue Seinfeld episode). It might not be important to you but it is to them. As long as you can compromise on items that are important to you aka storage. If you argue about every single item your marriage/relationship may not survive.  

9.      Try not live in a construction zone. However, if you need to live in the house while renovating or extending due to money restraints expect dust, mud, loud noise, flys/spiders and complete disarray in the house every single day for a very long time. I’ve seen many Mums (and Dads) at breaking point and it’s not good for anyone. I don’t think people realise how mentally draining it can be living in it. It can be hell. Currently, I have most of my Living Room wall exposed to the outside……and I live on a farm with fly’s the size of Lonnie’s thumb (which is huge). The renovation anxiety is real my friend. Rent or stay with Family.

Being a Mum while renovating or building can be challenging but if you plan correctly and engage the right and highly experienced team of Designers and Builders it can certainly make your life much easier.

Contact myself (aka Loz) or our friendly team at L O'Grady Constructions for your next Home Project today.


Free Guide

The Insider's Guide to Getting More Value from Your New Home Investment