Renovating an old building: 8 important tips from our heroine.

Yulia and her husband bought a two-room apartment in the historical center of St. Petersburg. The Stalinist apartment was “destroyed,” but our heroine was not afraid and decided to do the repairs on her own. We managed to organize a stylish and thoughtful space: in case you are also planning a renovation or are just going to buy a secondary home, Yulia shared recommendations that will be useful at the beginning of work.

Consider apartments from the post-revolutionary era

If you want to buy an apartment in an old building, consider options that are not historical and cultural monuments – they have more problems in terms of documents. The same redevelopment will be much more difficult: in such apartments you cannot do anything without approval (even touch the stucco).

As a rule, we are talking about apartments of the pre-revolutionary era. But in apartments that are not guarded, everything is much simpler.

Don’t forget about construction waste

Do not forget that construction waste will always accumulate during the entire renovation process. I didn `t know about it. Until the very last day, you will be removing tons of garbage: agree in advance either with the janitors, or with the management company, or find people who do this and take it away. We chose the latter.

Be prepared for difficulties

Be patient and keep in mind that repairs in an old building are much more difficult than repairs in a new building. This is a diametrically opposite story: here you need to be prepared for anything – that your old pipe or battery will burst, that your neighbors will oppose your construction work.

Anything can happen here: I was once told that living in an old building is like living on a powder keg. I agree. Our neighbors have flooded us twice already, a pipe burst on the very last day of repairs, and our entire new parquet floor was flooded. You just need to be prepared for this – nothing will go smoothly, that’s 100%.

Distribute responsibilities

If you are doing renovations with your spouse, distribute responsibilities: do not overlap in responsibilities, then there will be fewer quarrels. We each did our own tasks and did not interfere with the tasks of others. This helped us plan the process correctly.

Write down lighting scenarios and wishes for sockets and switches

If you are renovating from scratch, it is important to give every aspect the attention it deserves. There is no need to brush it off and say “that’s fine, make an outlet wherever you want.” You need to sit down and go through each point carefully.

For example, I made a separate table where I wrote down the lighting scenarios and the number of sockets for each room. Yes, this is tedious work, but, believe me, it is very important.

I did this: I examined each room and wrote down where and why I needed sockets, switches and lighting solutions. Therefore, now in my apartment everything is thought out to the smallest detail: there are even sockets in the window slopes – this is very convenient, you can connect a garland for the New Year. Or, for example, think about illuminating paintings or mirrors – it always looks impressive.

I used a sconce to illuminate the paintings above the sofa area: in the evening this light is enough for the room, and it looks beautiful.

Think outside the box

If it weren’t for some extraordinary solutions, we would never have completed the renovation. Some builders do not think creatively, but adhere to the position “the simpler the better.” Try to approach any task as unconventionally as possible and consider all possible options.

Remember: in renovation there is not a single impossible situation, everything is possible, some contractors just like to be lazy.

Online expense tables

Another very important tip: make online tables and record all the links, prices, details, comments – it’s impossible to keep everything in your head, much less on paper. It is better to record information on electronic media.

We kept estimates in Google documents with all links and prices for each room so as not to get confused. This made the process very easy. It’s convenient to go in and see what’s left to buy, what’s been purchased, what’s in delivery, and so on.

Keep all receipts

During the repair and after, you will have a lot of returns and exchanges. Keep a separate folder for all receipts, guarantees and other documents. It will be easy to find what you need to return or the warranty for the equipment.

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