Maggie & Ed's Renovation: Real-Life Lessons

Maggie & Ed's Renovation: Real-Life Lessons

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Tess Wilson
Jun 9, 2015

Name: Ed and Maggie Williams (of MVW Architect)
Type of Project: Kitchen/dining/music room renovation
Location: Freret, New Orleans, LA
Type of building: Craftsman-style shotgun double

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

The Real-Life Lessons are my favorite part of the Renovation Diaries, and they're especially fascinating when the project's architect is also the client. Let's see what wisdom Maggie and Ed gained from the beginning of their project to the end..

Now that the project is over and you're looking back on it, what are the most important lessons you learned through the remodeling process?

I think the most important lesson we learned was that hiring a pro was 100% the right move for us especially considering the scope of this project. It would have taken us months if not years to accomplish this renovation ourselves and it would have turned out poorly and probably taken up all our rare free time together.
The project was also a really great learning opportunity for Maggie to be both the client as well as the architect, which turned out to be not only eye-opening but a really fulfilling experience.

If you were to do this again, what would you choose to do differently?

We wish we could have found a better use of the "extra" space that we just covered with blank panels. Maybe the 3" wide vertical opening to the left of the fridge could hold a step ladder and/or the 4" wide opening above the microwave some large platters or a few cookbooks on their side? Maybe they still can...

We also would have requested the floors be refinished at the end of the project to avoid the potential for them to get scratched during construction. While our GC did redo them at no charge to us, it was a quite a hassle to move out for another few days.

Did your schedule go as planned? What took more time than you thought it would? What took less time?

Overall the whole project went faster than we expected. The last few weeks of smaller punchlist items seemed to take the longest compared with the "bigger" things like demo and installing the cabinets which only actually took a day or two. I think a big part of staying on schedule was due to the fact that we did hire an experienced General Contractor.

What is your next project going to be?

Now that these two rooms look so good we really want to redo the floors & crown molding in the rest of the house (hallway and front two rooms), then someday renovate the bathroom (gulp), and potentially adding another bathroom in our bedroom (double gulp).

Anything else you'd like to share?

We are so glad we waited a few years after we bought the house to do this renovation. There is no way we would have ended up with the design and layout we have now if we had jumped the gun and gone with our initial ideas when we first moved in. Allowing ourselves a few years to settle into the house and grow as people and a couple was invaluable in making this renovation a productive and happy experience with results we love. Thanks for letting us share our project with the Apartment Therapy community!

This concludes Maggie and Ed's renovation diary. You can check out the full series to see the whole renovation process, step-by-step, or you can explore all of our Renovation Diaries.

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

(Image and diary text: Maggie and Ed Williams)

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