A Nonprofessional Story: How To Make A Renovation From Scratch In A Three-room Apartment

Advice 2023

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A Nonprofessional Story: How To Make A Renovation From Scratch In A Three-room Apartment
A Nonprofessional Story: How To Make A Renovation From Scratch In A Three-room Apartment

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I will say right away that my wife and I have no professional relationship with either construction or repairs. Typical knowledge workers. But they decided to make repairs in their apartment on their own. First, I wanted to save money. And secondly, they have heard a lot about the work of many "professional teams", to which only the word "hack" is applicable. I am firmly convinced that what has been done with my own hands and for myself cannot be worse than what the notorious "master-specialists" will do, who fight absolutely exorbitant money.

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All the events described took place a long time ago, in 2005-2007. All amounts will be given in dollars, so as not to shock anyone with prices in Belarusian rubles at a rate of 2150 rubles / $. Almost everything in the apartment was done by hand. We turned to third-party specialists only for the following types of work:

1. distribution of plumbing pipes and installation of heated towel rails;

2.installing the electrical panel and routing the main cables to the junction boxes in the rooms; 3. laying ceramic tiles on the floor and wall; 4. production and installation of built-in wardrobes.

Purchase history

Our family (me, my wife, my son) lived in a small town not far from Minsk. I worked in Minsk and every day I wandered along the home-work-home route, spending 3 to 4 hours on the road. It was tiring, but there were no career prospects in my hometown. Therefore, after eight years of my travels, we decided to move to Minsk. At the end of 2000, after six months of searching for possible options, we finally got lucky. New building, 3 rooms, 2 balconies, 100 square meters! When we saw the layout, we realized that there would be no other such case:

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The only "but" - the house existed so far only in the form of a project and was supposed to be built in 2 years. We agreed. All my savings were spent on the purchase, my parents helped a little, as well as my employer who provided the loan. I don’t want to rub salt on the mental wounds of current apartment buyers, but the fact remains: a square meter of housing in Minsk then cost about $ 300. Naturally, in our country houses are rarely built on time. Four years have passed instead of the promised two, and in 2005 we received the coveted registration certificate. We spent these four years of waiting with maximum benefit: we were able to save some money for initial repairs, and we also had a daughter.

The work was done on weekends - from Friday evening to Sunday evening. When I needed to make some noise, I tried to take a few days off on weekdays, so as not to disturb my neighbors too much. In total, it took us about 1.5 years to complete the entire repair with short interruptions.

What happened at the time of purchase

The walls were plastered, screed on the floor, concrete slabs on the ceiling, windows, radiators, 4 risers in the bathroom and nothing else. Even the windowsills. The balconies were uniformly glazed by the builders at once throughout the house, for which we then had to pay extra in excess of the contract.

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After the "inspection" of the new apartment, my mother almost burst into tears and said that we would be able to move in 10 years - so much effort and money still needs to be invested here. Especially after I learned what we all want to do ourselves. And some friends openly laughed at our idea.

Electrician

We started by completely reworking all the electrics in the apartment. Professional electricians laid the main cables and installed a shield with automatic machines. Their work in 2005 cost $ 320. Separate lines are laid to the washing machine and water heater, heated floors, sockets in the bathroom and in the kitchen are protected by an RCD.

I channeled the walls myself, made additional sockets and moved down the existing sockets. In each room, we got at least 4 groups of outlets, from 2 to 4 electrical outlets per group. Each room has a TV socket and a local computer network socket.Yes, there are many sockets, but extension cords are nowhere underfoot, and you can safely rearrange furniture without fear of blocking the power source. The cables for the rear speakers of 5 + 1 acoustics in the living room were immediately laid into the wall. All the cables of the low-current wiring were brought to the toilet - a switching center was planned there. There is also a telephone, computer and television cables from the dashboard on the stairs, as well as wiring for the alarm system. All materials, from cables to light bulbs, cost $ 760.

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Plumbing

The arrangement of the bathroom and toilet was somewhat unusual. The wife saw in the Keramin store a set of furniture with facades of warm yellow color and categorically stated that the furniture in her bathroom would be the same. After that, for several months we infuriated sellers in the construction markets, trying to choose tiles on the wall to match the door from freshly bought furniture. We are almost desperate, but whoever is looking will always find - tiles of the desired color were found in the Cersanit range. We bought tiles from "Keramina" for the floor and walls of the toilet.

At that time, I was still afraid to lay the tiles myself, so they invited the master on the recommendation of friends. A professional plumber was also invited to lay the pipes for water supply and sewerage, who advised us to supply filters for water purification. Bath area 5.5 sq. m allowed to install both a bath and a shower stall. We made the furniture layout plan ourselves. The bathtub was bought by a Spanish steel Roc ($ 100) and treated with polyurethane foam for sound and heat insulation. I built a plasterboard box for the risers and a small ledge along both sides of the bath, which was then tiled. The shower stall was self-assembled from a steel pallet and plastic curtains ($ 50 + $ 115). On the patch between the sink, shower and bathtub there is an electric floor heating. Although we turn it on extremely rarely, since it is always warm in the bathroom.

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A small sink was immediately planned in the toilet, pipes for the washing machine and a water heater were removed in advance, a mixer with a hygienic shower was installed - it turned out to be a worthy replacement for the bidet.

Ceilings

To make a ceiling "for painting" is very laborious. I was convinced of this from my own experience, having fought for a long time with the ceiling in the kitchen. Therefore, in the children's rooms and the corridor, we spattered the ceiling once (to remove large defects and joints between the plates), and then glued the ceiling wallpaper. Wallpapers - German and Russian. Glued together with his wife, instead of stairs using two old large tables. We were very pleased with the result: quickly, inexpensively, no cracks, a small relief of the wallpaper hides all defects. If desired, the wallpaper can be painted. The cost of wallpaper for the ceiling of one room was approximately $ 45.

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The ceiling in the living room is a matter of special pride. Nobody believes that I could make it myself. We planned to divide the largest room into two parts (living room and sleeping area) using a sliding glass partition, so we decided to make different ceilings: in the living room - a ceiling with a side and lamps around the perimeter, in the sleeping area - with hidden lighting for soft diffused light … The structure was designed based on numerous examples of ceilings from various construction sites and interior magazines. They made the metal frame themselves, but my brother and my wife's brother helped to hem the drywall, since the sheets are heavy, and the wife could not physically hold them. Then they glued the entire surface of the ceiling with fiberglass, primed, spattered and painted. It turned out very convenient and functional: several options for central light and spot lighting on the side to watch TV in the twilight. The cost of materials for the ceilings in the living room / bedroom was approximately $ 300.

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The bathroom has a suspended ceiling made of PVC panels with halogen spotlights, nothing interesting.But when the turn came to the ceiling in the toilet, we were already so confident that we wanted something unusual. The ceiling in the toilet is made of painted frosted glass. Moreover, this is more an impromptu than a planned design. By this time, there was already a closet in the toilet. I had to assemble the ceiling frame on the ground and, when assembled, fasten it to the anchors. The central part of the ceiling was pasted over with the remnants of ceiling wallpaper, a side was made from the remnants of drywall, in the center - three fragments of frosted glass, which the wife painted with stained glass paints, behind the glass - 2 fluorescent lamps.

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Walls

The walls were well enough plastered by the builders, so we only primed them, patted them once and covered them with wallpaper. It sounds easy and casual, but given the area of ​​the apartment - 100 meters, it's scary to think how much plasterers and wallpaper gluers would have to pay for this work. And a lot of effort was taken away by the window slopes: a primer, the first layer of putty, glue the fiberglass, the second layer of putty, paint in two layers. For all the walls, slopes and ceilings, we spent about 40 bags of putty with a total cost of about $ 350.

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While I was preparing the walls, my wife went shopping circles in search of wallpaper. It was decided to glue eco-friendly paper wallpaper into the children's rooms. Delicate pastel wallpaper of Belarusian production was chosen for the daughter's room. They cost us $ 34, and they found them in the remains in the very corner of the hardware store. The son chose the wallpaper himself for his room. But it would be too extreme to paste over the whole room with them, so they convinced him to paste over two walls with plain Gomel wallpaper, and two walls with German wallpaper with clouds and seagulls ($ 75). In the living room - vinyl wallpaper, in the bedroom - paper Ukrainian ($ 120).

Floor

We put ceramic tiles "Keramin" on the floor in the bathroom, toilet, hallway and kitchen, everything else - Egger laminate. In the kitchen, they immediately planned an electric underfloor heating with a programmable regulator, which helps a lot in the off-season, when it is already (still) cold outside, and the heating has not (already) been turned on. We do not have a door to the kitchen, so the effect of the included heated floor with an area of ​​6 sq. m is felt throughout the apartment.

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The seller in the store, having found out the amount of laminate we needed, happily agreed to give out 4 boards of various colors and textures for temporary use. We combined these boards for a long time with the already purchased ceramic tiles, compared them under different lighting conditions, until we finally chose two primary colors. In the daughter's room and in the bedroom - a light beech laminate, and in the son's room and in the living room - a rich chestnut shade. The laminate was laid on their own strictly according to the technology - they leveled the floor, covered it with foil, laid the substrate and the laminate (little know-how: it is very convenient to use ordinary plastic clothespins to install the gaps between the laminate and the walls, there are many of them, and they are just the right thickness). The laminate cost us $ 1200. After 5 years of operation, there are no defects on it.

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Built in furniture

We have a lot of built-in wardrobes - a total of four, two of which are very large. We thought over all the cabinets very carefully, determining in advance what things would be in each closet, and we planned the sizes of shelves and drawers for the dimensions of these things. The spouse was responsible for the design and color of the cabinet doors, and I was responsible for the design of the internal content. Excel turned out to be very convenient for these purposes.

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In the hallway, so as not to waste space near the door, a small partition was built of drywall and a cabinet with an unusual "folding" door was built into the resulting niche.

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A corner cabinet was built in the toilet, in which a washing machine, a water heater are hidden, there are special places for a ladder, an ironing board, a vacuum cleaner and a clothes dryer, as well as an extremely useful shelf for magazines at arm's length from the toilet:).

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Kitchen

The kitchen is the testing ground where we started all types of work, and the first room where all types of work were completed.The walls were covered with washable German wallpaper, and Polish mother-of-pearl tiles were laid on the apron. Kitchen furniture - ZOV factory, MDF facades. We ourselves simulated a kitchen project on a computer, and then went with a printout to furniture showrooms and asked to calculate the cost. On the plan on the left is a freezer, we already had it at that time, and we actively used it, so we decided to take it to a new apartment.

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Kitchen furniture consisting of 10 different boxes, countertops and roofs cost us $ 800, and they ordered it from the representatives of "ZOV" in their hometown, in Minsk the same cost at least $ 200 more expensive. Oven and hob were taken by Electrolux ($ 620), Cat range hood ($ 130). He installed all kitchen furniture, sink, mixer, extractor hood, oven and hob himself. Additionally, we ordered another piece of the countertop and made a large window sill out of it, it turned out to be a very comfortable coffee and tea table, two sockets for it were made in advance. After 2 years, we bought exactly the same furniture and countertop on the kitchen balcony, and now both rooms look like a single space.

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Balconies

We have two balconies, or rather glazed loggias - one near the kitchen, the other near the bedroom. After our move to the apartment, we completely insulated them with penoplex and penofol, laid the floor from pine boards, sheathed them with plasterboard on a wooden frame and finished them with decorative plaster. Several boxes from the same series as in the kitchen were placed and hung on the kitchen balcony. On the second balcony I set up a study for myself. The quality of the insulation turned out to be so good that no additional heating is required - you just need to keep the door to the room open. In winter, when the frost outside is more than -25, you can turn on a small heater.

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So, the repairs were done for 1.5 years on weekends and holidays. After moving to a new apartment for another 2 years, in the evenings and on weekends, balconies were warmed, wardrobes and various little things were finished. In total, from 2005 to the present day, about $ 25,000 was spent on repairs, furniture, household appliances and everything else.

We now live here:

Living room + bedroom

Initially, our living room was narrow and long - 6.10 × 3.40. Since we decided to give two isolated rooms to children - one son, one daughter, my wife and I were left without a bedroom. A way out of the situation was a frosted glass sliding partition, which divided the room into two parts. The TV was hung on a swing arm, and it can be turned and viewed from the sleeping area, especially since there are additional speakers behind the headboard connected to the TV.

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Son's room

In this room, the furniture from our old apartment, so it came out a little ascetic: the son (18 years old) prefers only functional things, and is generally skeptical about the decor. The writing table is old, restored by us, but very large and comfortable (170 × 80 cm). From the sports corner, the son now uses only a horizontal bar, on everything else, my daughter climbs more. We hope that very soon the son will want to change his room, at least he already wants a large built-in wardrobe too.

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Daughter's room

My daughter was still of preschool age when we moved. Like our son, we allowed her to independently (almost) choose what she liked for her room. The result is a barbie-pink interior. The second sofa is for the beloved grandmother when she comes to visit.

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Hallway

We thought about the closet in the hallway for a very, very long time. I wanted to solve several problems at once: to separate the entrance door area, to make a bookcase, a wardrobe for things and an open closet for street clothes. Here's what happened:

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We wanted to finish the wall in the hallway and from the corridor to the kitchen with decorative plaster, but at that time it was too expensive. Therefore, as a temporary solution, they decided to glue colored wallpaper. But we are returning to the idea of ​​decorative plaster more and more often.There is an outlet on the wall between the bathroom and the toilet, so that it is convenient to turn on the vacuum cleaner. The light in the hallway can be switched on / off from two different places using walk-through switches. The switches, by the way, are backlit. This is how the tile-laminate joint and interior doors look:

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Balcony-cabinet

It is warm and very cozy here, you can work late without disturbing anyone's sleep. The table is 240 cm long and easily fits an A3 printer. On the wall behind the armchair you can see the unfinished outline of the castle, also made of decorative plaster. It has yet to be plastered in different colors.

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There is also a small table for the wife on the balcony.

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Bathroom

The color scheme of the bathroom turned out to be very "warm". There are no complaints about the steel bath, except for a shallower depth than the old Soviet cast iron ones. The rim around the perimeter of the bath is very convenient, there are usually all sorts of conditioner shampoos. Shower cubicle measuring 90 × 90 cm.

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Restroom

The toilet has a sink, heated towel rail, mixer with hygienic shower. A small 15-liter water heater hangs in a large corner cabinet, which we turn on when the hot water is turned off. Its capacity is enough to take a shower or wash dishes. As I said, a washing machine, a ladder, a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board, my tools, many shelves for storing washing powders, detergents and other household items are hidden right there. One of the top shelves has a LAN switch and a DSL modem.

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Kitchen

The freezer does not fit a little into the kitchen interior, but, as I already wrote, we use it very actively, and we have not yet met a metallic freezer on sale. Initially we had a kitchen faucet with a pull-out watering can - very handy. But after we changed two watering cans in 5 years (due to cracks in the body), we had to buy an ordinary mixer with a high spout. There are 3 sockets and a backlight switch on the roof of the kitchen furniture on the wall near the work surface.

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Kitchen balcony

On the kitchen balcony, we decided to slightly diversify the technique of applying decorative plaster and tried to make various relief drawings by tinted plaster in different colors and applying it in several layers. It turned out pretty. This balcony is both a storage room and a clothes dryer. There is also a bread maker and a vegetable dryer.

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We are very proud of our apartment - everything here is done exactly the way we like it. Large rooms for children, a spacious entrance hall, a lot of built-in furniture, a lot of free space. Although we have been living in it for more than 5 years, not all our ideas and desires have been realized yet. Next in line is a built-in wardrobe in my son's room, my daughter dreams of an aquarium, my wife dreams of a dishwasher, and I want to make a small waterfall, why - I do not know for sure yet.

At the end of the story, I want to give some advice from my experience in repair.

1. Electrical and plumbing are things that are done once and almost forever. It is very difficult to remodel them, so you need to do everything immediately and reliably with a margin for further expansion. Even if now you do not have money for a dishwasher, do not save - stretch a cable and two pipes, it will not cost so much.

2. Take pictures of the position of all cables and pipes in the walls, indicating the distances to landmarks - floor, ceiling, corner of the room. Then it will be very useful when you need to mount something on the wall.

3. Don't skimp on the tool and buy whatever you need. During the repair, I purchased: a drill, a hammer drill, a grinder, a screwdriver, a glue gun, a sander, a jigsaw, a foam gun, a set of spatulas and much less significant. In total repair costs, tool costs were only 2%.

4. Observe the technology of using materials. If a can with a primer has a drying time of 12 hours, then you really have to wait 12 hours.If it is said that the drywall must be fixed to the ceiling with metal anchors, and not with plastic dowels, then this is how it should be done. Do not listen to the advice of "professionals": "Boss, do not be afraid, everyone did this, no one complained." You live here, and the ceiling will fall on your head.

Well, success to everyone who takes on such a difficult task as renovating their own apartment.

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