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Photo by Virginia MacDonald

5 quick tips for a full-gut reno

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In the Fall 2014 issue of Cottage Life magazine, we explore the story behind pro builder David Ballentine’s remake of his Georgian Bay cottage. Read on for the top five things he learned from this reno.

1. Before you commit to a big reno, ask yourself: Do you really love the place? Any building can be saved with enough time and money, but you have to decide if you really want to invest in the process.

2. Create a solid plan. Draw up the space and then redesign it exactly as you want it to be. Make sure it looks good on the inside and on the outside. Your builder can help identify any potential issues that you may not anticipate before building starts.

3. Stay organized.There should always be a back-up job—or three—lined up in case it rains or if materials or labour are delayed. That way, you’ll never lose time.

4. Renovating a remote cottage is different than renovating a home in the city. Plan to spend around 25 per cent more to get mat-erials to the site.

5. Remember, working with a builder or a contractor is a relationship. Half of the time you’ll be right and half of the time he’ll be right. You have to be able to work together on the fly when things don’t go exactly according to plan.

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