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Our Beat the Baby Renovations

Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 in: Nerd Life DIY

So… who has renovated while pregnant? I know I am not the only one, but there are times when I feel like we are a little bit crazy.

I am now just over 25 weeks pregnant (most days I can barely remember the date, so there is no way in hell I would ever remember how pregnant I am without the use of one of those pregnancy apps) which means we have just less than four months to go until the baby is due in early June. As a procrastinating journalist, I know there is nothing like a looming deadline to make you get a wiggle on, so we are now doing what Mr Nerd has termed ‘Beat the Baby’ renovations.

Our future scullery! We have also had the 70s arches through the kitchen and living area squared off.

BEFORE: Our 70s bar, in a corner of our living room.

IN PROGRESS: Our bar gone and the space walled in. We also had the 70s arch to the living room squared off. I know 70s arches are very dating, but after a while I didn't really mind them too much. However when we extended the wall to the pantry, it made sense to knock the one beside it out - and then because our house is so open-plan, it made sense to knock them all out. They're not finished yet, but the difference squaring them off astounded me! Makes the ceilings seem higher and the house seem more spacious.

After months of what felt like us doing nothing but working and sitting around on the couch idly watching marathons of Survivor and The Affair (intermittently broken by my sprints to pay homage to the porcelain god) it is like a mad nesting fervor has come over us. Now half the furniture is covered in plastic sheeting, there’s red brick dust everywhere and we have a little outdoor kitchen set up in our sunroom. There is no proper place for the zillion things that have been packed into every available nook or cranny, or piled into laundry hampers and shoved on the floors of the spare bedroom, craft room and our cupboards. This is because we have started to tackle our list.


  • Knock out the 70s bar, wall it in and knock out a wall from the kitchen to turn the bar into a walk-in pantry/scullery with a benchtop space and shelving. I talked about our plans and showed some fetching 'before' photos of our bar in this post here. This we have started.

  • Square off all the 70s arches in our home. Five of the six have been done and now need plastering. The biggest, baddest boy of the lot, which defines my home office from the dining room, is still here. We may actually leave it as structurally this one might be a bitch, and also because it does define the home office from the dining. We don’t hate it. Not as much as I hate brick dust.

  • Plaster knocked out arches and new exposed brick work.

  • Repaint open-plan kitchen, dining and home office and after plastering.

  • Main bathroom finishing touches. Yup, I still haven’t done them.

  • Declutter and move all of Mr Nerd’s paperwork into my home office - done.

  • Replace old windows and external doors with new double-glazed ones.

  • Because of the new windows, unfortunately the existing kitchen splashback tiling around the sink has to be knocked off (you can read about how I had brightened that up with tile paint). This is because the previous tiling has been done over the window frame.

  • Swap functions of two minor bedrooms around. Put the guest bed into the craft room. Put the craft room stuff into my home office for now. Make a nursery from the OLD guest room.

  • Paint nursery and cupboard doors.
  • Put in a new kitchen!

I know a few girls who have renovated successfully while pregnant… THEY ARE MY IDOLS. And I know ladies who have renovated with little babies. I have even met ladies who have four kids and have renovated an entire house. I’m so impressed by these people.

IN-PROGRESS: A while ago I wrote about our little kitchen and how we gave it a very budget makeover. This next step definitely takes it further. That brick wall is all new, and extends our built-in pantry to turn it into a walk-in pantry. We wanted to keep the existing pantry door as the entry, which we like - I think it's cute.

IN-PROGRESS: Future new storage space in our scullery. This wall will be covered by shelves for all our food.

This part is where the old bar was. It's not huge, but it actually feels bigger than we were both expecting. And when you have a house that was always lacking in storage, trust me you appreciate every bit of extra storage you can get! This is where we will have a benchtop, to give our small kitchen a little more food preparation space, and more shelves, for appliances and more storage. 

OUR ENTRY: Looking a bit creepy and dusty! The old entry to the bar walled in.

And some scullery inspiration before you go! Love this rustic kitchen featured on Remodelista. Ours won't be as prettily styled as this, but I love the rustic look with the wood shelves and the butcher block benchtop. 

Because every so often I have a meltdown and scream, cry, eat things. Being pregnant is not always as fun as I had imagined it would be, when I envisioned scenes where I woke Mr Nerd in the middle of the night to send him off on missions to fetch me hot chips or coconut icecream or whatever I woke up craving (Mr Nerd was always uncharacteristically pleasingly whipped in these fantasies).

In reality, being pregnant and living amidst renovation projects is sometimes not too much fun! On the bright side, it makes you really appreciate the time you can go out and get out of the house even more. And I fully plan on using the pregnancy thing to coerce/bribe/blackmail my younger sisters into helping out with tasks like painting. And I have also learned ways to deal with pregnancy moodiness. For example, eating a decadently rich chocolate brownie picks up my mood like nothing else. And trying to exercise every day, even when my feet are swollen and I feel really tired, helps too. As running is much harder than normal I have gone back to swimming for fitness, which I used to enjoy competitively when I was a teen. Doing laps in pregnancy has been very calming for my mental wellbeing. JUST NO-ONE ELSE SWIM IN MY LANE OR I WILL END YOU.

So - how do you do it, people? Have you guys ever done renovations or built a house while pregnant or during a less-than-ideal time? Have you ever renovated or built a house with a particular looming deadline ahead? What did you do? How did you handle it? And do you have to have a lane all to yourself? Maya x

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