Where it all started

It all started in our local.  The quaint and cosy Three Hammers Pub in Chiswell Green, St. Albans.  Date night.   A romantic evening foray out with the other half, a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…and a pukka pad.   However, rather than fervently compiling our global bucket list or conjuring up a “to do” schedule for tackling the mountain of tasks that consume our daily lives, my husband instead finds himself interrogated on all matters related to building.  I’m meanwhile ardently scribbling away in my pukka pad.  But, be assured, the passion is very much there!

Get him on to building and my husband, known to his nearest and dearest as “Mac”, will talk passionately until the cows come home.  His Northern Irish heritage may also have something to do with his ability to converse nineteen to the dozen.  However, when it comes to building, there’s an unmistaken intensity and fire in his speech, and over the years we’ve both come to take all matters building to heart.

And it’s from the heart that this blog is born.  From a deep desire to help everyone achieve their dream home.   To share the experience and knowledge he has acquired over many years as a property developer and builder, and bring this home in layman terms so that anyone embarking on their own build or extension project feels empowered to see their development through from beginning to end, with all the decision making that has to take place along the way.

I am just the humble wife.  Whilst I may live with a builder, I hardly know my wall plates from my steels or my oversite from my block and beam. This is where the interrogation started and the pages of my pukka pad were soon crammed.

“What do you need to consider before embarking on a building project?”

“Talk me through the various stages of a build.”

“What key decisions need to be made and when?”

“What should you do to verify the legitimacy and credibility of a builder?”

And so on and so forth.  What initially started as a few content pages for our website soon evolved in to a vision for a deep-rooted book, a reference manual as it were, and your side-kick to consult with throughout your building journey.    We wanted to take all the information swirling around  in my husband’s mind, and convert this in to tangible explanations and advice for those of you out there, similar to myself, that are rookies when it comes to the intricacies of property development, but engulfed in it nonetheless.

Whilst I’ve embarked on our book I reluctantly have to accept this will be a while in coming, and I simply couldn’t wait.  I’m not known for my patience.  Every time I speak to someone and hear the ups and downs of their own building projects, it spurs me on to get information and guidance out there sooner than later in the hope that everyone can just pick up one idea from each bit of information that we share, or at least feel more “in the know”.  And alas our ReVamp Diaries blog was born.

As I write this blog, we’ve recently embarked on 2 of our own developments locally, whilst my husband also continues to project manage extension and renovation work for other customers nearby.  Many of his building projects will become case studies for both our book and blog.

In today’s world, many are choosing to upgrade rather than uproot. Extending.  Expanding. Going in to the loft. Going over the garage.  Others are finding the perfect plot and building a new house from scratch.  Either way, we’re not all builders, so embarking on such a project will “scare the living daylights” out of most, as I’ve been advised by many friends who have undertaken their own projects.

As I said earlier, we take building matters to heart.    Over the years we’ve heard a myriad of horror stories where people’s projects have gone pear-shaped:  work has been substandard;  safety and stability are questionable; costs have escalated exorbitantly;  projects being several months behind deadlines; customers left without a tin roof, their house open to all the elements, with builders that have gone AWOL.  I could go on.

Sadly this happens, and is what grieves us most in this industry.  People getting bamboozeled or profoundly let down, their quest for their dream home becoming  their worst nightmare.   Whilst building or renovating a home certainly has it’s stresses, it should also be an exhilarating experience as you edge towards your end goal.

Naturally, not every story is a negative one.  Success stories are also plentiful: customers delighted with their finished home; raving reviews of fantastic builders and tradesmen; communication on the nail throughout assuring your vote of confidence; builds being on schedule and to budget.   This is how it should be, and we’d love everyone’s story to be a positive one.

We appreciate you reading our blog, and invite you to share this as widely as possible, particularly among groups and friends that are likewise underway with their own building projects, even if they’re just in the initial thoughts process.

Through our blogs, we plan to lead two parallel areas of discussion.

Firstly, we’ll be following real-time case studies of build projects we’re working on, from beginning to end, week by week, taking you through the stages, decisions, issues and solutions along the way of each development.

Secondly, we plan to share our insight in to some of the key areas surrounding building works.  From the relationship between the architect, structural engineer and builder, to recommended payment schedules with your builder to ensure you see progress relative to monies spent.   So many topics to explore! Not to forget a bit of inspiration on interiors and décor too as let’s face it, that’s the real fun part once you’ve build your home or extension!

We’re incredibly excited to be starting our blog and imparting tidbits of information to our readers in the hope that your journey to your ideal home is made a little easier along the way.

We welcome your thoughts and experiences so please do comment below.  Alternatively feel free to email us at emma@revampdiaries.co.uk as we’d love to hear your stories!

Any particular areas of building or renovation work you’d like us to explore in our blogs?  Please let us know in the comments below too!

We’re planning on blogging weekly, so look out for our next ReVamp Diaries blog and be sure to sign up online so you don’t miss a post!

Join us on our journey!

Emma & Mac

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