We’re nine months into our second renovation project now (although we have had a long summer recess due to Stu’s cricket commitments! *insert eye roll) So as we’re taking a break, I thought I’d share with you a couple of the lessons we’ve learned along our journey to date, just in case you’re bat shit crazy enough to think you might like to have a go at it yourself!**
**(It really isn’t that bad)
Despite all my moaning, there are actually a few good points about renovating your own home, and despite how one-sided this argument may look on-screen, the positives do actually outweigh the benefits! Otherwise I’d never have let Stu talk me into doing another one!
- First of all, you get to choose everything brand new – that means a sparkly new kitchen, new bathroom, new carpets – the works. No more having to pee in someones else’s poo pipe until you can afford to get the whole thing done!;
- Secondly you get to unleash your inner creative warrior and can start to apply all those carefully crafted Pinterest dreams to your own home;
- Buying a home in need of a bit of TLC is often cheaper than buying something which is new and shiny, so you should hopefully get more ‘house’ for your money;
- You can tailor the space to meet your families’ needs without too much disruption! OK there will be dust, so much dust!! But when the whole place looks like its been hit by hurricane Irma, knocking a wall down to rearrange your living space wont seem quite as daunting;
- You can choose a colour palette and apply it to the whole house, meaning all your rooms will interrelate;
- General tidying and other housework can take a back seat for a few weeks/months while the major renovation works are going on! (I say this loosely because you will need to keep on top of the dust – I’ll say it again, there will be SO MUCH dust!) but in terms of keeping your house Instagram worthy, this will be impossible so chill out and do it all in one go once the work men have left!
- You’ll get an enormous sense of achievement once its all finished, and you might have even learned a new skill/trade along the way ;
- You’ll probably make a few quid at the end of it all too 😄.
Ok so this is the bit you’re really interested in. What does renovating a whole house actually entail – and men if you’re reading… how much moaning is your girlfriend/wife actually going do to?? …
- Well I can’t lie, you will bicker with your other half. Late nights, tight finances and a lack of dust free surfaces to sit your pretty bum on will drive you to the edge;
- Your social life will suffer! As much as you believe you can renovate a home and carry on being life and soul of the party. Unfortunately there will come a time when you have to prioritize between paying for new floor tiles over meeting friends for a boozy pub lunch on Sunday. Generally speaking the more of a social butterfly you are, the longer your renovations will take;
- You will overspend but I think this pretty much goes without saying and as a woman I overspend on everything so I think we’ll just leave that one right there!
- Pinterest is not always practical! So many times I’ve waltzed over to my husband to show him an amazing bathroom on Pinterest, only for him to shatter my illusions and point out to me that none of the appliances are actually plumbed in, or that the beautiful brass pipework ive picked out would look rubbish in our hard-water area!
- Preparation is a pain in the arse!! Unfortunately there’s no way you can skip this bit as it makes or breaks the overall finish of your home. You’re guaranteed to spend what feel like months working none stop, but not actually making any progress. This is the preparation stage. The stage which involves all the stripping wallpaper, knocking down walls, sanding woodwork, fixing electrics, re-plastering, walls and ceilings, lifting floorboards, installing water pipes and central heating and cleaning out manky old cupboards which are home to a million creepy crawlies and always smell of old wee!!! Weeks will go by when you feel like you’ve been working none stop but the house still feels and smells like a building site – and then one day BAM! Everything will start to be put back together, you’ll feel like you’ve hit a major turning point and order will be restored!
- You will paint A LOT and when I say a lot, I mean you will be dreaming about those brush strokes in your sleep!! Seriously, the painting takes FOREVER!! Especially in older houses. If you’ve had everything re-plastered then it will all need a going over with a watered down white wash to seal it, then everything after that will need 2-3 coats. And that’s just the emulsion, which is actually the easiest bit. The bloody annoying part is all the wood work – everything will need a fresh coat of gloss or eggshell (whichever finish you choose) and that includes the skirting boards, door frames, doors, banisters, and any cabinets or inbuilt wardrobes!! You could get a decorator, but where’s the fun in that (*insert that eyeroll again ;);
- Decision making will do your head in – and it never ends!
- It takes time – and the reality of living in a building site for 9-12 months is often harder to deal with in reality than imagine before a project commences. The key is to be patient and treat yourself to breaks every now and then to stop yourself going insane. Everything will get done eventually. I made the mistake with our first project of expecting everything to be finished overnight and got really stressed when our hallway was still bare floorboard and magnolia walls 9 months later. But I’d managed to whisk Stu away on three holidays in that time, so I’m not really sure what else I expected! – Again revert back to point 2. This time I’m much more chilled and while its taking longer, I’ve found my peace with that as I know it will get done – one day!!
So there you have it, the highs and lows of renovation life, warts and all. Like I said in the beginning it really isn’t that bad, otherwise we wouldn’t keep doing it. It gives us something to talk about in the evenings and it can be quite fun. But it’s definitely time-consuming and not for the faint hearted, and I definitely don’t think we’ll be doing another while we have a small family!
So what about you? Have you ever taken on renovation project? What were your high and low points? I’d love to hear your thoughts x
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