On my last post, I left you mid renovation, so I’m back to tell you some useful advice! So many people said to not do a renovation as newlyweds, which we obviously ignored. We missed the memo that it is something you should do after a few years of marriage, when you already know a thing or two and each one has their role. If you want me to be honest, I really thought it would have been a breeze and not many bumps in the road. The reality is...there were times it was SO awful, I wanted to literally pour kerosene on the entire house, light a match and not look back. However, that is not what happened as I am not in jail and am instead sitting in my living room sipping some tea and enjoying all the beauty.
The main frustration I had during the process was feeling that no one was giving 110% to their work. I was raised to give my all in all areas of my life and everything I do, and to exceed far past what I am capable of. I was having a hard time understanding why others could not do the same. Each day would go from excitement, like a little kid on Christmas morning, to feeling taken advantage of and completely cheated! After a while I started to feel nervous each time I would go up to the house to see it - "Well I wonder what it will be this time that is messed up? I wonder how much they got done today? Did they really even accomplish anything?" I know that all sounds harsh and negative, but if I am being real with you all, it was the truth! I was a total Debbie downer some days, bracing myself for disappointment and frustration.
So about that whole “you should never renovate a house as a newlywed”? Well, I am here to tell you that I agree! My husband and I wanted to strangle each other some days. You see, as women we always see the tiny little details in things. We have this time schedule in our minds, whereas men tend to be passive and move onto something else that they won't even remember the next day. I am STILL mad about the cabinet guy and how much extra money we had to pay to fix HIS mistakes, while my husband is like “He did get a good price on the cabinets though”. SERIOUSLY?! So many times I would take out so much of the stress and anxiety on Nate. Do you ever do that? You take your mood or something you are dealing with out on someone closest to you who isn’t really to blame? I am way guilty of this, and had to remind myself that we were on the same team. I also have to remind myself that we are very blessed to even be in a position to do a renovation of this magnitude this early on in our marriage.
Nate and I learned SO much during this whole process. We learned to compromise with one another at the end of the day. He was not crazy about the floors I picked and I was VERY skeptical about the dark grout he wanted with our white subway tile. I remember walking into the kitchen and seeing the grout for the first time and literally crying. Like real tears. I don't think my husband’s reaction was the same when he saw our floors. He was much calmer and less emotional about the whole thing, something I needed to learn from him. There are moments in renovating a home together that can be maddening, but try to remember that there are priceless lessons in every leaky pipe, every missing fixture, every wrong paint color, and you can use them to your relationship’s advantage. Don’t miss our on opportunities to grow as a person during those moments.
When it all came together and everything was finished, it was breathtaking. We went from an old outdated 1975 kitchen, to a new bright farmhouse style kitchen. I couldn’t believe we made it! Now would I do it all over again you ask? I am not sure I can answer that. There is a part of me that wants to build our next home, but there is another part of me that somehow enjoys all of this madness and seeing the end result of what I (we) have designed.
So to save you the pain and frustration we went through, here are 5 tips to know when renovating:
1) Don’t expect perfection. No matter how much money you pay, or how many times you specify, there are going to be things that are not perfect. Also don’t rush in trying to have it all done at once. Spread it out, and have time to really know exactly what you want, as trends and design change so often. Take time to enjoy it and not be stressed constantly. It can get so overwhelming and exhausting.
2) Do your research on who to use for the job. Ask around about who family and friends recommend for your renovation. It is good to know things like, will the contractor be the one to go get all the materials for you or will you have to do it? Will he make last minute decisions without your knowing or will he check in first? These are things you don’t think about, but they can become a real headache in the end.
3) ALWAYS be willing to compromise with your spouse and their opinion about the project. Never forget to love one another in the process and always try and have patience. Just think of how that area was before and think of how it will be. Trust the process.
4) Expect the unexpected. Plan for things costing 3x as much, and taking 3x as long. This is important in case you run into complications, which you will. There are several areas that some contractors do not deal with such as: plumbing, heating and air and electrical. Those would be an additional expense added on. If you have to order anything, plan ahead and make sure it is going to come in in time. It could delay you days or even weeks if you have to wait.
5) Ask yourself is this your forever home or a temporary option. If you just want to make money on resale, than just do the basics and keep it simple. However, if it is your forever home, devote some serious time, thought and money to it and make it something you absolutely love. Ours was not our forever home so we kept it simple, yet sometimes we couldn’t help but act as if it's our forever home by the stressing over details and going over budget. It’s easy to get carried away but we can only hope to do better next time!
Check these out!