Sharing my oh-so-valuable (albeit limited) nuggets of wisdom about what it's like to survive a home renovation, along with some long-awaited before & after photos
For those just now tuning in, a few months ago the husband and I embarked on what can only be called a wild journey to buy and renovate a 1930s bungalow that had been abandoned for the last 20 years.
Much like other major decisions in our life – ranging from whether or not we should go to Brazil in a few weeks (we most definitely should!) to whether or not we should buy a boat (already did!) – we sort of jumped into this adventure headfirst with little hesitation.
Right about now I wish I could share some cliché, inspirational quote – something about fun, spontaneous living and letting go of control – and call it a day, but if I am being completely honest with my perfectionist self, then I must confess that it's been a real challenge for me to remain calm in a constant state of transition and change.
For those of you considering tackling your own home renovation, here are four life lessons that I have learned so far and would like to pass on to you, my sweet little sugar plums:
- If you have even the slightest perfectionist tendencies, prepare to have them – along with what's left of your sanity – completely demolished the minute you begin your house demolition. Oh sure, everyone warns you to prepare to be flexible, but no one tells you just how complex the proverbial "Lotus Headstand" of renovations is. You thought yoga was hard?! Try renovating a house!
- Stay away from the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. If you accidentally find yourself on Pinterest, it's very difficult to leave without having questioned your sanity because you simply can't get it through your head why "you can't just keep changing your mind every week." The first step is to put down the device that got you in this predicament in the first place. Trust me, you don't need that loft above the kitchen; you've already fit three bedrooms into a space only meant for two. Next, abort your attempt at finding someone to help you with your Pinterest addiction. Your friends, although they mean well, will be the first to say, "I bet Pinterest has a ton of ideas that would help you!" – singlehandedly forcing you into another relapse. Finally, if your husband happens to be next to you, resist the urge to describe in excruciating detail the million and one ideas you happened to catch a glimpse of in the five seconds you spent scrolling through the app. Everyone knows that Pinterest emits harmful waves through your phone screen, which cause innocent comments like, "Check out this marble countertop..." to take on passive aggressive tendencies, forcing your voice to rise ten octaves in a matter of five seconds. I suggest you flush your phone down the toilet to ensure you're never tempted to visit Pinterest again.
- Lists and spreadsheets will suddenly become your new best friends, which may sound sort of pathetic at first, but at this point you're sort of out of options. Your real friends are "so freaking tired" of hearing you go on and on about the house; besides, they're not a good influence on you anyway (See point 2). So really, you're just doing yourself and the world a favor by befriending a spreadsheet software program.
- You can bet there will be tears. And disagreements. And arguments. And possibly full-on tantrums. But mostly tears – lots and lots of them, especially if you're terrible at yoga (See point 1). If anyone has the audacity to ask you why your eyes are puffy, look them square in the face and say, "I'm just not myself today..." – even if you have to repeat that nonsense every day for the next three years. Soon enough they'll stop asking, at which point I suggest you turn to making lists on your phone as a way of keeping your sanity. Oh, but wait, you can't because you flushed your phone down the toilet. You are truly helpless. Just give up, already.
All joking aside, because we are doing most of the work ourselves, the process has been rather long and at times a bit discouraging. But I am happy to report that there is, in fact, a light at the end of the tunnel – which, alone, is a major cause for celebration. So while these photos might not portray much progress to you, I am over the moon excited at all we've been able to accomplish so far and cannot wait to share with you what else we have planned for this space!