If you’ve arrived here wondering where all the pretty pictures are, I get it. This morning I actually opened this blog and thought mannnnn … I hope people find the “spaces” page of finished images, because some of the photos on my homepage at the moment are just plain depressing!
We’re all looking for inspiration, ideas, and even a sense of what we don’t like. There’s a reason Pinterest and Houzz and Instagram are so popular, and why TV shows highlighting 60-minute makeovers consistently kill it in the ratings.
But as anyone who has renovated will tell you, in real life things take a bit longer. The problems resolved during commercial breaks on TV are ALWAYS more tricky, time-consuming, and expensive in real life. And trust me when I say that living through renovations is no picnic, especially with kids and a dog.
So why do it? There are so many reasons: it’s creatively challenging. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. It shows you what’s possible. And it feels so much sweeter when you finally get to enjoy your finished space.
Is it hard work? Yup. While we’ve been fortunate to partner with some wonderful trades, we are also extremely hands-on and always do much of the work ourselves. For my hubby this means hiring and managing trades; dealing with permits, inspections, and scheduling; troubleshooting problems; and, quite honestly, a LOT of old-fashioned sweat equity. For me, it means selecting all the finishes and details that will go into the final product, from millwork profiles to grout colours; working with suppliers and trades related to finishing; keeping our household functional and running; and taking on my share of the grunt work, which at some point always seems to involve a dust mask, gloves, and picking up garbage, debris, or other disgusting things. It’s safe to say we are a manicure-free household 😉
One thing we’ve learned is that to do this, especially more than once, you really have to learn to find joy in the process. With so much going on, it’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to lose your patience. It’s easy to get stressed about the timeline and worry about the budget. It’s very easy to feel exhausted and overwhelmed both by the volume of things to be done and plain old decision fatigue.
It’s totally normal — so expect it, and intentionally seek out and celebrate the little wins along the way. If the weather cooperates the day the roof comes off, a product you love is in stock, your dream chandelier goes on sale, the dump is open the day you really need it, or you find a clean-enough corner in which to have family movie night, celebrate! There will be plenty of days when things don’t go as planned, so enjoy the moments that do — no matter how small.
And if all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine, scroll through the pretty pics on Instagram and remind yourself that this, too, shall pass.