Renovating our house has been major event in our life in the last 12 months (more if you add the planning of it). So I thought it would be interesting to go back and select the big things I got out of it. Some I expected, some surprised me. This is a big thing and if you are considering it, read on and maybe one of these will help you along the way.
- Choose your builder with care. If you happen to chose someone that makes this a worthwhile journey like we have with Simon, you will be even prouder of your house and suffer less stress. He was excellent on many levels including diffusing tension. He and his team have done a brilliant job. Just remember to communicate. So important.
- There will be stress. Yep and that is with me being at home, able to check everyday progress, questions, etc… There is no way I would have coped if I had to work as well. extended maternity leave is no walk in the park but it has it’s advantages. Last thing is things will get very tense at the end. Everyone wants to finish. Everyone is tired. Just think, not long now, not long.
- It will run over. Time is a fluid concept. 4 months delay in sorting out the mortgage due to a rubbish broker, delay in finalising the planning application, weather, waiting for windows… this is a long list and it will get long when you are not looking!
- So is money!
- Trust your instinct. If something does not feel right, investigate because chances are that if you don’t it will bite you in the bum later! In the same token, don’t be scared of improvising and experimenting. You might be surprised of the results and how good you can be at something you have never done.
- Getting involved made me connect to the house. This house was a concept for a long time and not my idea. However by creating inspiration boards and painting, staining, varnishing… the house has become mine too. I helped. I am part of it.
- Take pictures regularly. You will forget what it was like! It helps people you know to visualise what you are going through. It helps with blogging. It will be fun to do a scrapbook if I ever have the time.
- Delays will affect your life in weird ways. For me, it delayed starting a creative business. This is taking over your life and until it is done to a certain point, it will be very hard to concentrate on anything else. You will use all your holidays to finish jobs… Lots of small (and big) things that may make you feel your life is on hold for a while. The reassuring thing is that it is only a temporary state of affairs.
- Take any offer of help. The amount of things to do is huge. Sharing takes away the pressure especially when you are exhausted and your motivation starts dropping. Go and eat out, laugh and only then go back to work. You need a break now and then and sharing the load, well it is not a bad thing.
- Once it is all finished (well the main bit anyway), enjoy and share it with your friends and family. For me, a house is for sharing. I look forward to busy crafty Xmas evenings, Invite the ones we love to our home wedding, sharing drinks and meals with same… See I am already there…
- Pat yourself in the back, this is not a small achievement
- Having the house of your dreams takes hard work, vision and the odd glass of wine to keep you going. No way round it. “Simples” as the meerkats would say!
There you are. These are the things I thought I would share. Can you relate to some of these? Can you add some more? And one I have been wondering about, would you say all teh above also apply to a self build? Let me know and drop me a line.