This blog post has been a long time coming. If you’ve been following along here and on Instagram, you’re likely “in the know” with where things stand with the house. I'm not sure what the exact date was, but this month we’re celebrating the one year anniversary of us living in our new house.
I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you that this was one of the hardest years of our lives. I speak for myself and Alex; this year wasn’t a bunch of roses. This house has made us reconsider if we could even call our last home a fixer upper. This house, which we’ve appropriately dubbed “Good Bones Abode” was in need of LOADS of work.
Tonight, Alex and I actually looked back at the original renovation plan we created before we moved in here. We updated it every few months to represent any changes and shifts, but all in all we accomplished what we set out to do.
What Got Done:
Air conditioning system
Refinish all hardwood floors
Repair walls, paint and paper all walls
Replaced cellar doors
Replaced entire plumbing system
Smart home system
Lighting - dimmers, can, sconces, overhead
Vaulted ceiling & added beams
Spray foam insulation
Brass sink fittings
Removed old / added new entry door
Converted hallway into closet
Custom built in
Moldings - picture frame, chair rail, picture rail, crown
YES! That sure it a lot to do in one year.
I want to touch upon some of the things that I've learned in this past year. If you are looking for me to give you insight into how I select paint and paper or how to create a custom built in - this ain’t that. Those posts have already been written.
I'm going to share situations that focus more on taking ahold of your sanity and holding onto it for dear life. See, I took my sanity for granted. I let it go too early on in the process and am still coaxing it back into my life. These are the things I wish I knew when we started with this process last year.
Hire help. Yes this refers to hiring contractors who are more skilled for a job than you are, but it also pertains to bringing in support that you may not have needed in the past to help with mundane tasks around the home. This year, in addition to specified trades, we hired a cleaning lady, laundry service and occasionally had our groceries delivered. Alex and I found that our time was better spent elsewhere - either at work, working on the house or in rare times…resting. This support helped us to not fall behind on the chores that keep the household running smoothly.
Schedule fun. I know what you’re thinking…how fun can scheduled fun be?! Rest, vacations, nights out - all important and not to be taken for granted. This falls under the whole "easier said than done" adage. All I mean by this is don't let building a life make you miss out on living one. It is really easy to get wrapped up in the (impossible) task at hand. Don't let it get in the way of having fun. You’ll burn out if you go to fast. You need a healthy mix of hard work and hard play for good life balance.
Share the struggle. Don’t suffer in silence. We made the mistake earlier on of not showing so much of the hard stuff. Sure, we showed what the renovation process was like to work through - but we didn’t lead on with how hard it was to live through. For the first six months, I didn’t have my home office; I was working from whatever room wasn’t a construction zone. We didn’t have a living room and we were sleeping on a mattress on the floor of bedroom that was in the earlier stages of it’s makeover. It was a lot worse than “living in an ugly home” - living through through the renovation work is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Floor sanding is not for the weak! Let people know what you’re dealing with - not to complain, but to show that the process isn’t all roses and is very very real. Let them see that side of things so the humans in your life understand what you’re going through.
So I'm going to answer the question that no one asked but I assume everyone is wondering. Do we regret our decision to buy a huge fixer upper at this stage of our lives?
Alex is a hard “NO!” While his work has certainly not been without stress, he loves having a home to make our own. I'm sure you're all assuming I'll give you the same answer - the fairy tale answer of "NO, it's so much work but it's totally worth it!"
Actually, I do regret our decision to buy and fix up this house. There was nothing wrong with our previous home; we were just looking for another project. While we are totally capable of managing a project of this size, it's completely overwhelming and all-consuming. Our home renovations have taken over every aspect of our life. It's taken ahold of our budget and our time. Not to mention, I work from home - so working through this chaos has honestly been hell on earth. My business blew up this year - and I’m so grateful for that - but doing both has been A LOT to say the least. In hindsight, I wish we took on a smaller project.
I'm not saying that I will regret this decisions forever; we are creating a beautiful home for our future. At the moment, yes, I do wish we didn't sink ourselves into a project of this size - especially when Alex took on a new role at work and I am focused on growing my business. It is absolutely mind boggling to think back on all that we accomplished this year and know that we have so much more to go. We have both made multiple comments to each other about not being able to repeat 2018 again. This last year has been the most stressful our lives - 2018 has been a total mind fuck of an experience. That said, we are very aware that this was our choice and have accepted all responsibilities for that.
While we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go. I’ll do another post on it, but in 2019 we have plans to renovated the following: 4 bathrooms, kitchen, butler’s pantry, mudroom and upstairs laundry room. The amount of work we have coming is no less than this last year, but we feel like we got a lot of the “whole home” tasks that take over every room out of the way. We also have taken the time to schedule out every vacation day we plan to take next year and book those trips in advance - so that we are forced to take time off from work and the house.
As we look to 2019, I am hopeful that we have a better plan in place to help us maintain our sanity as we continue to renovate this beast. We have a lot of exciting designs in the works and I am SO EXCITED to document them here and on Instagram. Be sure to follow the progress there, under #goodbonesabode.