I’m going to preface this really quick: I love my husband to pieces. He’s the reason I’m still here and breathing today. I’m so blessed to have such a hardworking, selfless, understanding, and patient man loving me day in and day out.
But…Renovations are HARD.
I had NO idea the magnitude of time, energy, and sheer will power this house reno was going to require. A little back story:
Ben and I bought our house in November of 2012 – a 1444 square foot Ranch Style home with “four” bedrooms. It was a For Sale By Owner and we stopped in unannounced one evening in August. The owner graciously showed us her home. It was completely gutted of the main bathroom, didn’t have a laundry room, the basement needed some serious TLC, but the roof, septic, furnace, and hot water tank were all new. We fell in love with the idea of fixing the house up and hellooo, four bedrooms in our price range!?! Yes please!
So, why “four”? Because after our youngest was born, it became very obvious that with the way the house was laid out, it was two bedrooms at best. The other two rooms were being used as a toy room and an office (aka- a catch all for all our crap.) And that brand new roof? Yeah, not so much. It needed replaced by this summer at the latest, and I was not thrilled about replacing the roof on a house that wasn’t meeting our needs any longer. I told Ben that I wasn’t emotionally attached to the house anymore and I wanted to start looking for something else. Which crushed him because he was emotionally attached to the house and he mentioned adding on. I looked at him like he had three heads and told him absolutely not.
I had my Realtor license at the time, so I browsed all the local listings. But the bottom line was, in order to even get a three bedroom home, we’d have to pony up A LOT more money than was comfortable and STILL have to do a crap ton of renovations. I remember sitting down with him around January of this year and saying, “Well, I think you’re right. A renovation it is.” The look on his face was both thrilling and terrifying to watch as I saw the wheels start turning.
This past March we secured our loan and I said “Crap, we’re really doing this.” Extending out on our home didn’t make sense because it was the layout that was not so pleasing. So, we decided adding a second story made the most sense financially and for the long term. ‘Cuz now this is our forever home. We have zero plans to move again.
We had a date into the second week of June for the contractors to come and start working. But they had an opening 5 weeks prior, so the weekend of Mother’s Day, my husband started kicking in ceilings, taking out walls and making a giant mess of everything we’ve ever worked hard for, and my Mother’s Day was spent watching him take a chain saw to our home and rip the roof off. Standing inside my house and looking up to see nothing but the big blue sky was overwhelmingly frightening with a dash of ‘how cool is this!?’
(It is incredible heart warming watching the boys help their daddy destroy and build. The saying “I never knew how much I loved your Daddy until I saw how much he loved you” has hit me hard during the reno. He’s such a good daddy to these little boys. I’m so grateful for him.)
The crew came and everything progressed along until 2/7 days it rained. And nobody was prepared, so no tarps were on hand. And my poor house got soaked. We didn’t plan on tearing apart the kitchen, but had to as a result of the water damage. (That and it was a really convenient excuse for my husband to dive in with more wrecking!) We saved the cabinets we could and Ben built me a temporary kitchen out of the existing counter and leftover plywood. I’m so thankful he’s so handy, but oh my gosh. The kitchen in the state it’s in makes it really difficult to want to cook and then clean it up. I put away 75%+ of my fun kitchen gadgets so they didn’t get broken, and my kids have still found a way to break most of what I’d left out.
In all seriousness, the kitchen needed done anyway. Subconsciously I knew that. The walls weren’t insulated well, I wanted the new windows put in, and (yikes!) we knew there was a mouse problem in the kitchen we needed to address. BUT, there’s something about things not being where I’ve had them for years, and tools covering my counters, and my dishwasher not working to it’s full potential that makes me grumpy and not so pleasant to be around.
The upstairs bathroom is the first room we finished so we’d have a toilet on the same level we slept on. It was an amazing feeling designing the bathroom with colors and fixtures that we specifically wanted and didn’t have to settle for. But that didn’t come at no cost. I think the Lowes employees know my husband by name at this point. The toilet we bought had a cracked tank, so we had to purchase another toilet. The shower head leaked with a bath was ran, so we had to replace that. The medicine cabinet I was set on wasn’t in stock at our Lowes, and my husband wouldn’t wait until they got one in, so we had to do some digging online to find one. (Don’t get me started on the lighting I wanted downstairs….I had to order from three different Lowes stores in order for them to all match because we needed them RIGHT NOW and they’re still sitting in a box somewhere.) The walls I worked so hard to paint have scuffs and scratches on them because my impatient husband didn’t wait for me to move things in. (Have I mentioned he’s a bit impatient?) The greatest take away from the bathroom: I’m not mudding or sanding any other walls or ceilings in the house. That’s getting hired out. Kudos to those that do that for a living, I just don’t have enough skills in that department.
Right about now, I’ve asked myself what the heck we were thinking with diving into a renovation of this magnitude with three young children too many times. At the end of most days, I’m overwhelmed with so many feelings. Fear of losing my $h!+ over a temporary kitchen. Elated to have the opportunity to build our forever home. Anxious to get life back to “normal.” Thankful for this crazy journey. Wanting to dig my husband’s eyes out in the moments I forget how grateful I am for him.
(Random fact: Ben took me up to the second story once the walls and floor were laid down. Super cool feeling! But we climbed up on the ladder…I got stuck up there. I hate heights. Eventually I was able to talk myself down and conquer the ladder and get back to the first story. The next day, the crew put in the stairs. One guy said “There! Now you can’t get stuck up there again!” My husband told them all about it. I almost ran away.)
I’m counting down the days until we can say it’s finished and we’re never living through a renovation again! Haha. So, what about you? Have you taken on a renovation? How large of a reno did you do on a scale of one room/moving a wall or two to knocking out every internal wall and having no roof over your head? Any motivation, encouragement, tips for survival are appreciated. 😉