Have you ever renovated your home? Or taken on a massive DIY project? If the answer is yes to either or both of these questions, then I'm sure you could relate to the mixed feelings we currently find ourselves experiencing with our home renovation. We've come to realize that such a massive project really is a roller-coaster of emotions that really impacts on your daily life - both in negative and positive ways. Although everyone warns you that it's going to be a crazy process, until you’re actually living through it, it’s hard to know just what it will be like for you personally.
When we first started planning this whole renovation, and throughout the entire process, we’ve been very gung-ho about doing a lot of the work ourselves i.e. painting the exterior and interior, building the kitchen, building the laundry, landscaping... These choices were definitely based on wanting to save money, and we really will save an incredible amount doing a lot of work ourselves. Because we’ve always been keen DIYers, taking on these things didn’t seem like a huge deal.
However, actually being in the process now of doing them, we’re realizing what a huge undertaking it is. Life is chaotic and busy enough without a renovation, so adding these tasks into the mix is definitely impacting on our family life. We find there’s just so many things to do and decisions to be made, that it’s difficult to always maintain a sense of balance and calm. It’s truly a mix of emotions, and if you've been through it yourself, I'm sure you could relate to the following feelings...
Above all, the feeling through this whole process has definitely been one of great excitement! This is something we have been planning for a looooong time, so to see it come to fruition is just amazing. Every time we pop in to check on the house and see the progress being made, it is so exciting to imagine ourselves actually living in this new space.
We’re excited about moving back into our home, and returning to our normal lives without always having that focus on the renovation, which is really taking up a lot of brain space at the moment. We’re looking forward to talking about something different other than plastering, painting, tiling and gardening! We’re excited to get back to our normal budgeting, where we can start to feel more in control of our finances. We’re excited about watching our kids enjoy their new home, and just being in it as a family unit. So those excited and happy thoughts are definitely what’s keeping us focused on the end goal.
But I’d be lying if I said we weren’t also feeling pretty overwhelmed and exhausted at the moment. It’s overwhelming to have to make so many important decisions every day, ones that you’re going to live with for a looong time. We’ve got decision fatigue! Plus every time we go back to the house, despite the excitement, I can't help but look around the rest of the house and just see all the remaining jobs we have ahead of us.
Here's our list, if I can even bear to record it:
- Build the kitchen!
- Finish up the exterior painting - second coats on all those hard-to-reach places, fix up a few messy bits, paint the front door and garage door, finish painting deck area
- Paint all the interior walls and ceilings (including the pitched ceiling and exposed beams!). Windows complete - woo!
- Restore the bay window - sand back the wood, remove rotted parts, fill and putty, replace broken pane of glass, paint
- Plaster up the left wall in the laundry
- Create a new separate toilet room/area with basin
- Tile the laundry and toilet room floor
- Build storage cupboards and new sink area in the laundry
- Set up the new laundry, including drying racks, ironing station and organised cupboards
- Completely clear out and thoroughly clean kids’ bedrooms and our old bedroom (now to be a home office/studio), which have been trashed during this whole process!
- Decide what on earth to do with our [also] completely trashed bathroom - it’s been our paint clean-up and prep area during this project, and it is just disgusting. A makeover for this space is looming…
- Set up the new walk-in wardrobe
- Move all the furniture back into place
- Set up our new spaces, including living room, kitchen, bedroom, wardrobe, ensuite
- Create a new family command centre/organisation zone under the stairs
- Clean up the front garden
- Re-landscape the back garden - move clay, flatten out the whole area, decide what to do with paved seating area, new grass, clean-up….
I’m sure there’ll more along the way, but this list is MORE than enough. Although I know we don’t have to do all of these jobs at once - and I certainly don’t have the expectation that we’ll be able to do that or we will actually collapse - many of them do need to be dealt with fairly quickly. I’m looking forward to getting order back to my home, but just feeling rather overwhelmed at the amount there is to do! Just got to keep focused on the end goal...
Another feeling that has plagued my husband and I throughout this process is a feeling of guilt. We’ve spent a lot of time time away from the kids working on the house. Pretty much every weekend since mid-April we’ve been painting, with either one of us at the house while the other has the kids, or both painting while family members look after them.
While it’s fantastic to have so much family support during this time - I know some people do all of this on their own without any help from others - we can’t help but feel guilty about the amount of time we’re spending away from our babies. And when we are with them, it often feels like we’re just having conversations about the renovation! I suppose there’s not a whole lot we can do about it though, as the quicker we get through everything, the faster we can move into our home and get back to our normal lives. At least I’m not working full time so I get to spend plenty of time with the kids during the week, which I’m thankful for. The time that we do have with them, we're also trying to make the absolute most of!
Grateful, thankful, appreciative. If anything, this enormous project has shown us just how strong and amazing the family units we belong to are. We’re so lucky. My cousin is doing the build and has been fantastic at guiding us through and helping us make the big decisions. My other cousin has also helped with the build on his holidays, which has really moved things along. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been amazing at offering to look after the kids while we power through a day of painting or project time, or doing kinder pick-ups and drop-offs to save me the drive.
And of course, the generosity of my own parents has been unbelievable. We’ve been living at their house for 4 months now, and we are so incredibly lucky to have had this option. There’s no way I could handle living through a renovation - the mess, the upheaval! #nightmare. It’s been great to be able to pop up to the house to work away, then come back to a normal home environment. The kids have a ball with their grandparents, and love tearing around this beautiful big house, which is also my childhood home. We’re so grateful to have had pretty much all of our meals cooked for us, laundry done, plus the help of my parents with painting the house - they are gun painters! We’re definitely feeling grateful, and don’t know how we can ever thank them enough for having us intrude on their lives for such a huge amount of time.
If I’ve realized anything throughout this whole process, it’s that a home renovation truly is a roller-coaster of emotions. It forces you to prioritize your time, and also makes you appreciate the little things, plus the people in your life that are helping along the way. I’m not for a second wishing that we’d never taken this renovation on… but geez I’ll be glad when it’s done!!
Have you ever been through a renovation? Did you experience these mixed emotions?