Today, I thought I would share about the direction of our home renovation journey. I decided on writing a journal-entry-style post since I am currently in “vacation mode” (staycation mode, really). It’s always a bit easier to just dive into writing when it comes straight from my mind, rather than researching specific topics and writing out detailed, methodical how-to posts. I hope you can appreciate the simplicity of my posts over the last couple of weeks.
If you have any experience with renovating your home, you know that it’s not as it appears on tv. You know, those shows on HGTV where a full crew comes in, usually with a rather large budget, and completely redesigns (and sometimes rebuilds) an entire home in less than a month’s time?
Well, I’m here to tell you that that particular narrative is BS.
Rarely does a home renovation get completed like that. Even if you have the money to spare (and are able to hire out), there’s a process of things that have to get done in a certain order. So much to coordinate. So much to order. When you start gutting things you discover other things that take precedence. You might have to complete this new small project before you can even consider moving onto your existing one.
Really, it’s hard for my husband and I to renovate one room in a month’s time, let alone an entire home.
Quite frankly, I can barely even decorate a room in that amount of time… With the attention to detail I have, it takes a lot of time and effort to decide, source, and style a room to my satisfaction.)
In the real world, people have jobs, they have kids to take care of, they have families to divide their time with, hobbies, health… sleep that is required each night in order to even have this kind of energy.
Folks, this stuff takes time.
Not only that, but sometimes as we start a project we realize it’s not as easy as anticipated. Or we realize a certain style or color is all wrong and have to start that portion of the project over.
And let’s talk about the old homes some of us (me) love to love and also are constantly battling with.
Sometimes, AJ and I will have a project planned (or maybe we’re planning on taking a few weeks off from the renovations all together). All of a sudden, something in the house breaks. Maybe it’s an appliance. Maybe it’s a plumbing or electrical issue. Or something else wild and unimaginable pops up. You have to sometimes stop what you’re doing to repair something that’s more imminent. Some things need our attention right at that very moment and just can’t wait. That’s when the aesthetic updates get pushed back.
Here’s a recent example: We had initially planned to take a couple of months off from home projects this winter. One, to give our bank accounts some rest. With all the holiday gift giving, property taxes being due at the end of the year, and a trip away with his family, we decided it made sense. Two, this is just a crazy time of year. Four of our five nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, hosting two holiday gatherings, plus other holiday traditions and engagements to attend… We needed a break.
Guess what happened during this so-called “break?”
First our washer broke. This actually happened just before our two month break. Luckily, it was only a $50 part and AJ was able to figure out this repair on his own. But it wasn’t fun wringing out a washer full of clothes after each wash, old-school style. I had to do this for at least a week while we waited for the part to arrive. Plus, it is just plain stressful to be waiting in the “unknown,” not knowing if the repair will truly fix the issue at hand.
Then, a couple of weeks later our refrigerator broke down. It remained this way for over two weeks! We thankfully still had a warranty on this fridge, so we didn’t have to spend a dime on fixing this very expensive issue. The appliance maker wasn’t able to get someone out to us very quickly, though. When they did arrive, they didn’t have everything they needed and rescheduled another time to come back. That whole experience was a fiasco (and we are still waiting to be reimbursed by the appliance manufacturer for all the food waste during this experience…). It’s amazing how one malfunctioning appliance can turn your whole world upside down.
Then a couple of weeks ago, our basement drain started backing up. After several phone calls and hours of waiting, I was finally able to schedule a service with a company that would use an auger and an hour’s time to get it unclogged. In hindsight, it could have been much worse. We are grateful it wasn’t more serious. But we were without a toilet for almost two days during this time! (Luckily, we have a QuikTrip less than 2 minutes away, but that still wasn’t the most practical way to carry on living…) Our bill for the repair was affordable compared to what my anxiety-ridden brain had imagined and the service was well worth its value, but it was still an unexpected expense. It was still an inconvenience to deal with.
My point is: Over our “break” we had quite a few curve balls thrown at us.
That is the reality of owning any home really, old or new. Maintenance projects and expenses will sneak up on you during the most inconvenient times.
…So you can imagine the look on my face when someone who hasn’t seen us in a while asks if we’ve finished renovating our home yet… (Please, we are just trying to stay sane at this point!)
These curious and well-meaning people have usually either never owned a home or never seriously renovated a home past a few buckets of paint.
Some people just don’t get it, but that’s okay. They don’t understand that it takes years to transform a home, especially an old one, and that you work room by room, sometimes just a corner or a wall at a time. The details of it all are a process… An ongoing process that takes skill, labor, money, and patience.
That’s okay because we see all the change that has happened in our home over the last two and a half years.
Every little small project adds up over the years. These one million tiny projects we find an hour or two to work on at a time create a big impact over the course of time.
We know, and that’s what matters.
We are the ones who have been in the thick of it (the thick of it literally being poop, blood, and tears at times). We see the drastic changes from the “befores” that were taken before we moved in. We know the work that has gone into it from day one. And we are the ones who have experienced this huge shift of energy in our lives as we slowly, piece by piece, transform this basic, boring slat of concrete and wood into a truly remarkable little home for us to grow in.
When we are feeling uninspired or tired, I try to remind us of all the steps we’ve already taken.
We are just taking it a day at a time at this point. I’ve loosened up on keeping a tight schedule for our home renovation. My husband (and life) have taught me that sometimes the planning and the expectations we place on ourselves just create unnecessary stress.
I’m learning to feel okay with not knowing exactly when we will be “done.” (I always use that term loosely anyway because as one thing finishes, I can almost always dream up something else: a new update that will be needed, a maintenance project, accommodating my changing style, etc.)
I imagine around the 10-year mark our home will mainly be renovated, though I’m sure I’ll continue adding more special touches and details to the house, inside and out, as we grow with the house.
With all of that being said, I am thrilled to begin starting the planning of our kitchen renovation over these next few weeks. We will need to complete the kitchen in phases since it is such a big project with lots of important details (even with the room itself being on the smaller side). So this will be an important starting point.
As I work on the details like the aesthetics, sourcing supplies, and coming up with a budget, we’ll probably tackle a few smaller projects during this time.
I’m bound and determined to fix the ceiling in our bedroom ASAP, so I can feel like the bedroom is completely done. (You can read more about our Cottagecore Master Bedroom HERE.)
Then, AJ needs to work on replacing all the remaining outlets in our home to get those safely up to date. This is really important, so it’s at the top of our list. (A really old outlet was part of the reason our refrigerator broke down in the first place.)
Finally, as small and as insignificant as it may seem, I need to replace all the light switch plates in our home. As I’ve worked on decorating these rooms, I’ve been putting this small detail off. Why? I don’t know… I guess I imagined I would do them all at once, as soon as I got most of the upstairs done. Now that I have an overall style and color palette I’m working with, I need to get these updated to fit each respective room.
My hopes are that the kitchen will be completely finished sometime in early spring, but you never really know with these sorts of large projects. A lot can go wrong…
Regardless, I am excited. After we finish the kitchen, we have one last bedroom upstairs to decorate. I can finally feel proud enough to invite people other than close family members over!
So, there you have it. That’s the official Kelly Family Home update. Our renovation isn’t over for quite some time, but I’m so glad we’ve made a little time to rest, even if it is short-lived or full of little surprises and kinks along the way.
Hopefully, this has given you a bit of insight into owning an old home, home renovation projects in general, and a little bit of encouragement about moving forward no matter how slowly you do it. For those of you who religiously follow along on our journey, I hope you can appreciate hearing about some of our future projects and where we currently stand.