Dear readers, I’ve got houses on the brain. This past weekend I got a sneak peek at Sous Chef Lauren’s new (and newly decorated) house, and we’re almost to the finish line of our basement renovation here at La Moneda. Wooden Nickels asked if I think I’m finished making big changes at our house for a little while, and while there is something my husband and I want to do to this place in the long run, it’s not likely to happen until preschool tuition payments are a thing of the past. Just gives me more time to plan and save and dream. If you’re thinking of renovating, dear readers, I strongly encourage you to do it. Here are my words of wisdom, even though you didn’t ask.
Bite the bullet: If you’re thinking of an improvement, big or small, and you have the funds to make it happen, do it! There isn’t going to be a convenient time, and you might have to live with your in-laws for a year, and the front door slamming open and closed 85 times a day might cut nap time short once or twice, but do it anyway. If you have a vision, or an idea you stole from Pinterest or HGTV, and you’re excited about it, make it happen!
(Even if you won’t be in your house forever): As I said above, there are always reasons not to make a big change to your house, and it not being your “forever house,” is certainly at the top of the list. But a couple of thoughts on that. One, I can’t tell you how many people in my very own neighborhood have told me, “We thought we wouldn’t be here for so long, but…….” insert any number of job/school/life-related reasons here. We all think we know where we’ll settle down and sometimes life happens and we end up somewhere else. And also, your happiness is worth it. If there is something you want to do to change a space, and it will bring you happiness to see it completed, you should do it. Even if you’re only in that space for six months, or a year, or five years, if seeing a change would make you remarkably happier, make the change.
Work with someone you love: We’ve always been happier with our renovations when we’ve had a great relationship with our contractor. The man who was in charge of our first big addition had a great sense of humor, and we loved chatting with him. I baked him chocolate chip cookies when he was working in the snow, and never felt silly asking him questions or sharing things I was worried about. Similarly, one of his subcontractors still does handyman work for us because we love him just as much. When we were planning our kitchen, we had two estimates, and though we loved the woman behind one of them, we ended up going with someone who gave us a lower quote. Dear readers, one of my biggest regrets in life is not going with the pricier kitchen company, because we got what we paid for when it came to customer service on that less expensive quote. I wish we had spent more (it’s wasn’t like it would have doubled the cost), and gone with the person behind the steeper numbers.
Have patience: It’s not news that no matter how much you love your contractor, the renovation process will take longer than he or she lets on in the beginning. But patience remains important as you fill whatever space you’ve just designed. What we’ve found, being in what we are almost certain is our forever home, is that when you’ve designed a space exactly how you want it, you’ve got to show some judgement when it comes to filling the space. When I was in an apartment, and when we owned our first home (aw, #tbt to Casa Glass of Milk), there were times we bought things on the cheap, to fill a need quickly. Those things do not have a place in the forever house, at least not parts of it that are renovated exactly how you want. I’d rather live with a light bulb hanging from the wall until we find the perfect fixture, than slap something up quickly, and let it be just okay for way too long.