Saturday, April 11, 2015

Let's talk about renovating your house...

I realized recently (okay, today), that I never really wrote about how our home renovations turned out... and I'm sure that you have all been waiting with bated breath for me to tie up those loose ends! My apologies. I think in the excitement over finally NOT living in a construction site I quickly no longer wanted to think, talk or write about our construction.

Well. One year later the house is in much, much (much, much, much) better shape than when we bought it. (I'll never forget the sad, mournful, regretful look on the inspector's face.)


But, it's not done. And it never will be! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Actually, I'm sure this house will one day be in perfect condition. And that day will be the day that we sell it to someone else and move into a retirement home. Because that's how these things work.

Here are 10 things I've learned in the past 18 months of living in this old house:

1. Home ownership is vastly overrated. Except that yes, it does afford a good deal of long term financial stability, especially in a city where the rent is too damn high. That being said, we have sunk so many gobs of money into this house we may as well have been renting on Central Park West*.

2. You will always have something broken to fix. Or 10 things. Just get used to it, and get a credit card from at least one home improvement store. The time to become handy is now.

3. You will treasure your good plumber, (or electrician, handy-person), and thus be willing to pay them gobs of money because you need to have heat, and it's freezing, and they are willing to stay in your house until the middle of the night until your house feels warm. (This happened to us in November.)

4. You will spend WAY MORE TIME picking out tile than you thought possible. Also, do not go to pick out tile by yourself. Also, take all the measurements for everything with you whenever you go shopping for tile. I went shopping for tile 3 separate times, twice alone, one more time over the phone, and still ending up with tiles I'm not quite sure I like. Next time, we are going with white squares and that's it!

5. Everything takes twice a long and costs twice as much as you can imagine. Except for our fence, which was magically put up in 4 hours by three hard working men on the hottest day of the summer last year. Go figure.

6. It was totally worth it to buy a house with a driveway.

7. You will learn to live with hideous floors or hideous ceilings or hideous wall treatments (or all three!) for way longer than you thought possible.

8. Having a house is a good excuse to have people over. Which means we don't have to go out so often. And also, having people over is a great motivator to finally hang pictures/empty that last box/tidy the basement/put away the holiday-that-was-over-a-month-ago decorations. Etc.

9. If you thought your marriage was tested by having children, try living in at a renovation site together for 4 months without a kitchen. I'm pretty sure my husband said "Pull yourself together!" at least once during that time, and gave me a good dozen exasperated looks which meant: "I can't believe you are having another hissy fit about not having a kitchen." While we ate cereal for dinner out of paper cups.

10. Children are endlessly fascinated by construction and will be pulled towards dangerous work sites like moths to a flame. That both children are still alive after 1/2 our house was basically demolished is a miracle.

* Not really, but it feels like it.

PS- We found out this morning that dirt is really, really expensive. Like, ouch! The things you learn while renovating...

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